By Jess Thomson
Knowing that I’m a cookbook author with culinary school cred, people look forward to eating at our home during the holidays, but it brings a certain amount of pressure. My guests expect interesting, delicious home-cooked food. What they often don’t realize is that, as with many people who have arthritis, the combination of December weather and holiday stress usually means my lupus symptoms flare right when I need my body to cooperate. Holding a knife can be downright painful.
So when I’m trying to fit party prep into my schedule, I make a few rules. First, I plan a menu with tasks I can do ahead, so I’m not spending more than about an hour per day in the kitchen in the days before the party. I pick dishes I can complete before friends arrive. I also buy great basic ingredients, like good extra-virgin olive oil, so the flavor comes from the food instead of from a finicky cooking process. Most important, I try to avoid movements that are harsh on my body, like chopping.