It might be a lot like yours (or not at all)

Recipe Anxiety…

In Apartment Cooking on December 25, 2008 at 6:51 am

Definition: Recipe Anxiety is when you cannot stop thinking about the meal you are about to prepare.

Causes: Its onset is most likely to occur the day or night before a major feast you are preparing and hosting, commonly on a holiday. Situations such as trying out a new recipe(s) for the first time for your guests, preparing your menu last-minute, shopping at the last minute, not reading through your recipes in advance, trying overly complex recipes, cooking on a day when stores might be closed preventing you from getting items you may have forgotten, or an intimidating crowd you want to impress, are all known to heighten the occurrence into all-out stress.

Symptoms: Can’t stop thinking about your recipes, can’t sleep because you are thinking about your recipes and preparing them, waking in the middle of the night to read through your recipes, a general uncertaintly about how the meal might turn out and what your guests will think of it.

Treatment: There really is no cure other than to get through the cooking experience, get the meal on the table, and see what your guests reactions are. Only then can you either rest easy, or admit defeat. Allowing yourself plenty of prep time will help. Enlisting a helper may also help. But most likely, you will still have a case of Recipe Anxiety until the event is over.

Prevention: Only cook dishes you’ve prepared before. Don’t try to do “too much” or attempt recipes that are above your experience level. Read through your recipes in advance. Create your menu, shop, and prepare well in advance.

Case Study: Lana was extremely excited to prepare Christmas dinner for her family and boyfriend, a reasonable guestcount of 5 people. Normally on Thanksgiving she keeps things traditional, but likes to experiment with the Christmas meal. Lana knew she had to do grocery shopping on Christmas Eve, and finally found the time and focus to find great recipes and combine them into a menu the (late) night prior to Christmas Eve. She was happy with her menu. Shopping on Christmas day went well, she felt confident she had everything. Lana went to bed around 11:30am and found herself awake at 3:30am, thinking about her meal. She was envisioning and tasting the various dishes in her head, with satisfaction yet curiousity of the unkown. At 4:15am, Lana still could not sleep and decided to get up and read through her recipes carefully, something she’d not yet done.  In doing so, she realized one of the dishes needed to be refridgerated overnight. She contemplated preparing it first thing in the morning, but realized she couldn’t sleep anyway and especially now knowing she was already behind. Lana went into the kitchen and spent about 40min preparing a casserole, it went perfectly. Lana then went back to the bed, but still couldn’t sleep, again envisioning the processesand final products of her recipes. Stay tuned to find out how this meal turns out.

Lana’s Christmas Menu:

Honey Baked Ham w/ Brown Sugar Glaze

Sausage & Leek Casserole

Potato, Zucchini, & Rosemary Latkes w/ Lemon Cream Cheese Topping

Black-eyed Peas & Rice (aka Hoppin’ John)

Carrot, Orange, & Apple Coleslaw (aka Christmas Coleslaw)

Dessert: Lana’s Sweet Potato Pie (already made!), Cheesecake, & Mom’s Xmas Treats

  1. He he. I love how you presented this. I was a bit like that about Thanksgiving, but I have to tell ya, it was the best Thanksgiving I have ever made. Everything was awesome.

    I hope it was the same for you. Can’t wait to see your Christmas feast!

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