There are a lot of fancy, expensive cooking gadgets out there. But these are the four that we think make Thanksgiving immeasurably easier. You will find a range of designs -- and prices -- for the following products, which are available at most kitchenware stores.
FAT SEPARATOR You can laboriously skim the fat from the turkey drippings while everyone waits at the table. Or you can let a fat-separator cup do the work for you. The fat rises to the top, and the juices pour effortlessly from the spout at the bottom. Beginning this year, some models include a strainer, which means drippings can be poured directly into the cup.
Glass model from Williams- Sonoma ($22 for two-cup separator; $24 for four-cup separator); plastic version by Oxo ($17).
ROASTING PAN Look for a sturdy metal roasting pan (NOT disposable) that allows about two inches of space between the meat and the pan, and another two inches between the pan and the sides of the oven. It doesn't hurt to measure your oven before you buy a new pan. If handles are a feature on a pan, they should be upright -- not the loops that can be raised from the side, which are not reliable for heavy lifting.
OVEN THERMOMETER A digital thermometer takes all guesswork out of knowing when to remove the bird from the oven. For maximum accuracy, use two probes, one for the white meat (which is done when it registers 170 degrees), the other for dark meat (180 degrees).
FLAT WHISK Lump-free gravy takes a strong arm and a good whisk -- preferably a flat whisk that conforms to the shape of the pan so it can incorporate flour otherwise left in the pan's corners.