Holiday Traditions: Simplistic Holiday Meals Holiday Traditions: Simplistic Holiday Meals

In part 1 of this series, we looked at the different holiday experiences and the traditional meals. Regardless of where you live, each holiday has its own traditional meals. Because we live in such a fast paced society, with both parents often working outside the home, it is often next to impossible to spend days in the kitchen preparing a holiday meal. Planning ahead is essential, and using food items that are quick and easy is the name of the game. Here, we provide information on making the holiday meal not only enjoyable, but easy on the cook and host/hostess. A meal does not have to be elaborate to be elegant.

The Simplistic Way

In a recent article, I read about Chef Pepin, whose Television program, La Cocina del Chef Pepin, is nationwide. Chef Pepin is very well known, and he recommends that when considering any large meal, to use what is available at the supermarket to make the dinner both easier and elegant. He advocates using pre-packaged foods and even roasted chicken from delis to make up a holiday meal. This not only cuts down on time spent in the kitchen, but Chef Pepin claims that it is just as tasty and nutritional as meals built from scratch. Consider baked potatoes instead of candied yams. Use brown and serve rolls. Think of the many ways you can prepare a fancy meal with the minimum of effort.

A Standing Rib Roast

Standing rib roast, not to be confused with prime rib, is often a traditional meal on Christmas night. It is not served often due to expense, but makes a perfect holiday meal. A standing rib roast consists of the 6th through 12th rib of the cut. Always ask your butcher for the short end of the loin when preparing standing rib roast. Allow for 2 portions per rib. A four rib roast is adequate for eight people. Here’s how to make an excellent standing rib roast:

A well-marbled standing rib roast with four ribs


  • sea salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • whole garlic cloves
  • meat thermometer
  • aluminum foil
  1. Season the roast with sea salt, pepper and garlic powder. Allow to sit over night to allow the spices to permeate the meat. Keep refrigerated, then allow the meat to sit at room temperature one hour before cooking.
  2. Make slits in the roast and insert slices of garlic. Dry roast in a 300-325 degree oven until desired doneness is reached. Temperatures on a meat thermometer should read: 130°F - very rare, 140°F - medium rare, 160°F - medium well done, 170°F - very well done. Remove the roast from the oven a few minutes before reaching the desired temperature. Let stand at room temperature for 2o minutes, then carve in thin slices.
  3. Typically, this roast is served with the pan drippings – “Au Jus” – the juice of the meat.

A holiday meal can be easy and elegant. Take time to plan your next holiday feast, and make it as easy on yourself as possible.

Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to He writes on a variety of subjects and excels in research.

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