Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one with burned, stained or half-broken kitchen tools and appliances hanging around. But making the Thanksgiving meal is a big ask of your culinary instruments — and it’s a great time to upgrade.
Arianna Garella, a culinary instructor at The Pantry in Ballard, is teaching a series of classes on Thanksgiving side dishes this month. Her first piece of advice for the day: Enjoy the process by remembering to take a step back to appreciate the food and your loved ones.
Another, perhaps more practical, piece of advice? Make sure your basics are up to snuff, checking to ensure your mixing bowls, cutting boards, spatulas and the like are in good shape.
If you need to upgrade your cookware, opt for a set in stainless steel, which boasts durability and works great for browning and sauces. Cusinart’s Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12 Piece Set ($300 at target.com) can take on everything from melting butter for the pecan pie to boiling potatoes for everyone’s favorite side.
Speaking of potatoes, create a silky mash with the FreshForce Potato Ricer ($45 at chefn.com) from Seattle-based company Chef’n. The large gadget easily processes potatoes and is also useful for pureeing veggies for sauces and mincing garlic — which fits Garella’s rule of thumb: “If you’re not going to use it all year, don’t buy it for one holiday meal.”
Knives are key when it comes to feast preparation, and you’ll want to make sure your set is ready to chop veggies, saw through bread, mince herbs and more. “If at all possible, a week or two before the holiday frenzy sets in, take your knives to get sharpened,” says Garella. “A sharp knife is a safe knife and it will expedite any project.”
A sharp knife is also a lifesaver when it comes to a crucial meal event: carving the turkey. If you’ve got the agility for a carving knife and fork — good on you! But for those who are less skilled with giant birds, we suggest going electric. Black and Decker’s Comfort Grip Electric Knife ($19 at amazon.com) has two serrated blades that will get the meat on the platter lickety-split.
Thanksgiving, however, isn’t just about the food — it’s also about socializing. “Guests always tend to gather in the kitchen, which is the worst place when it’s being actively used as a prep area,” says Sheena Kalso, owner of The Invisible Hostess, a wedding and party planning service.
To encourage friends and family to congregate and mingle elsewhere, Kalso suggests rearranging furniture to create a cocktail atmosphere and set up a mini bar and appetizers away from the kitchen. A sophisticated bar cart, such as the Inspire Q Estelle Step-Tier Metal and Glass Bar Cart ($295 at target.com), will keep guests happy, busy and out of your hair while you tackle the turkey.