The great British Christmas dinner is a tradition that has endured as part of our shared cultural heritage for centuries. Since the end of the 19th century, the traditional Christmas dinner has revolved around turkey, roasted potatoes, stuffing and a whole range of different veggies, all smothered in gravy. While it sounds simple in principle, putting your perfect Christmas dinner together, especially when juggling kids and other family members, can be a stressful exercise that requires the sort of preparation and precision that’s usually reserved for a military operation. Since the tradition has endured for generations, there are a great many mistakes made by hosts and hostesses over the year for us to learn from.
If it’s fallen upon you to prepare a Christmas dinner for the ages this year, it’s important to avoid these common and oh-so-easy to make mistakes when planning, preparing and cooking the meal.
As in most things, failing to prepare your Christmas dinner is preparing to fail. Right about now is the perfect time to start planning your menu so that you can buy ingredients that will keep now so that you will only have to worry about collecting the perishables later. You should also stock up on the less obvious things like condiments, herbs, spices, salt, pepper, cling film and tin foil prior to the big day.
Ideally your sauces, stuffing and dessert should be made and your veggies prepped the night before to give you the inside track.
The better prepared you are, the more time you’ll have to spend with loved ones instead of darting out of the kitchen for 30 second intervals for a sip of wine before diving back into the fray.
All potential guests should be shown the menu a week or so beforehand so that you won’t be caught off guard by dietary requirements, which brings us to…
Failing to account for guests’ dietary needs
The last thing you want is for the big day to be ruined by an anaphylactic shock or extreme stomach pain caused by a nut allergy. Some of your guests may have allergies or intolerances for wheat, nuts and dairy and should be provided for accordingly.
If you have elderly relatives, it’s also important to keep their dietary needs in mind. The staff at care homes like the kind you’ll see http://eastleighcarehomes.co.uk/locations/care-homes-devon/know that elderly people have specific dietary needs and you need to facilitate them. Furthermore, remember that the traditional turkey dinner may not be for everyone.
An increasing contingent of people are choosing to eschew animal products for health, moral or sustainability reasons. Many a vegetarian or vegan has sat down to Christmas dinner only to find that between the turkey, the sausage meat stuffing, the chipolatas and the potatoes roasted in goose fat, all they are able to eat is a small pile of vegetables doused with instant gravy. With so many animal free alternatives, give them something special this year!
This one’s easier said than done, but it can be extremely tempting to succumb to panic and stress or get flustered when making Christmas dinner. Clean up as you go along, prepare as much as you can beforehand and try not to take on too much at a time and you’ll find the task much easier to manage and stress far easier to avoid.