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Thanksgiving Day the Wolfram Way

Thanksgiving Day the Wolfram Way
Thanksgiving is a special day to celebrate family, friends and food. Preparation is key to a safe and delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Wolfram Language can help lower the stress and up the ease of your Thanksgiving Day preparations.

Easy Calculation of Thawing and Cooking Times

Uninvited guests like foodborne bacteria can ruin an otherwise perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Here are two tools that can help ensure your turkey is thawed and cooked properly. You can access these via natural language input or by using FormulaData.

Remember, never thaw a turkey by leaving it out on the counter. A safe way to thaw a frozen turkey is by putting it in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays cold):

FormulaData
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UnitConvert
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FormulaData
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Unstuffed turkey:

UnitConvert
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Stuffed turkey:

UnitConvert
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After cooking your turkey, use a food thermometer to make sure it has reached a minimum internal temperature of 165° F/74° C. To check, insert a food thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, thigh and wing. If you cooked stuffing inside the turkey, check the temperature at the center of the stuffing to ensure it also has reached the safe minimum temperature.

For more information about how to prepare your turkey safely, you can visit the National Turkey Federation or www.foodsafety.gov.

To Brine or Not to Brine

Brine is a solution of water and salt. The salt in brine dissolves some of the protein in the turkey’s muscle fibers, which can reduce moisture loss during cooking. If you plan to brine your turkey, Wolfram Language can calculate the mixture for you.

Based on www.simplyrecipes.com, the basic turkey brine recipe is four quarts of water to 250g of salt. Let’s define a function to calculate how much salt is needed to create any volume of brine:

saltPerQuart = Quantity
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Test that it gives what we expect:

calculateBrine
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Then use it for any volume:

calculateBrine
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Remember, do not brine any longer than two days, and always keep the turkey and brine refrigerated at 40° F or lower. Discard the brine mixture afterward. Do not reuse it.

Visit the USDA to learn more about how to brine turkey.

Mashed Potatoes for Everyone

Did you receive short notice about cousins or in-laws coming for Thanksgiving dinner? Scale up your recipe and ensure there are enough mashed potatoes for all of your guests.

The recipe I’m using is Martha Stewart’s classic mashed potatoes.

Copy and paste the ingredient text straight from the webpage:

rawRecipeText
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To get Interpreter to understand what entities we’re talking about, we can clean up the text and separate out the ingredients with a little string processing. We can ignore any ingredient lines with no amounts in them, since these are probably ingredients that are added in small amounts or to taste, and they won’t affect the overall nutrition of the meal:

cleanIngredientString
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Now that we have clean strings, we can use Interpreter to give us a semantic representation of them in Wolfram Language:

ingredientEntities = AssociationMap
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Use the "AbsoluteTotalCaloriesContent" property to get caloric information about the recipe as a whole:

totalCalories = Map
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The recipe states that this serves 10 people, so we can calculate the calories per serving:

portions = 10;totalCalories/10
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By making this recipe computable using Wolfram Language’s food data, we can also calculate the quantity of each ingredient needed to make this recipe for any number of people.

Here’s what we would need for one portion:

onePortion = Map
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And here are the amounts of each ingredient needed for a party of 25:

Map
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Turkey Sandwich, Anyone?

You can safely store those Thanksgiving Day leftovers using information in Wolfram Language. A side-by-side comparison helps you decide whether to refrigerate or freeze that extra food:

thanksgivingLeftovers =  Interpreter
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Happy Thanksgiving!

To our Wolfram community, we are thankful year-round for your creativity and passion for innovation. We wish you a Thanksgiving season filled with joy, good food and great computations!

Bonus Viz: Create a Thanksgiving Dinner Collage

Create your own festive Thanksgiving dinner collage with one line of code:

ImageCollage
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