I’m guessing you are not surprised that Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday at Gygi. Food is a big deal for us and you can be sure we will be participating as much as possible. From our annual Pie Preparation Night, to our delicious traditional meal, we have tested and tried just about every kitchen tool you’ll need to be prepared for the big day.
Having a small kitchen at home, I am not one who collects gimmicky-once-a-year gadgets. They clutter my kitchen and I hate seeing them in the cupboard. lonely and unused. My kitchen philosophy is to only purchase things that will serve me continually. In that spirit, all of these items are kitchen workhorses. They will become your favorites throughout the year, but they will also make food prep for Thanksgiving a breeze.
If the thought of getting all your supplies and grocery lists and table settings and everything ready for Thanksgiving makes you nervous, take a deep breath and keep in mind the real purpose of Thanksgiving. Gathering with friends and family, sharing moments together, and enjoying each other are really the reasons we love this Holiday. So keep in mind, if your gravy is too salty or your pie a little runny, the food is really just an added bonus.
Here’s the list of our Thanksgiving Essentials in an easy to read format:
Cutting Board – A cutting board is necessary for the entire food prep process. From chopping veggies and herbs to carving the turkey, the cutting board will take a permanent place on the counter in the days leading up to the big feast. If it’s made of wood, it can even be used as a trivet in a pinch. We love wooden cutting boards for the way they treat our knives, but plastic has the advantage of being easier to care for. Either way, clear some space on the counter and park it there from now until our favorite Thursday in November.
Sheet Pans – Our Gygi sheet pans are a customer favorite and best seller. If you have them and use them, you know just how useful they are. Made from heavy-gauge aluminum, they resist warping, conduct heat evenly, and will last for years. If you don’t use them, here are a just a couple of Thanksgiving uses for our favorite pans. Roast vegetables. Dry out bread for stuffing. Bake rolls. Catch drips form a dripping pie. Toast some nuts for a topping on salads or vegetables. Line with paper towels and dry freshly cut herbs. And the most impressive…. cook the turkey! Throw on a cooling rack to help with circulation, place the seasoned bird on the pan, and cover the whole thing with foil. It’s the only way I’ve ever cooked a turkey.
Thermometer – Using a thermometer is a sure way to prevent a visit to the hospital for eating undercooked poultry. Or worse, overcooked poultry! Trusting the pop out timer embedded in the breast is a sure way to end up with an improperly cooked turkey – the greatest Thanksgiving crime. We prefer an instant read digital thermometer for our turkeys. They are easy and quick to use and the most accurate of all thermometers. Another options is a leave-in digital thermometer. This is great option if you’re unable to check on your bird periodically or if you just forget!
Knives/Knife Sharpener – Food prep will be easier (and safer!) with sharp knives. Essential knives include a chef’s knife, a serrated knife, and a paring knife. A carving set definitely makes for easy work in finishing your bird. If you already have a set of knives you love, make sure your knives are honed and sharpened before the big day.
Baster – A baster has one purpose… keeping the bird juicy. Redistributing the juices every hour it’s in the oven will help keep the white meat from drying out. Stainless steel, plastic, glass… Lots of options. A basting brush can also be used, which has more uses for the rest of the year.
Fat Separator – This is similar to liquid measuring cup, but the spout is located at the bottom of the cup. Fill with liquid and let the fat rise. Pour from the cup and the fat will stay at the top and be removed from the final product. It essential for making gravy, but you can also use it the rest of the year to remove fat from broths and soups.
Peeler – Regardless of your skill level, a good peeler is necessary for every kitchen. There is a wide range in quality and it is worth investing in a peeler that makes prepping food an easy task. And while you’re stocking up, get two! Peeling carrots or potatoes is a great task for your kitchen helpers.
Pots and Pans – Proper cookware makes every dish phenomenal. Here is a lineup of all our favorites.
Potato Masher/Ricer – If fluffy, smooth mashed potatoes are the goal, the proper tool is very important. Not all mashers are created equal. You will want something heavy duty, with sharp openings to cut through your potatoes. A good masher works wonders with a little effort. A ricer is a quicker and easier tool, but only if it works well! Either way, you want a tool that is heavy-duty.
Whisk – The debate over the best kind of whisk can be quite polarizing. There are many different shapes and materials and everyone seems to have their own opinion. But they can all agree that they want something dependable and durable. These whisks are guaranteed to withstand Thanksgiving prep for years to come.
Hot Pads – Don’t forget to stock up before the big feast. A few extra hot pads will be put to use with all the casseroles and roasts and pies coming in and out of the oven. With all the cute patterns and colors, you can use them to move the food from the oven to the table.