Fire Dept, etiquette expert give tips for surviving Thanksgiving Day

- Battalion Chief Joe Limon with the Austin Fire Department said keep an eye on what you're cooking this Thanksgiving.  Your stove-top grease may catch fire.

"We panic.  What's the first thing we do?  We get a glass of water, throw it on the skillet and it becomes a big inferno at that point," Limon said.

A fire extinguisher is one way to solve that problem, not water.

The Fire Department also planned to demonstrate the apocalyptic eruption that could happen when you fry a turkey the wrong way.  

With the help of H.E.B., firefighters put the frozen-solid bird on the end of a big stick and dropped it into a vat of oil.

"We were hoping to see a dramatic flame effect.  It didn't happen today but still just the fact that oil was coming out, hot oil.  You know if your children or your animals or yourself...you could have been close to it and got burned," Limon said.

If you're set on frying your turkey, the department said to use a completely thawed turkey.
                
The amount of oil in the pot is important.
                
Follow the instructions and practice with water first to make sure it doesn't overflow.
                
And if you're doing this, do it far away from your house or garage.  Not on the patio.

On a different note, once you've gotten your Thanksgiving meal cooked, then comes the sometimes awkward dinner-table conversation.  

"You know it's going to happen, we're going to sit around the table and somebody is going to bring up politics," said National Etiquette Expert Diane Gottsman.

Gottsman said the holidays are a time to be joyous and grateful

"We all need to know to curb it and if somebody starts talking we can say very politely 'Can we just change the topic, let's refocus on things that we are grateful for,'" she said.  

Gottsman said "loose lips sink ships."

"That means that when you give someone alcohol we tend to become more relaxed.  So I think as a host, you monitor people's intake.  As a host you guide the conversation," she said.

Another tip is to assign seating at the table.  Put people together that are compatible.  Maybe play a fun game too.  Gottsman said just plan ahead, know what's coming and don't over-expect.

"I think we just kind of relax, take it easy, enjoy yourself and have a lot of fun," she said.
 

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