Published November 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.
For many Thanksgiving diners, turkey is merely a vehicle for the star of the show: the gravy.
But when gravy fans ask for a second helping (as they always do), they’re likely to find a cold, congealed mess. Enter the Deni Electric Gravy Warmer ($24.99), which promises warm gravy or sauce “whenever your guests are ready.” The device consists of a ceramic sauceboat atop an electric heating base. When we tested the boat with preheated gravy and hollandaise sauce, both stayed warm, not hot, for three hours, but we were troubled by the extremes in temperature they reached: 180 degrees near the bottom of the boat and as low as 98 degrees at the surface. Federal guidelines recommend keeping food in the 90-to 140-degree range for one hour at most, so we wouldn’t advise filling the boat and forgetting about it. Plus, after three hours, our hollandaise, though edible had broken. Our verdict? The unit handles liquids well, pouring sticky maple syrup with only a couple of drips, but for perishables, its usefulness tops out at an hour.