Food & Drink - - TABLE OF CONTENTS -

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!

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