Note from Prerna: Today’s post is a guest post by Rachael of KitchenCourses.com:
Holidays are filled with family, food, and fun festivities. For so many of us, getting together to cook a big meal comes with the territory. In my family, each of us is expected to participate in the cooking in some way or another, whether it’s bringing a dish completed or by showing up with ingredients in hand to get it done before the entrée arrives at the table.
With so many cooks in the kitchen, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated even when we’re trying to have a good time with people we care about.
Here are 5 simple ways you can make the most of cooking with the ones you love this holiday season without pulling your hair out:
1. Get Everyone Involved
Encourage everyone in the family to have their part in the day’s food preparation. Even the little ones can get involved in scrubbing potatoes or helping to set the table. With every family member pitching in, the work of the day will go quicker, but also will be a good opportunity for everyone to feel like they’ve contributed to the meal as a whole and can feel proud about what they’re eating.
2. Designate Tasks
No one likes to step on toes. When cooking in a group, give each person a task so there’s no one standing around or poking their nose or wooden spoon where it doesn’t belong. Either divide up tasks like chopping and prepping or divide up dishes to keep the peace and have everyone still speaking to one another come dinner time. Make it clear who is doing what and create separate work zones to keep out of each other’s way.
3. Create an Atmosphere of Excitement
Make the big day feel special by setting a mood that encourages everyone to have fun while preparing the meal. If you know the group cooking session will be full-day affair, put together some fun snacks and drinks to keep rumbling tummies at bay until the big feast begins. Decorate the kitchen with a few hints of holiday spirit like fall leaves for Thanksgiving or a vase full of beautiful ornaments and a display of candy canes for Christmas. Turn up the tunes to some music you can all agree on to set a casual and fun work environment.
4. Learn While Cooking
Don’t we all have something to learn in the kitchen? Family cooking during the holidays and special occasions are the perfect time to get some hands-on experience learning the secrets behind grandma’s famous sweet potato pie or figure out what the special ingredient is in uncle Dave’s delicious stuffing recipe. This can be fun way to pass on a family tradition or create a new one each year.
5. Document the Fun
Hand someone the camera and encourage them to be snap happy! One of the best parts of cooking together as a group is having the memories of spending time with one another. Take photos and later write in a family scrapbook or journal about what the topics of conversation were, what traditions were passed on, and other interesting notes from the special day.
You (and your entire family) will be thankful to can look back on those good memories once they’re long gone.
Although the hustle and bustle of the holidays can get so many of us frazzled, getting together for a family meal is one of the times that we should sit back, relax, and enjoy being with one another and learning together. Plan on a fun and enjoyable holiday season with these few tweaks to your normal group cooking routine and cherish the time that you’re spending with people you care about.
About the Author: Rachael is the blogger behind KitchenCourses.com and is the author of How to Cook For Yourself: A Complete Beginner’s Guide. She writes about her passion for food, eating well while saving money, and inspires people to get familiar with their kitchens and cook for themselves.
Photo Credit: Paul Martin