by Bimbi Flor
We stress a lot about the Yuletide season. We worry about making a list, checking it twice, worry about gift selection, not having enough time to buy them, wondering if they’re even the best ones to give. As if we don’t stress enough about the office parties, we have to stress about what to wear to them! By the time we get to the family Christmas dinner, downright exhausted and wished we could just serve take-away.
Sadly, I can’t tell you not to stress for such an important occasion. All I can offer is a hassle-free solution to preparing for the all-important Christmas dinner service. You see for much of my childhood, I saw how my Mum used to get so tired slaving over the stove to create a delicious foodie fest to be served to the family and anybody else who turned up at the house. She always had a menu! And I loved the food. Who wouldn’t love Double Glazed Ham, Pansit, Lumpia, Fried Chicken Wings, Morcon, Kare-Kare all in one meal? Oh so many options! I never heard anyone complain.
When we all grew up, despite the ‘Bring a dish’ rule, I’d still catch my Mum short of breath when we arrived at their house after the children’s mass. At times, she still hadn’t changed her outfit. And boy did that rule stress me out too. Sure I’ll bring a dish but what would I put in it that people would actually enjoy and not just endure? I don’t cook. I like to eat but when I cook, I lose my appetite. I have a feeling a lot of my kin feel the same way tasting my contribution. So for years it was Stroganoff, Chicken a la Bimbi, Baked Spaghetti until I decided bringing hot, delicious ‘Woolies’ oven roast chicken was the absolute popular suggestion from my beloved children. Later I opted for the dessert counter but nothing could rival my Mum’s Ube, Leche Flan and Bibingka and everyone else’s special requests. But that was my Mother and that was her passion.
But I am no chef. I’m happy my children have no expectations either. When they grew up, we often took the easy road and dined out. This year, however, it’ll be slightly different as we celebrate in my son’s home, my son who’s a vegetarian. So yes, I will deck the table with amazing food like the ready-to-bake turkey roast, a variety of baked vegetables, mashed pumpkin and grab all the condiments to go along with it. There’ll be a selection of Deluxe pizzas superbly made by my son. The table will look delectable and décor often helps to entice the hungry! I know that the meal may not be grand but all I want, all I really, really want is a stress-free day. And who doesn’t want that when you work 8 hours a day, 50 weeks of the year? At this time, one is grateful to have a brief holiday to enjoy and nothing must be rushed.
Everyone will agree that Christmas time is all about getting together with dear friends and family on a good note, so if not going overboard with food service is your way to take away a little of the stress during the holidays, then you’re allowed to. Be practical, stay simple, stick to your budget if you have one and if making Blueberry Jelly with Custard is less stress than coming up with your own Double Chocolate Boston Cheesy Cheesecake with choc-chip topping (I just created that one!), then go with Strawberry Jelly with Custard because all you want is a Merry Christmas after all.
For table service tips and other home décor ideas, check out my new Facebook page ‘Space Solutions’. Don’t be shy, click ‘Like’ or better yet, send me a positive message and post some ideas to inspire me. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays, stay safe, have a Happy and Holy Christmas and be more inspired in 2015.