1. When deciding what size turkey to buy, figure 1 pound per person up to a 15-pound bird, or 3/4 pound per person for a larger one. [Ed. note: Find Lynne’s guide to decoding turkey labels here.]

2. Defrost a frozen turkey in the refrigerator or in a sink filled with ice water. Never defrost a turkey on the kitchen counter. Harmful bacteria can form quickly. Figure about 30 minutes per pound, and change the water every 30 minutes.

3. Use a shallow, sturdy, very big roasting pan for the turkey. Avoid those flimsy foil pans -- they can buckle under the weight of a large bird and are dangerous. [Ed note: Learn how to select a good roasting pan here.]

4. Ditch the bulb baster and use a large spoon (an everyday serving or mixing spoon is fine) for basting the turkey. [Ed. note: More basting tips here.]

5. Have several clean potholders and a wooden spoon handy to use when turning the bird. You also might want an extra family member or friend to help.

6. When making stock to use in gravy, use lots of aromatic vegetables, garlic, white wine, and herbs for a rich, delicious taste. For bigger flavor, consider reducing some wine in the pan juices before adding stock and thickening. [Ed. note: Find more tips in Lynne’s Fool-proof Gravy Guide.]

7. To avoid lumps when thickening the gravy, never add flour to liquid. Instead, gradually beat cold liquid into the flour until you have a smooth slurry, then gradually whisk the slurry into the gravy until it reaches desired thickness.

8. Try using butternut squash instead of pumpkin in a pie. Add 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract to the filling mix for big, mellow flavor.

9. Give a deep, big, sweet-tart flavor to apple pies by adding 1/3 cup apple cider syrup to the apples for a 10-inch pie. Make the cider syrup by boiling down 2 quarts good-tasting, organic apple cider to about 1-1/2 to 2 cups. It should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Refrigerate any leftover syrup up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months. Use the syrup over ice cream and fruit; to baste chicken, salmon or pork; and as an addition to salad dressings, especially mustard-based ones.

10. And don’t tie your bulldog to the oven.

[Ed. note: Want more Thanksgiving tips? Check out 10 to-dos before Thanksgiving, our Thanksgiving FAQ and other Turkey-day stories here. And of course, we have recipes.]

Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.