Cooking a familiar Easter meal in a unfamiliar setting
Published in Entertaining
(Editor's Note: This story was originally published March 31, 2021.)
Along with feelings of joy, those who are headed to someone else's house this Easter weekend could also feel some trepidation if they're the one in charge of preparing brunch or dinner. How do you cook the holiday's grand meal in someone else's kitchen?
Unfamiliar kitchens can be a pain for those home cooks who like things just so. Take your kids, for example: Even though you may have raised the host, you can't always count on a son or daughter to have the same kitchen utensils, pots and pans at the ready.
When I went looking for some run-of-the-mill curry powder in my son's New Jersey kitchen recently, all I could find was a hot Jamaican variety.
Of course, he didn't have any Crisco for biscuits. I was able to substitute butter, but still.
A pantry and fridge that hold vastly different contents are just one minor challenge. If your son or daughter has just begun adulting or doesn't care much about cooking, he or she might not have your favorite appliances either. So you have to make do without a KitchenAid mixer to whip up cake batter or a Silpat mat for baked goods.
Then there is the space. Not every kitchen comes equipped with a center island for chopping and rolling or a stove with multiple racks. And you may have to trade the gas range you're used to for electric or induction cooktops, or vice versa.
In short, it takes flexibility to be a chef on the go.
It's best to keep your recipes as basic as possible — and go with the flow. Choose a simple menu that's full of family favorites and one that can be adapted to different cooking methods, pans and ingredients.
Here are some holiday feast ideas on how to roll with it when you're an out-of-town cook: