Now that Christmas has passed, you have an excellent opportunity to make the next holiday gathering even better. The adventurous cook always embraces a chance to learn, even if the lessons sting a wee bit. Your task now is to review your meal and dissect what worked and what didn’t.
An honest assessment
Ideally, you should write down the answers to these questions. You can add them to your SpringPad notebook or Evernote with your other holiday plans. (You did plan it out, didn’t you?) Begin with rating your meal overall. Ask yourself simply did it come off as you planned? Rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 or give it an A, B, C or D grade.
Then ask yourself these questions:
Did everything get done on time?
Were the amounts correct?
What dishes had the most leftovers?
What dishes did your guests finish?
Did anyone request a copy of a recipe?
What did not work?
Tweaking your results
Next, identify the specific problems. Did one dish fail? Was your timing off? Once you hone in on these shortcomings, you can make a plan to overcome them the next time. Brainstorm some solutions.
Maybe you ran out of burner space on the stove to get the mashed potatoes done on time. Next time, you can make them the day before or even that morning. They will do okay on the stove top (not on a burner) for about two hours.
You can also pop them in the oven; they’ll take about an hour to heat up in a moderately slow oven (325 to 350 degrees F). You could also put them in a slow cooker.
The important thing is to write everything down. Don’t rely on your memory. Make sure and add the tweaks you did this time. Did you put some shallots and thyme in the cavity of the turkey? Did you try a new brand of broth for the sauce?
I promise you that if you take the time to do this small task, next holiday’s meal prep will go smoother. You may even have time to take a shower before the guests start arriving.