Each year, we add one new fancy kitchen tool to our cupboard around Thanksgiving time. It’s when we’re doing a lot of cooking where special hardware can come in handy. Plus, there are things that are really necessary for cooking a great Turkey Dinner that are nice to have around, even if we don’t use them in our every-day meal prep.
I do have some criteria on what is a good fit for a good, new kitchen tool. There are a lot of frivolous gadgets out there that don’t really help much. And thanks to TV chef Alton Brown’s crusade against kitchen unitaskers, there’s a much better idea out there of just which tool is worth your hard earned money, and kitchen shelf space.
Three of the first tools we collected are highlighted in this recent Life360 Thanksgiving blog post.

  • Roasting pan (with good rack): Those aluminum pans at your grocery store will do in a pinch. But a solid roasting pan is one of the key essentials to roasting a nicely browned Turkey in your oven. Many high-quality roasting pans come with a good, non-stick roasting rack. If it doesn’t, this is also a must-have.
  • Digital, remote meat thermometer: Assures a hassle-free, nicely cooked Turkey every time. But research them well and plan to spend money if you can. We went through three name-brand models before finding a digital remote thermometer that has lasted and worked properly.
  • Fat separator: We make gravy about once (maybe twice) a year. This tool is indispensable to making it well. Plus it has a cool food science look to it. It parts the turkey juice from the turkey fat when you pour off pan drippings from roasted Turkey (or other meat). There’s really no other way I know to get this task done efficiently without getting any of the stuff you don’t want into your gravy boat.

Some tools that we have collected and consider essential are not mentioned. One of them is a mandoline slicer, an indispensible time-saver and the best way to evenly slice squash for the traditional Butternut Squash Gratin we serve. A food mill or potato ricer is also a must for making the creamiest mashed potatoes.
There are many lists out there, some more basic than others. But most have the right idea. For example, if you don’t own a carving knife or large cutting board, and you’re going to be carving your first Turkey later this month, now’s the time to shop for that. Here are a few lists to check :

Other lists feature tools I’d skip:

But where kitchen aids are concerned, the value is in the eyes – and hands – of the beholder.  We’re on the fence this year about buying turkey lifters resembling small pitch forks. What kitchen tools are essential for your Thanksgiving Day success?

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