Ahh the holidays – A time for joy, a time for cheer, a time for screaming and running in circles ….
Holiday cooking is probably one of the most memorable and enjoyable aspects of the season, but it can also be a huge source of consternation and hair loss.
Well fret not. I have worked my fingers (and web browser) to the bone to put together these few tips to help get you through the holiday cooking gauntlet.
1. PLAN AHEAD!
Okay so this sounds pretty commonsensical, but you would be surprised how many people fly by the seat of their pants when they're cooking. All this can do for you is provide the opportunity for multiple trips to the store for things you could have gotten the first time around had you only PLANNED BETTER!
Make a decision about the meals and desserts you want to make, and then draft your shopping list accordingly. Refrain from making last minute changes – do not put that added stress on yourself – remember – IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!
2. Do not Be Afraid to Make Extra
I have members in my family that are NOTORIOUS for either showing up unannounced, or for bringing unexpected guests. But it's the holidays! You do not want to let situations like that cause you stress, and you certainly do not want to have to eek out small portions like the cranky lunchroom lady from high school – so be prepared! Squeeze in that extra chair – the more the merrier!
3. Embrace Technology – Kitchen Gadgets are Good Things …
My grandmother taught me this lesson pretty early in life. Now keep in mind that my grandmother is really old school. She was born and raised in Edonton Georgia, and she learned how to cook on a potbelly stove that used wood for fuel. I can not imagine trying to get an oven to the right temperature with various sized logs, etc, but she did it. Anyways, she truly appreciates the value of a good kitchen gadget. I remember the look on her face the first time she used an electric knife – now that's entertainment. There's no sight on earth like an elderly woman grinning and hacking away at a turkey leg. Good times. Simply put, there are numerous inexpensive items out there that you can use to organize and prep your food to make this process easier and in some cases even fun! The time you save will is priceless.
4. Use Your Kids
Your kids are your labor force. Have them schlep for you. They have all this boundless energy – why not harness it for the purposes of making your life easier? Also, referring back to Tip # 3, your kids will love using those kitchen gadgets when and where appropriate (in many cases they are kid safe). Assign them those jobs where they can make a contribution without making your life more difficult. And they'll enjoy being included in the preparations! Imagine how proud they will be to tell everyone what they made.
5. Do not Panic!
Keep your calm and remember that there is always a solution for any problem you may encounter. Take a step back from your situation and weigh your options. There is always something you can do to recover from disaster. Also remember that Holidays are a time for friends and family. In many cases they will be more than willing to lend a hand if you find yourself in over your head.
So sally forth, my confident holiday compatriots, and gird your pork loins for the heat of battle; secure in the knowledge that just a little common sense and advance planning can bring you through the holiday season with style and a minimum of wiping and despair.