Pro Tips with Wayne Diamante: Surviving Thanksgiving

Turkey Jerks
Take caution when approaching turkeys! They can be rude, condescending and are known to tell horribly offensive jokes. — photo by Teddy Llovet

Welcome to your Thanksgiving edition of Pro Tips! It’s time to unbuckle the belt another notch and belly-up to a steaming pile of cran-something, crispy gizzards and don’t forget auntie so-and-so’s world-famous marshmallow infused jello-blunder. But never fear, dear friends, because this year I’ve got your back. Just download my new app called “You’ll have to excuse me, but I’ve got to take this” and you’ll be home free. Basically, if you get stuck in a sub-optimal conversation, just open your phone and press the panic button, and in less than 15 seconds, you’ll receive a pressing call from one of our associates. They hang up, and you’re home free. It’s the perfect crime. Good luck out there, and if you’ve got a burning question, hit me up at and I’ll let you know what your problem is.—WD

Dear Wayne,

Each Thanksgiving, without fail, my mom cooks the driest turkey known to human history. It is the Sahara Desert of poultry. The mordant ashes of disappointment would be sweeter on the tongue, and I am not lying when I tell you I once ate a tablespoon of potash that was at once more succulent and of better tooth than the godforsaken bird that will doubtless emerge from my mother’s tired and baleful oven. I beg you, Wayne, dear God, I beg a recipe for either hemlock or an antidote for this looming and desiccated fowl, because one of us has got to go.

Desperately, Oscar

Dear Oscar,

Eating an overdone turkey is only slightly preferable to eating drywall and I’m not even giving drywall the argument it deserves. Frankly, the turkey may actually lose if I committed the pros and cons to pen and paper. Lucky for you, I have a few secrets, intimated to me directly from the secret Prime Minister of America’s Test Kitchen. You didn’t know A.T.K. is governed by a cabal of elitist, New World Order types? It’s true. What you need is a lot of butter, some pre-planning and, counter intuitively, an extremely hot oven. Over a period of 2 or 3 days let your bird come up to room temp and then slather it up with as much butter as you can carry out of the grocery store. Your oven probably goes up to 450 or so, just set it to the highest temp available. If you have the option, use the “self clean” setting. Donning asbestos gloves and welding goggles, jam your turkey into the oven for exactly 45 minutes, then shut off the heat and leave the oven closed for another two hours. When you crack open the stove you’ll have a perfectly bronzed and crispy looking turkey, with an internal temperature of 98.6° F. “Danger food” is the new bourgeois aphrodisiac sweeping Thanksgivings all across Europe and China and raw turkey is the crème de la crème. You’ll probably want your guests to sign a waiver prior to serving the main course, but trust me, it’ll be worth it.—WD 

Dear Wayne,

Every year at Thanksgiving (and beyond) I eat WAY too much. I’m not a real calorie-counter, but I’m also not as young as I once was, my metabolism is starting to slow down and I’m developing a bit of a “muffin-top,” lol! Do you have any tips on staying trim during the holidays?

— Jerry

Dear Jerry,

The trick to staying fit this time of year is healthy portioning and exercise. I load up my plate with all the trimmings and then put one spoonful of each item back in its respective serving dish. Then during the meal I do an isotonic strength-training regimen like flexing my abs or Kegel exercises. Carrying on a conversation can be a challenge, but everyone is stuffing their faces anyway, so it’s not really a problem.—WD

This article originally appeared in Little Village issue 188.

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