Wasting away in the kitchen, just to eat too much but still struggle with your waste. after Christmas, is a waste of energy! I know all the holiday movies on Netflix and DSTV are trying to sell us on a wonderful family feast menu.
Frosted windowpanes, a warm drink steaming in front of a roaring fire. Snowglobes, twinkling lights, warm festive sweaters, songs about how cold it is outside and a table laden with rich roasts and more food than any family really ever needs.
If you are as susceptible to the holiday spirit as we are, we know where this is going: Straight up the road to overeating, mountains of food waste, (not to mention wasting money), guilt and sweating away over a stove to perfect that glossy gravy, even though it is 30̊c outside and you should rather be chilling with a drink in the shade somewhere.
Holiday House rules.
If it tastes good cold, let it be cold!
This counts for coffee, gammon, roast vegetables, potatoes. Make a salad, skip the roasted ones and desserts. Ice cream isn’t boring, it’s classic, Embrace it!
If it can be made ahead of time, do it!
In fact, let’s switch this one around – if it requires finicky last-minute cooking, just don’t do it! Marinade meat the day before, cut and prep veggies and salad ingredients in bulk and keep them in the fridge until you need them. Nobody needs a perfectly, individually plated appetizer with a swirl of something foam, and a squish of salmon mousse, more than they need your happy and relaxed presence at the lunch table.
Embrace the Packet
Do you know who makes really good gravy? Auntie Ina Paarmans. Or even Uncle Bisto! Chill with the homemade mayonnaise and the made-from-scratch everything. Stock up on some key ingredients beforehand. Premixes for flapjacks, bread, and cakes, ready-to-mix cocktails and even some basic frozen dinners can all cut down on your time in the kitchen and keep you sailing merrily through the festive season food rush.
Keep it Simple
Did you know that there are in fact NO RULES around what a holiday menu should look like? Did you know that the holidays are about being together more than they are about (over)eating together?
A Simple Menu
Start with a cheese platter – easy to assemble and you can zhoosh it up as much as you want with biltong and pâtés or keep it basic with chips, dips and fresh veggies.
Plan a main meal around the weather – If it’s warm and you have the space, cook everything outside. Pick your meat, make a stack of braaibroodjies beforehand and co-opt Ouma into bringing a potato salad. Voila! A perfect meal and not a minute wasted in the kitchen. (Let’s be honest – there is no such thing as wasted braaivleis – it just becomes breakfast for whoever wakes up first the next day!)
End your meal with a basic fruit salad and ice cream or even just old-fashioned ice-cream cones with sprinkles and a cherry on top!
Spend your extra hours on doing what the holidays are really about – being together, reconnecting, recharging and giving thanks for the year that you’ve had.