From collapsing gingerbread houses to forgetting to thaw the turkey, family legends are built on holiday mistakes. At least there’s comfort in knowing that everyone experiences holiday cooking fails — even pros like Lynn Crawford.
The Great Canadian Cookbook host and Egg Farmers of Canada spokesperson has had her fair share of holiday mishaps and has learned to laugh them off.
“[In the] moment, they can be very stressful, but looking back they’re really comical, fun, hilarious and make great memories,” she says.
We caught up with Lynn to hear about some of the biggest holiday cooking disasters and her best tips to avoid them.
1. Make sure your oven is big enough
The first time Lynn hosted her family for Christmas dinner, she was a young chef and eager to impress. Despite her planning, she didn’t realize that her turkey was too big for her apartment-sized oven, until it was too late.
“I had it in its roasting pan and I remember literally trying to shove it into the oven. It was a disaster,” Lynn says. Luckily, a kind neighbour with a larger oven came to her rescue.
2. Keep your expectations in check
There’s a lot of pressure to impress during the holidays, but trying a new, elaborate dish can be a recipe for disaster. Stay in your comfort zone and give your tried and true recipes a chance to shine. You’ll feel more confident and chances are you’ll make fewer mistakes.
3. Pay attention to your ingredients
The classic mistake in a busy kitchen is mixing up salt and sugar. “As simple as that [may seem], it can be one of your biggest mishaps,” says Lynn. This common mistake can leave you with salty cookies and sweet stuffing. Make sure your containers are labelled correctly and that you slow down and pay attention when adding ingredients.
4. Keep animals away from the kitchen
The last thing you need is your dog chowing-down on your turkey or cat knocking over your perfect cookie tray. For their safety (and yours) keep your beloved pets away from hot ovens, boiling pots and sharp knives.
5. Remember to turn your oven on (and off!)
It sounds simple enough but most people have forgotten to turn on the oven. This simple slip-up can be a disaster if you realize it too late. Turning off the oven when you’re done is equally important. Leaving the broiler on can deliver a scorched bird or ruined sides dishes.