This is an excerpt from notes for a Thanksgiving column, circa 1935, found in the Paddleford Papers.
Company for dinner today and you should have fun. But you likely won’t. And it’s all your own fault. You can’t relax—you worry over the turkey and spoil the day for everyone. Nervous tension, it’s contagious. You work too hard and fret too much. Remember Job of the Old Testament—”What I feared came upon me.” Just tell yourself enough times that dinner is going to be a ruin and there’s disaster, sure as shooting.
EASY ASSURANCE Be different this year. Sail into roasting the bird with an easy assurance. Here’s a little secret straight from the heart of the Home Institute—you can’t ruin a turkey—not even if you try. Leave that to father and the carving knife. And if he puts on a table wrestling match, laugh. Don’t start in with your cutting remarks. What does it matter—laugh and enjoy it round by round.
TURKEY JITTERS Women get the jitters oven timing the bird. [L]ost that chart of temperatures per pound we mailed you…? Good! You don’t need it and don’t keep sticking your head into the hot oven…. Just remember that a really big [unstuffed] turkey—say an 18 pounder—takes from three to 3 1⁄2 hours. [S]maller birds will take just a little under three hours. If you have any sense of tenderness toward the end of this period, your eyes will tell you it’s time for the fork test. When a two prong kitchen fork sinks easily through the thigh to the bone, through the breast to the chest bone, the bird is done. The juices you will notice seem colorless not pink. You can hardly miss….