If part of your Thanksgiving vision includes pulling a DIY turkey from the oven, take heart: It's not as difficult as you think. In fact, you can fake all the hours spent basting a bird by simply slipping the fowl into a clear plastic roasting bag. Now, here's where the real genius comes into play: For a perfectly home-cooked turkey that looks (and tastes) like it required hours of attention, pour a stick of melted butter seasoned with a tablespoon of minced garlic (you can buy this in a jar) over the bird. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stick half a lemon and fresh rosemary in the turkey's cavity. Seal the bag, and voila! In a few hours' time, you'll have a beautifully basted bird.
By the time you'd lug a pre-cooked one home from the deli (just think of those turkey juices rolling around on your car's floorboards), it seems like less work to bake one yourself. Plus, you can pull out that big platter you never use, put the turkey on it, and garnish it with a bit of flat-leaf parsley for a centerpiece your guests are sure to love (to eat!). On the next page, we've got a shortcut for gravy so good you'll want to drink it through a straw.