Five Thanksgiving Kitchen Gadgets

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I’m a bona fide gadget geek. I admit this.

That said, I’m surprisingly not a huge fan of gadgets in the kitchen. At least, not any more. Despite this, I still can’t stop myself from regularly scanning kitchen catalogs to peek at the newest version of the next big thing.

And with Thanksgiving approaching, the catalogs are full of tools designed to save you time and energy around turkey day—and leave your change purse a little lighter.

Five of my most interesting finds are listed below. Take a look and see if they have any merit for your holiday kitchen.

Five Thanksgiving Kitchen Gadgets: I’m a reformed kitchen gadget-teer


Well, mostly. When I first started to cook, I bought every interesting kitchen thing that I could possibly use. After 3 or 4 of my kitchen drawers virtually exploded with what essentially became—for lack of a better term—crap (albeit rather expensive crap), I decided to go back to basics.

I got rid of a lot of stuff over the years, and I’ve never once missed anything that I pitched or gave away.

For example, I tossed my garlic peeler (you know, that little tube that looks like a Chinese finger trap) when I realized I could get the paper off a clove faster with a knife.

But I’d be really unhappy without my garlic press. I cook with a lot of fresh garlic and I hate mincing cloves by hand unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s an older version of this model by Zyliss, and I use it whenever I can get away with pressed garlic instead of minced.

Of course, gadget use depends on how you cook. At this point, there are only a handful that I can’t live without. My garlic press, surely. My meat grinder (if that counts as a gadget). My microplane. My wooden lemon reamer.

What about you?

I’m really curious about what other cooks use most in their kitchen.

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? Which do you never, ever use? If you had to toss all but three, which would you keep?

Five Thanksgiving gadgets

I’ve seen a few things in the last week that have made me raise an eyebrow. Here are a few. Some might be useful (or have a one-shot use). Others might only be good for a giggle or two.

1. Stuffing Cage

This first one is this Stuffing Cage, made by RPI Group, and sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $9.99.

The idea is that you fill it with stuffing, then insert it into your turkey before roasting. It’s supposed to make it easier to pull the stuffing out of the bird. It works with turkeys that are 14 lbs. or more.

This is a clever idea, but I’m not sure I would ever use it. (I think I just kind of like the idea of a ball of stuffing shaped like a football.) When I make stuffing, I usually cook it in a separate pan, not in the bird itself.

2. Roast and Serve Turkey Lifter

The Cuisipro Roast and Serve rack holds up to 25 lbs. and sells for $19.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

The idea with this one is that you use it as your roasting rack, then pick it up by the handles to transfer your bird to a serving platter. Once you position the rack, you slide out the red-tipped pin, the rack comes apart in two pieces, and your bird falls just where you want it. No muss, no fuss. It also comes in a mini version that holds up to 12 lbs.

If I made a giant turkey, I might consider buying one of these, as larger birds can be a bit unwieldy for a small mouse to move.

3. Nifty Three-Tier Oven Rack

The Nifty Three-Tier Oven Rack, made by Nifty Home Products, creates two extra baking shelves in your oven and can hold “heavy casseroles,” according to the description. Chef’s Catalog sells it for $19.99.

From this picture, it seems like it’s fairly secure, though I’d probably be very careful sliding the actual shelf in and out. Dimensions are: 10 5/8″ L x 13 7/8″ W x 10 1/2″ H.

Now, these racks have been around for a while, but for some reason, this one looks particularly sturdy to me. I could actually see myself using it. My kitchen only has one oven, and space is at a premium during holiday parties. It also folds flat, so it would be easy to store. All pluses in my book.

4. The Food Loop

The Food Loop by fusionbrands sells for $15 and is an adjustable silicone band that you use to quickly truss food for cooking. The idea is that it replaces traditional cooking twine and/or toothpicks. It kind of functions like a food-safe zip-tie.

Each loop is heat resistant up to 675 degrees and adjusts from 1 to 4 inches. You can also link two together for a larger loop.

I can’t decide if these are kind of useful, just plain silly�or both. Cooking.com has them on sale right now for $9.95, so if ever there was a time to try them, it would be now…

5. The Food Loop Lace

Building on the idea of The Food Loop, fusionbrands also sells a very entertaining assortment of other gadgets, including this silicone poultry lacer ($10).

This actually looks kind of neat. It would eliminate the need for threading a poultry needle and making a knot large enough that wouldn’t break through a bird’s skin with the smallest amount of pressure.

What do you think?

So…Would you guys use any of these? Do you have any personal favorites of your own? Which gadgets couldn’t you live without?

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Copyright 2008 The Hungry Mouse/Jessica B. Konopa. All rights reserved.

Stonewall Kitchen, LLC

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Hmmm…I guess I must belonged in the non-gadget group because I don’t have any of these things! Everything I do, I do it manually…sad, but true.
    My food processor broke down recently so I am without that too! lol. But I really need to go get a new one soon.

  2. Hey Jessie! I think the oddest thing I love, love, love, is my Vidalia Onion Chopper (you know, the As Seen on TV). I’m a lefty that has a tendency to cut myself when i’m mincing onions, and this thing is a lifesaver! I’ve had it for over two years now and it’s so much easier (and safer) for me. I did slice my thumb open yesterday on my mandolin, but I still love it. Oh, and I have a simple, black cooking spoon that was my mom’s. Nothing special, but it’s my favorite untensil to cook with. It’s sturdy and has a nice, thin, flat edge. I am going to look into that 3-tier rack above, though. I would get plenty of use out of it!

  3. Have not used my garlic press since my dad told me about using the microplaner for garlic. AMAZING. Remember your Alton Brown. The finer you cut the garlic, the more garlic flavor you get. I use less garlic but get more flavor. AMAZING.

    I would never use the stuffing cage. Consider (more Alton Brown here) a large, irregularly shaped wad of protein, with mixed density, and an empty cavity. It will cook faster and more evenly than a large, irregularly shaped wad of protein stuffed with a football of carbohyrdate. You can have moist stuffing like this or moist turkey, but probably not both. I’m with you, turkey in one pan, stuffing in another.

    I don’t think my oven is big enough for the three tier rack. But I did buy the lifter. And then I thought to myself, I think I’m gonna beer can the turkey anyway. So, maybe it will go back. Have to figure if the turkey (for 8) will stand on a beer can in my small oven.

  4. April–Yeah, I am pretty intrigued by the rack. Might need to investigate it. I’ll let you know if I do.

    Foong–Hehe, see, you’re proof positive that you don’t need a lot of toys to make beautiful food. 😀 You do have that nifty microwave/oven combination, though (not a gadget, I know). When my microwave dies, I’m going to look for one of those, I think.

    Zena–See? It’s all about how you cook. And eeep, I’ve done that myself on my mandolin…Let me know if you grab that rack before I do. 😀

    Max–OH, fabulous! I’m going to try the microplaner next time for garlic. And excellent points about the stuffing cage. That’s the longer explanation for why I always use a pan. (Love that Alton Brown.)

    Let me know how the turkey comes out (pictures, pretty please, if it’s awesome?). Depending on how big the cavity is on your bird, maybe 2 or 3 cans would help make a more stable base?

    +Jessie

  5. I was eying one of those stuffing cages the other day but decided no. I am much like you with a lot of gadgets that I never use. The turkey lifter is kind of cool, sometimes it’s hard to get a good grip on them. I have a garlic press but hardly ever use it, one of my favorite parts of cooking is the chopping. Gimme a good knife and a cutting board and I”m pretty much set.

  6. I could see me tearing up a whole turkey with that stuffing cage!! I too am curious but certainly don’t want to be the first one to wreck the tried & true stuffing method. I am enamored with that rack though. I personally couldn’t live through Turkey Day without a fat separator though.

  7. I’m not a fan of one-hit-wonders. I have taken most of my gadgets to goodwill over the past year or so. My kitchen is efficient with things I always use: mini cuisinart, cast-iron skillets, boos chopping board, wooden spoons, my grandmother’s measuring cups my good knives. Everything else pretty much stays in ‘the drawer’. OH! I know one gadget I was surprised by how much I love is my cherry pitter. Now that’s an exception to my one-hit-wonder rule. I heart my cherry pitter.

  8. How interesting, and what a lot of ideas!
    I don’t think I’d ever use the turkey stuffing gadget. It just seems wrong for some reason! I do have a really old fashioned turkey lifter which is very handy, since when it’s time to take the turkey out of the oven, all the strong people in the house are suddenly absent!
    I like the idea of the food loop, but I doubt I’d ever really use one.
    I’m a huge fan of the simple ceramic disc which keeps my brown sugar soft! :o) Nothing more annoying when I want to bake than having rock hard brown sugar!
    Cindy H
    http://www.jbkpottery.com

  9. For peeling garlic I use my microwave. Just pop in a clove for 5 seconds then you can pop the meat right out.

    For my money the best gadget you can buy is a digital probe thermometer. Whenever I cook meat or poultry in the oven I always stick it first and cook it to exactly where I want it. Perfect every time.

  10. Maybe this qualifies as a gadget, maybe not, but I bought one of those cheapo Rival electric turkey roaster ovens about 3 years ago, and it might be the best $25 I’ve ever spent. For one thing, it has made super turkeys all 3 Thanksgivings I’ve had it. More importantly though, it frees up the regular oven for all the side dishes. I think it would take me a whole lot longer to whip up Thanksgiving dinner if I had to use my one regular oven for everything. I only use it once a year, but I’m glad I have it every time that once rolls around!

  11. […] Five Thanksgiving Kitchen Gadgets The Hungry Mouse Posted by root 16 hours ago (http://www.thehungrymouse.com) Gimme a good knife and a cutting board and i m pretty much set cast iron skillets boos chopping board wooden spoons my grandmother measuring cups my good knives add your comment below or trackback from your own site powered by wordpress log in entries rss Discuss  |  Bury |  News | five thanksgiving kitchen gadgets the hungry mouse […]

  12. I was looking at that turkey lifter and a bunch of the reviews said the non=stick coating came off on the turkey. So I didn’t buy it. Silicone pieces in the gravy – yuk!

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