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A weekly article by Debbie Holmes

The case of the last piece of pie!

Guess what was missing at the first Thanksgiving dinner? A fork! Pilgrims ate with spoons, knives and their hands. I bet you never thought of that. You thought I was going to say mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and those extra 1800 calories; all of which were also not at the early Thanksgiving meals.

Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of ‘Mary had a little Lamb’ lobbied for making Thanksgiving a national holiday? It took 17 years and 5 presidents before it became an established holiday. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday of November for the holiday. However, in order to stimulate the economy and extend the holiday shopping season Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date up to the third Thursday in 1939. It only stayed there for two years, before Roosevelt moved it back to the fourth Thursday.

Did you know that over the last 30 years, Butterball Turkey has had a talk-line with 50 professionally trained, college-educated home economists and nutritionists that will answer questions from more than 100,000 curious cooks between November and December about how to cook a turkey? My mama always told me, ‘if you can read, you can cook!’ Just in case you were wondering; 1-800-BUTTERBALL or email

The first Turkey Trot was held in Buffalo, New York in 1896 and started with only 11 runners. Today, the largest Thanksgiving road race takes place in Dallas, where nearly 40,000 runners will run either 8 miles or a 5K.

Weight gain has been proven to only be about one pound, even though you might feel 5-10-lbs heavier, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. A study in the Nutrition Journal reports that college students gained a little more than a pound within that time. However, if the students were already overweight, they gained about twice that much.

Pecan pie holds the blue ribbon for the biggest calorie bomb. However, lets give it some credit. Pecan pie is made with lots of pecans, which are a source of ‘good fat’ including omega-3s, zinc and antioxidants. In fact, more antioxidants than any other tree nut, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Second place calorie bomb is the sweet potato casserole (460 calories) and third goes to those glasses of wine (382 per glass).

One in six Americans get sick each year from food-borne germs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three things to remember this holiday season; 165 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature when turkey is safe to eat as measured with a meat thermometer. Two hours is the maximum amount of time that food should be left at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate dishes to prevent bacteria growth. Lastly, 20 seconds is how long you should wash your hands to effectively clean them after handling raw meat.

I had to laugh at this one. ‘The case of the missing last slice of pie.’ Ever thought of what happened to the last piece of pie in the refrigerator? According to the American Pie Council, six million men ages 35-54 admitted to polishing off the final slice of pie and then denying it. One in five Americans has eaten an entire pie by themselves, which adds up to about 2000 calories 8-inch pumpkin pie, 2500 calories apple pie and 4000 calories for a pecan pie. Thirty-five percent of Americans have had pie for breakfast, 66 percent have had it for lunch and 59 percent have eaten pie as a midnight snack.

Good news for the cooks! We all know that being the head cook of any holiday meal can be a workout all in itself. If you do the entire meal from turkey to gravy, sides and dessert, with about 4 ½ hours in the kitchen chopping, stuffing and rubbing, you’ll burn around 700 calories.

Those calories will look like this: Cooking the turkey ,122 calories. Cooking the mashed potatoes, 54 calories. Cooking the green bean casserole, 54 calories. Cooking sausage stuffing, 203 calories. Cooking cranberry sauce, 54 calories. Cooking corn pudding, 81 calories. Cooking a pumpkin Pie with whipping cream, 135. That’s a 700-calorie saving off your 2000-plus calorie meal!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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January 1, 2016 to March 11, 2016

March 18, 2016 to May 20, 2016

May 27, 2016 to Aug. 5, 2016

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Oct. 28, 2016 to Dec. 30, 2016