Best Cooking and Baking Ideas for the Holidays

This year’s best cooking and baking ideas and tips for the holidays.

Victoria Lozano, Staff Reporter

During the holidays, some of the first questions that come to the minds of many students are, what’s for dinner? This is the time of year when the cooks and bakers in each family stress out the most. Some tips and ideas for food are what can make or break the perfect holiday dinner.  A good holiday can bring both friends and family closer together. Britta Lynch, a GCHS culinary student, said that food  allows everyone in the family to come together while “…everyone cooks something in the reflection of themselves, and we connect through our food.”

Culinary and Baking Teacher Jen Pope has seen plenty of cooking and baking mistakes in her years as a culinary teacher and as the cook in her family. Pope shares her tips on how to best cook/bake a turkey for Thanksgiving or the Holidays  “Make sure to thaw [the turkey] out really well and season it, and then cook it to about 10 degrees less than what you want for it to be done. So take it out of your oven at like 165, and then let it sit, rest and reabsorb its juices and then we’ll be done and ready to go at 185” Pope says.  Pope uses her past experiences and her cooking knowledge to figure out how to perfectly cook the, arguably main dish, for Thanksgiving. Also, according to a poll taken by Grayslake Central Culinary and Baking students, Turkey is the hardest thing for people to cook on the holidays.

Here at Grayslake Central our classes, culinary one, two, and baking, cook and bake a lot of things for the holidays. For Thanksgiving time “ culinary 2 does the entire thing. So [they] make it from the turkey to desserts and everything in between. Culinary one, [their] pumpkin spice bars that [they] make. A lot of kids will then use those again for their family for Thanksgiving. And then bakery…every student gets to choose a different type of pie between Apple, Dutch apple, cherry, pumpkin, pecan, and each kid individually makes whatever type of pie they would like to bring home for their families.” Then for Christmas and the holidays all the culinary classes “host the holiday tea…all of [the] classes make a variety of different foods like cookies and treats and bars. And all that stuff. And then the bakery makes gingerbread houses to display” Pope says.

Mrs.Pope, with her class, teaches them how to make these holiday foods with a recipe so they can use it as practice for when they need to bake and cook for the holidays. By giving them these recipes they will also be able to recreate and use them at home.

After finally picking a recipe to create, the hard part of actually cooking and preparing comes after. WIth that many small mistakes occur that would later lead to the whole dish ending up at the bottom of the trash can instead of someone’s stomach. Some tips are given by GCHS culinary students and “36 Little Cooking Habits You Should Actually Ditch ASAP” by Marie Telling


Cooking/Baking Tips

  • Remember that a sharp knife is way safer than a dull one.
  • Rinse rice to prevent it from becoming gloopy.
  • Don’t add ingredients to a pan until the oil is hot enough.
  • Test your cakes with a toothpick to check if they’re done.
  • Take your cookies out when just the edges have hardened.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan when putting it in the oven.
  • Use a meat thermometer to see if your meat is ready.
  • Don’t open the door of the oven while your cake is baking.
  • Don’t eyeball the measurements and get it all out ahead of time
  • Make sure you have enough time to make everything you want to.