11 Tips For the Holidays


Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

  1. Don’t put too much stock in the traditional family cookouts or parties. “I know we are all going to get married, get married, get married, but do not expect to eat a meal that night. Get prepared to eat something else,” says Toms. There are, of course, the big family meals that include a family reunion dinner. But even those are not the same as the actual eating of a meal; eating after a meal is the best way to eat, says Toms, and an open house is the best time to cook and share.
  2. Eat something different when you are dining with friends. When you dine with them together, say, on a Saturday, it will help give you a different perspective on the food, Toms says. (Another way to eat it: if you’re planning a barbecue at the picnic table at family gathering, use a barbecue to make it more festive and fun. If you eat at restaurant with friends, say: a pasta dish, a salad, a sandwich, a dessert.)
  3. When it comes to dinner parties, don’t go all-out. Instead, just get a bunch of dishes together and serve them at a fast-paced pace (you don’t have to wait for them to cook all of them at the same time, either) and focus on the main event: You can just have a great family dinner.
  4. Don’t eat at the bar. “For a number of reasons, from the health to the alcohol abuse, the bar usually means more harm than good,” Toms says. It’s not a healthy move for men, but it’s a great option for women, says Toms. “My advice is get your kids to go to the bar and get your family involved,” says Toms. “They are so used to seeing this family go to the bar and sit around, and they don’t know they can do the same.”
  5. Make sure the table is set up well before the party begins. You don’t have to be too formal about it, Toms says. But remember that you want to be the front and center of attention so you can serve the best food possible and talk to everyone while everyone else is finishing up. If anyone gets really upset after the food arrives, don’t take it personally–that person is probably not ready to get back into the swing of things that evening.
  6. Use a dishwasher before you go to bed . It gets the cleanest and most consistent results (at least for the first few meals anyway). “You don’t want your meal to take 30 minutes to finish,” says Shih. “The dishes are supposed to be cold, so they go right when the cold food cooks. If you use a dishwasher, they’re going to be pretty dirty before they’re done cooking.” Just don’t forget to wash the dishes before you take them outside the house. “It’s not just a little bit of extra cooking time,” Toms says, “It’s the whole time you’re going to be going to the bathroom.” If you’re using a dishwasher, keep it turned off, and don’t turn it off when you’re done. “You’ll just end up burning the soap.”
  7. Wash the dishes when it’s time to use them . You never know when you’ll need to use them. “The hardest part for me was just doing it,” says Toms. “There’s going to be moments when I don’t have hot food so, to use the water. It’s really hard to tell when you don’t need to wash the dishes, but that’s just when it’s like, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to use that in three minutes.'”
  8. Don’t overdo it. “I was worried that every little bit was going to get caught in the dishwasher, but after you make it all the way through, it all just gets caught in the dishwasher and you never have anything to wash the water off it,” Toms says. “That’s why my first suggestion was just to wash the whole thing twice. I used to wash the plates, then the pans, then the dishes. And I would just do my dishes a second time, just to make sure that they were dry. So I thought by having a second wash after every dish, that the dishes could dry in the same amount of time.”
  9. Make sure you leave something out, too. If you’re making the same batch of dishes so many times, you might want to consider skipping the dishwasher entirely. “I think most people wouldn’t have to do it, but I would if I were making this much food all on one plate,” says Baker. “That’s kind of like the goal here, too. To make sure that there’s the minimum amount of time before you need to wash it.”
  10. Make something extra spicy. This is one technique Baker recommends for making the dishwasher dishwasher dishcleanest, by adding an extra heat by using either sriracha or black pepper in the cooking liquid. “It really does get that clean feeling—there’s no oil or grease, and the temperature is at least as hot,” Baker says.
  11. Use an immersion circulator If you’re using an immersion circulator to heat the sauce, keep it on low for the first couple of hours. The warm liquid will evaporate and the liquid in the rice and veggies will be soft. That’s more efficient.

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