Rarely is more pressure applied to a cooking performance than at Christmas - unless you happen to be a contestant on Masterchef, that is. Fundamentally, it is not the most complex of culinary tasks, but with such high expectations, it is worth taking measures to ensure you get it just right.
Get The Best Equipment
Like with most things in life, the quality of the tools you use will impact on the quality of the finished result. Although this may involve a relatively large investment, it will make cooking throughout the year a more pleasurable experience, too. A high-quality and decent-sized roasting tin is a must and, on top of this, it is worth having a quality peeler, carving knife, gravy separators and turkey basters.
Not only will quality equipment help to ensure that the quality of the food is of a high standard, but it will also remove some of the stress. When you have a cupboard full of parsnips and potatoes, for example, the last thing you want is a poor quality peeler. It can also be crucial to ensure that you have enough tin foil and baking paper far in advance, as these often run out as Christmas approaches.
Rather than frantically rushing around the supermarket at the last minute, it is worth writing your Christmas menu, along with a list of ingredients, long in advance. This will ensure that you don't forget, or miss out, any vital ingredients.
You can also choose a starter, or desserts, that you can prepare in advance. This will reduce stress on the day. It also means that, if you are creating something slightly experimental for the first time, you can make mistakes and it's not the end of the world.
It is also worth giving your kitchen a thorough clean before the culinary madness begins. Everyone works better in a clean and organised space. If you start with a clean slate, there is less chance of everything becoming completely disorganised before the end of the festive period.
Order Your Turkey Early
Turkey is eaten more because of tradition, than as a genuine preference. It is not the best meat, and thus it is even more important to ensure that you get a quality bird. As anyone who has left it too late before knows, there isn't an endless supply of quality turkeys. You don't want to be frantically running around at the last minute, only to get your hands on a tiny bird. There are many websites where you can order a quality turkey well in advance.
Get Some Support
Although your partner or children may not be the most gifted in the kitchen, it is often the simple things that become time-consuming. Don't feel like Christmas dinner has to be a solo mission. No-one will begrudge you requesting a little support. This can make you feel more at ease too. Turn some music on, have a little glass of wine - not too many - and allow the dinner to take care of itself. After all, by this stage, with all of the preparation you have put in, you should be all set to produce a masterpiece.
One last bit of advice is to remember that no-one ever complains about having too much food at Christmas. Make a feast, and if it's not all eaten up on the day, it will be sure to disappear rapidly over the next couple of days.
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