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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Trouble with Turkeys

Thursday is Thanksgiving, an opportunity to give thanks, gather with family and friends, and if you’re not careful start a cooking fire.

According to one news report, firefighters respond to something like 1,000 house fires every Turkey Day. Unattended cooking is the top cause of fires in the home.

Entranced by stories of a moist, flavorful turkey in a fraction of the time, frying the Thanksgiving turkey is becoming increasing popular; unfortunately, it’s a dangerous cooking method if not practiced with caution.

You don’t have to take my word for it, but maybe you’ll heed the warning of America’s favorite Starfleet captain and turkey-fry survivor William Shatner, star of a new State Farm video, “Eat, Fry, Love,” about the dangers of Tribble ... I mean turkey frying. Watch the video below.

“Fire, metal, oil and turkey are glorious when in harmony,” an enlightened Shatner intones. “But their power are unrelenting in careless hands.”

Admittedly, I know nothing about frying a turkey. I’ve never tried it; it sounds like too much clean-up.. The top safety tips, reports NBC News, for deep turkey fryers

* Thaw the turkey before you put it in the oil. A frozen turkey can cause hot, bubbling oil to flash over. The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and allowing approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.

* Don't over-fill the pot with oil before putting the turkey in. Determine the amount of oil you’ll need before putting the turkey in the fryer.

* Turn the flame off before you put the turkey in the fryer.

* Use the fryer outside, away from the house, the garage, and wooden decks and porches.

* Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher at the ready. Don’t use water to put out a grease fire. If the fire is too big, call 9-1-1.

* Never ever leave the fryer unattended.

I hear a deep-fried bird is tasty, but I’ll stick to making filling balls (you heard me right, filling in ball form. It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch thing) and letting someone else cook the turkey in the oven.

For cooking tips or additional information on turkey fryer safety, visit the Scottsdale Fire Department’s website at

So if you’re in charge of cooking the turkey this Thanksgiving and are thinking about frying that bad boy, we ask that you be safe about it. In the sage words of Bill Shatner, “How do you plan to keep yourself, your family and me safe from turkey fryer fire?”

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