This debut book in FSG's Kitchen Arts & Letters imprint offers holiday food and prose in equal measure by 25 celebrated cooks and writers. Some of the gastronomes wield a whisk more cunningly than a pen. However, Julia Child is not among them: the indomitable one writes cheerfully of her fateful encounters and hilarious collisions with buche de Noel , the French pastry shaped like a woodland log, and mothering faux mushrooms. On a darker note, but with equal conviction, Betty Fussell remembers learning ``God's lessons'' in the Depression-era Christmas of her Calvinist family, when humble fare featured scrambled eggs with brains. Contributors also include Craig Claiborne, Irena Chalmers, Marcella Hazan, Felipe Rojas-Lombardi and Maida Heatterwhose cookie recipes seem especially indispensable as December looms. Regional accent ranges from mellow Californian to highly spiced Peruvian. The cliches of Christmas do some writers in: ``I recall vividly the excitement of those early Christmas parties,'' chirps one, and he is not alone. But this remains a rich repository of Christmas foods. Illustrations not seen by PW. 50,000 first printing; BOMC selection. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988 Release date: 11/01/1988 Genre: Nonfiction
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