Cooking All Day, Redux

The past 10 years, I have prepared Easter dinner for our AZ family. Typically, we have still been in the Valley of the Sun for Easter. This year we are back in Colorado. I am once again cooking Easter dinner, but for a smaller group. Nevertheless, the post below, though several years old, still rings true.

Easter Sunday looms in the very near future, and that means a week of food preparation. Oh, and a celebration of the resurrection of our Lord, which often gets lost in the talk about ham and Easter bunnies.

This year, I am cooking Easter dinner for much of our Arizona family, but the meal will be served at the house of my brother and sister-in-law. You might recall that Sami broke her back just over a month ago, and while she’s doing remarkably well, she isn’t quite ready to prepare a big holiday dinner, or, frankly, even withstand the rigors of a holiday dinner at someone else’s house. Our answer is to provide her the comfort of her own home, but not require her to slaughter the fatted calf herself. I will do the slaughtering as it were, with help from others.

Yesterday morning I did my first last shop at Walmart, where, to my surprise, I was able to get most everything I needed except for Gruyere cheese for the cheesy scalloped potatoes. I will purchase the cheese when I do my second or third last shop somewhere that isn’t Walmart.

As I started planning out my week (just which day do I make my lemon pie and how long should I marinate my leg of lamb) I recalled an article I came across entitled 10 Tips for Cooking All Day Without Making a Mess. You know that I didn’t write the article, because if I did, it would be entitled 10 Tips for Cooking All Day and Making Such a Mess That You Can’t Even Find the First Thing You Cooked But It’s Probably Under the Soggy Lettuce Leaves.

Here are their suggestions….

  1. Start with a clean kitchen. So I’m in trouble right off the bat, because my kitchen is never really clean. There are either dirty dishes sitting on the counter or clean dishes draining in the sink that have not yet been (nor will probably ever be) put away. There is maybe a window of seven minutes in the evening when I have loaded the dishwasher with our dinner dishes that I would consider my kitchen to be clean, but by that time I’m looking longingly at my jammies.
  2. 2Make a game plan before you start. Another fly ball. No game plan. I have been known to start preparation for a cake only to realize that I have no eggs. As for a recipe, if I haven’t pinned it on Pinterest, I’m unlikely to ever locate it.
  3. Use the right tools for the job. I almost have this one nailed. I have a tool for nearly every job you could possibly think of. I just don’t know where it is.
  4. Get canisters that are big enough to fit your measuring cups. Boom. A home run. My measuring cups all fit in my canisters. Of course, the measuring cup I covet is the one used by Ree Drummond on her Food Network television shoe that is a two-cup measuring cup which would fit in exactly none of my canisters. I actually have one sitting in my cart on Amazon just waiting for me to justify it in some way and therefore hit the purchase-this-with-one-click button. I’ve come thiiiiiiiiis close.
  5. Measure over the sink. This is a good tip, something it never occurred to me to do. Since reading it, I do it and it results in fairly easy cleanup. This is a good thing as I always, ALWAYS spill my flour all over my counter.
  6. Use a plate as a giant spoon rest. I can’t. They’re all in the dishwasher or stacked up in the sink.
  7. Make friends with aluminum foil. Oh man, Mr. Aluminum Foil is my besty. That, and Mrs. Parchment Paper, both of which I carefully crinkle up and throw away and give a passing thought to not even washing the pan. I mostly do wash it. Did I say that too quickly?
  8. Get rid of food scraps. You know, I find Rachael Ray to be one of the most annoying people on television (is she still on television?). Don’t call olive oil EVOO and don’t call thick soup stoup. It’s irritating. But while on the surface, her idea of having a garbage bowl seems dumb, it actually works really well for someone like me, who finds opening up the cupboard and throwing things in the garbage to be too much work. I mean, seriously? I can’t even write those words with a straight face. But reality is reality. Having a bowl in which to place all of my various scraps and other garbage as I’m cooking works really well for me.
  9. Tidy up as you go. Nope.
  10. Schedule cleaning breaks. Nope to the second power.

And so, this holiday, like last, will remain disorganized, but we will muster through. At the end of the day we will all have full stomachs and will be able to rest in the knowledge that even if my kitchen is dirty, I have still been saved through our Lord’s death and resurrection.