I’m looking at my calendar for December and thinking WOW. Why? Because I realize how much food I will be making over the course of the month. So ok, I essentially work in college ministry, of COURSE I make a lot of food. But December. Oh December. I’ll be making full meals for 8, 20, a tray of lasagna, cookies for a cookie party, and desserts for half a dozen other occasions. That’s just what I know about right now and does not include a once-a-week dinner that I try to have to host different friends in my home.
Thankfully I am well prepared for this month because by this point (11 months in!) I have figured out a few sanity-preserving tricks: 1) Plan as many meals/recipes at the beginning of the month as possible and 2) Make one major shopping trip at the beginning of the month to buy the majority of the supplies for already-planned meals. This simplifies and streamlines, particularly as I don’t have a) a husband or b) a car to assist in the processes of life. This also enables me to get most of my groceries at the big major (and cheap) Super Wal-Mart-esque store called Carrefour and thereby get things for less money while preserving my mental stability via not going there anymore than necessary. That was a long sentence. But I think grammatically ok, no? If you can imagine how overwhelming Super Wal-Mart can be (lots of stuff, lots of people, loud music), just picture everything in a language that is not your own, way more people, and huge carts of things out in basically every aisle to restock. During the middle of the afternoon.
By now I’ve also figured out what recipes do and don't require a lot of effort, have an arsenal of recipes that people love, have gotten over the "I just want to make something new and creative and complex and different" thing. I have also become a regular speedster at whipping up a mean batch of cookies. Which is really helpful because if none of the above were true, I would be dreading this month. But I’m not. In fact I’m quite looking forward to this Christmas season, my first in a new country. It’ll be like my first Christmas, just taking everything in with big eyes. And contributing a few Gingerbread Men for decorating and pumpkin muffins for eating here and there. Get ready, get set, cook!