Thanksgiving is the one day--like Easter for once-a-year churchgoers--when lapsed cooks return to the kitchen. And inevitably, the discovery is made that something vital is missing--the meat thermometer, the bulb baster. A last-minute run to the cookware store always seems to be part of the process.

To at least make a good show of knowing your way around this strange kitchen (even if it is your own), here (clockwise from top) is a brief guide to some implements you may have forgotten you had.

1. Whisk: Narrow ones for mixing flour and fat to make gravy, fat ones for whipping cream.

2. Cotton Twine and Trussing Needle: For sewing shut any turkey parts that may need it.


3. Strainer: For sieving lumps from things that are supposed to be smooth (like the gravy you didn’t whisk well enough).

4. Pastry Blender: For cutting butter into flour to start a pie crust.

5. Instant-Read Thermometer: How else do you know when the turkey’s done?

6. Poultry Shears: For making those little nips and tucks even a Tom sometimes takes.

7. Trussing Kit: Not what you think, just an easier way to sew the turkey shut.

8. Potato Masher: You didn’t really think they came from a box, did you?

9. Bulb Baster: It’s a lot easier than trying to maneuver a spoon full of hot fat around a 25-pound bird.

10. Pastry Brush: Lots of uses, actually--applying glazes to pies, brushing roasting juices on turkeys, painting your masterpiece. Just don’t use the same brush for all three.

11. Cheesecloth: Some cooks do, some cooks don’t--soak it in melted butter and use it to keep the breast moist.