Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love the tree, I love the lights, I love the snow, and most of all, I love the treats.


This year being a plague year, we didn’t plan to do any traveling. We just stayed home, had some good food, opened gifts, and relaxed. On the day afterwards, we walked downtown and checked out the lights in the park. All in all, it has been a nice, fun, relaxing sort of weekend.

First, let’s talk about gifts. My partner was nice enough to get me a couple of excellent-looking cooking books, both of which deal with more than just recipes; they discuss techniques, theory, and science in depth.

The first is one I wanted, called The Food Lab, by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. This thing is beefy! It’s one of the chunkiest books I’ve held, and is just packed with information to absorb. I’m barely through the intro, mostly because of the other book, the one my partner got me unexpectedly.

That second book is Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat. Again, like the Food Lab book, it delves deep into science and technique. Honestly, it was a toss-up which one I wanted to read first, but I had a request on Discord to review this one first, so it’s where I’ve started.

Food gifts! I’ve already used three of these things.

The other food-related gifts I got were this beefy Instant Pot, which is an 11-function monster that does everything from dehydrating to sous vide to air frying. The measuring spoons (on the right, with the colors) are two-sided, with a regular spoon end and a narrow end that fits better in spice jars. They’re also magnetic, so they stick together like shown, and are extremely convenient. The measuring cups aren’t magnetic, but they’re nice solid metal, and they have a few unusual sizes like 1/8th cup and 2/3rds cup.

The paring knife is extremely handy. It’s a simple Victorinox knife, very sharp and very easy to use. I’m already thinking of buying a handful more of them just so we have more on hand. Incidentally, if you want to learn more about any of the things I use (or buy any yourself) check out the Gear page at the top of the site.

In non-food-related gifts, I also decided to get myself (with parental money) a Kalimba. They’re pretty little instruments, and I look forward to learning how to play.

I was really happy this year, because it cooled down enough to snow in time for Christmas. It wasn’t a lot of snow, and it’s not damp enough to make a snowman out of, but it was perfect for both Christmas day and for our trip downtown on the 26th.

“But Jessie, this is a food blog! What about Christmas dinner?!”

Yes, yes, I know. I didn’t feel like writing up a full post about our Christmas dinner, because it was a rather low-key affair this year. We cooked a ham, and we made a handful of things from the Elder Scroll cookbook. Yes, I know, we’re nerds. Grilled leeks, cabbage biscuits, and a mushroom risotto was quite enough for me. We already had desserts on hand (brownies, cookies from the partner’s mom, and cinnamon rolls), so I didn’t make anything new.

I’ll go a bit deeper into the Elder Scrolls cookbook stuff next week, for my first Cookbook Review. Stay tuned! I hope you all had a merry Christmas (or a happy holiday season), and I’m wishing us all a collectively better 2021.

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  1. Thank you Jesse. Love your posts. I’m thinking of replacing my crock pot, rice cooker and pressure cooker for an instant pot. That should free up a lot of spaces in my cabinets. LOL. Looking forward to your future instant pot recipes and the yummy dishes you will be sharing. The brownies look so delicious and festive. Perfectly made for the holiday. Looking forward to see your next blog.

    1. Thanks Dana! The Instant Pot we bought has replaced four other appliances in the kitchen and I’ve been using it CONSTANTLY, it’s 100% worth the investment. It’s great for rice, fried chicken, and even hard-boiled eggs.

      If you want to get the one I got, it’s right here: . (That’s an affiliate link; if you buy through it, I make a few cents, no cost to you.) I haven’t used it for slow cooking yet, but I plan to in the next few weeks, so look forward to that!

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