One year ago, as the winter holidays neared and the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers were consumed, none of us had any idea what the next twelve months had in store. We lined up outside our favorite stores in search of huge Black Friday deals. We splurged on Hanukkah gifts on Cyber Weekend. We decorated our houses with inflatables and twinkling lights to signify the approach of the hap, hap, happiest time of the year.
But what of this year?
With the novel coronavirus changing everyone’s plans, how will this year’s holidays look? Will we be able to gather around the dinner table to share the meals we so closely associate with Christmas and Hanukkah? Will we watch the ball drop on an abandoned Times Square on New Year’s Eve?
Enter food: the ultimate connector of people, the sustainer, and the entertainer. Below, we explore two ways that the unifying power of food can help lend a little levity to this year’s holiday festivities and hopefully help them feel a bit more normal.
Christmas and Hanukkah
Celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah this year is going to be tough. The traditions and annual activities we’ve grown accustomed to will certainly change, but below are some ideas to help ease the transition.
Meals on Wheels
If you celebrate locally with family or friends, a fun way to keep the potluck tradition alive is to have everyone bake their specialty and deliver it. Create a sign-up sheet online where everyone can share their addresses and what they’ll be making. Each person (or family!) bakes their dish in bulk, portions out shares for everyone involved (make sure you’ve got plenty of Tupperware!), and makes the rounds on the big day.
This idea is perfect for starters, side dishes, desserts, etc., but we suggest that each household cooks the main dish for themselves (turkey, ham, pasta, duck, etc.). Plus, transporting fully-cooked turkeys to everyone on the list is for the birds! For sharing, think along the lines of Pastene’s Baked Artichoke-Appetizer or Pastene Bruschetta – easy to make in bulk, easy to divide into portions…and even easier to devour!
*Note: It is possible for those of you who travel for the holidays or want to involve family and friends that are out of town to share in the fun as well. Just make sure you choose recipes that will keep and travel well (pies and desserts are a good option), or consult your local post office for the best way to get your dish delivered through the mail.
New Year’s Eve
2020 has been a tough year, and the joy of watching it come to an end will likely overshadow any pangs of loss we may feel from the lack of parties, ticketed events, and midnight champagne toasts. But if you’re looking for a way to end the year that most of us would rather forget on a good note, turn to your favorite video conferencing program.
It’s pretty likely that everyone will be celebrating in the comfort (and safety!) of their own homes this year, so why not all celebrate “together”? Set up your tablet, laptop, or webcam, and share a chatroom link among family and friends. Bake a bunch of apps like Pastene’s Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini or Three-Pepper Pizza, let the bubbly flow, and visit with family and friends as they sign on and off.
Want to take it a step further? A recipe share about a week before New Year’s will help bring everyone together even more. Just because you can’t be together doesn’t mean you can’t all share some great food! Looking for a little inspiration? Visit Pastene’s new recipes section for some plates that promise to start your new year on the right foot!
From all of us here at Pastene, we wish you all a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season!