I’m in the weeds.
I’m writing this a few days before it will post and I know that by the time you read it, I’ll be in the weeds. Each Christmas Eve, we have a group over for a meal that I spend several days preparing.
While I often cook, this is different. At Thanksgiving, Christmas and a few other times a year, I can selfishly indulge my passion for cooking and get lost in the kitchen for hours at a time. Growing up, my parents didn’t cook on a regular basis, but you could be sure to find my mom in the kitchen for the several days prior to holidays making all of our favorites.
For the first time this year, I didn’t get to cook our Thanksgiving meal. We ate our way through Disney World instead. So, I’m really itching to get my Christmas Eve meal started.
First, I spend the better part of a day planning the meal. I have boxes of saved holiday magazines — Martha Stewart Living, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Savuer, etc. I happily thumb through each looking for inspiration and devise a plan. Of course, family favorites will be made. But this is my chance to try out a number of new ideas, as well.
Typically, my prep list is more ambitious than I can manage — a few dishes will get cut in the time pinch. Even starting two or three days ahead, there is never enough time. I make enough food to feed 50 people, but it will be eaten in the days to come.
Next, I spend a day shopping for ingredients — many stops required. My husband kindly neglects to ask what was spent.
And then comes the best part — the cooking. No one asks where Mommy is. Mommy is in the kitchen. Little mouths pop by for a sample when the white cookies come out of the oven — the cookies that will be left for Santa.
Christmas Eve morning is the last push. The adrenaline pumping, I scramble to get all the food plated and on the table moments before guests arrive. Cue Christmas music. Once guests have their plates, I can relax. The rush is over.
But right now, I’m in the weeds.
And I’m loving every minute of it.
Do you make a large holiday meal? Do you love it?
–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog
– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.