The holidays are a great time when you are in college. You typically get a week off from classes to decompress; and you get to see your family, a blessing in disguise. But everyone knows the real reason that holidays are great: lots and lots of good, homemade food.
There will come a time though when you do not go home for the holidays; instead you become the host. Alternatively, if your family is like mine, each year you and your siblings get more and more responsibility on bringing the whole meal together.
Hosting a holiday meal is A LOT of work, and if you try and pull it off without any practice or previous experience you may find yourself with a table full of people with nothing to eat. So I am going to give you a couple tips on how to manage a meal like that.
First and foremost, planning. You can’t pull a Thanksgiving dinner out of your back pocket one or two days before. You need to sit down and come up with a game plan.
How many people are coming? Are there any special requests or allergies to take into consideration? What is your budget? When are you going to sit down and eat?
At minimum you need to come up with a menu one week in advance. After you know what you want to make, find the specific recipes you plan to follow. After that, make a list and hit the store.
The second stage of your planning phase is to come up with a schedule of what is going to get made and when. Chances are the turkey is going to be the last major thing to finish cooking; and you can make the gravy while it rests. So what can you cook first; what can sit in the fridge or covered with foil and not suffer because of it?
Make yourself a schedule of what time certain items have to start cooking and when they will be done to open up the oven, stove top or pots and pans.
Second tip, prep as much of all your dishes in advance as you possibly can. Ground meats can be browned and then put in the refrigerator, one less thing you have to worry about. Slice any produce you need to and have it ready to go into the pan. You don’t have to do a recipe start to finish all at once.
Not getting overwhelmed is the key, if you get overwhelmed you can panic and it’s all downhill from there.
One the best things you can do to help yourself is to have a dress rehearsal of sorts.
About a month in advance, invite a bunch of people over for Friendsgiving. It’s a ton of fun to get everyone together like that every once in awhile; and you’ll get the extra practice you need.