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All You Need to Know About Thanksgiving Turkey Preparation – With Pictures!

Special Occasion And News

All You Need to Know About Thanksgiving Turkey Preparation – With Pictures!

Happy Thanksgiving! Have the most enjoyable time with your family and friends celebrating this holiday season! Whether you will enjoy turkey or something else, we hope it will be a special time!

Catch a turkey

Grandma Moses, Turkeys, 1958, Smithsonian American Art Museum, © Grandma Moses Properties Co., New York - Thanksgiving Art

Grandma Moses, Turkeys, 1958, Smithsonian American Art Museum, © Grandma Moses Properties Co., New York

Of course, the first step is to get a turkey and you could just go and buy it in the shop. But at Grandma Moses’ painting it does look like fun to actually catch your own turkey, so feel free to try. Grandma Moses only started painting when she was in her late 70’s and could not do cross-stitching anymore. She was 98 when she painted this work. The carefree atmosphere, excitement with snow and chasing turkeys bring to mind winter paintings of Pieter Bruegel.


Francisco de Goya, Still Life, Plucked Turkey and pan with Fish, 1808-12

You may skip this stage and the preceding one (that I already skipped) of killing the turkey, if you don’t let Grandma Moses cheerful painting seduce you and go buy the turkey instead. If you decide not to, you may enjoy Goya’s dark painting. It was painted during the Peninsular War (1808-1814) and as many of Goya’s works from this period it is far from uplifting. The turkey probably was not a victim of the war specifically, but its naked, plucked body has something chilling about it…as I mentioned, feel free to skip this stage and jump right to:

Have some fun

John Currin, Thanksgiving, 2003, Tate Gallery

While the turkey waits to be cooked you can always have some fun. John Currin said that Thanksgiving was ‘a failed painting that sat around in my studio’, until he returned to it when his wife was pregnant. He combines here the European tradition of still lifes and bodegones, including all their symbology, with a more playful and modern, and maybe a bit artificial, take on the traditional family scene.


Roy Lichtenstein, Turkey, 1961

This is the epitome of turkey that everyone has in their mind. Lichtenstein created it in 1961, just as his work started to be displayed by Leo Castelli. In the following year his entire exhibition has been bought before the show even opened. Our turkey also became famous as it was printed on the shopping bags that formed part of a pop-art exhibition American Supermarket in 1964. If you were lucky you could have owned one of them for only $12.

Here you will find some real advice on how to cook your turkey, just in case you need it.

Enjoy with family and friends

Norman Rockwell, Freedom From Want, 1943, Norman Rockwell Museum

I’m sure you will not need any help with this step, so let’s take a look at a painting that many of you have seen multiple times before and find the comfort in the familiar. Freedom from Want was one of the Four Freedoms series inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address. It has become an iconic representation of Thanksgiving holiday. Say ‘hi!’ to the man in the bottom right corner and go on to enjoy your Thanksgiving!

In case you actually want a breather from the said family, here is some more reading that may interest you:

Roy Lichtenstein’s Art Quiz For Every Art Historian

The Art Of Thanksgiving By Norman Rockwell

8 Paintings For Thanksgiving That Will Warm Your Heart

Did Goya Make a Career?

Art historian by education, data geek by trade, art and book lover by passion, based in London in love with Europe and travelling around it. You can visit my book blog here:


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