Food Safety

Kitchen tips for a stress free holiday

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Kitchen Tips for a stress free Holiday

It’s that time of the year again – visiting family members and friends (some familiar, some new), wrapping up the gifts, decorating the house, in some cases baby proofing the vicinity and hoping your pet won’t chew on an LED. What’s not to love about the winter holidays?
One of the best things about hosting a dinner during the holidays is experiencing people connect through food. Right from sharing ingredients or exchanging notes over heirloom recipes to adding the final touches while setting the table. It’s a journey by itself and it can also be a remarkably stress free one with these simple kitchen hacks.

Plan your menu ahead
Once you have an idea about the dietary requirements of your guests (example nuts free, lactose intolerant, etc.) you could plan a menu based on the ingredients you would be working with. I find it easier to work with ingredients that I know would be available at the local farmers market or the store as opposed to looking for a specific ingredient which may or may not be available to fit a particular recipe. As far as possible, try to work with consistent ingredients.

Assess your food storage space
One of the main challenges with cooking bulk proportions of food is figuring out how to store them after the prep phase or during the cook and chill stages. The last thing you would want to do is to leave food at room temperature for hours to cool down after cooking.
If you’re expecting a lot of people and are not too keen on cooking the whole menu the same day because of space constraints, cook what you can on the previous night and freeze it. Check for cold spots while reheating – that can be a tad off putting.
On another note, please don’t leave your turkey in a bathtub filled with ice because it wouldn’t fit the comparatively smaller refrigerator. That is just plain…repulsive.

Pre wash the greens for backup
It’s reassuring to know that there’s a box of clean vegetables inside the chiller that are ready to be sliced or trimmed should you run out of salad or require an additional dish. In an already busy kitchen, it would be tedious to wash and drain fruits or vegetables whilst playing host as well. Pre washing your greens also reduces chances of contamination from soil particles when the momentum in the kitchen picks up. For freshness, store washed greens in containers lined with paper towels to absorb any moisture left.

Keep it clean by default
It’s always easier to navigate around a clean kitchen. Don’t let the pots and pans pile up in the overbearing sink – clean in parallel and always keep a good stock of paper towels handy. There’s no telling when an uninvited spill may show up. Paper towels make it easier to clean as opposed to fabric towels. Damp fabric towels that haven’t dried well also tend to leave a bad odour.

Don’t overdo. Delegate
It’s a daunting task to plan, prep and cook for a dozen if not a score of people at the same time particularly if you’re very new to this. Take the stress out of the equation by having some of your friends or family members come over to share the responsibilities. Who knows? It might also add some funk to the collaboratively assembled ginger bread house.

Share the love, and food!
If you’re not too keen on storing the leftovers because of storage constraints, pack the food and share it with your guests. It’s always handy to have spare food storage containers in the kitchen.

Do the dishes in a breeze
Dishwashers do come in handy but not everyone is lucky enough to own one. If you’re going to tread on the manual washing route, then it makes sense to plug the sink and fill it with soapy water after adding a small quantity of dish washing detergent. Once a memorable meal comes to an end, simply submerge the dishes in the sink until the guests leave – you’ll never worry about greasy and dry cutlery again. Of course you’d have to get rid of the scraps before dunking the dishes.

Here’s wishing you all a lovely and heart warming Christmas and New Year’s!
Happy holidays!

Comestible regards,
Judy Sebastian

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  1. Pingback: 5 Tips to make your Kitchen Ready for Holiday Entertaining - Donco Designs

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