For better or worse, family and friends being brought together by food is almost universal around the holidays. Mark Twain once wrote ‘The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside’. Despite potentially being the most terrible bit of medical advice you could give someone, the expression seems especially fitting around the holidays. Sure, sometimes it’s the family that ends up beings the ones fighting it out. But the important thing is that the eating is always there – and preferably comes first, if not during. Definitely after.
For some of us, while getting together with friends, family, and food sounds great, we really dread one thing. The cooking of the holiday feast. There’s a lot to be done, and most of it extremely daunting for those of us who aren’t especially kitchen-savvy. Or at all kitchen-savvy. Or for those of us who aren’t positive about the difference between ‘bake’ and ‘broil’. Which, of course, is that while both are hot, one is hot in a different way. Or something.
Regardless of your total ability to cook, because you totally can. Maybe you think it would be a fun idea to just skip all the hassle of the cooking aspects of the family get together and just skip right to the eating. Whether you just want to try a holiday schedule that skips the cooking hours or you’d like to host without mountains of dishes to deal with, these funky holiday ideas might be for you.
No, seriously. This surprisingly common modern tradition in Japan has people getting together around a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken over the holidays. While I don’t know if KFC would necessarily be my first choice, the idea of opening presents with one hand while eating a piece of friend chicken with the other sounds great.
Say you like the idea of not cooking so much, you want to see what else you can skip. Getting the family together around the table at a restaurant for the holiday feast doesn’t just skip the cooking, it skips the clean up and the garbage. Talk about a win, win. Does that make this a win, win, win? Seriously though, even Google has been showing a steady increase in searches such as ‘restaurants open on Christmas’ since 2012.
As awesome as the thought of no dishes, no cooking, and no clean up can be, maybe you still want to be able to eat in the comfort of your pajamas. For me and my kids, the idea of being too far from the fully lit up Christmas tree and a set of hanging stockings is just too much to bear with. On a budget that doesn’t have to be too much bigger than what you’d spend dining out, you can book a local catering company to do the holidays meals the way you want. They’ll handle the cooking, the clean up, and the dishes – as long as you’re handling the check. And that one uncle who drinks too much.
‘Sounds great’, you’re thinking, ‘but who has the time for these?’. That’s a fair point, reader. Also, between gifts, travel expenses, and who knows what else, money can be tight. This could be the perfect answer to the dilemma. How is this not cooking, you ask? Well, if you read the instructions, you’ll see that the steps for each of these recipes is essentially ‘season this, put it with the other stuff. Later, eat it.’ That can’t count as cooking. Or does it?
Coming in at somewhere between ‘preparing food but not cooking it’ and ‘having people bring food to your house’ is the emerging trend of having meals mailed to your house for the holidays. Services like Waitrose (pictured), William-Sonoma, Plated, and Made from Scratch offer to make you a delicious meal and have it sent to you over the holidays.
Do any of these work-free holiday feasts sound appetizing? I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry just thinking about giving them a try.