Any fan of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cooking show knows the celebrity chef isn’t big on food trends. In East Hampton, New York, at her “barn” where she films her Food Network program, the 72-year-old sticks to simple, flavorful dishes.
Since publishing her first of many successful cookbooks in 1999, Garten continues to share recipes for uncomplicated (read: never fussy) meals. Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa, does the same when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner.
She’s not a proponent of a major Thanksgiving food trend she calls “dangerous.” Instead, she sticks to a tried and true method she’s perfected over the years.
The Barefoot Contessa doesn’t encourage deep-frying a turkey
Offering up some Thanksgiving dinner do’s and don’ts to Time in 2017, Garten shared that she’s not one to deep fry a turkey. Don’t expect her and husband, Jeffrey Garten, to deep fry a turkey for the holiday.
Garteb doesn’t want other people to do it either. The Barefoot Contessa warned against deep-frying a turkey on Thanksgiving, saying it can lead to injuries.
“Nobody wants a trip to the hospital,” she said. “It’s dangerous. You’re dealing with a huge cauldron of hot fat, and you’re lowering this turkey into it.”
What does she suggest instead? “Just put it in the oven,” Garten said. That way there will be less risk of an injury.
Want to know her Thanksgiving dinner do? Cook stuffing separately to avoid overcooking the turkey.
Ina Garten warns against not letting turkey rest
Garten’s tip for having a delicious turkey on Thanksgiving? Don’t forget what is quite possibily the easiest step of all: let the turkey rest.
“I think we’re used to cooking protein for too long and forgetting to let it rest,” Garten told Food and Wine in 2020. “When it rests, it really keeps cooking. So I undercook things by about ten degrees and then let it rest.”
Garten’s game plan is usually to let the turkey rest for a minimum of 20 minutes after removing it from the oven. As the celebrity chef says on her cooking show, how easy is that? Simply let the turkey sit to get delicious results.
And since 2020 means a scaled-back Thanksgiving dinner, Garten recommends skipping a whole turkey and just cooking a turkey breast.
“The thing about the breast of a turkey that’s great is that you’re not dealing with bones,” she said. “It’s got great flavors and you can really assemble it a day in advance. The flavoring should really get into the turkey, and then just roast it before you want to serve it. And so all you have to do is slice it.”
Her other tip: bigger isn’t always better. She recommends choosing a bird that weighs five pounds at most.
The celebrity chef likes some food trends
While fans will never Garten deep fry a turkey on Barefoot Contessa that doesn’t mean she dislikes all food trends. There are a few she likes. Avocado toast is one of her “favorites,” she told Today in 2018.
She’s also a fan of cauliflower rice.
“I love cauliflower in every form — soup, on toast — and cauliflower rice is fantastic,” Garten said.
Garten also likes zucchini noodles but not on their own.
“I like them mixed with pasta,” she said. “So I like zucchini and pasta together, but not just zucchini.”
Other food trends besides deep-frying a turkey Garten doesn’t like? Pumpkin spice lattes and unicorn foods.
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