Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Meal
Thanksgiving and other holiday meals are a time of togetherness, family, and more stress than anyone cares to think about in advance. There often seems to be no way around this fact simply because there is so much to do. Was the turkey or ham ordered? Which freezer did it get put in? Wait, did you cook it earlier because you thought it was something else? Will so-and-so complain again this year if their favorite dish isn’t on the table? The endless questions are enough to make anyone want to hide away from the world until the holidays have passed. OROGOLD has a few tips for trying to defuse at least some of that stress before you start feeling it. There’s no accounting for pure happenstance, but there are some things you can do.
Most of the time you’ll know your guests and experience will provide you with the knowledge of what they expect at a holiday meal. This may be slightly stressful due to varied tastes. The good news is that there are many dishes that you can simply prepare ahead of time and store. Take stock of your typical holiday dishes and figure out what can be stored effectively without it hurting the dish. These are excellent candidates for cooking a few days early and putting away in a spare fridge. Label these dishes clearly so that you know when to pull a given dish out of storage for warming or so that you can easily delegate. It is much simpler to tell someone to go get a particular dish if they don’t need to peek at every other dish to find it.
Plan Out the Meal
Holiday meals are large affairs where you are responsible for seemingly endless dishes coming to the table. Tables only have so much space though. OROGOLD recommends considering how you want to present your meal. Plenty of holiday dishes can be used as opening courses or lighter fare to snack on while everyone settles in. These can make a colorful presentation while you leave the center of the table open for the main course so that it can act as a centerpiece for the meal once it is done. Staging your meals in this way gives time for everyone to relax and catch up before the main meal begins. You can even get some recipe requests out of the way early without worrying about if you’ve forgotten anyone this year.
Make a Little Extra
One of the best things you can do for yourself when planning out any holiday meal is to get the expected head count. Sure, there are the people who always come, but there are also the random relatives and friends that say they might come each year. If you can get a definite head count, then you’ll know how much you should cook before the day arrives. This will let you plan the meal more effectively and feel confident. The trick is that you should make a little extra beyond what you expect you’ll need. This helps ensure there’s something for any unexpected guests that arrive. You can also use any of it that survives as leftovers for a bit if you’re feeling fed up with cooking for a while after a holiday meal.
Most people can’t deny that holiday meal planning is a stressful event. You can and should try to make it less stressful with these tips from OROGOLD. You’ll probably feel a lot better when you’ve got a solid headcount and have already started preparing before the day actually arrives. All you need to do the day of the meal then is delegate serving and put the final touches on the main course.