It would be really nice if we could just point a solitary finger at something and say ‘Well it’s that right there, that’s why the cost of everything is too damn high!’ but sadly it’s a factor of everything banding together. Floods, scarcity, global conflict, inflation, interest rates, cost of living…I’m running out of fingers here.
However I did read a great tip I want to share today for the big day coming up on December 25 and it’s regarding Christmas lunch or dinner. Namely you should help out the hard working host and bring a plate.
(Edit: Originally this was an article on bringing a plate to help make Christmas easier for anyone hosting it, whatever year, but the bring a plate offer – aka B.A.P can pretty much extend to any home hosted event across the year and will certainly be appreciated no matter what event it is.)
The price of Christmas lunch is set to rise
We’ve already seen price rises across the usual grocery go-to’s (if you’re reading this from somewhere around Australia then you’ll remember back in June this tear when the price of a single head of lettuce went north of 12 bucks due to the scarcity – yes I kid you not, the mostly water iceberg lettuce for 12 dollars onwards. I don’t know who bought one at that cost though, I just laughed sadly when I saw the price tag..) But this year experts are predicting that the price of seafood is also going to hit the lunch bill steeply and let’s not get started on the scarcity of potatoes at the moment. So bad news if you were hanging for a serve of oysters either natural or drowned in bits of bacon or a tonne of fries covered in chicken salt..
…because the price of the things are already rising and incredibly there’s a restaurant in Sydney charging an eye watering $8 just for one oyster (ouch). The intense rainfall we’ve been having across the country coupled with the flooding have made things difficult for suppliers to supply which means they ones they do get are now costing a bit more.
(Although I can’t say I’m much of a fan of the things to be honest. I don’t like the taste, I can’t see the appeal (Aphrodisiac? Just give me a strong look and that’s all I need!) I can count on one hand how many times I’ve tried one and still have enough fingers left to annoy people who cut me off in traffic. But Mrs Many Plans is a huge fan so I know she’ll be disappointed.)
Undoubtedly the same will go for a crayfish gathering around the laden table and you might have to pump the brakes on your lobster spectacular (if you have one) and anything to do with tiny jars of caviar (I loved those slices of potato with sour cream and caviar..)
Which is why this year it’s very helpful to bring a plate
Look I get it, there’s people out there happy to put on a Christmas spread that’ll sate an entire army and still have enough grub for leftovers to last the next three days at least. These one man/woman cooking machines be up at sparrows fart on the 25th or earlier, baking and smoking meats, building layers of lavish desserts and setting the table with pinpoint accuracy because they can, because they love it and because that’s what they do. They’ll ask for no help, just for you to STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN because you’ll only get in the way really. (Oh and maybe keep their glass of champagne full while they toil away.)
However as much as you appreciate the vast efforts they will and usually go to, this year it’s suggested to help ease the costs of a family get together, every guest is encouraged to bring a plate. Something for an entree, something for dessert, something to keep the kids happy (lollies work!), chips, BBQ shapes, it matters not – just don’t walk into the house empty handed (that’s not counting the presents you may bring of course.)
And seriously, how good it is when you go anywhere for a feed, Xmas or not, and you’re drowning in choice? A little trifle, some chocolate pudding oh and that thing in jelly whatever it is looks tasty!
It doesn’t have to be pricey, but preferably something that people don’t screw their noses at and wonder what you just served would be a good start..
Some affordable bring a plate suggestions
How many plates do you need for bring a plate? Just one is fine, as long as it’s tasty. Here’s a few ideas to get you in the helpful mode.
–Blinis with anything. Now if you’ve just read that and thought ‘Wait, isn’t that a cocktail? you’re actually thinking of a Bellini which is prosecco and peach puree. No a Blini is a thick mini pancake as pictured above which you then build on with everything from sour cream to creme freche, smoked salmon to fish eggs, tuna, cherry tomatoes, pesto, everything. They’re easy to make (they’re just small pancakes essentially) but you can also find them in your nearest supermarket which makes things even easier.
–Mini pizzas. Grab a couple of pizza bases and a decent sized glass. Use the top of the glass as a stencil to cut around and voila, you have mini pizza bases. Arm with your favourite pizza topping and have at it! Bring a plate issue now sorted!
–A salad. Or two. Okay technically here it’s not bring a plate more bring a bowl but nothing compliments roast anything or a dinner table sized cold meat platter than a variety of salads so now it’s time to whip up your world famous…uh…well whatever your world famous salad is actually famous for. Crispy noodle salad, Waldorf, quinoa surprise, whatever it is bring it in a big bowl so there’s enough for everyone.
–Egg and bacon pie. In a muffin tray! Deceptively easy to make but put it in an easy to eat format so you have one hand for the food while the other holds the celebratory glass of cheap bubbles. (I also tried this with pasta once – literally spaghetti carbonara muffins. More a strange experiment more than possible bring a plate material tbh.)
–A dip platter with loads of bread/bikkies/things to dip. You’re going to need some easily accessible finger food when you’re unwrapping the pressies (or watching the kids rip into the boxes with mad abandon) and dips work perfectly. You could also throw in a cheese or two and maybe a pate if you’re feeling really fancy.
(You need to bring a plate for one part and another plate for the other but I’m sure you’re already aware of this..)
-A quiche or pie perhaps. Not a four and twenty though unless you really love your footy Christmas. A decent sized pie too btw, you’re not impressing anyone if your bring a plate idea has just one lonely party pie on it..
–A big bowl of chocolate coated things. Like nuts, fruit or maybe those choc covered coffee beans. Although on that last one, keep them well away from the kids. I speak from experience when I was a kid trying them myself and wondering why I was bouncing all over the walls for the rest of the day.
-Chips, nuts, M+Ms, lollies, bikkies, all that good stuff. Even the classic box of Favourites or go to Ferrero Rocher will go down a treat. The biggest box you can get though – 8 Ferrero’s will not feed a party of 20 even if you slice them in half..
–A dessert option. Obviously there’s too many options to cover in this post but bringing a dessert for bring a plate days Xmas or otherwise will be a big help to the harried host. Bring a plate overflowing with classic hand made pavlova (if you have the time and the skills to make one) and it’s an instant invite to the next event. Hell, bring a plate just a Coles mudcake on it and you’re awesome in my book.
-Maybe BBQ up something easily re-heatable later on?
So bring a plate…or option B
If it’s a small party you’re hosting, this plan my own family has stuck to has worked really well and that’s assigning part of the meal to various parties. IE Two of the guests work on an entree each, two nail desserts (Nailed It!), two supply the drinks and the host takes care of the main course. That way the costs and the joy are shared and everyone comes out a winner!*
*Unless everyone brings an oyster plate. That doesn’t sound like an appealing Xmas to me at all..