Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know I have an extremely long list of things that I’m grateful for, and though I’d love to share them with you, that’s not my intention for this post. Instead, I want to focus on giving you some tips to make the holidays easier. You can keep these in mind for next year.
Mom and I are in charge of cooking dinner every year, and we know that sometimes it’s more challenging for us. We want to enjoy the holidays too, without pain and without feeling completely wiped out. We only have to cook for 6 people this year, but you can use these tips no matter what size your family is.
Make sure you get some help. Mom and I have to work together to get things done. If either one of us had to do everything by ourselves then there wouldn’t be a dinner at all. As much of a Type A personality as you might have, admit to yourself that you can’t do it alone. Get some helpers that can take care of chopping onions, mixing cake batter or pie fillings, or even just handle the cleanup.
Get a head start. We always begin our food prep the night before. For example, I make stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer every year. I make the stuffing the night before and keep it in the fridge until the next day when I’m ready to bake the mushrooms. We also make the pies, blanch the cauliflower, and peel the turnips. This way, we can take more breaks in between cooking to rest and don’t have to worry about running around like lunatics to get everything done.
Alternate tasks. After standing over a stove for long periods of time, the pain in my back becomes unbearable. To prevent this, I keep switching tasks. Alternate between things that require you to be in front of the stove and things that can be done while sitting. For me, this meant working on the cooking part of a cheesecake and then sitting down and taking the stems off of my mushrooms. If you’re done with food prep and have a high stool, it’s sometimes helpful to sit by the stove while you’re cooking.
Use cooking gadgets. Everyone makes fun of me for having a Slap Chop, but it’s honestly the
greatest invention ever. My fingers begin to lock up if I try to mince garlic or onions for longer than 5 minutes. Plus, the arthritis is bad in my fingers and makes chopping things more awkward. Get pans that have two handles so that you can lift with both hands and take weight off your joints. User blenders and food processors whenever possible. Get knives specifically designed for people with arthritis. Electric can opens are essential as well. There are many stores that sell these gadgets, but you can check here as well.
Don’t stress. I always have a flare when I’m stressed out. Know you’re limits, and don’t panic if you can’t do “better” than them. If cooking is too much for you, opt to go elsewhere for dinner instead of taking on the responsibility yourself. The point of a holiday is to enjoy time with friends and family, and you won’t be able to do that if you tire yourself out before dinner even begins.