Holidays tend to center around a big meal with lots of family and friends gathered around the table. This is where many memories are made that are cherished by families for years to come. But preparing for these meals can be a daunting task, especially when you want everything to be perfect. It’s not easy making a big meal for a crowd but to make things easier, being prepared is essential. The things you do before starting the cooking will go a long way to making it much more feasible to cook for a crowd and still enjoy the holiday. In this article, we will go over some tips to help you achieve this.
1 – Have the right tools
The most important thing to have when you need to do a lot of prep for cooking is a set of sharp knives. Dull knives will make the cutting of meat and vegetables more difficult, time-consuming, and even dangerous. Sharp knives make quick work of cutting and chopping and are safer to use. They come in various types, each designed for specific tasks. A chef’s knife, for example, is a versatile all-rounder, perfect for chopping vegetables and slicing meat. A paring knife, with its small blade, is ideal for peeling and trimming fruits and vegetables. Then there’s the carving knife, a must-have for slicing large roasts that need to be served up once cooked. Always use a cutting board to protect both the knife’s edge and your countertops. Another must-have item is a sharpening stone to keep your knives sharp to be able to handle the workload.
2 – Get organized
The most important part of the process for a successful holiday meal lies in early planning and organization. The first thing to plan for is the menu. This part of the planning stage should be figuring out the guest count and if there are any dietary considerations. Once your menu is set, focus on your shopping strategy. Create a detailed shopping list based on your recipes. This list should include everything you need, from ingredients to any special spices or condiments. Split your list into two categories: non-perishables and perishables. Non-perishable items such as frozen or canned can be bought well in advance, helping you avoid last-minute rushes. For fresh items, plan to shop a day or two before cooking to ensure freshness.
3 – Prepare the kitchen
An organized kitchen is essential to be able to prepare a lot of food. Start by cleaning and organizing. Clear your counters and workspace to create a clutter-free environment. You’ll need that extra space to work and possibly have room for helpers. Organize your ingredients and cooking utensils, placing them within easy reach. This step saves time and reduces stress, as you won’t have to search for items while in the middle of cooking. Make sure to create space in the refrigerator so your ingredients can be kept fresh and dishes stored until it is time to cook them.