The holidays can be extraordinarily stressful for even the most spirit-filled person. If you are the one doing the cooking, replicating a giant, fancy holiday meal can bring one to wit’s end, particularly if you just did another elaborate dinner at Thanksgiving.
I decided last year that I wasn’t going to stress it. I was going to concentrate on foods we like that were easy, so we would have more time to enjoy our guests and friends.
Last year, I made chopped liver (for me) and homemade pizza (for the boys), and bought stinky, expensive cheese and fancy crackers. I made a huge pot of onion soup, with lots of buttery croutons and grated gruyere cheese, and let everyone who came over make up their own bowl. Someone brought decadent brownies, and we had lots of cookies and treats from other friends. It was so easy and so fun.
We aren’t a consumer-y Christmas family, so presents were minimal and mostly musical, and we played fun music with everyone who dropped by, stuffed them full of food, and had virtually nothing to clean up. Then we went Christmas Bowling, a holiday tradition hosted by Michael Carmody of the Donut Whole. It was, altogether, a super day.
So, take a chance on a less elaborate meal this year. Roast up a tenderloin the night before and get good bread and cheese and let everyone make sandwiches. The point of the holidays is to love each other and celebrate life, not to slave over a stove. I wish you all a very happy holiday season, and I hope each of you eats well, and enough.
This commentary originally ran December 14, 2012