Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Thanksgiving

The genesis of the pop-up turkey timer

PopUpTurkeyTimerSome good ideas actually do make it out of committee. Consider the genesis of the now-half-century-old pop-up turkey timer.

My interest was piqued in how this simple gadget came to be when I ran across a cute little pop-up timer that was shaped like a turkey. Its drumsticks pop up when the bird is ready. Soon after, I pulled up a 2005 San Francisco Chronicle obituary of the man credited as the original timer's inventor, Eugene Beals.

At the time of the timer's invention, home cooks were grossly overcooking their turkeys in fear of poisoning their families. The California Turkey Producers Advisory Board, of which Beals was a member, heard the complaints loud and clear and anticipated it might be just a matter of time before Americans would move on and make some other food a Thanksgiving icon.

The article says that Beals asked the board, “Why donʼt we find some sort of gadget, something to stick in [the turkey] and tell when the turkey is done?” The solution “came from above” some days later when member Goldy Kleaver looked up at the ceiling sprinklers and made an entrepreneur's connection. Heat causes something inside the sprinklers to melt, which triggers the sprinklers to pop out.

Beals ran with the idea, and a year later -- after they figured out the right temperature at which an alloy inside would melt -- they had the first pop-up turkey timer. The company they formed to manufacture the timers was later sold and developed further by two other companies, most recently Volk Enterprises.

It appears safe to say, regardless of whether you abhor the gaping hole these timers may leave in the thigh of a turkey or the fact that a meat thermometer set to 185 degrees will do the same thing, this little invention likely did its part to save the Thanksgiving turkey as a culinary icon.

Perhaps the earlier entrepreneurs would appreciate these fun turkey timers made by Kikkerland.com, which retail for $17.

Also: A little-known fact is that it's possible to reuse any pop-up timer by dipping the tip in hot water, then pushing the pop-up piece back into the metal. Once it cools, the piece will be back in its original position ready for reuse.


A very vegan Thanksgiving from Spork Foods.

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-- Susan Silverberg

Photo credit: Kikkerland.com

Hollywood nightclub hosts a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway


Los Angeles nightclubs are known for their long lines, dance music and killer style, but what about some good, old-fashioned Thanksgiving turkeys?

For the third year in a row, the Muse Lifestyle Group, a hospitality company that represents restaurants and night life venues such as the popular Playhouse nightclub in L.A., is getting in the holiday spirit by holding a turkey giveaway Tuesday. Muse will provide turkeys to residents of the Hollywood Community Housing Corp., a nonprofit that houses low-income residents who are disabled by HIV. The residents and their families will receive reusable tote bags filled with turkeys, stuffing mix and cranberry sauce. Last year, Muse gave out 700 turkeys to families of the HCHC.

Muse and Playhouse staff will distribute the turkeys at the Hollywood Metro station at 1678 N. Western Ave. from 4 to 7 p.m. Families can take part in a festival with arts and crafts, face painting, a photo booth, silent movies and music. There will be plenty of fair snacks such as cotton candy, pretzels and popcorn as well as catered fare provided by Muse restaurants Chi Dynasty and Joe's Pizza.


Last-minute Thanksgiving questions? We can help!

Spork Foods wishes you a very vegan Thanksgiving

The ultimate Thanksgiving guide

-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Flier for the Playhouse turkey giveaway. Credit: Muse Lifestyle Group.

Thanksgiving 2011: Restaurant roundup

Turkey 600

Thanksgiving draws near and if you're suddenly panicking about preparing the meal of the year, you have options. There's no shortage of restaurants that will be cooking up delectable feasts -- both traditional and wildly creative -- to help you and your family get through the holiday in style. Below is a list of choices.

Bouchon Bakery: Bouchon's recently added bakery, in the first-floor lobby of the Beverly Hills bistro, is lending a helping hand to those making meals at home this year with desserts and breads available for purchase. Apple, pumpkin and pecan pies as well as pumpkin cream cheese macaroons, turkey-shaped shortbread and cornbread will be available for pickup Nov. 14-24. 235 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 271-9910 ext. 621, bouchonbakery.com.

Cafe del Rey: Celebrate your Thanksgiving by the sea with Cafe Del Rey’s three-course menu, served from 1 to 8 p.m. Select from an assortment of dishes including butternut squash and burrata agnolotti; free-range turkey breast with duck sausage, haricot vert almondine, cranberry sauce and pan gravy; or go the nontraditional route of pan-seared Maine scallops with cauliflower puree, corn succotash and warm pancetta vinaigrette. The Thanksgiving menu is available for $55 per person, with a kids menu for $18. 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, (310) 823-6395, www.cafedelreymarina.com.

Cecconi’s: Cecconi’s is serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for $45 per person (children 10 and under $25) beginning at 2 p.m. Diners will feast on turkey, gravy, seasonal vegetables and mashed potatoes garnished with truffles. There will also be an additional fall-inspired menu offering butternut squash tortelli with amaretti crumble; butternut squash and Gorgonzola pizza with shaved black truffles; and ricotta and pumpkin cake. 8764 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (310)-432-2000, www.cecconiswesthollywood.com.

Cleo at The Redbury:  For $65 per person ($32 for kids ages 5 to 12, free for kids under 5), Cleo restaurant is serving "Cleopatra’s Feast" for Thanksgiving.  Chef Danny Elmaleh has prepared a family style menu featuring roasted Brussels sprout hearts; pumpkin salad; za’atar; preserved lemon- roasted turkey with apple cider gravy; and a dessert platter.  Seatings will be at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Reservations can be made at www.sbe.com/cleo or by calling 323-962-1711. 1717 Vine St. (at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, next to Bardot), Hollywood.

Plenty more options after the jump!

Continue reading »

For the holiday table: Sapling butter knife

14663868_001_aIt’s good to start thinking about the Thanksgiving table now, well before the rush to turkey day is on.

Here’s something to add a lovely rustic touch to the feast, a sapling butter knife with a twig-shaped handle of repurposed brass. Just 5.5” long, it’s just $12 from the online retailer Terrain based in Glen Falls, Pa.

There’s also a matching fork that could be used to spear pickles, and a spoon for dispensing cranberry sauce or whatever.

Sapling knife, fork and spoon, $12 each from Terrain at www.shopterrain.com; (877) 483-7724.  


Put that wine on ice

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Consumable art

-- S. Irene Virbila


Photo credit: Courtesy of Terrain

Food assistance for our four-legged friends

As food pantries increase their distribution of turkeys and other holiday fixings this season, a Camarillo animal shelter is handing out bags of kibble for dogs and cats, an equally needy but often overlooked demographic.

On Sundays, Pet Pantry rolls up its doors and distributes free bulk servings of dry food to recipients who can no longer afford to feed their animals. They are older people on fixed incomes, families who are down on their luck and those who have lost jobs. Click here to read more in this story by Catherine Saillant:

Photo: Animal control officer Aaron Ortega fills a bulk container with dog food, which is donated by Petco, grocery stores and warehouse centers. Credit: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times


Show us your turkeys and tell us what you're doing with those leftovers

How was your Thanksgiving?

We KNOW you took photos, so show off your turkey (and sides, and pies, etc.). Upload your photos here.

And what are you doing with those leftovers? We want to know. In the meantime, here are 11 leftover recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Turkey pot pie. Click here for the recipe. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

25 last-minute Thanksgiving appetizers

Appetizers? Before Thanksgiving dinner?

Yes. Yes. And yes (in answer to your next question: "But will I have time to make them?").

The main event might be the big golden bird, but a thoughtful appetizer or two goes a long way toward making dinner special -- to say nothing of keeping your hungry guests occupied while you're putting the finishing touches on the real food. Here are 25 easy-to-make appetizers:

Photo credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

On a day of plenty, there are still many in need

Dinner_rolls300 Many families will be sitting down to a chicken dinner this Thanksgiving because food pantries decided they could help more people by forgoing the traditional turkeys.

As the nation attempts to recover from recession, many remain out of work or are struggling to get by on part-time jobs. In Los Angeles County alone, more than 1.56 million residents lived below the poverty level last year, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

"You think there's signs of a turnaround, but there's no sign of a turnaround here," said the Rev. Andy Bales, who heads the Union Rescue Mission on downtown Los Angeles' skid row. "There's a lot of people barely making it." 

Read more to find out how you can help: "Southern California charities seek help for the holidays."

Photo: Dinner rolls. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Chat with L.A. Times Test Kitchen Manager Noelle Carter at 2 p.m. Wednesday

Join us here at 2 p.m. Wednesday to chat online with L.A. Times Test Kitchen Manager Noelle Carter. She'll be answering all your Thanksgiving food-preparation questions and more. (Bonus points if you manage to stump her.)

Never done the online chat thing? It's so easy. You just type in a question. Just return here to the Daily Dish at 2 p.m. and you can see how it all plays out. If, for some reason, you can't make the chat, type a question in the comments section below and we'll try to answer it as well.


-- This holiday, take it outside: Food editor Russ Parsons on grilling the Thanksgiving turkey

-- More holiday recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen at LATimes.com/Thanksgiving

-- Skip the kitchen: Here's your guide to eating out and taking out this holiday

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch


Video: Dungeness crab salad with apples and curried mayo


You don't mess with tradition on Thanksgiving. But Times food editor Russ Parsons says you can get creative with the appetizers to tide your guests over until dinner. Check out this video: He shows you how to make a couldn't-be-easier salad: Dungeness crab with apples and curried mayonnaise.


--This Pinot would be perfect to pour at the Thanksgiving table

--Let someone else do the cooking this holiday: Here's your guide to dining out or taking out this Thanksgiving

--97 of our best Thanksgiving recipes


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