Everyone looks forward to a hearty Christmas dinner. In fact, for many of us it’s probably the highlight of the entire day – a time for everyone to enjoy some quality food in complete leisure and relaxation. But sometimes that’s not always true for the person cooking it, who can often end up frazzled and too tired to actually properly enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Now, Christmas looks like it’s going to be a bit of a strange one this year, with all of us allowed slightly fewer people around than normal. While it’s not an ideal scenario, it should take a bit of the pressure off you if you’re cooking. But if you’re looking for a few more quick tips to ensure that you’re not getting too stressed out preparing food on your laminate kitchen worktops this year, here’s some of our best advice.
You probably didn’t need us to tell you this, but we’d be remiss not to mention it. When it comes to the festive season, you’ll need to plan absolutely everything. Doing things off-the-cuff can be a big risk, and when one of the biggest celebrations of the year is at stake, big risks are the sort of thing you’ll want to steer well clear of.
So, the first thing to do is ensure that you get started early on your Christmas shopping. In fact, right now would be a good time to make sure that you’ve got everything you need, and if you haven’t, to diary in exactly when you’re going to get it. You don’t want to get to the closing days of December and find yourself racing other shoppers to get to the last items in the aisle – especially since we’re writing in 2020, at the end of a year in which social distancing has become a very big concern.
It’s not just the food you’ve got to worry about on Christmas Day, but your guests too. So when you’re doing that all-important planning for the big Christmas meal, that’s also a great time to find out exactly who’s coming, and if they have any dietary requirements. (New boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives should probably be top of your list to ask!)
Think about intolerances or allergies, such as lactose intolerance or nut allergies. Don’t worry too much if you’re not sure how to cater to dietary requirements – you can just directly ask the person themselves, as they’ll know exactly what they should be eating and how.
If any of your guests are being hesitant about committing, it’s a good idea to give them a deadline to say yes or no by – even if that might seem a bit harsh at first. After all, it would be a nightmare scenario to end up not cooking enough, or overcooking by too big a margin.
Don’t worry – it’s not cheating! There’s loads of types of foods that can be cooked in advance and then simply re-heated on the day, as long as you’re careful about doing so thoroughly (nobody wants to be served a lukewarm Christmas dinner). The turkey you’ll almost certainly want to cook on the day so that it’s fresh and tender, but you can save yourself a lot of time and stress by preparing a shedload of other things in advance.
Mince pies, Christmas puddings, cakes, and bread sauce are just a few examples of the sorts of things you can get ready in the days running up to Christmas, all completely at your leisure, and without the rush or the hubbub or the stress of getting it wrong. If you want to get into the Christmas spirit with a few tunes on the radio and a bit of cheeky festive dancing as you work your magic on the oven and the hob, there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Tradition is a very big part of Christmas, especially where the roast is concerned. This means that almost everyone will have certain expectations of the meal when they sit down, no matter how fond or not-fond they are of Brussels sprouts. So while experimenting is undeniably a fantastic part of cooking, trying a brand new spin on things might not be the best thing for Christmas Day. And if you do decide to, it’s best to have a couple of practice runs in advance – and check with your guests too, so that you don’t fall afoul of any dietary requirements.
It’s also worth us saying that there’s no shame in buying ready-made food or pre-chopped veg. Plenty of cooks don’t do it as a point of pride, but if your main priority is simply to get food on the table, by all means crack on. Let’s be honest, if you’re careful about it, nobody even has to know.
Plenty of cooks think of the duty of serving up as part of their overall cooking duties on the day, but if you think about it there’s no real reason why that should be the case. You’re doing the majority of the work here, so the least your guests or family could do is chip in a tiny bit of effort right at the end. It’s a time for coming together, after all, so don’t hesitate to nominate people to lay the table, do the drinks or serve up plates. There’s obviously a careful balance to be struck, though – you don’t want to have literally too many cooks in the kitchen! You’ll probably find that just one or two extra pairs of hands is enough.
Final thing – it’s always a lovely bonus to warm the plates. You can do this in the oven, or simply using a sink full of hot water and drying them quickly, before serving up.
Be careful of hot plates and pans around your laminate kitchen worktops though, as you can end up permanently marking them. If you’ve bought your laminate kitchen worktops from right here at Savoy Timber, you’ll be pleased to hear that they’re exceptionally heat-resistant, particularly our ultra slim Zenith compact laminate worktops. Whatever you’re looking for, you can be sure that we’ll have a kitchen worktop to suit your style here at Savoy Timber. You can browse them right here on our site, or – now that the latest nationwide lockdown has ended – if you’d like to see them in the flesh, you can always pay a visit to one of our DIY stores in Preston, Wigan or Blackpool, where one of our staff will be only too happy to assist you if you have any questions!