Comments: Mainly a recipe book, The Christmas Table aims to give you enough information to prepare, plan menus, cook, and entertain during the Christmas holidays with a relatively low stress level.
There are chapters on main course recipes (all of which look great), side dishes, desserts, appetizers and drinks, soups and salads, and Christmas breakfast and brunch suggestions. There are also chapters on creating gifts of food (including the author's Christmas Pecans – a recipe she has been unwilling to share for at least 20 years), cookies for exchanging, suggested party menus and timetables, leftovers recipes, and a chapter on decorating, including dressing up a wreath, decorating candle holders, and gilding nuts, fruit, and squash.
The recipes for some of the side dishes are just exotic enough that they may not satisfy people looking for a guide to a completely traditional holiday. How many people are really going to serve a purée of celery root in place of mashed potatoes? Some of the soups seem particularly non-Christmassy, but we will give the author the benefit of the doubt that they are Christmas specialties from foreign lands that we're not completely familiar with. Sourcing certain ingredients is also going to be problematic. Where do you find Lindemans Framboise Lambic Beer for the cranberry relish?
Still, The Christmas Table has a great mix of traditional and modern recipes, a practical mix of advanced-beginner-to-gourmet dishes and decorating ideas, and an interesting mix of Christian and Jewish traditions (although without the merest whisper of religion), that will help anyone get from start to finish when it comes to cooking, decorating, and entertaining at Christmas time.