Are You Ready for Thanksgiving?

Cooking the annual feast is easier if your kitchen is stocked and ready.

By FamilyTime


This may the only big family meal you cook all year -- or, more likely, it's one in a succession of meals. Either way, Thanksgiving dinner is fraught with anxiety for even the most seasoned cook.

Thanksgiving is everyone's "favorite meal." Each family member has distinct ideas about what dishes should be on the table. Try suggesting lemon meringue pie instead of pumpkin and listen to the outcry!

Before you roast the turkey or mash the potatoes, stock the kitchen with the right equipment for the cooking tasks ahead.

Pots and Pans
If you've been meaning to buy a good roasting pan for the turkey, now is the time. Otherwise, grab a large aluminum one at the supermarket now - don't wait too long or they may be sold out.

Roasting pans are pricey but one with solid construction, sturdy handles, and a roasting rack will last a lifetime.

Make sure you have a pot large enough to boil the potatoes and a baking dish for the sweet potato or green bean casserole.

If you plan to bake your own pies or make your own bread, buy glass pie plates and metal bread pans. If you're making cornbread, make sure you have a square baking pan (a "brownie" pan) for the batter.

A meat thermometer is invaluable when roasting a turkey. We suggest a standard meat thermometer, which you insert in the meaty part of the breast at the beginning of cooking. Make sure the gauge faces out so it's easy to read.

An instant-read thermometer is great for other tasks. Insert it in the stuffing to make sure it's hot enough, or use it to tell if a small turkey breast is done.

An oven thermometer lets you know if your oven is accurate. If not, you can adjust the temperature dial up or down. This will promote even and timely cooking and baking.

A refrigerator thermometer gauges the interior of the refrigerator. We tend to overload our 'fridges during the holidays, which puts undue stress on them. An inexpensive thermometer will let you know if you need to turn the temperature down to keep the refrigerator at the desired 40°F.

Other Kitchen Equipment
If you don't have a turkey baster or potato masher, buy these relatively inexpensive items now. Check your supply of wooden spoons, rubber spatulas, and whisks. Make sure you have a long-handled fork and a good set of tongs.

Stock up on kitchen twine (for trussing the turkey), cheesecloth, aluminum foil, wax paper, and plastic wrap.

Buy plastic storage containers for food you can cook ahead of time (relish, mashed potatoes) and for leftovers.

Finally, make sure you have dishwasher detergent and dishwashing liquid, ample sponges and scouring pads, and a good supply of paper towels and washable dishtowels.

Tableware and Stemware
Count your plates, wine glasses, platters, and serving bowls. If you haven't enough, either buy some, rent them, or ask a relative to supply extras.

Inspect your tablecloth and napkins. Wash and iron them if necessary.

The more you plan ahead for the big day, the more smoothly it will go. You may well have forgotten that last year you didn't have a platter large enough for the turkey, your knives were dull, or you forgot to iron the tablecloth. Don't be caught off guard this year.

Happy Thanksgiving!