Life Lessons From Holiday Cooking

Ten years ago, my son Daniel and I decided we’d take on the task of doing most of the Christmas holiday cooking. It was our way of giving my wife Laura and daughter Melanie a break to just relax and enjoy the holidays. My wild, crazy idea!

NOTE: The photo above includes some of the sweets and “treats” made as part of the holiday cooking marathon.

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we started. But after eleven recipes and 12+ hours of meal prep, cooking and clean-up, let’s just say we learned a lot from the experience.

Here are the important life lessons we took away from our wild, crazy holiday cooking extravaganza that still apply today:

  1. Teamwork and communication are keys to success in any endeavor.
  2. Don’t expect perfection. Even when you follow the script, success isn’t guaranteed.
  3. Failure is not final. It’s okay to start over if you miss the mark the first time.
  4. Great results require skillful preparation, planning, hard work and luck. (BFO)
  5. Get help, advice and wise counsel from the experts when you’re stuck.
  6. Timing is everything! Spending too much time doing anything will result in burnout.
  7. Mistakes or missteps can sometimes produce some wonderful surprises.
  8. Keep life (and cooking) simple – it’s less work and stress on everyone’s part.
  9. Take time out to celebrate your accomplishments, both large and small.
  10. Don’t take other people and their contributions for granted.

In addition, here are some bonus lessons that may be helpful for you guys who boldly decide to embark on a similar holiday cooking adventure in the future:

  1. Recipes are guidelines. The final product rarely turns out as advertised.
  2. DON’T PUSH the Auto Clean button when food is in the oven.
  3. A tablespoon (TBSP) does not equal a teaspoon (TSP).
  4. Table setting: The small glass is for wine, the larger one for water. (LOL)
  5. Related to #4 – Cooking with alcohol definitely enhances the experience!
  6. Butternut squash is evil!! Microwave to soften before attempting to cut it.

We also learned first-hand that the special ladies in our lives don’t get enough credit for all that they do to make the holidays special for others. Just the cooking part alone requires an enormous amount of time and effort. Based on this 12+ hour cooking and bonding experience with dear old Dad, my son lobbied heavily to have pizza delivery the following year.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very, Merry Christmas holiday.

Enjoy the journey!


COPYRIGHT © 2019-23 John Carroll