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The Tools Of The Trade


There are certain things I can’t do without when making Thanksgiving dinner. I generally start prepping everything 3 days in advance. I make the pie dough and refrigerate, make the cornbread and bread cubes on Tuesday letting it oven dry for hours, make the mashed potatoes on Wednesday cover and refrigerate and make the dressing also that same day along along with the cranberry sauce and pies. You see in the picture my large graniteware roasting pan, the gravy separator and my food mill and you may wonder what that bottle of gravy master is doing there. The answer to that one is, I would not want to make gravy without it, I guess you can say its a habit or a tradition but I find that a dash of that mysterious brown stuff in my opinion makes the gravy better.

I make checklists for each day leading up to Thanksgiving and attach stickies (app on my computer) on the screen, deleting when the task is done. It’s not that I won’t remember, I probably would but I feel more organized when I have my list of things to do in eyes reach.

The gravy separator: Using my method for roasting turkey produces a huge amount of pan juices and because I slather that turkey with compound butter there is also a lot of oil, the separator is essential for me. It effectively separates the oil from the pan juice. To make gravy I scoop from the top of the separator about 1/4 cup of the fat, add to saucier or saute pan and heat on medium high, then I whisk in approximately 1/4 cup of flour and whisk it so there are no lumps it will be paste like in consistency, whisk constantly for a few minutes to cook the flour, you are making a roux. Once thats done, slowly pour in the pan juice whisking while pouring adding more as you need it, once it reaches a thickish but pourable consistency turn heat to low, add salt (if needed) pepper and a dash of gravy master. I always have smooth flavorful gravy every time. If your gravy is too thin, don’t worry make a slurry of flour and water and pour a little in the gravy and continue cooking it will thicken up nicely.

The Food Mill: I make enough mashed potatoes to feed an army. I like Yukon Gold but use russet if you like. I generally figure 1 1/2 potatoes per person. I use 10 largish potatoes, clean, peel and slice (try to get the slices as even in size as possible), place in salted COLD water and place on high heat until they start to boil, then reduce heat to medium and let them cook until fork tender. I place a large mixing bowl in the sink and position the food mill on top of it, the potatoes are then scooped (I use one of those spider scoop thingy’s) and add some to the mill, crank it and repeat, be sure to scrape the bottom of the food mill as potatoes tend to accumulate there. I like to use the mill because the potatoes are perfectly smooth and creamy no lumps at all! I then add softened butter, sour cream and salt and pepper (to taste), mix it all together, cover and refrigerate over night. I re heat the potatoes by placing the mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring frequently. Keep covered with foil to keep hot.

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Has anyone ever told you you are ridiculously Organised! I would hire you as a party planner!

    Choc Chip Uru

    November 18, 2012
    • LOL, they don’t use the term organized they say I am OCD, thank you so much. I would plan a party for you any time at all!

      November 18, 2012
  2. Impressive! What is a graniteware roasting pan? Is it really made of granite?

    November 18, 2012
    • Thank you, graniteware is a brand of roasting pan, it isn’t made of granite and is actually very light in weight. It is such a revelation for roasting or baking. Very inexpensive and produces a perfectly roasted chicken, pork or lamb roast. I literally use it for everything.

      November 18, 2012
  3. petit4chocolatier #

    You are so organized. How wonderful; less to do later. I love your gravy.
    I ordered online a graniteware roaster, and cannot wait for it to arrive.

    November 18, 2012
    • I have to be organized but no matter how hard I try and do so much in advance of the meal there is still that last minute crunch getting things done, juggling oven time. After the meal I just want to curl up in a ball and sleep. My stove is, well less than adequate. I am baking 8 pies this year 6 for friends and 2 for our meal, the trick is getting all 8 pies baked and get everything else prepped and ready on Wednesday, It’s a marathon of epic proportions, Thank you so much and I hope you enjoy the graniteware pan. I have 3 of varying sizes and use them all the time. Have a wonderful holiday!

      November 18, 2012
      • petit4chocolatier #

        You are incredible!

        Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

        November 18, 2012
      • Thank you so much!

        November 18, 2012
  4. Hi there! I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!!
    Please visit me at:
    to find out what this is all about.
    I know you have been nominated before but I really do enjoy your blog and all the hard work you put into i!

    November 19, 2012
    • Thank you so much Cindy!! I really appreciate it and love your blog also.

      November 19, 2012
  5. I agree with others, you are very organized. I just usually have a list on a piece of paper that I follow. Your gravy master, is that like kitchen bouquet? Just curious, I’ve never seen it before.

    November 19, 2012
    • I have never heard of kitchen bouquet, not sure if its the same. I have used it for years. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you so much.

      November 19, 2012
      • I would tell you what is in kitchen bouquet but, apparently I’m out! Someday I’ll remember and email you out of the blue. I do strange things like that 😉 You have a wonderful Thanksgiving too! xoxo

        November 19, 2012
      • Thank you love getting emails out of the blue, you have a wonderful holiday and can’t wait to see pics of your visit with your son and grandson. Hope you are doing ok!

        November 19, 2012
  6. Thanks for the tips. I’m helping to prepare a late Aussie Thanksgiving this Sunday. Fingers crossed!

    November 27, 2012
  7. I’m always fascinated to read about your process, Suzanne. (And now I’m totally Jonesing for mashed potatoes! LOL) Hugs.

    November 19, 2017

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