12 Must-Have Products to Fix Any Thanksgiving Emergency
It's the biggest meal, biggest travel day—and the biggest potential for headaches of the year. But these handy items can help your holiday go off without a hitch.
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Turkey Day emergencies happen
Twenty-plus pounds of poultry, out-of-town guests, alcohol, candles, and relatives with widely ranging food intolerances and political leanings. What could go wrong? This Thanksgiving, you’re going to need more than just the Butterball Turkey-Talk Line on standby to get through the day unscathed. But we’ve got you covered. Keep these goods on hand as an all-purpose contingency plan for any last-minute complications, and thank us later. Speaking of the turkey hotline, don’t miss the funniest calls Butterball operators have ever received.
Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.
Problem: Spotty wineglasses
Lemi Shine’s eco-friendly dishwasher detergent packs are made with all-natural ingredients (citrus extracts, mostly), so they’re not harsh on your good place settings and stemware, but still get glass sparkling clean with no trace of Cabernet residue or odors. You can find them at Kroger, HEB, Meijer, and other national retailers. In addition, add this one ingredient to your dishwasher for perfectly clean glasses every time.
Problem: A dull carving knife
Dull knives are notoriously responsible for more accidents in the kitchen than sharp ones, but most people don’t keep their blades properly honed. Cutlery brand F.N. Sharp makes its blades with high-quality Japanese steel, but best of all, they will ship you out an identical set while you send yours in for sharpening, so you’re never without a keen blade. This is the single best way to keep your blades from getting prematurely dull.
Problem: No roasting rack
It’s an easy oversight since odds are you only use it once a year, but no roasting rack is no problem. Simply use Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty to fashion a sturdy coil out of foil, lay it in a baking pan, and set your bird on top to cook. The lift will allow air to circulate under the turkey and cook it evenly. You can also use a piece of foil to cover the breast if it starts to cook too quickly. You can also try making an edible turkey rack and follow these other tips for buying the perfect turkey.
Problem: Awkward conversation
One of the best holiday survival strategies is to try to keep the chitchat from veering off course. Otherwise, you could end up getting stuck hearing all the details of Uncle Cletus’ latest goiter surgery, or having to explain who Lizzo is to your Grandma. These limited-edition Hefty cups can help. Each is printed with a phrase, like “Ask about my furbaby” to help kick-start the conversation.
Problem: Dry spills
When you spy a stray spider web or spill a box of quinoa minutes before company is due, dragging out a full-sized vacuum is a hassle you don’t need. This powerful cordless hand vac is designed to access tiny crevices but has plenty of suction. Plus, you can swap the battery with other Hoover Onepwr products so you’re never out of juice. Don’t worry if your day isn’t perfect—almost everyone makes these 15 mistakes at Thanksgiving.
Problem: Wet spills
Paper towels that give you the option of three different sizes on a single roll mean you can use only as much as you need, and you’re not wasting paper cleaning up a small splatter. And at any size, Brawny Tear-A-Square is sturdy enough to tackle the sloppiest spills. You’ll also want to know how to remove a stain from anything.
Problem: Lumpy potatoes
Who’s got time for hand mashing? You can use the Cuisinart Smart Stick Variable Speed Hand Blender for the creamiest spuds, and mix them right in the pot you cooked them in to minimize dishes. The stick blender is quiet, yet powerful enough to whip those potatoes into shape. If only it could do the same for guests. Don’t miss the best potato recipe from every state.
Problem: Vegan guest
Keeping track of food intolerance, allergies, and special diets can be a host’s worst nightmare. Luckily, Daiya makes a range of vegan dairy products, from cheese to salad dressing, that taste so good, your omnivorous guests will want to have some, too. Many are gluten-free as well, for guests that have celiac. There’s even New York-style Cheezecake for the dessert course. Brush up on these 10 table etiquette rules you need to stop making.
Problem: Not enough seating
It’s rare to find a folding chair that is both comfortable and attractive enough not to look out of place at a formal dining table. The only problem with this one is that everyone will want one. The lightweight aluminum alloy frame holds up to 320 pounds but also collapses down to fit in a convenient bag for storage and travel that weighs less than three pounds. Serving buffet style is one of the 16 tricks that will keep you from losing your mind when hostessing on Thanksgiving.
Problem: Bumps, bruises, and burns
Accidents happen, and in a house full of people, kids, and hot burners, the odds of them happening go up. These genius ice packs actually stick to your skin, providing relief without slowing you down. Keep a stash in the freezer and you can apply them anywhere, even your temples should a headache somehow develop. Here are the quick answers to the most frequently asked Thanksgiving questions.
Problem: Too many leftovers
An abundance of Thanksgiving leftovers isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Having no place to put them, on the other hand… Luckily, Rubbermaid’s Brilliance storage containers are leakproof, BPA-free, and stackable, so you can see at a glance how much stuffing is left when you’re looking for a late-night snack.
Problem: No fresh herbs
Grocery stores are a mob scene this time of year, and if you don’t get there by Monday of Thanksgiving week, things are sold out. Fortunately, someone at Target anticipated this and now stocks frozen common herbs like basil and cilantro, as well as other kitchen staples like garlic, in tiny blocks you can easily add to a recipe for an instant flavor boost, no thawing required. The equivalencies (1 cube = 1 clove of garlic) are right there on the package to make the chef’s job even easier. Wow your guests by sharing the true stories behind these 15 Thanksgiving “facts.”
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