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Sunday Food: Turkey Dinner

11:52 pm in Food by Ruth Calvo

Turkey for dinner

(Picture courtesy of cobalt123 at

During the conversation yesterday at Pull Up A Chair, one of our FDL number asked a question that really needs an answer; how DO you cook the turkey?

First let me say that the first turkey I cooked, in my inexperience I never realized you have a bag of giblets in the turkey’s carcass.   Do remove the giblets before cooking.

You should have a turkey by today if you’re using a frozen one, and put it into the refrigerator for thawing, because they take a few days to thaw completely.

For the dressing, I like whole wheat and grain rich breads, and you can buy those loaves now to begin drying out.   Of course, you could buy bags of pre-prepared stuffing, but you’ll save a lot if you get bread from the day-old shelves or discount store for breads.   Put the bread into a large container, cover with paper towels or any piece of cloth, in the refrigerator, about two days in advance.

The aluminum foil pans at the store now on sale for a dollar are perfectly good, but when you fix up your turkey, put that onto a firm cookie sheet to avoid its buckling under the weight of the cooked bird.  Take all but the bottom rack out of the oven before turning it on, so you’ll have room for everything.

Cooking is going to take awhile, check the weight of your bird and see the chart below.  Stuff the bird before putting in the pan, see recipe below for standard celery stuffing.

You should rinse the bird inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.

If you are stuffing the bird, stuff it loosely, allowing about ½ to ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey.

Brush the skin with melted butter or oil. Tie drumsticks together with string (for stuffed birds only).

Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body, and should not touch the bone.

Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven.

 Weight  of Bird

 Roasting Time (Unstuffed)

 Roasting Time


10 to 18 pounds

3 to 3-1/2 hours

  3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds

3-1/2 to 4 hours

  4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds

4 to 4-1/2 hours

  5 to 5-1/2 hours
  24 to 29 pounds

4-1/2 to 5 hours

5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours


Cook the turkey until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but will promote even browning.

The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

  • The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F.  The dressing should be 165 F.

The dressing of course should be put into the turkey before the roasting.

  • 1 (1 pound) loaf sliced white bread
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • cut into cubes.
    1. In a Dutch oven, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until soft. Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bread cubes until evenly coated. Moisten with chicken broth; mix well.
    2. Chill, and use as a stuffing for turkey, or bake in a buttered casserole dish at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes.
    3. Enjoy your dinner.
    4. As you can see, the style of this post has been messed up because I’ve used  a cut a paste that had pre-arranged numbering in it.
    5.  This is one good reason to detest word processing, and for that reason I much prefer Wordperfect to any other program.

Saturday Art: Pergamon, Temples from History

6:00 am in Uncategorized by Ruth Calvo

From Zeus to Trajan

View from Pergamon

A visit to Pergamon can’t be appreciated without the knowledge that much of its treasure was taken away and is on display elsewhere.   The museum in Berlin has a great deal of the art that once was built and intended for the Acropolis (meaning high point of the city) in Pergamon, Turkey, at the town now known as Bergama.

Several temples were put up there, one to Athena, one to Zeus, and the topmost one to Trajan.  Intricate structure includes theatres, passageways, columns  and arches, all once decorated with works intended to invoke a place the gods would inhabit happily.

The Great Altar of Pergamon is in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin. The base of this altar remains on the upper part of the Acropolis. It was perhaps this altar, believed dedicated to Zeus, that John of Patmos referred to as “Satan’s Throne” in his Book of Revelation (Revelation 2:13).

Other notable structures still in existence on the upper part of the Acropolis include:

  • The Hellenistic Theater with a seating capacity of 10,000. This had the steepest seating of any known theater in the ancient world.

The library at Pergamom was believed to contain 200,000 volumes, which Mark Antony later gave to Cleopatra as a wedding present.


What remains on the ancient site is impressive.   It must have been magnificent at the time it was taken away from its intended home.

One huge marble urn in the Hagia Sophia, in Instanbul, was transported to that place of worship, and reminds visitors there of the more distant sites that participated in the trade that held together an ancient world.

Urn from Pergamon in Hagia Sophia.

Tradition! of Freedom

10:32 am in Art, Culture, Foreign Policy by Ruth Calvo

Old country with new outlook

At the risk of growing a mustache*, it’s time to talk about what my cabdriver in Athens — and tour directors in Turkey — talked with me about. To a great extent, they touted the freedom they had won from an older, tyrannical, regime.

I have been making notes and visiting significant arts centers for Saturday Art posts, so when I took a taxi to the Archeological Museum in Athens, I got into a conversation with the driver about sites along the way. He divulged that he also serves as a guide, sometimes to the U.S. Later, as he had suggested, I took him up on a tour of the city on the return to my ship. I was delighted that I did.

The great pride that my Greek friend took in the fact that the country had turned out its king in 1969, and tossed off domination by the Ottoman empire in 1821, was quite a backdrop to the demonstrations going on in Egypt. When he drove me through his city, my guide pointed out places like the former king’s palaces, and proudly described how they now housed elected government. Of course, while the tourist sites like the Parthenon were on his list, he really got to them begrudgingly, because his pride was in the freedoms his country had insisted on, and won. . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Saturday Art: The Blue Mosque

4:00 am in Art, Culture by Ruth Calvo

These pictures from a friend who took them a week back, in Istanbul. You are welcome to visit his pictures, at the link.

Istanbul, Turkey, has many treasures. The Blue Mosque is one of unique features, and amazing in its beauty. The artwork is mostly that of intricate tile works, or mosaics, a tribute to the religious injunction against portraying personal figures, which would constitute a sort of idolatry.

It is a monument not just to his reign built by Sultan Ahmed, but also a monument to the art of the time.

The design of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the culmination of two centuries of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church development. It incorporates some Byzantine elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The architect has ably synthesized the ideas of his master Sinan, aiming for overwhelming size, majesty and splendour.   . . . Read the rest of this entry →