draw nearer, we start to imagine picture-perfect gatherings with friends and family—and hopefully a bit of time o work—because that’s what this time of year is all about. But the preparations leading up to those gatherings can be daunting, and that’s where we can help. This issue aims to inspire and guide you with several themes running throughout—share the load, get ahead, keep it simple and indulge (when you finally have a chance to catch your breath).
Entertaining has really become an interactive experience—gone are the days when guests expect the table to be set, appetizers ready upon arrival and dinner served in one seamless performance. People want to help, and we should let them! Consider dividing up a menu from cocktail through to dessert so that everyone comes with a prepared dish, as we have done in A Portable Party on page 114. Or plan a special evening (say, New Year’s Eve) where everyone brings the ingredients for their course and preparing the meal is a communal experience that extends over the entire evening—as in Small Plates, Big Night on page 148. There is something for every level of cook in both of these menus, but those guests who prefer to opt out of kitchen duties can be asked to bring one of the bottles we’ve carefully matched to each dish.
December has five weekends this year, so take advantage and get ahead by utilizing our calendar planner, starting on page 106. Whether it’s gifts from the kitchen, appetizers and weeknight dinners to make and freeze, a last-minute fruitcake or a menu you can pull o for an impromptu get-together, our tips and recipes will have you ready for the holidays. On the day of the big feast, satisfy hunger but don’t spoil appetites with A Little Light Lunch (page 136) that is mostly made ahead, ready to be assembled and served once all the gifts are unwrapped.
If you’re hosting your first holiday dinner party, or just looking for a simple, festive menu with style, check out Easy Does It on page 55 for a menu that you can turn to again and again over the holidays and throughout the winter. Looking to jazz up your weekday or dinner party proteins? In Praise of Glaze on page 89 o ers four simply fabulous recipes to give your roasts a flavour boost, and a pretty sheen!
Of course indulgence is what we do best here at Food & Drink and you’ll find it in abundance throughout this issue—from cookies and turkey leftovers transformed into spectacular desserts and impressive main courses to decadent nightcaps or an Amaretto-spiked caramel popcorn that are perfect endnotes to hectic days. We hope you will find something here that is just right for a little you-time.
Enjoy the issue, and we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!