- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2006

Food TV talks turkey

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, talk naturally turns to (what else?) turkey — and the Food Network has plenty to say.

Tomorrow, the cable channel blankets its schedule with the annual Let’s Talk Turkey Marathon, a round-the-clock compendium with tips on preparing everything … from soup to nuts.

Among the highlights:

• The effervescent Rachael Ray (who seems to be everywhere these days with two shows on the Food Network, a daily talker on Fox and an eponymous magazine) does it up in grand style with “Every Day is a Holiday” on “30 Minute Meals” (airing at 8:30 a.m.) Using her no-nonsense, time-saving approach, she prepares turkey cutlets with corn, sage & prosciutto stuffing, sauteed peppers with Parmesan, butternut squash with thyme and black pepper and green beans with stewed tomatoes.

• “Good Deal with Dave Lieberman” takes the practical approach with “Thanksgiving for $45” (9 a.m.), a timely addition considering that officials from the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation last week placed the average cost of this year’s holiday meal for 10 at $38.65 (up 8 percent compared to last year’s price for turkey and all the trimmings). On the menu: tangy almond garlic string beans, bay and lemon brined turkey, sourdough bread stuffing, fennel orange cranberry sauce and sweet potato pie.

• Planning a smaller celebration? Giada De Laurentiis’ “Everyday Italian” serves “Thanksgiving for Two” (7:30 a.m.), an intimate yet delectable feast (turkey and cranberry ravioli, cornbread and panzella salad and apple and walnut torta) without all the fuss.

• On “Easy Entertaining,” host Michael Chiarello offers clever variations on leftovers. His “Turkey Goodbye Party” (1:30 p.m.) features such fare as leftover pumpkin pie brulee, next day turkey soup and thank goodness it’s over bruschetta — a savory toss of leftover bread, cranberry sauce, garlic and crumbled blue cheese.

Elsewhere, the Silver Spring-based TV One has “B. Smith Thanksgiving Style” (tomorrow at 6 a.m. and noon), featuring the lifestyle and culinary maven celebrating the holiday with her family in Sag Harbor, N.Y. Miss Smith also shares her favorite Thanksgiving recipes and offers tips on setting the perfect table. On Monday the Fine Living Network’s “Simply Wine with Andrea Immer” has “Wines for All Times” on tap at 4 p.m. Miss Immer discusses how to choose the perfect bottle for the holidays … and every day.

Weekend fare

Hopefully, your entire weekend won’t be spent planning the approaching turkey day feast. There’s plenty on the tube to occupy your down time, some worthwhile and some best avoided.

What to see:

Comic Relief: It’s been eight years since we’ve seen the riotous laugh fest, but it returns with a vengeance tomorrow at 9 p.m. with HBO’s live telecast of the event, which will also be simulcast on TBS for those without premium cable. The regulars — Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams — are back, and this time the trio is stumping to raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The three-hour concert is taking place at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas as part of the comedy festival. Stars scheduled to perform include fellow comics Roseanne Barr, Lewis Black, Louis C.K., George Lopez and Ray Romano.

Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower: Capitalizing on the artistic freedom that cable affords, the History Channel offers a candid look at our country’s forefathers in this documentary special airing Sunday at 8 p.m. There was drama, inspiration and tragedy aplenty when the pilgrims of Plymouth Colony fled religious persecution in Europe in the hopes of creating a more godly society in the New World. But the freedom-seeking pilgrims were anything but prudish — and, along with their passion for spiritual expression, also enjoyed more secular pursuits.

What to skip:

• The Barbara Walters Special: 30 Mistakes in 30 Years, Part 2:After Star Jones Reynolds’ badly managed exit from “The View” this summer, is this really a subject Babs needs to tackle so soon? Apparently, she thinks so. The fun began last night with “30 Mistakes in 30 Years, Part 1.” The self-flagellation continues at 10 tonight as Miss Walters airs footage from an interview with Demi Moore (with the “Striptease” star teaching the veteran journalist how to bump and grind) and discusses losing one’s virginity with several male stars — including Patrick Dempsey (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Don Johnson, Ricky Martin and Liam Neeson.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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