A Conversation for Planning and Preparing a Christmas Meal

Planning and preparing a Christmas meal

Post 1


Who?;why;what;when;where;how:?????? This is war. I need a battle plan, do you?
Who:My best laid plans frequently "gang aft agley" because circumstances alter. Unless it is written in stone the number people for whom you will be cooking and preparing, think small and perfect.So pieces rather than great hunks of fish flesh or fowl.
Why?: Style and variety. Faith, regional preference, national identity, so which day and what time?
What?: Menu. light? hefty? Health? Carnivore? Vegg? Vegan? Halal? Kosher?
When?: Should come before what, in my view. Depends on habit and climate; preference, agility and number of children.
Where?: Which room? Home? hotel? Shared, ie. You do the meat I'll bring the veg and Sarah'll do her famous pudding. Have you got a recipe for brandy butter that eclipses Mother-in Law's special? Or, O God, there's a power strike/fire/flood may we do the turkey in your Aga/haybox/camping gas stove? (Or your own indeed, if you live in variable conditions!)
How?: Get out the cook books/videos of Famous chefs making it all look easy/Grandmama's Traditional handed down fragile bits of paper and flimsies in violet ink.

Now have fun with it; Please yourself; Discard all the non-essentials until the underfood is sorted; Pray, and budget a tithe of your costs to Famine relief. (Find Times for all church/mosque/temple/synagogue services for your guests and yourself)
Finally, relax as much as possible. Play your favourite music. Make time to do your "petits soins intimes" faithfully, to be certain you may look and feel your best. Never wash up in person if you can avoid it and consider the Siesta as a way of insuring a cool Yule and a Frantic First.

Planning and preparing a Christmas meal

Post 2


For holiday meals my mom and I start about a week earlier by buying everything we need then. The preparing and cooking then starts 3-4 days before the event. Also the formal table is set several days before.

I make bread dough first because most doughs can be made, risen formed and frozen then bake up fresh after a short thaw and rise. Just freeze them right before the final rise called for in the recipe. Doughs heavy with eggs or fats don't handle this too well but most other doughs do. Plus I'll prepare appetizers (like the Mediterranean Cheese Bites that were in The Post A831287 - also great made with stilton and walnuts) so I can have hot appetizers in just a few minutes.

Desserts are made about 2 days before and stored where it's cold but not enough to freeze them (the garage works nicely). We also keep a bar frige and extra freezer in the garage.

The day before most of the sides are made (the ones that don't require the meat stock from the main course) or at least put 'at the ready' (potatoes for mashed potatoes are cooked, etc.) and the main course meat is marinated if need be.

Now the day of the celebration it's easy to handle. Bread doughs are put out to thaw and rise. Main course goes into the oven. Sides only need the final finishing stages.

Appetizers are simply popped into the oven to calm the hungry masses. I also like to put wine and/or cider in crock pots to simmer all day. By the time people arrive the house smells wonderful and hot spiced drinks are at the ready. Most importantly my mom and I can enjoy the festivities rather than staying in the kitchen.

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Planning and preparing a Christmas meal

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