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The tools that could save Thanksgiving: Day 2

In part two of our Thanksgiving series, we take a look at some kitchen gadgets that will help you turn out attractive side dishes--on time.

Today, we forge ever forward in an attempt to bring you the kitchen gadgets that will make your Thanksgiving preparations go as smoothly as possible. You can read our previous entry on cooking the turkey here. And Friday we'll satisfy your sweet tooth with a feature on gadgets used to make desserts. Today, we focus on the all-important side dishes.

Multi-tier oven rack
Sur La Table

Multitier oven rack
A chronic problem with Thanksgiving meals is managing oven space, namely, finding space in the oven for all the side dishes and dips that need baking while your 25-pound turkey hogs all that prime real estate. This multitier rack makes it possible to bake several dishes at once, making it easier to manage the timing of the entire meal.


Williams-Sonoma triple timer

Digital timer
This digital timer, which we discovered just the other day, is practically made for cooking the Thanksgiving meal. It can be used to time up to three dishes, each with its own distinct alarm. The clocks can count up or down, which is helpful for keeping track of the different types of dishes that will be cooking (or cooling) at the same time.

Stuffing cage
Bed Bath & Beyond

Stuffing cage
There's no doubt about it. Stuffing is one of the most important side dishes on the Thanksgiving Day table. This stuffing cage won't make it taste any better, but it'll make it way easier to collect from the turkey cavity when it's done. And isn't that what gadgets are for? Just be sure your turkey is big enough to accommodate it. This one's 9 inches by 4 3/4 inches.

Kitchenaid immersion blender

Immersion blender
Immersion blenders have a lot of potential uses. They can be used to emulsify a salad dressing or puree soups without dirtying a blender or food processor. These days, a lot of immersion blenders come with attachments that mean the blender can double as a mini food processor or hand mixer. With the whisk attachment, you can whip eggs or whipping cream. With the chopper, you can chop nuts or fresh herbs. It might not replace a food processor or stand mixer in the long-term, but with all the moving parts that go into creating a big meal, a good immersion blender is like an understudy that knows all its lines. It'll do a competent job--and take up less counter space than those big and showy celebrity appliances.

OXO potato ricer

Potato ricer
If you really, really, really, really don't want lumps in your mashed potatoes, a potato ricer is for you. Personally, I have always found that cooking the potatoes thoroughly and whipping them in the stand mixer does the trick. But I've been known to leave the skins on mashed potatoes on occasion (the horror!), so who am I to judge?

Oneida mandoline

In general, mandolines get mixed reviews from people on message boards--some people swear by them, and others let them gather dust for months at a time. If you're ever going to pull one out, Thanksgiving might be the time. Mandolines make it possible to quickly and easily get perfect, uniform slices, so this year's scallop potatoes can really shine. It's also good for turning a regular salad into something a little more special; various attachments and settings make for pretty salad toppings. Likewise, there are plenty of vegetable peelers out there that will dress up fruits and vegetables for this special occasion.