The Real Englewood Area Dish

December 17, 2020 at 4:19 p.m.
The Real Englewood Area Dish
The Real Englewood Area Dish

By Sharyn Lonsdale

Holiday Cooking
Yes, the holidays are going to be different this year. If you look forward to cooking for a crowd, the chances are you won’t be. If you’re counting on a dinner invitation, that invite might not happen. Your Christmas vacation, cruise and gathering are canceled, and if you’re being honest, you’re not feeling particularly merry right now.
However, it’s still the holiday season, and you can still make your Christmas and Chanukah meals festive.
With no grandchildren or clumsy Cousin Steve, you can break out your good china, fancy platters, crystal and white linen tablecloth. Do this if you are cooking or ordering dinner in.
Have a cook-off with far-away friends and family where everyone agrees to make the same dish, stuffing, potato latkes, cheesecake etc. Share recipes and photos via social media or email. You can even choose a “winning” dish that everyone will serve next year.
Too much trouble to prepare your traditional meal for two people? Then don’t make a traditional meal. Cook Cornish Game Hens (see recipe on right) or a turkey leg instead of a whole turkey. Swap the ham for a ham steak or lamb chops.
Just your household gives you an excuse to splurge. Serve white asparagus instead of green beans. Buy an expensive cheese you couldn’t afford for a crowd. Top your potato latkes and sour cream with caviar or smoked salmon.
My favorite cooking website, which also has a terrific app, lets you adjust the servings of almost every recipe. So the five-star Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing for 10, can be scaled down to serve four.
Don’t feel like cooking? We don’t blame you. If you do plan to dine out or bring food home, here are a few tips.
Make your plans in advance. It’s never easy to find the perfect Christmas dining destination or take-out and it will be even more difficult this year. If you make a reservation online, call to confirm. If you order a meal to be picked up, check the contents of your order before you drive off.
Choose a local, independent establishment. They need your support more than ever, especially this time of year. Tip generously. Tis the season.
Have a back–up plan. If something goes wrong and you can’t get out or you encounter a problem, pick up something special to store in your fridge or freezer.
Commit to connect
Even if you are eating alone, you can connect to friends and family. Arrange a Zoom, call, text, or even, gasp, call someone you miss on the phone.  Before your holiday rolls around, write down the names of three people you would like to talk to that day. Be sure to follow up and make those contacts.
If you and your loved ones are “Zooming,” make it interesting. Take turns playing, “my funniest holiday story is when,” or “I’ll never forget the Christmas when” … Or ask family trivia questions.
Finally, if you think someone you know, maybe a friend you would normally invite to dinner, might be lonely or hungry this holiday season, reach out. If you are cooking, ask them if you can drop off a meal or dessert. Even if they have plans, the gesture will mean more than you know.
Try something new and special if it’s just the two of you.
If you have restaurant news and updates you would like to share,
please email Sharyn Lonsdale at [email protected] with subject line DISH.