Unitasker Wednesday: Electric Gravy Boat Warming Plate

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching in the U.S., I thought a gravy-themed unitasker was an obvious choice for our feature. Introducing the Electric Gravy Boat Warming Plate:

Before you start dreaming of all the ways you could use this tiny warming plate, you need to know it has a power cord. I’m imagining my grandmother, all 101 years of her, slowly walking to her dining seat, approaching the head of the table, and, just before she is able to sit down, tripping on the Electric Gravy Boat Warming Plate’s power cord. She’d be scalded by the gravy and then again by the warming plate before Uncle Pat could rush to her aid.

No one wants her grandmother to be scalded by gravy!

I also want to once again point out that this device is warming GRAVY. Gravy is a food that is so copiously and quickly consumed that it never has the opportunity to get cold. But, even if gravy is left sitting for some strange reason and is served at room temperature, it is still incredibly yummy. No one complains about cold gravy because — hot or cold — it is delicious fat in a liquid form.

Cold gravy is not the problem; dry turkey is the problem. Someone needs to invent a device that transforms turkey the consistency of plaster into moist, juicy, edible fowl. Mmmmmmm …

Thanks to reader Autumn for leading us to this unitasker.

40 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Electric Gravy Boat Warming Plate”

  1. posted by VrstyFemme on

    In my family, that wonderful turkey saving device is called BUTTER!!!

  2. posted by Ruth Hansell on

    Well, let’s see, how about a time machine, that takes you back to before the actual cooking part. You know, so you can call your Aunt Lydia, who always made the best turkeys, or look at recipes. Research, I think they call it – availing yourself of the wisdom and experiences of others.

    My Mom was a gravy addict. She’d decide what to make for dinner based on the gravy potential. Her favorite dessert was heated up, left over gravy spooned over a piece of buttered white bread. She’d have scoffed such an idea as a gravy boat warmer.

  3. posted by PatGLex on

    My brother deep-fries turkeys and he injects the bird pre-frying with butter and herbs/spices/rub concoctions. I would think that injecting butter or margarine or some marinade mixture would keep the turkey meat moist….

  4. posted by Rebekah on

    Cooks Illustrated just reviewed this too and they brought up a good point – when they tested it, it kept sauce at 180 degrees F at the bottom and 98 degrees F at the surface, which is quite a temp difference for such a small boat. They noted that the govt recommends food be kept between 90-140 for an hour at most. So after an hour you’d be in the “danger zone” for food safety. Both deal breakers for me–in addition to having to find extra space on the counter for something like this on T-day. :)

  5. posted by Owengirl79 on

    And besides, it’s ugly! One of the few times a year I use the good china and such and I am NOT putting an ugly CORDED gravy boat on the table. A regular gravy boat has worked for centuries…don’t mess with it!

  6. posted by WilliamB on

    I’ve heard complaints about cold gravy before. This device could be somewhat useful – *without* the cord. They really missed the boat there by not making it battery operated. Grandmother really is at risk around that table.

    Turkey is hard to cook whole because it’s big, it’s unevenly shaped, and white and dark meat needs to cook differently. There are a number of things to make it come out better:

    1. BRINE. Soak the bird in salty water (1-2c salt per gallon water) overnight. Drain and dry off the skin before cooking.

    2. BUTTER. Smear softened salted butter between the skin and meat of the bird. You can add herbs to the butter as well.

    3. COOK IN PIECES: cut the bird into wings, leg quarters, and breast halves. Roast at the same time but the wings will be ready first, then the breasts, then the legs. Carve and serve.

    4. BUTTERFLY: If you don’t want to cook in pieces, then butterfly: cut the backbone out of the bird, flatten it out, cook it skin-side up, perhaps on a bed of stuffing. You can put the bird back together afterward.

    5. REST. After cooking let the bird rest for 20-30 min. This allows the meat to reaborb the juices so they’re in the meat and not running out on the plate.

  7. posted by ecuadoriana on

    Gravy Boat gravy warmer? *Snort* Electric cord dangling off the edge of the table, trailing across the floor to the outlet? Great. I can see the family lawsuits already as drunk uncle Billy trips over the cord and sends scalding hot (180°!) gravy all over everyone!

    Of course I don’t know, but I suspect that, like most new appliances today, it has a rinky dink useless 2 ft cord that barely reaches any outlet without the aid of an extension cord (my coffee bean grinder has a 12″ cord that doesn’t even reach the outlet on the wall above my counter top so I actually have to hold the grinder up in the air while it’s in operation! Stupid.). So now we have an extension cord dangling off the table, trailing across the floor, drunk uncles tripping over it, and meanwhile isn’t this what the microwave is for? Heating gravy (and cold coffee)?

    Besides, how long does gravy actually sit around waiting to get cold? I thought the whole purpose of gravy was to pour it on your food and eat it! (Of course I am only speculating as I am vegetarian & don’t eat turkey or gravy, but even I can see the silliness of this product!)

    Also, I am surprised that it doesn’t come with a locking mechanism to keep people from stealing your gravy!

  8. posted by Andrea on

    Brining your turkey will change your poultry eating life. It doesn’t make your turkey salty at all, but it will flavor it nicely and keep it moist, even if you have leftovers in the fridge or freezer. I HIGHLY recommend the “perfect turkey” Alton Brown started 10 years ago on the show Good Eats. It’s a cult classic that is fail proof!

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/rec.....index.html

    I promise, once you try it you will NEVER look back.

  9. posted by Mary Ellen on

    The cord is detachable.

  10. posted by Jen on

    am i the only one who thinks that the gravy boat itself is a unitasker? i have one (wedding gift with the china set) and i don’t think i’ve ever used it. i suppose it may be one of those useful unitaskers for those who host thanksgiving dinners or frequently make roasted chicken/turkey – i’m just not one of them. also, in my family, the gravy and turkey are usually eaten before then have the chance to get cold anyway!

  11. posted by Meg on

    “Cold gravy is not the problem; dry turkey is the problem. Someone needs to invent a device that transforms turkey the consistency of plaster into moist, juicy, edible fowl. Mmmmmmm …”

    Seitan roast FTW!

    My husband is planning to make a deep-fried, stuffed seitan roast for this Thanksgiving. I’m so looking forward to it because he makes homemade seitan which is DELICIOUS (also extremely cheap and very easy to make — many recipes online). He normally deep-fries pieces like popcorn chicken and that is amazing. But he’s planning to do things a bit special for the holiday. And it’s great because we don’t have to worry about special turkey roasters or bags or gutting the poor bird or worrying that the stuffing will get contaminated with who knows what if we cook it inside the roast.

    Yes, I know most people here probably wouldn’t consider it Thanksgiving without a turkey, but you should at least try some homemade seitan some time.

    As for the gravy dish, we don’t have a problem with clumping gravy usually because we don’t tend to use a lot of saturated or trans fats. But, we do have a trivet with a tea candle holder that we can use for a variety of dishes. That’s a much better solution, imho.

  12. posted by Anita on

    … maybe the point is not to keep gravy warm, but to keep your hands from experiencing the intense discomfort of touching a cold gravy boat handle? Teehee.

  13. posted by Celeste on

    If you already owned it and wanted it to multi-task, you could use it to keep pancake syrup warm at the table.

  14. posted by priest's wife on

    I was going to post my brining recipe- but I’ve been beaten to it. I like to use half apple juice in my brine solution- gives it a nice taste- but not really apple-y

    My amazing idea for hot gravy- put half in the boat, leave the rest on an off-but still warm burner on the stove. When gravy in boat is consumed, go to kitchen and refill with hot gravy. GENIUS

  15. posted by Melanie on

    My brother has one of these and uses it on a weekly basis. He also uses it to keep nacho cheese warm on game day.

    I usually just put my gravy in a crockpot set on low. If serving buffet style, this works perfect. If serving family style, the a regular gravy boat is used and refilled as necessary from the crockpot.

    Gravy gets cold fast! And if you have a dinner with 20 people there is no way they are all fixing their plates within the time the gravy will still be warm. Especially when it comes time for seconds, and thirds, at Thanksgiving.

  16. posted by Kathryn Fenner on

    I have this

    http://www.crateandbarrel.com/.....er/s456896

    and it keeps a pot of tea nice and warm–I’d imagine it would do the same for gravy during a reasonable length meal. It looks really nice, too.

    I hate gravy, though, and since it’s not particularly good for me anyway….I have an Uncluttered Thanksgiving meal–turkey made in a Reynolds bag–nice and moist and easy cleanup, and less time in the oven, plain buttered sweet potatoes and green beans. Good for me, and tastes good, too, and not all that gloppy crud!

  17. posted by Dorothy on

    Well, I’ve experienced cold gravy with “seconds” and have a couple tips:

    First, warm your gravy server with hot water before you put the gravy in it. This will keep it warmer longer since the thing won’t suck the heat out of the gravy immediately.

    Second, if you’re not wed to using a fancy open gravy boat, use an earthenware pitcher with a small opening. That will help keep the heat in the gravy, too.

  18. posted by infmom on

    We were given a small round electric trivet as a wedding present in 1972. For some reason, we still have it, and it still works.

    Maybe I shouldn’t be mentioning that in this space. :)

  19. posted by Mario on

    This is NOT a unitasker! Alternate use:

    I have Hypoglymatic induced ColdSperm syndrome. It is impossible to have a child with the aforementioned affliction, said all of my doctors. But now! With this dandy dish, just maybe, I have a chance to carry on the family name.

  20. posted by ecuadoriana on

    @ Mario: Wait…what? Do you propose to place your John Thomas is this gravy boat warmer….oooooooohhhh, NOW I get it…..Wait, what? Eeewwwww!!!! Hope nobody mistakes that for melted American cheese during football games……

    *snort*

  21. posted by Leslie on

    I actually happen to intensely dislike cold gravy. But that’s what the microwave is for.

    I do, however, have a similar device intended for keeping beverages in ceramic mugs warm. Most of the time, I manage to drink things before they get cold. But for those times when you get in a zone doing something on the computer, or uncluttering a large pile :) and remember an hour and a half later that you made tea, it’s nice to have it still be warm.

  22. posted by Gena on

    Mario strikes again! Now, I’ll never be able to look at a gravy boat without imagining…well, I mean…something other than GRAVY!

  23. posted by Ms. D on

    Brining and a meat thermometer will solve your dry turkey problem. Cook it only to 155 degrees at the thigh, pull out of the oven, and tent with tin foil for 15 minutes. Make sure you’re using a roast/bird rack (while a good roasting pan with a rack is basically a unitasker, it’s a good one. Alternatively, a sturdy cookie cooling rack with some folded up tin foil under the feet to increase its clearance will do in a pinch). I brine my turkey in a large stock pot with the lid taped on stuck outside the back door (I’d have to remove a shelf from my fridge to fit the pot in there, and I can’t afford to lose that space when making a holiday meal). As long as it doesn’t get above 40 the day you stick your turkey outside (I do it overnight so the temps are lower), you’re safe.

  24. posted by Julie Bestry on

    “I have been looking for a person who disliked gravy all my life; let us swear eternal friendship.”

    ~ Sydney Smith

    (Sorry, but I hate gravy, love this quote, and rarely have anyplace even tangentially appropriate to use it.)

  25. posted by Karen on

    @ Meg
    Okay, I’m game! (poor choice of words). Post Hubby’s Seitan recipe or send samples! Seitan is right up there with kohlrabi for me–I’d be delighted to eat it if I could figure out a decent way of preparing it.

  26. posted by Ms. D on

    @Julie…I hate gravy, too. And stuffing. I must be a terrorist or something.

  27. posted by Laetitia in Australia on

    Congratulations to your grandmother for reaching such a great age!

  28. posted by Holly on

    @ Karen

    Kohlrabi is one of my favorite vegetables! When it is very fresh, eat it raw (as you would carrot sticks, or shredded in a salad, or like cole slaw). If it is a little less fresh (or if you want something hot), cut it in thin sticks, steam it (I use a microwave) briefly, then squeeze lime juice over it with a few grinds of fresh pepper and salt to taste. Delicious!

  29. posted by Heidi on

    They have invented that device and it’s called a turkey fryer. It can be used for more than frying turkey so it’s a darn good cooking device for many things. Especially for families that spend a great deal of time outside, since no sane person would attempt frying a turkey inside.

  30. posted by Jo@simplybeingmum on

    The best way I know how to keep gravy warm is in a slow cooker – I should know I do it a lot! After dishing up your complete roast dinner that you have just simply and perfectly prepared in one pot, pop the gravy in whilst dishing up and pour over. If you are using gravy boats fill just before serving – the heat will not reduce that dramatically. I’m into simple one pot cooking, and multiple devices like this just don’t hit the mark. If anyone doesn’t think they can prepare a roast in a slow cooker effectively then please do stop by my blog – it is achievable in the simplest way.

  31. posted by Phyllis on

    We just preheat a thermos coffee caraffe and pour the gravy from that. Works great. It is white and stylish so it doesn’t look odd on the table.

  32. posted by Meg on

    Hi Karen!

    Here’s a video recipe we’re hoping to try and probably fiddle with: http://www.youtube.com/user/ds.....ljjfaSf4qQ

    We haven’t tried it yet, but it looks good. And the guy has another video on seitan here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O0cQazV1Ys

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of my husband’s deep-fried seitan recipe available. It’s still written in his secret code of scribbles. He’s been asked to publish it in an upcoming cookbook, though, so he’ll be translating it soon, I hope.

    In the meantime, I can tell you that he makes the seitan ahead of time and puts, among other things, half a container of Jamaican jerk seasoning in the stock pot with it as it cooks and then lets it marinate overnight. The next day, he cuts it into smaller pieces, batters it (mostly flour, a bit of mustard, and a touch of cayenne), and deep fries it.

  33. posted by Erin on

    I think it’s funny the comments have become turkey cooking tips.

    Years ago my mother’s butcher talked her into getting a fresh turkey. He said if it wasn’t the best she ever had he would give her a full refund. It was great.

    I have remembered this lesson and always order a fresh (not frozen) bird. Never, ever dry.

  34. posted by Laura on

    When we have everyone together for dinner the gravy does tend to get cold, especially by the time we have seconds. My mother-in-law uses an insulated carafe (like Phyllis mentioned above)and the gravy stays piping hot.

  35. posted by Betsy on

    Try a turkey from a local farm that raises turkeys on pasture (where they belong).

    The industrial turkeys at the grocery store are fed such interesting “foodstuffs” as poultry litter (used poultry bedding, just what it sounds like), stale candy and chewing gum, and moldy vegetable trimmings from canning operations. No wonder supermarket turkeys taste like cr&p and you have to pour butter and salt all over them to make them edible!

    Pasture-raised turkeys are always old-fashioned delicious!

  36. posted by Lydia on

    I believe I’ve seen gravy boats with little dishes underneath where you can put a tea light. That seems like a good option if you are (a) insistent about your gravy being warm and (b) fussy about how your table looks for Thanksgiving.

    I don’t eat gravy, so I would only care about the aesthetic issue. No cords (or thermoses) on my Thanksgiving table!

  37. posted by george on

    buffet cabinet or bar beside the table. (everything won’t fit on the table anyway)

    Heated gravy boat goes on table, cord goes behind bar.

    alternately, tape the cord closely to the table leg and throw a rug over it on the floor.

  38. posted by Mel on

    This is by far the most hilarious unitasker fiasco scenario thus far – BRAVO! You’ve just made my night =)

  39. posted by Joanne on

    I saw this in Chef’s Catalog and giggled to myself =)

  40. posted by Adam Snider on

    While I mostly agree with this post, I must say: cold gravy is disgusting. It’s fine once you re-heat it, but it is disgusting when cold.

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