The holidays are most definitely here. With less and less time for last-minute preparations, those of us who are hosting parties can benefit from simple ideas to keep things calm and scrumptious.
Throughout my recipes and tips, I advocate slowing down to enjoy the results of time spent in the kitchen, as well as the ingredients and processes involved. Savor the act of cooking while you uphold your own food traditions and experiment with creative approaches.
Certainly, admiring the magnificent shape of star anise seems easier during the lazy summer, but I still make sure to slow down and enjoy Christmas and New Year’s preparations. Fresh herbs, spiced wine, and lots of appetizers are what I look forward to most. A holiday party is a gift to your guests and to yourself, and these tips will help you to enjoy being the host.
Start your playlist while you’re ambling around the kitchen. Music sets the tone for your guests, but it’s also a great way to keep yourself feeling festive as opposed to stressed.
Keep your morning simple so that you can focus on the party meal. I usually make Christmas breakfast beforehand so that we don’t have to rush through it. Special breads and pastries are great choices since you can heat them up and enjoy them toasty.
Even if you are preparing a lot of dishes, taste along the way so that you don’t have any surprises at the table. After so much time spent in the kitchen, you want to love what you’re serving. Spending a moment to appreciate the ingredients makes you more confident about the meal in progress and reminds you of how much you enjoy cooking.
Something may be left in the oven too long. You might even spill a whole dish. (I’ve done this!) With so much food at a holiday party, any mishaps likely won’t even be noticed by your guests. They’re just thrilled to relax while you host.
That dip everyone has been raving about since last year? Make it again. We all become known for a few signature holiday dishes, and whipping them up this time of year adds to the spirit. Sense memories are powerful, and the scent and taste of holiday food is particularly evocative.
When guests enter your home, they are greeted by so many wonderful aromas. Every once in a while, take a step outside and come back in the way they would. The crisp air refreshes your sense of smell and helps you appreciate the totality of what you’ve been preparing.