While you probably associate Thanksgiving with homecooked food made around the hearth, inventors have long been working on ways to modernize the family meal. Here, we present nine real patents -- from an in-oven pie-filling machine to a drill used to speed the creaming of corn -- that might help to make your holiday preparations go a little more smoothly. Most of these patents have been around for a while, but don't be alarmed if things don't work out exactly as advertised: It took more than 100 years of tinkering to get something as simple as gravy to the state it's in today.