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posted: 11/16/2011 6:00 AM

Local turkey expert puts advice in the palm of your hand

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  • To check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer in the thigh just under the drumstick.

    To check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer in the thigh just under the drumstick.
    Courtesy of Renee Ferguson


Whether you need to know the best ways to defrost a turkey or want to chuckle over holiday mishaps that aren't your own, you now can do so on your iPad.

"Talk Turkey to Me," the acclaimed book from Geneva resident and former Butterball Turkey Talkline operator Renee Ferguson, is now an e-book, available for iPad, Kindle and Nook as well as PC, Mac and other digital book readers for $9.99.

"My new digital e-book is designed to meet (cooks) where they live and cook," explained Ferguson. Order it at

The book includes cooking time guides and more than 80 recipes, from appetizers to desserts, relevant for the holidays and year-round.

If an eBook isn't your style, you can still learn plenty from Ferguson by watching her epic turkey and stuffing "Throwdown with Bobby Flay." The Food Network show that taped in 2007 will be a featured on-demand program on cable and satellite networks throughout the U.S. until Nov. 27. Find it under Food Network/Thanksgiving/Bobby Turkey.

Ah, that's the spot: When Roselle reader Carol Kurczak asked where, exactly, the thermometer should go when checking the doneness of a turkey thigh, I knew exactly who to ask.

Renee Ferguson forwarded this description along with the photo from "Talk Turkey to Me."

"The location is in the thigh just under the drumstick," Ferguson says. "The thigh temps are important to take because they need to get to a higher temperature than the breast."

To answer your next question, the temperature in the thigh should reach 165 degrees. You might consider carving the thighs from the bird and put the dark meat back in the oven to reach that temperature. You won't end up with a presentation-worthy turkey, but you also won't end up with dry breast meat.

Movie night: Tickets are on sale for a series of events this weekend, Nov. 18 to 20, that are part of the 2nd Annual Chicago Food Film Festival.

Twenty-plus food-focused films will be screened each day at Kendall College, 900 N. North Branch St., Chicago. Besides watching the films you'll get to sample some of the foods depicted on screen.

Friday evening's "Farm to Film to Table" event costs $45 and includes fare prepared by chef Art Jackson of Pleasant House Bakery and Pleasant Farm; add another $20 to attend the after-party with chef Rob Leavitt of The Butcher and Larder.

Saturday night enjoy a low country oyster roast for $65. Sunday's screening and awards luncheon is a bargain at $20.

For tickets and a list of films to be screened, head to

• Contact Deborah Pankey at or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at or follow her on Twitter @PankeysPlate.

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