12 Days of Christmas Reads — The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater

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Welcome to a bookish celebration of the Christmas season! For 12 days in December, I’m highlighting a book a day that puts the holiday season front and center of the narrative. You’ll find romances, women’s fiction, and much, much more! For day three, I’m sharing a favorite cookbook that’s about so much more than just cooking.

The Christmas Chronicles is the story of Nigel Slater’s love for winter, the scent of fir and spruce, ghost stories read with a glass of sloe gin, and beeswax candles with shadows dancing on the ceiling. With recipes, decorations, fables and quick fireside suppers, Nigel guides you through the essential preparations for Christmas and the New Year, with everything you need to enjoy the winter months.

Taking you from 1 November all the way to the end of January, The Christmas Chronicles covers everything from Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year to Epiphany. Throughout the season, Nigel offers over 100 recipes to see you through the build-up, the celebrations and the aftermath. Here are much-loved classics such as goose and turkey (and making the most of the leftovers), mincemeat and the cake; recipes to make the cold months bearable, like ribsticker bread pudding with Comté and Taleggio, salt crust potatoes with blue cheese and goat’s curd, and hot-smoked salmon, potatoes and dill; as well as bright flavours to welcome the new year, including pink grapefruit marmalade, pear and pickled radish salad and rye, linseed and treacle bread.

Packed with feasts, folktales, myths and memoir and all told in Nigel’s warm and intimate signature style, The Christmas Chronicles is the only book you’ll ever need for winter.

I love cookbooks, and I frequently read them cover-to-cover in the same way that I would a novel. I’ve been a fan of Nigel Slater’s ever since I started watching his quirky cooking shows on the BBC. Then I read and started cooking out of The Kitchen Diaries series, and I absolutely fell in love with his lyrical style and beautiful observations about cooking, gardening, and lifestyle.

The Christmas Chronicles is a mixture of recipes, observations about the holiday season, and entertaining tips. Slater can be particular and picky, but that just adds to the whole “thing” that he’s doing. I recently gave a copy of this book to my mother, and we’ve both been cooking—and reading—our way through the holidays.

Check back tomorrow for the next edition of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads. If you want to see all of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads recommendations in one place, you can check out this handy landing page or sign up for my newsletter.