Christmas is a time for many good things, most importantly feasting, gift-giving, and bonding with the people who matter the most.
A Christmas feast, or Noche Buena as we call it here in the Philippines, is the centerpiece of the lavish occasion. Family members come together and share a delicious meal. For generations, Noche Buena is not only a continued tradition but also proof of the strong bond of Filipinos and their loved ones. Also, Christmas, among other significant celebrations, is often the time where most delicious and favorite foods are cooked and served at the table.
Yet, it takes hours of planning the menu, getting ingredients, and preparing dishes before a great and rewarding feast is enjoyed at Christmas Day. Here are some tips to keep in mind in order to have a less hassle and a smoother preparation for that much-awaited Christmas feast this year.
The first step is to make a list. Save yourself from being stressed by planning ahead of time. Prepare according to the size of your kitchen and how many dishes you are going to cook. Know how many people will be included in the feast, what they would like to have on Noche Buena, as well as whether they have food allergies. Make sure as well to have an adequate supply of the ingredients and things needed for the feast. Do not forget to factor in your budget as well.
Then, it might help to have a tentative timeline for getting the ingredients, cooking the meals, and even ordering some food. Planning your feast a few days, or even weeks, ahead will allow you to have more time for shopping and could even save you more time for the preparation period.
When shopping for ingredients, take the time to compare prices and brands that are suitable and more affordable for the feast you have in mind. Take the opportunity as well to look for Christmas sales, promos, and bazaars that might match well with your Noche Buena list. You can also look out for Christmas food in bundles, baskets, or boxes at more affordable prices.
Also, there are many alternatives you can choose from that are much better. For instance, there are products that are locally-produced and more affordable. This also gives you an opportunity to support these businesses.
In relation to alternatives, there’s nothing wrong with going for lower-priced varieties. Other kinds of cheese that as tasty as quezo de bola might go well in place of the traditional round fixture, for instance. Chicken can be considered in place of beef or pork; or a nicely-cooked embutido for morcon.
Amid all these preparations, nonetheless, do not forget learn to enjoy yourself and stay relaxed. Invite a welcoming atmosphere for your family and guests as you prepare those heartwarming meals for everyone to indulge in. As much as you aim for a fantastic feast, do not forget to have fun during the process, especially if you find joy in cooking or baking.
And when Christmas Day finally comes, and all the dishes have been prepared at the table, treat yourself by savoring the dishes you have prepared. After all, Christmas is an opportune time for enjoying the fruits one’s hard work, including the creation of a hearty feast. — Angela Kiara S. Brillantes