One of the things I look forward to during the holidays is that holiday meal. You know, the one with turkey and stuffing and potatoes and squash and cranberries and gravy. Yum, just thinking about it makes me hungry. In the past we’ve cooked the big turkey dinner but it always seems like so much work and so stressful, this coming from a non-cook.
We’ve tried cooking our big dinner Christmas Eve so we have all Christmas day to enjoy, but Christmas Eve seems to be just as busy. We’ve tried making something else, like ham or steak, but you still need all the extras. And somehow Christmas dinner without turkey isn’t Christmas dinner in my mind.
So this year we tried something different; this year we had Christmas dinner catered. Now before you jump to conclusions I’m not talking personal chef in my kitchen preparing things that a wait staff serves us on fine china, not that kind of catering. I’m talking about someone else preparing all the dishes and just having me reheat and serve. As it turns out, I’m not the only one looking for an easier Christmas dinner; there are a few places in the city that will prepare your Christmas dinner for you so you don’t have to.
We tried an old favourite, Summerhill Market, a fine foods grocery store/catering company. From their website I could order a full Christmas dinner that included sliced-free range Turkey (white and dark meat), apple sage dressing, turkey gravy, orange cranberry sauce, buttermilk mashed potatoes, maple roasted butternut squash and fresh green beans. I could order as little as 48 hours before I wanted my meal and I could pick it up Christmas Eve, which is exactly what we did, for a cost of about $24.99 per person (we order for six people to ensure we had a lot of lovely leftovers).
We indicated on our form we would be picking up 10 am Christmas Eve but my husband and seven year old daughter were there at 9:30 and our order was waiting for us. They were in and out before the holiday crowd arrived. Everything was prepared and pre-packed in oven-ready containers and it was all stored neatly in a box, making it easy to transport home.
So come Christmas morning, instead of running around getting turkey and fixings ready, we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas morning with our kids (did you see my Think Geek Christmas post). I didn’t think about dinner until about an hour before we wanted to eat. Then all I had to do was pop the various items into the oven. Each container had preparation instructions on them: oven temperature and time required for re-heating. The only cooking item I had to pull out was a pot to reheat the gravy.
Within about an hour and a half we were ready to sit down to our full meal.
And clean-up was a breeze meaning we could move on to more important things like pumpkin pie and a family board game.
So I may have taken the easy way out, but I think my family appreciated more time hanging out together then cooking in the kitchen. And since Summerhill Market makes their food fresh, it wasn’t as if I was skimping on a healthy meal. I think catering Christmas might become another family tradition.