Friday, February 01, 2013
THE CHRISTMAS KITCHEN ~ a book review
We were off on a winter getaway a couple of years ago and were browsing in a bookstore one afternoon when I spotted this book on a sale table. I admit it, I just had to buy it (yes, an impulse purchase!) because of its title, so similar to the title of this blog, and also because of the charming retro look of this small, square book.
It's titled The Christmas Kitchen and subtitled The Gathering Place for Making Memories. The author is Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan. There are twelve chapters, each filled with inspiring and encouraging text, delicious family recipes, and simple hints for making the Christmas kitchen merry, bright, and memorable. Each chapter is introduced by a lovely photograph.
Chapter 1 is Christmas Central -- the key to making your holiday dreams come true. This short chapter contains some mulled cider recipes to enjoy while you're dreaming and planning for making the Christmas kitchen a wonderful part of your holiday. It also offers some secrets to a more stress-free holiday season that are practical and truly helpful.
Chapter 2 is Christmas Kitchen Prep -- preparing your home and your heart for a season of comfort and joy. The author expands on four simple steps: take stock, make room, stock up, and make ahead. Included here are lots of gingerbread house ideas, along with a helpful checklist to use in stocking up for Christmas.
Chapter 3 is Make-Ahead Merrymaking -- cooking together for a joyful, stress-free holiday. It's filled with simple ideas and recipes for food and treats to make ahead, along with instructions for a stress-free cookie exchange (something I've always wanted to try!).
Chapter 4 is Delicious Decor -- warm ideas for decking halls and hearts. It includes lovely ideas for decorating your Christmas kitchen and setting your Christmas table, along with simple recipes for feeding a crowd of hungry decorators.
Chapter 5 is Kids in the Kitchen -- the messy joy of creating with pint-size cooks. It gives great ideas for including kids in the Christmas kitchen, including making cinnamon ornaments, cute cupcakes, and teacher gifts.
Chapter 6 is From Our Home to Yours -- inspired gifts from your kitchen and from your heart. I love to make and give kitchen gifts, so this was a favorite chapter of mine. In addition to fun and unusual kitchen gift recipes, it offers over 20 ideas for gift basket themes!
Chapter 7 is The Gift of Yourself -- intimate gatherings for your special friends. It presents recipes and ideas for treating your closest women friends at Christmas time.
Chapter 8 is Hope You Can Come! -- hospitality for your busiest season. In contrast to the previous chapter about small gatherings, this one is for larger groups or even open houses. There are some wonderful appetizer recipes, including one for a cheese ball that can be made half a dozen different ways.
Chapter 9 is No Place Like Home -- fun and delicious time-out evenings. These ideas are all for your close family members and maybe a few friends as well. The chapter contains yummy snack recipes as well as several great ideas for fun family evenings. Very inspiring!
Chapter 10 is Just Like We Always Do -- traditions old and new for a joyful Christmas Eve. Oh, how children love traditions! This chapter has some wonderful recipes for Christmas Eve. There's a Feliz Navidad tortilla soup that is just incredible. I tried this recipe (but not on Christmas Eve -- we have our own traditional soup for that!) and it is so good.
Chapter 11 is Always Room at Our Table -- cooking up a fun and festive Christmas Day. There are recipes for Christmas breakfast as well as Christmas dinner, and loads of ideas for making the day festive yet stressless.
And lastly, Chapter 12 is Something New -- enjoying the gentle side of the holidays. It contains recipes and great ideas for celebrating New Year's as well as the Twelve Days of Christmas.
I love everything about this book -- the recipes, the ideas -- even the chapter titles are fun! I did a little looking around on Amazon and they have copies of the The Christmas Kitchen available, so you may wish to check it out. This book would make a wonderful gift as well as a fun resource for your own Christmas kitchen!