Cooking a Thanksgiving meal calls for roasting pans, knives, cutting boards, pie plates, and plenty of other common kitchen tools.
But what about the little-known tools that can be a big help to making Thanksgiving dinner perfect? I've rounded up CNET Editors' favorite unique (and some offbeat) cooking implements that can help you make a fantastic holiday meal.
A must-have for spatchcocking
Kitchen scissors (aka kitchen shears)Oxo
I use my kitchen scissors almost every day, but they're extra crucial on Thanksgiving, when they help me roast the perfect turkey.
Instead of roasting a turkey the usual way (dressed, tressed and in the oven for hours), I butterfly, or spatchcock my turkey. Using my kitchen scissors, I carefully remove the backbone and lay the turkey flat. The result is a quick roast (about two hours), perfectly cooked breast and the crispiest skin.
For impressive-looking cakes
An offset spatulaOxo
My signature Thanksgiving contribution is a layered spiced pumpkin cake studded with mini chocolate chips, the whole thing mounded and surrounded with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting.
After years of frustration trying to frost the cake with a regular old table knife, I finally bought an offset spatula. Why did I wait so long?! The cake looks more impressive, I wear less frosting and it only cost me $10.
Make better gravy
A fat separatorOxo
So the turkey's done and resting out of the oven and it's time to make the gravy. The best thing I've found for separating the drippings from the fat is this separator from OXO.
Pour the contents of the roasting pan in through the strainer lid, which catches most of the onions and celery you've put in the pan for the roasting. Then wait a couple minutes for the fat to rise to the top, while the good stuff settles below it.
Then just pour out the goodness into your saucepan and away you go, keeping the fat in the separator. Bang zoom, and you're done!
My favorite Thanksgivings are the ones where I use my favorite cooking tool, and go to town on some fresh crab purchased from Fisherman's Wharf earlier that day. Grab some lemons and fresh sourdough, and dinner is served.
Yes, the only kitchen tool I cannot live without is a nutcracker, which I use to crack my own crab as I give thanks for Netflix, Dungeness crab and a deep dark stout. Happy Thanksgiving!
A garlic pressiHomeInnovations
Garlic press. Why? Garlic mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, along with green beans sauteed with tomatoes and garlic and roasted artichoke-eggplant dip as an appetizer.
It's an inexpensive tool that saves a lot of time.
A vintage Pyrex bowlCorning
My family's Thanksgiving staple is my grandmother's corn pudding. We can't have the dinner without it.
The handwritten recipe goes back at least 60 years and she's always baked it in an Old Orchard print Pyrex mixing bowl. I took over making corn pudding for Thanksgiving a few years ago, and still use a vintage Pyrex bowl for it.
These colorful bowls have stood the test of time, handle the oven like a champ and scream nostalgia to me. If you don't have one you inherited from your family, you can find them on eBay or keep an eye out at your local thrift stores to get them for cheap.
Precision, every time
A kitchen scaleSalter
One of my favorite tools, especially during the holidays, is my Salter electronic kitchen scale.
Every baker needs one for getting measuring just right. Need 10 ounces of dark chocolate for those tiny molten chocolate cakes and don't want to guess? Pile it on the scale. Got a kid who likes to bake? They'll get addicted to using it while unwittingly doing math at the same time.
Note: I've had mine for over a decade, but the featured scale is similar to my basic model.
-- Anne Dujmovic
Every year I rely on The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook: A Year in the Life of a Restaurant for Thanksgiving recipes -- my favorites are the Herbed Mashed Potatoes (which you can easily adapt and make as sweet herbed mashed potatoes) and cranberry sauce.
For the Turkey and gravy, I normally go with the classics and just check my copy of Alice Waters' The Art of Simple food. And every year I wonder why I don't use this cookbook every single day.
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