Why a Restaurant Store Is the Hero of Your Thanksgiving Dinner
Having your first Thanksgiving dinner can be intimidating, especially this year, which could also be your guests’ first personal holiday meeting in … quite some time. This is a large lunch with a lot of dishes and requires more pots, pans, plates, and serving utensils than the average person has in their kitchen. Unless you are a regular host of large dinner parties, you may need to replenish your regular kitchen inventory, and you should do this by visiting a restaurant supply store.
Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, and even Target are currently well stocked with holiday plates, carving knives, and large cutting boards, but they all charge way too much for items you’ll use once or twice a year. You can find all the same simple things in a restaurant supply store for less money. The dish cannot be decorated with a turkey image, but that means you can use them all year round. (In any case, you are going to add real turkey to the dish.)
Apart from large bird-sized plates, a restaurant supply store is a good source of any equipment you may not need.
Knives and knife sharpeners
Thanksgiving requires a lot of slicing, dicing, and (obviously) carving. If you have knives that can handle all of this, great – sharpen them now . If not, take yourself to a restaurant store and buy some cheap blades (I love the Kiwi brand, especially for cleavers). Get at least one chef’s knife, a large carving knife and a vegetable cleaver, as well as sharpened steel and a sharpener (you can stretch it through ).
Even if you have a cutting board suitable for chopping leg quarters, it is unlikely that you have one large enough to carve a ceremonial bird, so grab one. Look for one with grooves around the perimeter to keep the turkey juice from spilling all over the place.
Need a whisk, rolling pin, or a bunch of metal mixing bowls? The restaurant supply store has it all, plus all the parchment paper (get the pre-cut sheets), some really good cling film, and aluminum foil you might need. If your restaurant store also sells food, this is a good place to get the tons of butter you will need if you bake a lot of pies.
Jugs, glasses and coffee cups
Want to serve a drink other than wine or soda? You will need a pitcher, and the restaurant supply store has the same plastic pitchers that you most likely saw in restaurants (now you know where they come from). They also have every beverage container you can think of, from wine glasses to coffee cups. Are these the prettiest wine glasses? No, but that means you won’t be so upset if someone breaks one of them. (Pro tip: Don’t forget about water and iced tea glasses. Water and iced tea glasses are the only things I never get enough of.)
Take-away containers (for leftovers)
I’ve said this a few times , but placing leftovers in takeout containers makes storage and access much easier (when you’re digging at 2am). It also makes sending guests home with scraps a lot less stressful. No one should return glass containers or Tupperware utensils, and they are microwave, freezer, dishwasher safe and virtually unbreakable.
Cutlery and serving spoons
Trust me, if you’re not a regular dinner party organizer, you are missing serving spoons. It is also likely that you do not have enough regular-sized spoons. You might think so, but keep in mind that the average guest eats two or three scoops during their meal (they will only use two scoops for coffee and dessert). Count the heads, then count your cutlery, then grab some extra forks, dinner knives, and spoons so you don’t have to wash anything between lunch and dessert.