Christmas A story

Four gift ideas for the cook on your list

2. A personalized kitchen accessory Enlist a local shop or craftsperson to add a personal touch to the kitchen item you’re giving. It could be a thoughtful phrase, a funny remark or simply the per- son’s name. You can personalize a wide range of items, including aprons, oven mitts, cutting boards and serving trays.

3. A specialized cooking course Have you spotted a penchant for cake making, sushi rolling or Moroccan cuisine in your favourite foodie? Enrol them in a specialty course so that they can cultivate their passion into an art form.

4. Assorted spices If the cook on your list has an adventu- rous streak, get them an assortment of rare spices to stimulate their creativity — and their taste buds! If you’re travelling abroad before the holiday season, consider picking up some out-of-town flavours along the way.

Tips for making a seating chart for Christmas When hosting a big family function like Christmas dinner, etiquette experts sug- gest making a seating chart to help you determine where your guests should sit. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you put together your seating arrangements. • Seat troublemakers near the host: if you have a relative who tends to drink too much or enjoys bringing up controver- sial subjects, seat them near you so you can keep them in line. at the table that’s easy for them to ac- cess. Seat hard-of-hearing guests near the end of the table where it’ll be quieter and easier for them to focus on nearby conversations.

Friends and family members who love to cook are a blessing. Not only do they spoil us with their culinary creations but they’re also exceedingly easy to buy for. Here are four great gifts that are sure to please the cook on your Christmas list. 1. A gourmet food basket Give them a food basket assembled es- pecially for them, with their favourite cheese, spices, oils, wine — you name it. Al- ternatively, you might put together a bas- ket of local or artisanal products or even one that plays upon a unique theme; say, orange food products, if this is their favou- rite colour, or Italian foods if they happen to have a trip to Rome coming up.

• Keep children together: consider giving children their own table so they can talk among themselves and get up to play when they’re done eating. • Seat extroverts and introverts beside each other: it’s a good idea to put quiet guests next to talkative ones to limit awkward silences and make introverts feel more at ease. • Consider guests with disabilities: assign guests with physical disabilities a place

• Separate people who don’t get along: if you have relatives who can’t be civil to each other or who have radically oppos- ing political beliefs, seat them at oppos- ite ends of the table. Almost all families comprise a dynamic mix of personalities. Thankfully, a seating chart will help ensure a harmonious holi- day dinner where conversations keep roll- ing and conflict is kept at bay.

• Seat the cook closest to the kitchen: if you’re doing the majority of the cook- ing, put yourself in the seat closest to the kitchen so you can easily go back and forth. • Separate long-time couples: seat them apart from one another so they can talk to new people.

Il n’y a pas de moment mieux choisi pour vous dire «MERCI», et vous souhaiter de Joyeuses Fêtes, ainsi que santé et prospérité pour la nouvelle année.

There is no better time to say “THANK YOU” and to wish you Happy Holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year!


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