This Christmas, we’re all going to be doing things a little differently. Many of us are coming to terms with the fact that our usual setup — of having the entire family round for Christmas while we cook up a storm — will probably have to wait until 2021. But don’t be downhearted: you can still crush garlic, stir gravy and baste the turkey with your loved ones! It’s just that this year, you’ll be doing it virtually. Here’s our guide to cooking Christmas dinner over Zoom.
Tech in the kitchen? Not an ideal combination, but one we’re seeing more and more often. Be wise about it; if you’re going to be Zooming while cooking, pop your tablet or computer on a handy shelf away from the hob so that you don’t end up splashing the keyboard with hot oil as you turn the roast potatoes. If you don’t have a shelf, here’s a guide to keeping your laptop foodstuff free in the kitchen.
Ingredients at the Ready
If you’re hoping to eat matching meals so it feels like you’re together, agree ingredients with your Zoom buddies first. This could involve you sending an itemised list over email, or a more collaborative process where you all check out what’s easily available and discuss your dishes of choice. During quarantine, Bon Appetit’s Ella Quittner started a virtual recipe book with her friends, and something similar could work for you.
Simplify the menu
The BBC’s Good Food team recommend cooking something easier than you might normally opt for, because this maximises the amount of time you can spend chatting with your friends and family as you go. Roasting a small cut of meat in a lidded casserole dish with water means you don’t even need to baste it; ideal if you’d rather be discussing your plans for the next time you can all be together. You can also prolong the Christmas dinner-Zoom experience by hopping on a call whenever you have something to prep for the big day, from mixing up the Christmas pudding six weeks before, to brining the turkey on Christmas Eve.
If you’re hoping to cook with less adventurous chefs, why not get the professionals involved? It’s now possible to take group cookery lessons on Zoom, and there are plenty of places with exciting Christmas menus to try. If you’re confident, you can supervise the session yourself, instead; so long as they have the correct equipment and ingredients prepared, it can be really fun to take your friends and family on a cooking journey where they copy you as you go; almost like you’re cooking for them after all.
Setting the table
The fact that you’re not able to be together isn’t an excuse to scrimp on the decorations! Dress the table beautifully with candles, your best crockery and cutlery and a lovely colourful runner and you’ll up the festive spirit immediately. Make sure you have somewhere special to pop the laptop to protect it from spills.
How is your quarantine Christmas shaping up? Will you be having a go at a virtual Christmas dinner? Send us your photos from the big day on Instagram.