Have You Ever Staged a Practice Dinner in Preparation?

Have You Ever Staged a Practice Dinner in Preparation?

Sarah Rae Smith
Dec 8, 2010

We recently asked our readers for their worst kitchen disaster story. In the middle of all those tears and laughter, Kitchn reader JaxLBC, left us a great holiday tip, one that could be a huge help to those who are preparing a holiday feast for the first time, either in a new space or all together — just do a trial run!

Although it might be too close to achieve this year, JaxLBC did their trial run for Christmas dinner in June. Here's what they had to say about the event:

"I did everything as if it was December to work out the timing: cleaning my apartment, shopping, prep work, etc. I planned a pretty ambitious main course: Beef Wellington.

3 friends were in the living room enjoying the hors d'oeuvres. 1 friend was opening the wine.

I had the beef wrapped in the duxelles and puff pastry. I had realized that I wanted the temperature probe to go into the "back side" of the Wellington. As I was turning the baking sheet around on the counter it slipped out of my hands and THUD the Wellington hit the floor. I let out a loud "OH NO!" My friend opening the wine started laughing. My other friends yelled, "What happened?"

I got the Wellington back on the baking sheet (within the "mandatory" 5 seconds) and walked to the living room to deliver the bad news and shared that I had washed the floors they day before.
They looked at each other and each said, "I'm good. Let's eat it."
We had a wonderful "Christmas in July" dinner and everyone happily volunteered to be guinea pigs for future practice dinners."

Aside from escape-y Beef Wellington this is a great idea for several reasons. Aside from letting you know exactly how much time it will take to clean and ready your space, it's also a great way to find out how slow things cook when your oven is full and what other items you might need to fill the time. For instance, you might need more pre-dinner snacks if things take a bit longer, or have an extra bottle of wine on hand.

In addition it's a great way for new cooks or those in a new space to get a feel for working on a larger scale for the first time. Our kitchens have a great deal of personality and knowing how to cut corners where you can and how to avoid pitfalls is a great hand up in the game of entertaining. Thanks Jax-LBC!

Related: Entertaining Tips: Get Organized!

(Image: Flickr member Chris Flemming licensed for use by Creative Commons)

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