BDTB – Part 2: Cooking & Serving Essential Tools

Breaking-Down-The-Bird---pt2cookingtools_nerdsandnomsense

You’ve arrived on the BIG DAY and then in a mere matter of seconds, panic ensues! You don’t have anything to roast the turkey in! Not to mention your dog at your last turkey baster and what the heck is a meat thermometer. Turkeys’ don’t get fevers! Just breathe! Hopefully this little post will help prepare you for the non-food portion of your Thanksgiving Day feast. As an added bonus, you’ll help round out your kitchen so you can be prepared and prepare most anything.

TurkeyCookingEssentialsTurkey Cooking Essentials – Tools and Gizmos:

  1. A whisk or two. Whisks are vital for making gravy and are generally good to have if you’re going to bake things, whip up some cream, or impersonate a Dalek.
  2. Knives of different sizes: For the essentials you will need a small paring knife, a long serrated blade, and a chef’s knife. The paring knife is great for helping you nick those little things, slice up lemons, and to help separate the skin of your turkey from the underlying meat. Serrated blades are good for cutting meat and loaves of bread, and can be quite handy in a zombie attack. Lastly the chef’s knife is an essential for prep work. Whether it’s dicing up veggies or slicing up bacon it’s a win-win.
  3. Measuring Cups (various): If you’re cooking for a crowd or just making delicious treats for your post-Thanksgiving Meal these will help save your cupcakes into glorious little mounds of deliciousness from falling or glouping all over the place.
  4. Turkey Baster: Have you ever wondered how magazines like Southern Cooking and Food Network Magazine get their birds looking so deliciously-golden? I can tell you that part of it has to do with basting and the easiest way to bast is with a oddly phallic-shaped device specifically for basting. The turkey baster! Every hour or so, just gather some juices from the pan of your bird and give it a ‘bath.’ A delicious bath of piping hot flavor! Did you know that the turkey baster has other uses? You can use a turkey baster to help give you uniformed pancakes, fill cupcake tins with ease, ‘de-grease’ your meat without having to remove it from the pan, and it can also help you water your plants.
  5. Pyrex Measuring Cups (2c+): Some say that these devices are nigh indestructible, and I can’t really prove that they’re not. I’ve dropped ours on tile and it just bounces – intact. You can drain your pan’s drippings into one of these and not have to worry about it shattering or warping due to the heat.
  6. Mixing bowls (various): Having multiple sizes of mixing bowls will save you and your sanity while preparing tasty noms for the big day. You can simultaneously mix different sides or components of your side dishes all at the same time. This may result in more dishes to clean, post-event, but that’s okay. Just cut a deal with your kids or your friends to help out.
  7. Miscellaneous Pots and Pans: Gravy, boiling potatoes, sauteing veggies, etc… none of which can be possible without POTS AND PANS! For proper Thanksgiving, thanksgiving-ness you’ll need a medium saucepan, a large stockpot and a large frying pan. Hopefully you already have these in your kitchen.
  8. Roasting Pan (with or without rack): For Thanksgiving you can go one of two routes when it comes to roasting pans. The first is by far the cheapest, just buy an aluminum throw-a-way roasting pan. Be aware that they are quite flimsy and can possibly break or bend under heavy loads so we suggest using a baking sheet under the pan to help sturdy it. The second option is to buy a sturdy, steel bottomed roasting pan. It will last you for many Thanksgivings to come and the fact that it has a steel bottom will help evenly distribute  the heat. You can get one with a roasting rack which can be quite handy!
  9. Meat Thermometer: This is one thing you absolutely CANNOT skimp on. Sure turkeys come with that dinky, plastic pop-out thermometer… but don’t trust it. Meat thermometers are very important for cooking turkey and almost any other kind of meat.

Bonus: Hopefully you already have the following supplies: cutting board (both wood and plastic), hot pads, aluminum foil, and small plate (so you can rest your stirring devices on while you’re cooking on the stove. This helps keep your stove clean and helps to keep your utensil free of foreign devices). 

ThanksgivingServingEssentials

Now that you’re done cooking your goose, here’s a little essentials that will help show it off in style!

  1. Serving Utensils: How are you going to serve up your food? With UTENSILS of course! Unless you’re having a minimalist Thanksgiving worthy of the finest Caveman dwelling, then by all means, dive hands (or face) first into piping hot mashed taters. Different dishes require different utensils: green beans go with slotted spoons, mashed potatoes require a whole serving spoon, passing around turkey slices need a serving fork, etc…
  2. Trivets: If you’re not serving directly from the stove or oven you will need something to protect your counters or dining room table from being burned. They come in different shapes and sizes for your corresponding dishes.
  3. Serving ware: This is the best for serving right out of the oven. It looks nice and is completely functional. Most kitchens will keep a set of this stuff around for decades. Plus more times than not, these sets come with both lids and dishes. Go straight from the oven, to the table, to the fridge. Bam!
  4. Serving platter: Truss your bird up like a king… only to be devoured by the people. That’s quite French, but we’re not judging. Platters can come up in all colors, shapes, and sizes.
  5. Carving set: Carving sets are a special in that you really only pull them out a few times a year. Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving… the big “meal” holidays.
  6. Tongs: Not only can you dance around the kitchen like a lobster but you can also safely handle hot food items such as bread sticks, asparagus, and more without burning your precious little digits. Tongs are super helpful around the kitchen and should be stocked in any kitchen.
  7. Gravy Boat: I’m on a boat!!! This special little dish is not only a holder of delicious meat juice but it also acts as a dispenser! Mmmmmmmm gravy.

Hopefully you’re now set on the cooking and serving tools portion of Thanksgiving!  Now that you’re geared up and ready to go let’s wow your friends and bring out your inner chef this coming Thanksgiving!

If  we missed anything, please let us know in the comments below!

Don’t forget that this is only part 2 of our 5 part Breaking Down the Bird special!

  If you missed Part 1: Choosing the Bird and Prep for the Big Day, click the image to the left! Let’s make this Thanksgiving one to remember for years to come.

Breaking Down The Bird Post Schedule:
Part 1: Choosing the Bird… – Posted
Part 2: Essential Utensils and Supplies  – Posted
Part 3: Cooking your Bird – 11/19/13 Coming Soon
Part 4: Pairing the Perfect Sides – 11/21/13 Coming Soon
Part 5: Leftovers – 11/23/13 – Coming Soon

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