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A la carte: Turkey rescue and tips

Turkey rescue and tips

At Thanksgiving, more than any other holiday, help is just a click or phone call away. Here are hotline numbers and websites to help get your bird on the table:

• butterball.com or 800-BUTTERBALL (800-288-8372)

• honeysucklewhite.com or 800-810-6325 for prerecorded info; 800-532-5756 to speak with a consumer specialist from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Live help is not available on Thanksgiving Day

fsis.usda.gov

• USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854)

Prep safely: Make it ahead, yes, but remember you want to keep hot foods hot — more than 140 degrees — and cold food cold — under 40 degrees — for maximum safety, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Watch the clock: Food can be left out for up to 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour if room temperature is 90 degrees or higher), according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service. But you need to remember when it’s time to put the food back in the oven or the fridge.

Reheat properly: The feds recommend reheating food “thoroughly” to an internal temperature of 165 degrees or “until hot and steaming.” You can use that microwave for that, of course, but do follow the food-safety service’s advice and “cover food and rotate so it heats evenly.”

Maximize your capacity: Don’t have enough oven or stovetop space? Use slow cookers, hot plates, electric frying pans or chafing dishes.

Take shortcuts: Buy pre-chopped vegetables, for example, or pies from the bakery.

Accept all food offers: That will free you up to concentrate on other dishes.

Which fats are good; which fats are bad?

Fat is a hot topic these days, and the science on it has evolved in the past 10 or so years. Here are a few highlights to consider:

• Total fat (the percentage of fat in your diet) does not seem to be an issue when it comes to health; it is the type of fat that you eat that has the impact on your health.

• Unsaturated fats, especially omega 3 (fish) and monounsaturated fat (olive oil/canola), are beneficial.

• Trans fats (mostly in processed foods) should be eliminated.

• Saturated fat (coconut oil, butter, cream) may not be as bad for us as we once thought, and we are learning more about the different types of saturated fat and their effects. But they do not appear to be protective like unsaturated fats are, so it is best to continue to focus on those.

• Regarding egg yolks, the yolk of an egg contains all of its fat (much of it saturated) and cholesterol, but it also contains most of its nutrients — minerals, vitamins, etc. One whole egg a day is fine for a heart-healthy diet and offers a lot when it comes to nutrition and satisfaction.

• We do need fat for health, but we do not necessarily need animal fat. Essential fatty acids come from plant sources. Interestingly, though, lard has less saturated fat than butter, so it is no worse than butter but somehow has a worse reputation. All fats have a variety of fatty acid types.

Thanksgiving hazards for your pooch

Every year, countless dogs head to the vet after Thanksgiving — many suffering from digestive problems and canine pancreatitis because they’ve eaten things they really shouldn’t.

According to veterinarian Dr. Jan Bellows and Milk-Bone, protect your pup by avoiding these doggy health hazards:

Left out leftovers: Many dogs get sick not from being fed directly but because they climb up on the table and eat huge quantities of food when humans aren’t there.

Food no-nos: Don’t give your dog turkey skin, turkey or poultry bones, onions, grapes, raisins, fatty foods or other holiday items that are harmful or toxic to dogs.

Dental damagers: Avoid plastic bones, ice cubes, antlers and bully sticks — all of which can cause painful doggy tooth fractures.

— Staff and wire reports

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