As we move fully into the holiday season in more ways than one, let us reflect on what brings us together – food. Even with an abundance at work and neighborhood holiday parties, it seems most of us have little time to bake or cook. For most a trip to the store is our only option when it comes to bringing an item to a potluck. I don’t think this should stop us from presenting our purchased dishes and desserts as homemade. In fact, there are five easy steps you can take to make a store bought item look like it was prepared with love.
- Remove all packaging. I know this requires work and may provide too much of a temptation for those who are addicted to sweets, but it must be done. Also, if you feel ambitious, slide the recently purchased item into one of your own cookware provided you have cookware.
- Memorize the ingredients. If you actually purchase an item people like, they may try to engage you in conversation about it. To throw them off be your own worst critic. Tell them how you are not quite pleased with the result and look to tinker before giving away the recipe.
- Do not buy local. It’s not a good idea to visit the corner bakery for you may run into someone who is going to the same party. This makes the “homemade” scenario problematic when you both bring the same cupcakes.
- Do not bring cookies. There is a uniform consistency in cookies that instantly reveals factory made. If you are in a bind and only have a package of snickerdoodles in the pantry, take a handful and slightly burn them in the oven. Then mix them with the rest. Nothing says homemade more than overcooked baked goods.
- Show your struggle. Wearing an apron is too obvious. Having flour on your holiday sweater is a bit much. And putting chocolate smudge marks underneath your eyes like a football player is a little crazy. The solution: small fake burns on your hands. Not only does it show you are committed to cooking, it may also elicit a little sympathy, especially when you start off with, “I was baking the last dozen snickerdoodles for the orphans and I forgot to put on my oven mitten…”
Photo courtesy of salsachica.