The right kitchen gear for Thanksgiving dinner

November 15, 2012 7:50:43 AM PST
Hours before the family sits down to that huge Thanksgiving dinner, somebody has to prepare it.

If that's you, why not give yourself every advantage. Make sure you have all the right kitchen gear.

The good news is that technology hasn't changed much since Grandma's day.

We went to Fante's Kitchen Shop in the Italian Market, where owner Mariella Esosito told us the old-fashioned stuff still works.

If a roaster has been handed down from generation to generation in your family, prize it. Some of the longtime name brands still exist, but Esposito says companies tend to make lighter-weight products now.

A heavier roaster won't make a difference in the turkey but everything else in the pan...like vegetables...is likely to cook better.

If you're looking for a less-expensive alternative to the old-fashioned roaster, the blue-speckled enamel ones are big sellers and do a good job.

Many turkey processors recommend an open-sided roasting pan and Esposito says they work well, too. If your family is doing a small turkey, you have the additional option of choosing one of those two-piece terra cotta roasters. You soak the pan prior to use and it maintains good moisture in the meat.

No matter what you select for roasting, be sure you cook your turkey thoroughly. Processors say the trick is to get the dark meat fully-cooked without drying out the white meat.

A meat thermometer will help, and these are available in a wide variety of styles and price ranges. Chefs like an instant-read model, but it's one of many options. If she could emphasize one purchase above all others, Esposito says it's the carving knife.

Many people assume that a serrated knife is best, but Esposito says that's what's most-likely to shred the meat.

She recommends a hybrid steel knife...stainless steel with some carbon...with a think, straight blade eight to ten inches long. This will hold a good edge but can still be sharpened when needed.

Pure stainless is popular but hard to resharpen once it loses its edge. A good knife might cost you $50.00 or more, but consider it a lifetime investment. You'll probably pass it on to your children, and they might do the same.

Fante's is located at 1006 S. 9th Street, just above Washington Street in South Philadelphia's Italian Market. They're open daily. You may phone them at 215-922-5557 or visit online at Fante's

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