Tuesday Tip: Start Prepping Now to Ease the Yom Tov Rush
By Yehudit Garmaise
With only ten days until Rosh Hashana, the time has come to start making menus, shopping, and filling our freezers with our tried-and-true family favorites.
First, clear out our freezers, so there is room for all the soups, brisket, meatballs, kugels, challahs, and desserts that freeze well and leave a feeling of preparedness and ease.
This week, try to use up any frozen foods that are taking up precious space and wipe down the walls of the freezer with a soapy sponge.
Beginning to stash freshly cooked and baked goods in a clean freezer can increase serenity as dozens of meals loom ahead.
Sit down with your cookbooks and recipe files, and make charts for each Yom Tov listing the menu for each meal.
Make a grocery list, and remember to add foods that are not necessarily in recipes, but that are served, such as apples and honey, pomegranate, and all of the simanim.
Buy a stack of 9 x 12 aluminum baking dishes you can throw away Motzei Yom Tov so as not to run out of baking dishes.
For all the vegetables, chicken, meat, and soups, make sure to have containers that stack well in the freezer.
Also, be sure to stock up on wine and grape juice.
Avoid the rush by shopping at a time when grocery stores are not likely to be busy, such as early in the morning.
By making just one dish every day in the following week and a half, when Erev Rosh Hashana arrives, all that will be left to do is to setthe tables and make some salads, so you can focus on davening, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Try to make use of the delicious dishes you are making for Yom Tov to supplement your meals now. For instance, while making chicken soup to freeze for Yom Tov, save some of the soup chicken and vegetables to serve with rice or potatoes and a salad one night this week.
To add variety to prep time, alternate cooking main meals, preparing side dishes, and baking challah and desserts as the days wind down into Yom Tov.
Consider how to create extra simchas Yom Tov for family, when you aren’t working or taking time for meal prep.
Perhaps on Sunday, or whenever there is time, take each child to pick out new clothing, a new book, and a new toy to enjoy during long Yom Tov days.
Polishing silver, extra deep-cleans of bathrooms and kitchen, shampooing carpets, cleaning chandeliers, and other home spruce-ups are also good ways to bring in the new year with elegance and excitement.
Lastly, don’t forget to do a few nice things for yourself and your spouse in the coming weeks, so as to also feel like royalty on Tishrei 1 and 2, when we coronate the King.