“Staging” a Lovely Holiday Meal

THE HUMAN BEAN OF NORTHERN COLORADO SUPPORTS COMMUNITY THROUGH GUEST BARISTA DAY, THANKFUL THURSDAY AND NATIONAL COFFEE DAY Thursday, September 19 is Thankful Thursday Honoring First Responders Thursday, September 19 is Guest Barista Day Benefiting the Terry Farrell Firefighter’s Fund Sunday, September 29 is National Coffee Day, Benefiting United Way Monday, September 30 is Guest Barista Day, Benefiting KRFC 88.9 FM Radio Fort Collins

Before we even take the first bite we delight over a meal with eye-appeal. But the visual extends far beyond great food presentation to the general appearance of the table and even the room in which the meal is enjoyed.

At this most unusual holiday season where we may not be able to gather with extended family due to Covid-19 precautions, consider staging a festive holiday meal for yourself or you and your loved one — holiday celebrations are so restricted this year that even shopping clubs are cutting down the size of their food offerings.

But before you decide what will be on the plate, consider the outer details of the setting in which the food will be enjoyed.

For example, if you don’t own candlesticks, check your local thrift store and consider picking them up. If you don’t own a table runner again, check your local thrift store or consider going to a fabric or hobby store and buying a yard of a fall print fabric. You don’t need to be a seamstress to cut a yard in half to make two 18″ by 36″ strips to place end-to-end to make a 72″ length on your table with an overhang on each end. Or if your budget permits, go out and buy a brand new table runner. And if you don’t own china, again, check your local thrift store for a fancy plate or two usually under $2 each and it’s the same with glassware — you can pick up something festive at a thrift store for around $2.

The idea is to “stage” a special setting with two plates and two glasses “new to you” — or if you’re a single and spending the holiday solo, one new plate and one new glass — thrifty but often downright “eye candy.”

Include flowers from either the local floral section of your favorite supermarket or your local high-quality florist — often, if you bring in even just a bud vase, your local florist will help you fill it with beauty for the same price or less than supermarket flowers — the idea is to get some flowers on your table.

Once you have a table runner, one or two new plates, one or two new glasses, a pair of candles, and a small centerpiece or flower in a bud vase, you can move on to what you will enjoy for dinner.

The possibilities are endless. If you like to cook but your holiday repertoire is geared to large gatherings, check online for Thanksgiving for Two to get great pared-down recipes that are well worth your time.

But if this year, you don’t want to bother cooking, check ahead of time as to which restaurants in your area offer a Thanksgiving Menu for Takeout. Some may require reservations even for takeout so that they can plan ahead. And some of these offerings are easily enough for two people. The important thing is that when you get this quality food home that you have a pan or two ready to heat up the food because especially with rich foods that might contain butter and/or cream, they need to be served at the temperature the chef intended. Consider a 3″ deep skillet to add a few tablespoons of filtered water to create steam, place the food in the skillet, cover and turn the heat up high for 2 to 3 minutes and your food is ready to plate good and hot — it makes a big difference.

Why bother? Well, when we hold a small celebration for ourselves or our significant other we are reminded that even in the midst of a pandemic, we still have much for which to be grateful.

Here’s to the beautiful event that may even inspire you when next Thanksgiving rolls around.