Tag: thanksgiving

6 Servings of Thanksgiving Science: Ideal Turkey Diet, Black Friday Sales Tricks, Turkey-Phobia…

By Valerie Ross | November 23, 2011 8:17 am

It’s almost Thanksgiving here the US. Before you tuck into your stuffing, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce, save a little room for a big helping of science. Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving science stories from around the Internet, detailing the research behind fattening turkeys, giving thanks, post-holiday shopping, and more: Read More

The One Where Ben Franklin Electrocutes a Turkey

By Brett Israel | November 26, 2009 9:23 am

And now, a cautionary yarn to keep in mind this Thanksgiving. Even great amateur scientist/polymaths like Ben Franklin can have turkey-related mishaps, according to the Annals of Improbable Research:

In December 1750, Franklin learned one lesson the hard way, when he shocked himself while trying to electrocute a holiday turkey. Franklin believed electrocuting the turkey made it uncommonly tender. When he began his electrical experiments in about 1745, Franklin had already retired from his printing business, which was good, because he soon became so absorbed in the experiments he had little time for anything else. “I never was before engaged in any study that so totally engrossed my attention and my time, as this has lately done,” Franklin wrote to his English friend Peter Collinson in a letter thanking him for the gift of a Leyden jar with directions for charging it.

This turkey tale appeared a few years ago in the American Physical Society, as part of their This Month In Physics series. To avoid shocking yourself, read, memorize, and dutifully follow DISCOVER’s list of (safe and) hi-tech ways to cook and store this year’s bird.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Cooking the Perfect Turkey–With Science!
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Discoblog: How to Build a Whizbang Chicken Plucker From a Washing Machine
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DISCOVER: Think Tech: 4 Hi-Tech Ways to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner—and Store the Leftovers

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!
MORE ABOUT: thanksgiving

Cooking the Perfect Turkey–With Science!

By Brett Israel | November 24, 2009 12:00 pm

turkeyTake Andy Rooney’s advice and prepare your Thanksgiving feast from scratch this year. After you’ve bravely hunted down a flightless bird and plucked its feathers, turn to science for the proper way to prepare a turkey. However, cooking it the scientific way won’t be easy, according to a classic article from Physorg.com:

…you can see you will need to make a series of compromises to cook a “perfect” turkey. The outside needs to be heated to between 140 and 200°C to make sure the Maillard reactions provide plenty of the “Turkey” flavour for the gravy. The tender breast meat wants to be heated to no more than 55 to 58°C to keep the muscle proteins from contracting and becoming tough. The tougher, collagen rich, legs and wings need to be heated to a higher temperature (say around 65 to 70°C) to denature some of the collagen.

Did you get all that? Good. The problem is that the different parts of the turkey require different treatments, yet it absolutely must be cooked whole so the elder males can battle over who gets to carve the bird in front of the family. This rules out the obvious solution of cooking the parts separately. Luckily, Physorg.com suggests an elegant solution: covering the turkey breast with aluminum foil for most of the cooking process.

But if this kitchen chemistry doesn’t have a big enough wow factor, and you don’t trust yourself with a deep fryer full of hot oil, DISCOVER’s list of hi-tech ways to cook your bird will give you plenty of reasons to be thankful on turkey day.

Related Content:
Thanksgiving Dinner in Space!
How to Build a Whizbang Chicken Plucker From a Washing Machine
Thanksgiving for Fish: Food Chemicals Go Through People & Back Into Water Supply
DISCOVER: Think Tech: 4 Hi-Tech Ways to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner—and Store the Leftovers

Image: flickr / stevevoght

MORE ABOUT: thanksgiving

How to Build a Whizbang Chicken Plucker From a Washing Machine

By Brett Israel | November 17, 2009 1:26 pm

chicken-plucker-webWith Turkey Day right around the corner, you don’t want to be caught with an unplucked bird. And who has the money to buy a plucker?

The solution? Build a chicken plucker out of your washing machine!

From the Annals of Improbable Research:

A Whizbang plucker will pick the feathers off chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese in a matter of seconds. Every component needed to make the machine is thoroughly discussed and the construction process is carefully detailed, step by step. There are 62 clear drawings…. Commercial tub pluckers cost $2,000+ but this book tells the reader how to build a comparable unit for $500 or less.

A bizarre trend of DIY chicken plucker videos has emerged on YouTube. Must be the tough economy. WARNING: If you’ve never seen a chicken plucked, it may seem a little disturbing. The chicken is already dead, but still…

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Image: Whizbang Books

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