The holiday season is upon us and that means amazing culinary treats and possible weight gain. This is Superbowl season for all food lovers. Some of us will spend days in the kitchen preparing for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and other holiday events. It is the most wonderful time of the year. It can also be a very tiring time, that is why I am offering five tips for surviving holiday meal preparation.
1. Shop early and test recipes
Why wait until the weekend before the holiday to do your shopping. Many of the items you will need for your meals are not going to parish right away. So it is okay to buy these items ahead of time and store them in your cabinets or freezer. Aside from fresh vegetables and fresh spices, most items can be bought a couple of weeks before, so make it easier on yourself. Also, if it is the first time you are trying a recipe, do a test run. There is nothing worst than having a recipe go wrong. Taking on too much can create stress in the kitchen and we don’t want that. I know that I always feel more confident in the kitchen if I have successful made the dish before. So try the recipe out and make sure it is going to work for you and your family.
2. Don’t be afraid to outsource
Many of us wear multiple hats in our household. Working everyday, taking care of the house, and cooking a large meal can be a lot to take on, especially if you are not use to cooking for 10 to 20 people at one time. If you know you don’t like baking or only want to do the pies, it is okay to stop by the bakery and get the German chocolate cake. Many times, holiday cooking brings this pressure to feel like you need to cook everything yourself and you don’t. Play to your strengths and keep your kitchen fun.
3. Perfection is not a requirement
No one loves a beautiful table more than myself, but just because you are the house everyone comes to on the holiday, does not mean you have to go purchase all new dinnerware each year. No one with any sense is going to judge you for having the same table setup as last year. Everything does not have to match. If you want to get new items, great, but don’t put any additional pressure on yourself. Maybe this year, you only change out the wine glasses and get the ones you see Olivia Pope drinking out of on Scandal. But whatever you do, do it because you want to do it.
4. Appetizers are your friend
So it is the holiday and you have this fabulous meal planned, but the dressing is taking longer than you thought, have some appetizers ready to hold everyone over until the main attraction is ready. Appetizers do not need to be complicated. A little bread, some cream cheese, seasoning, and diced tomatoes can go a long way.
5. Make sure you take time to have fun
If your only memory from the holiday is cooking and cleaning up, than you missed the day and were just a family employee. Get a cocktail, talk to your guests, assign someone else to do the clean up, but make sure you are making memories too. Have a drink while you are cooking, but make sure you are doing something for you. The holidays are about being with family and friends, make sure you do not get lost in the shuffle!