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This Thanksgiving, you can put the tattered old cookbook away, because Alexa knows exactly how long you should cook your turkey—among other things. Amazon has gifted its virtual assistant with a number of Thanksgiving skills this year.
Amazon has been regularly updating Alexa with new, timely responses to queries. Most recently, she showed off some Halloween-centric abilities. Now that it’s almost Turkey Day, her new question-answering capabilities center around recipes and cooking.
For example, you can ask Alexa things such as “Alexa, how long should I cook a 10-pound turkey?” or “Alexa, give me a Thanksgiving recipe.” You can also get specific and ask her a recipe for turkey, pumpkin pie, or cranberry sauce. She also has tips for vegan and vegetarian-friendly holiday dishes, such as squash risotto or stuffed portobello mushrooms.
And once the cooking is done, you can also ask her to play music for Thanksgiving dinner—which results in an Amazon Music playlist of Thanksgiving dinner party. For me, it kicked off with the John Mayer song “In The Blood,” for an indication of the kinds of songs you may hear.
Of course, an Alexa update wouldn’t be complete without some new jokes and Easter eggs. You can task Alexa with telling you a Thanksgiving story, a Thanksgiving joke, or even a Thanksgiving hack. She has multiple responses to all three of these queries. For the latter, you may get something like: “Here’s an inexpensive way to spruce up your table this Thanksgiving: Collect some slender branches from the yard or a nearby park and arrange them in a vase. It’s a simple way to add some natural beauty to the dinner table.” Apparently she’s been flipping through the Williams-Sonoma catalog.
For some Turkey Day humor, you can also ask Alexa for a Thanksgiving limerick, and you can ask her what she’s thankful for. While not the most useful, these queries could become helpful if you’ve got a handful of hungry kids and a few more painstaking minutes until the turkey’s ready.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.