Guest Picks: Kitchen Essentials for a First Thanksgiving
With the right kitchen tools and servewear, hosting the big holiday meal can be (almost) as easy as pie
With her down-to-earth approach to food, and a dash or two of snark, Liza enjoys eating, reading, cooking, dining and writing on a daily basis. By day, she's an insurance professional, by night she gracefully (or not sometimes) barrels through life keeping up with her blog (a)Musing Foodie, other freelance writing jobs, non-profit work, Twitter and Facebook, her kids, her husband, and whatever else happens to fill her plate. Read her blog here: http://www.aMusingFoodie.com
With her down-to-earth approach to food, and a dash or two of snark, Liza... More »
There comes a time when the important job of hosting Thanksgiving gets passed down from one generation to the next. Until that duty is placed in your lap, it's hard to fully understand the complexity of what it takes to be the host. From having the right tools and serving dishes to knowing how to decorate with tastefully simple touches, it's all right here in this ideabook! — Liza from (a)Musing Foodie
A really good roasting pan will go a long way, and you can use it after Turkey Day for things like roast chicken or roast beef. Plus, by going with a stainless model, you'll be able to scrape up all the delicious bits that settle in the bottom without worrying about scratching the surface.
Maybe you already know this secret, but if not, I have one word for you: brine. Brining your turkey before roasting will ensure one of the moistest birds you've ever eaten. Find a great brining recipe and give it a whirl. This bag will make cleanup a breeze.
A baster will help you take advantage of all the yummy juices that the turkey creates while cooking. I love that this one comes with a cleaning brush, as basters are notoriously difficult to clean well.
A good cookbook will go a long way if you're in need of some recipe inspiration. This one spans the country, looking at menus with West Coast, Southern and New England flare.
A ball of good butcher's twine will go a long way in the kitchen. Use it to tie roasts and keep your turkey's legs in place while roasting.
While a tablecloth might not be an everyday thing in your house, they do come in handy during the holidays when you're trying to dress up your table and keep spills from hurting the finish. I love this one because the stripes will hide stains well, and it doesn't scream Thanksgiving, so you'll be able to use it after the holiday.
Hand separate the fat from the juices before making your gravy? Pshaw! Use one of these fat separators to make the job easy. They really do work!
You'll want a basting brush in addition to your baster to really get in the nooks and crannies. This one is heat resistant up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit and dishwasher safe.
No Thanksgiving chef should be without a great carving knife. Pick one that's sharp and long, but it doesn't have to be anything fancy. You want a knife that can perform double-duty and be used after Thanksgiving too.
Simple white serving platters are perfect for carved turkey, as well as other non-Thanksgiving food after the holiday.
A deep gravy boat (or two if you host a large gathering) is much easier to use than some sort of bowl and spoon combination. Make sure to get one with a saucer because drips are inevitable.
Sure, you can hand mash or use a hand-held mixer, but the best home cooks know that a potato ricer is the best way to make creamy, oh-so-good mashed potatoes.
Trivets. You'll need a lot of trivets. It seems like Thanksgiving has the largest number of serving dishes, and hot ones at that.
These may be called Turkey Lifters, but they'll come in handy for holding the bird in place while you're carving it too. They'll also work great for holding beef roasts and roast chickens steady during carving time.
I love this Oxo thermometer. It's easy to use and has cool features like a 10-minute warning to prevent over cooking. It's definitely worth the money.
Have plenty of compartment storage containers handy to pack up leftovers in easy, one-stop servings — think homemade TV dinners.
If you have room on your table, a centerpiece with candles can be the perfect addition. I like this one because the candles are contained in votive holders, which means less waxy drips.
Have one kitchen timer? Get another! With all of the different dishes cooking for different amounts of time, having a couple of timers handy will be helpful. This one has a fun, retro feel. Plus, it's magnetic, so you can stick it somewhere away from your countertop.
The pie server is a simple tool that makes dishing out slices so much easier than trying to wrangle a knife and fork combination. It's worth the money, I promise.
Making homemade mulled cider would be a treat for any of your guests. If you need to conserve burner space for all the other food you'll be making, consider this mulled cider candle. You'll get all of the fragrance without the stress of trying to find a place to cook your own.
A large carving board with juice trenches will be your best friend at carving time. Make sure to pour the juices into your homemade gravy, or use them to enhance a store-bought gravy if that's the route you go.
These serving stands come in handy, especially if you're serving Thanksgiving buffet style. Raising up serving dishes makes a lot more room on the table for a slew of goodies.
One good set of serving utensils is a must when you're hosting a big get-together like Thanksgiving dinner. Depending on the size of your gathering, you might need two sets.
Free up stove space by picking a few recipes that can be cooked in a slow cooker.
Next: Reinvented Thanksgiving Day Table
Next: Reinvented Thanksgiving Day Table
Ideabook published on Nov. 9, 2012.
People found the photos in this ideabook after searching for:
View over a million photos:
Find Local Pros by Category:
Architects & Designers · Interior Designers & Decorators · General Contractors · Home Media Design & Installation · Landscape Architects & Designers · Kitchen & Bath Designers · Design-build Firms · Closet & Home Storage Designers · Carpet and Flooring · Fireplaces · Tile, Stone & Countertops · Specialty Contractors · Landscape Contractors
Find Local Pros by Metro Area: