Tips for a Panic-free Thanksgiving: Volume One

You’re a resourceful person. Regardless of what mishaps come your way, I am confident that you will pull off a lovely Thanksgiving dinner.

Nonetheless, I’m here to help you anticipate and solve some common snafus by sharing the knowledge I have gleaned from hosting dozens of Thanksgiving dinners.

ONE. Few people mind overcooked turkey, if you have good gravy. 

THREE TIMES!!! Three times, I’ve panicked that the turkey is overcooking and have taken it out of the oven too soon. Raw turkey became my signature Thanksgiving dish. I know the signs of properly cooked poultry: juices run clear, drumsticks are loose. Turkey cooking is just not in my wheelhouse. Plus there’s all the pressure from the guests: Don’t you think it’s getting too brown? Maybe you should put some foil over the breast to keep it from drying out and rotate the pan every 20 minutes while standing on your head. Did you brine it, baste it and rub it?

Now, I just cook the crap out of the bird and make a vat of gravy. I save drippings from roasted chicken in the months before Thanksgiving and buy a couple packages of powdered turkey gravy in case I need to stretch it. If you’re trying to keep your fat intake at a minimum, you should give it up for today, but these separators are handy to have if you insist.

best turkey gravy kitchensink

Fat Separator

And that gravy will look even better in a lovely serving vessel…also known as a boat. This one has the option to pour or ladle.

Best gravy boat kitchensink

Gravy Boat

Preheat the boat with hot water before adding the gravy to keep it hot longer…otherwise it’s going to congeal. And then you’ll have to microwave it like you did your undercooked turkey. Not cool.

TWO. Stay focused and avoid distractions.

I love chit chat as much as the next scullery maid, but pulling off a big meal will require your attention at times.
coloring placemats kitchensink

Big Green Salad Coloring Placemat by kitchensink

Provide your guests with a fun activity. Break out the colored pencils and slide a coloring placemat under their nose. Challenge your guests, young and old, to a coloring contest with a swell prize for the winner…like a roll of Tums.
THREE. How will you gracefully lift 20 pounds of slippery hot poultry out of the roasting pan?

I usually set up the turkey carving station in another room away from the crowd, or occupy the crowd e

best turkey lifters kitchensink

Turkey Lifters @kitchensink

lsewhere during this important step. Even a big, strong, manly man who was on the varsity wrestling team in high school has to concentrate while lifting the resting bird from its roaster and placing it strategically on the cutting board. But here’s a great tool: Turkey Lifters.

The long tines of these jumbo forks transform you into Edward Scissorhands. You can use them on other big roasts as well, or defend yourself from intruders, so keep ’em handy.
FOUR. The smells of Thanksgiving.
Turkey is not my favorite food. I usually don’t even eat it on Thanksgiving. All I really want is the smell of roasting turkey (and the gravy and leftovers).
My mom once came up with a brilliant idea to simplify the cooking chaos on Thanksgiving day: cook the turkey the day before. We revolted. Roast the turkey the day before and the cook gets to enjoy the aroma, but the guests on Thanksgiving day will not. Cooking fills the house with the smells of love!
candles thanksgiving kitchensink

unscented candles

And until they make roasting turkey scented candles, I strongly suggest burning the unscented variety on Thanksgiving. The smells jasmine, pumpkin, cedar, lavender, coconut combos wafting about will confuse the guests and their palates. Let the nutmeg in the pie, the sage in the dressing and that heavenly turkey take center stage.
Now, I’m not here to create a list of things for you to worry about. This is just my way of “having your back”. It’s like I’m standing next to you at the stove, stroking your brow while you search for lumps in the gravy…which brings up whisks and a few more tips to come in Volume Two.
All these things and more can be found at the kitchensink shop in beautiful downtown Roslyn. See you there!
Kevi Sutter
Head Scullery Maid
kitchensink roslyn
Thursday & Sunday 11 to 4  |  Friday & Saturday 11 to 6
100 e Pennsylvania Ave. Roslyn, WA
phone 425.443.4788  |  email
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