Emma Waverman writes about the chaos of modern family life. She is the co-author of the family cookbook Whining and Dining: Mealtime Survival for Picky Eaters and Families Who Love Them and is hoping to one day finish her certification as a parenting coach. She lives with her three kids, ranging from tween to grade schooler, and husband in Toronto. Emma has written for a variety of national parenting and lifestyle magazines and newspapers. When she’s is not making typos, telling you what she thinks, and thinking about dinner, you can find her on Twitter at @emmawaverman.
I am busy planning my holiday parties. So far, I have a multi-family get together, a neighbourhood roving dinner party and my book club social.
The good news is that I don’t have any cross-over guests so I can plan virtually the same menu for each one. It’s always amazing to me that we all choose to entertain during such a busy time of year. It makes it so much harder to plan and devote time to fabulous creations. But I’m fairly confident I can do it all. Just takes some planning and not to get over-confident.
When it comes to parties, the tried and true is always better than the new and never-done-before. There is nothing worse than going to someone’s house and having an MIA host freaking out over a complicated dish.
So here are my must-haves for entertaining during the holiday season (and beyond). You can find these at SHOP.CA, Canada’s online shopping site. There will not be any delivery charges! None. And you can use your Aeroplan points. You can do it all from your home without stepping into a mall or fight for a parking spot. That makes planning multiple parties a lot easier.
Sodastream: This thing has changed my life. Bubbly water on demand, no waste and no carrying heavy glass bottles to and from the car. I love this. (Makes a great gift – I gave one to my sister and one to my dad for a housewarming):
Slowcooker: I almost always serve something braised as a main course – usually brisket. The secret to a delicious brisket is buying a good piece of meat from a butcher; making it the day before, cooling it down, slicing it while cool and then reheating it in the sauce. Of course, brisket is perfect in the slow cooker. A slow cooker is also good for keeping mulled wine or apple cider warm (spirits are optional):
Wine Opener and Aerator. Is there anything more embarrassing than struggling with a wine opener in front of guests? That is why I love this Rabbit opener – the cork comes out in one elegant move. It comes with an aerator – which exposes the wine to oxygen and can remove sulfites. My husband has a sensitivity to red wine and he says that aerating means he doesn’t get a headache, (unless he over-indulges, of course):
Glasses: If I am having a big party I rent wine glasses because it is not expensive (less than you think!) and I can put them back in the box dirty. But I also have at least 20 wine glasses on hand at all times. At 29.99 for a set of four, these wine glasses are a good buy:
Wine: You need wine. Did you know that you can order a case of wine from SHOP.CA? They have an excellent selection of Ontario VQA wine that will be delivered straight to your door. That clears a major to-do off of my list. I will be ordering some Cave Spring Reisling and maybe some reds from Stratus. I am also contemplating adding some sparkly to my list – the Cuvee Catharine from Henry of Pellham makes a great hostess gift. Actually, I lie – I love having some spare bubbles in the house for any kind of celebration.
One last thing: I admit that I don’t really throw these kinds of parties anymore – at least in winter. But a part of me totally wants this crazy Margarita maker.
I wonder what an egg nog slushie tastes like?
What are your holiday must-haves?