Don’t Serve Chilli to Your Guests This Christmas

Everyone seems to like making chilli at Christmas. If you are having a crowd of people over for a party during the holiday season you should keep in mind that no matter how great your chilli recipe is, they really wish you hadn’t made it. Absolutely nobody wants to eat anything that requires cutlery or plates at a crowded party.

If you are having some people over for dinner, feel free to serve chilli with some nice fresh bread and whipped butter. I’m sure they will love it. But if you have a crowd of people over for drinks, nobody is going to want to try to drink beer and eat a bowl full of chilli at the same time and then have to locate the garbage can. They just want to grab the occasional potato chip or sausage roll with their non-drinking hand. It is bad enough that you have to hold a bowl and a spoon/fork for an extended period of time, but if you are going to properly eat chilli than you will need roll to go with it. Since humans are only equipped with two hands, one of which needs to hold your beer, eating chilli at a party quickly becomes a logistical nightmare.

Make life easy on your guests. Serve them snacks that can be eaten with one hand does not leave anything to be disposed of, be it bowls or bones. That’s right, no chicken wings either. If you want to impress your guests with homemade appetizers, try serving something like quesadillas, chicken strips, or a good old nacho dip. And even if you like impressing guests with you cooking skills, even your most ardent foodie guests will be quite disappointed if you do not have a few bowls of store bought kettle cooked potato chips lying around.

You Don’t Need a Rice Cooker

The other day I saw an ad in a flier for a sale on rice cookers. 50% off. Most things that are truly 50% off are good deals. If a rice cooker was 100% off it wouldn’t be a good deal. The only way you should take a rice cooker into your home is if the rice cooker manufacturer pays you rent. You already have a rice cooker in your house. It’s called a pot.

Making rice is easy. You put rice in a pot, add water, put the lid on it, turn the stove on medium wait a little bit and then you have tasty, ready to eat rice. I have never bothered to investigate the features of a rice maker just as I wouldn’t spend any time learning about a toast buttering machine.

Most kitchens are too cluttered with too many unnecessary tools. If you want to make your life easier in the kitchen you need start getting rid of things you already have, not adding more useless clutter. Rather than adding a useless rice cooker, throw away that electric can opener taking up counter space, then give away your knife block and buy yourself a single good chef knife.

If you make kitchen appliances and want to grow your business, the way you do that is by convincing consumers they need more types of kitchen appliances. There isn’t a lot of money to be made in simplifying kitchens. The next time you are tempted to buy some new gadget like a rice cooker, look at all of the kitchen tools and appliances you already own and ask yourself how many of them actually use.

Everyone is Opening Wine Bottles the Wrong Way

If you’ve ever been to a fancy restaurant you will notice that the waiter always starts by cutting around the mouth of the bottle to remove the top part of the foil covering. After removing the top part there is a slightly jagged edges of foil around the mouth of the bottle and the wine passed over those edges as the wine is poured. This makes absolutely no sense. Aside from being a waste of effort, it is also not particularly sanitary.

The logical way to remove the foil from a bottle of wine is to simply make one slice up through the entire length of the foil and remove it entirely. It takes a fraction of the time and then the wine is passing over nothing but clean glass as it pours. One of the reasons why the top of a bottle is covered in foil is presumably to keep the mouth of the bottle clean, so why would anyone want to pour the wine over foil that has been exposed for years instead of the clean glass underneath.

Wine bottles can sit around for a long time in your local restaurant or liquor store. A thin layer of dust will build up over time in even the cleanest environments. People will occasionally walk by the bottle and sneeze or cough. People who do not always wash their hands after going to the bathroom will grab a bottle by the neck and hold it up for a closer look before putting it back on the shelf.

Most waiters in fancy restaurants no doubt pride themselves on their cleanliness, and maybe all of the members of your dinner party group are all have very clean hands, but would want them to dip their finger in your glass of wine after pour it? No? Then why would you want them manhandling the top of your bottle of wine before pouring it for you? The next time you open a bottle of wine, ignore the waiters in fancy restaurants (but listen to this random food blogger) and just remove the entire foil cover.

Store Bought Frozen Meatballs are the Perfect Way to Let Your Holiday Guests Know How Little You Think of Them

If you really can’t stand whichever friends or family members you are entertaining over the holiday season and want to express your disdain for them without creating an awkward scene, all you need to do is go to your local grocery store and buy a box of frozen meatballs to serve them. It doesn’t matter which meatballs you choose. Swedish meatballs, home style, pub style, whatever box you pick will clearly and succinctly communicate the lack of esteem in which you hold them.

Like 90% of the human population I love meatballs and have tried many different types of store bought frozen meatballs, every one of which was an abomination. I’ve enjoyed many frozen food section appetizers in my day; chicken wings, mozza sticks, sausage rolls, chicken fingers. I probably wouldn’t break them out for an anniversary dinner, but they were good enough for a casual evening having a few drinks with friends. I feel like every person who makes frozen meatballs is a lonely and hateful person who resents anyone with a circle of friends and an active social life.

I have never tasted a store bought meatball that tasted like ground beef was the primary ingredient. Without fail, every single one has been a rubbery mass of a vaguely meat flavoured gelatin substance. If you take a store bought frozen meatball out and leave it out on your counter for a few hours, you can squeeze it as hard as you like and it won’t break apart. They do not in any way resemble the standard homemade meatball, which has meat as the primary ingredient.

Homemade meatballs are not that difficult nor very expensive to make, you just need to get your hands a little dirty. All you need to do is mix together some lean ground beef with an egg, bread crumbs or oatmeal, and whatever herbs you feel like adding in and then baking them for a half hour to 45 minutes  and you’re done. If you are having people over whose friendship you value, who have done favours for you in the past, and who could count on in times of need, you should not think twice about getting your hands dirty for a few minutes.

It is one of the facts of life that you will frequently have guests at your house, particularly during the holidays, whom you really don’t like and don’t want to encourage to accept the next invitation that you unwillingly extend. Those are the times when you want to break out the box of frozen meatballs. For $12.99 you can let someone know how little you think of them and significantly lower the odds of them ever accepting an invitation again.