5 Indispensable Kitchen Tools

T-minus 21: Countdown to Thanksgiving

Here are five kitchen tools you will need to survive Thanksgiving:

vegetable peeler1. A good-quality Y peeler. My favorite is the Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler. It's cheap and holds its edge for a long time. You'll need this for peeling potatoes, yams, apples...and don't even think about peeling a butternut squash unless you have one of these.

2. A heavy-duty stainless-steel roasting pan, ideally with a rack. You might be tempted to put your turkey in one of those disposable aluminum pans. Resist the temptation. Think about it: you're going to be handling a 20-pound bird and its basting juices...now is not the time to be concerned with spending five extra minutes at the sink washing dishes. Instead, concern yourself with sloshing fat at 350 degrees F and the potential for a disastrous pan-crumpling that leaves your precious dinner star on the kitchen floor. Get the roasting pan; you'll use it every time you roast chickens or an eye round.
Bonus: 15 minutes of washing dishes burns about 25 calories.

Pyrex pie plates3. A Pyrex Pie Plate or two...or four. (I have six; I make a lot of pies on Thanksgiving.) These go from the fridge or freezer to a preheated oven with no worries. Unlike with metal pie plates, you can microwave leftover pie right in the dish. And it's dishwasher safe, too.
Bonus: Pyrex pie plates are great for reheating gravy- or sauce-doused leftovers in the microwave without spilling over.

mesh strainers4. A large grooved cutting board. Avoid the waterfall of turkey juice pouring off your counter this year. (Sorry, Fido.) Invest in a grooved cutting board big enough to hold your bird. You'll use it every time you carve a roast or slice a steak.

5. A fine mesh strainer. You'll use this for straining gravy and stock, draining potatoes, washing cranberries, and a hundred other things.  Making creme brulee or ice cream base? Pour through this into a bowl to filter out scrambled-egg bits. You can also use this in place of a sifter--just hold over bowl, place flour/cornstarch/powdered sugar/etc. inside, and tap rim to sift.
Bonus: no carpal tunnel syndrome from squeezing the sifter handle!
Avoid models with wooden handles if you want to put it in the dishwasher.


  1. Check, check, check, check, and check! I might also suggest for those of us with RSI/Carpal Tunnel issues - and who never mastered the art of tapping flour through a strainer - a battery-operated sifter. They're not easy to find, but they're a godsend. Make sure it can handle a minimum of 2 cups at a time.

    Great basic list, Sandy!


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