A holiday meal is much more enjoyable if no one gets sick. And with this much food, and this much family, the risk goes through the roof during the holiday season every year.
"Within ten hours you can go from 2 cells to over ten billion cells of various bacteria or other harmful microorganisms," said registered dietician Dr. Donna Burnett with Baylor's Family and Consumer Sciences.
It can cause anything from a mild stomach-ache to Salmonella poisoning.
But it's easy to stay safe. Keep your food out of the danger zone: hot foods about 135 degrees, cold foods below 41 degrees.
And keep in mind turkey needs to be cooked to 165 degrees, then kept above the danger zone for eating.
"Once we slip into the danger zone we have about 2 hours of food safety at that point," Burnett said.
That means buffets should only stay out for that long. And food to serve later should be refrigerated before then.
Before the feast, make sure you have the right tools. Cooked and raw meat should stay separate, away from veggies.
"We want to avoid cross-contamination. So we want to have separate cutting boards you can have get them in different colors to keep them separate in your home kitchen," Burnett said.
And to cut down on dangerous transfat, substitute margarine or plant-based oils for butter and lard in your recipes.
"Fats are fats, as far as baking or cooking properties," said Burnett.
And its important to keep in mind it's much safer to de-frost your poultry by leaving it in the refrigerator for up to three days so it completely thaws inside and out. That's much better than leaving it on the counter. If you want to de-frost in the sink, keep cold, running water on the bird at all times.