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Items Needed for Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner
Cooking the Thanksgiving Meal
When it comes to Thanksgiving, most of us picture plenty of food. There is usually turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, veggies, rolls, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and of course... pumpkin pie. Some families also have items like ham, green bean casserole, duck, sweet potato pie, and other traditional items. Depending on the family's tradition, many different types of foods are expected at the Thanksgiving dinner. If you are making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time on your own, the task can be very daunting. A list of items needed to cook the Thanksgiving dinner can be quite helpful!
The first thing you should do is determine how many people will be dining with you on Thanksgiving. After making that determination, I strongly suggest trying to convince some of your guests to bring some of the important food items on the list. If this is your first Thanksgiving meal you are preparing, it will help take some of the pressure off of you. Furthermore, find out in advance what your guests are bringing. There is no need for everyone to show up with pumpkin pies.
Another helpful hint is to decide in advance what you are making from scratch vs. what you are buying at the store. Until recently, it never even occurred to me that anyone made cranberry sauce from scratch. In my family, someone always brought a few cans of cranberry sauce, used the can opener, and then plopped the cranberry sauce down on a plate. Done! So depending on who your are entertaining and how ambitious you are feeling, you might just decide to go a little easy on yourself and purchase some already prepared items.
We're Talking Turkey
The Turkey's Requirements
When cooking a turkey in the oven, always have a turkey roaster. Last year I tried to save some cash and cooked a turkey in a dutch oven. Friends, do not make the same mistake I did. I am not a good cook by any stretch of the imagination. I often take shortcuts that just do not work out. Do yourself a favor. Either buy a nice roaster or borrow one. Dutch ovens were not meant to cook a turkey in an oven.
Some folks will tell you to get a thermometer for the turkey. Personally, I think it is not needed. You can just use the "stab it with a knife until the blood stops running out" method and then it's ready. However, if food poisoning is something you'd prefer to avoid this Thanksgiving, you might want to get a thermometer for your turkey so you know the exact time to take it out of the oven.
A couple of other items you are going to need for the turkey is a turkey baster for adding butter, turkey lifters for removing the turkey, and a decent carving knife. You can perhaps get by without the turker baster or even the turkey lifters (although disaster can happen when you decide to "improvise" without those as well - I will spare you the details), but a knife is really important. If possible, get a nice platter for the turkey, too.
Slow Cookers and Crock Pots
Since you are going to be cooking so many items on the stove and in the oven, you may want to use a crock pot to warm up veggies or even gravy. Depending on the speed of your crock pot, this might make the most sense. You can start that early on and totally neglect it while you use the stove and the oven for the more complex items on the menu.
You may even want to invest in a triple slow cooker. You can actually heat up to 3 different types of food at the same time. This is, once again, a good idea if you have limited space on your stove top or if not all of the burners work. Furthermore, instead of crowding the kitchen with a number of people working on different tasks, put the slow cooker in a different area and put someone to work watching that food. Even if it is a basic task, that is all some people are able to do. For instance, pesky children that want to help - let them watch the slow cooker! You can pretend it is an important job.
Pots, Pans, and Utensils, Oh My!
Pots and Pans
For this Thanksgiving dinner, you may want to take a look at your pots and pans. Do they look like they are up for the challenge of cooking a major meal this holiday season? Furthermore, are they up for the challenge of potentially cooking a number of major meals this holiday season? Let's not forget, we've got Christmas and New Year's Day coming soon. If the answer to either of those questions is "no," then the time has come to go out and buy some new pots and pans.
Often, it is better to just buy a nice set. You can often save money that way rather than buying just a couple of pans as replacements. So decide before going out shopping what you need and determine a budget. Once you get in the stores, there will be many shapes, sizes, and colors (oh, look at the new pretty red set!) to entice you, but don't get thrown off. Stick to what you know you can afford.
You are going to need a lot of cooking utensils to cook this Thanksgiving meal. I repeat - A LOT of cooking utensils. Don't think just because you've got some people bringing some dishes over that you are going to be all set. Do you think anyone is going to think to bring cooking utensils? No, not a single soul is going to think to bring a spatula, a ladle, or measuring spoons. You are totally on your own on this one.
In this case, seriously, just buy a set. Even if you already have one spatula or one ladle, you will need a lot more for this meal. Yes, Thanksgiving is getting pretty expensive, isn't it? Trust me, you are going to need utensils for this meal you never imagined. When you buy the set, you will think, "What could I possibly ever do with this?" Well, my friend, you are about to find out. Save yourself a lot of time and a lot of heartache, and buy a cooking utensil set. You can thank me later.
If you've made it this far, you are either truly desperate or really bored. Either way, good luck with your Thanksgiving dinner. It will be a challenge, but when it is all over, you will feel much better about yourself. Happy Thanksgiving!
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