First time Christmas Cook? — It’s All In The Planning
Cooking Christmas Dinner for the first time is a little daunting but doesn’t have to be. Christmas dinner is, after all, just a big roast. The fact that it involves a couple of added extras that you may not be familiar with and can also involve gaining the approval of a new or prospective in-law is where most of the stress lies. A standard Sunday Roast is not the hardest meal in the world to cook, and in essence Christmas dinner is largely the same thing. The key ingredient is planning. Military planning.
It’s this area where some newbie cooks and cookesses tend to fall down – hopefully not while carrying the Turkey.
In most cases the Turkey is going to be the center piece and as this is going to be the basis for your cooking times, plan and buy well ahead of the season of goodwill. Prices will go up as December looms, so the moment you can get your hands on your turkey of choice, go for it; they come to no harm in the freezer. Bird in hand you can then work out how long it will take to de-frost and cook. Buying in advance for the other meats you’ll require can be a good plan to – especially extras like pigs in blankets – the basic ingredients for these tend to get mysteriously ‘marked up’ the week before Christmas; you’ve been warned.
The veggies and accompaniments can nearly all be fully or partially prepared in advance and different people have different favorites – check in advance what Number One Guest (the mother-in-law) prefers.
Last minute saviors
Last minute shopping should be avoided at all costs, simply because it is costly. The one area that this will prove difficult is likely to be the veg and any fruit you need. Fruit and vegetable delivery services can be a real time saver round Christmas and the prices will be comparative to the shops.
While supermarket delivery services will be costly if that’s all you are ordering there are usually a surprising number of other smaller services that can offer fruit delivery or veg box delivery in the run up to Christmas. Some of these will come at a premium, but others will be well priced – check to see what your milkman can offer – many now offer delivery services for grocery items and they rarely charge delivery. Booking slots can be oversubscribed if you don’t get your order in early – although again this is less likely to be the case with your local milkman.
If you are ‘doing’ Christmas for the first time don’t panic! One final ingredient that you shouldn’t forget is Sherry. It’s the main ingredient in mother-in-laws at this time of year, with the right amount of it they’ll be singing your praises in no time. Well, singing at least.
Carlo works in Digital marketing for an online food delivery Milk And More business, when he’s not on the internet he loves good movies and good food.