Bay Hill Florist OrlandoThis month we’re running a Rafflecopter giveaway on our website offering a free Thanksgiving centerpiece to the winner. The winner can be from anywhere in the U.S., and the flowers can be delivered anywhere in the U.S. that Telelfora offers delivery services. There are several ways to enter, one of which is to leave a comment on the blog telling us your favorite type of Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Here are some of the responses we’ve had so far:

“My favorite centerpieces are candles. I love it in Autumn when candles are offset by fall leaves, acorns, pine cones, or even cinnamon sticks.”

“My favorite Thanksgiving centerpiece is my Grandmothers soup tureen filled with apples and acorn squash.”

“I like something small. I prefer flowers. Here is a link to a design I like.

Most of us have centerpiece traditions that are meaningful to us in one way or another. Granny’s dried flower bouquet, the cornucopia that we lovingly unpack each year, a fresh arrangement brought as a gift from a guest, or a crafty D.I.Y. that changes from year to year. But don’t forget the REAL Thanksgiving centerpiece: the turkey.

Garnished with sage, legs tied with twine, skin crispy and tawny, the Turkey is the star of the show. I remember my first year being responsible to cook the turkey for a family Thanksgiving meal. I was twenty and newly married. A newly christened cooking enthusiast, I pored through the pages of Martha Stewart Living every month. Her classic turkey recipe called to me, and I asked my mother-in-law if I could have the honor of making it. She graciously accepted.

Now, experienced cooks know that there’s a range of time a turkey can take to cook. It won’t be an exact number of hours. There are variables, such as the actual temperature your oven heats to (which might be cooler than you think). But I was clueless, and sadly I underestimated how long it would take until the turkey was done.

Here I was, feeling good about myself for brining for days prior, waking up very early on Thanksgiving Day to get the turkey started, taking on the homemade stuffing recipe, and dutifully basting my turkey with melted butter and white wine. But 2 pm came and went, and the turkey still wasn’t ready. The family was gathering across town at my in-laws’ house, and I was still home tending to my poultry. The phone rang, and my mother-in-law urged me to “make the turkey cook faster. Everything else is ready.” Then she called again, and again. Five phone calls in the space of an hour.

It was 3:30 pm when the centerpiece made its debut on the table. It was my pride and joy. Yes, I took a photo (this amused the more seasoned cooks at the table). The stuffing was even better than the moist, perfect bird. The chunks of hearty bread, sage, dried cranberries and homemade chicken broth were so satisfying. I did notice that I was the only one who ate it while everyone else opted for the boxed, mealy Pepperidge Farm stuffing. I didn’t feel bad, though. I liked it and I would gladly have it all. My real punishment came in the form of being called by my new husband’s ex-girlfriend’s name throughout the meal.

Do you have any Thanksgiving turkey stories or disasters that make you smile? Share them in the comments section below!