This dense, definitive guide to winter and Christmas, specifically an English Christmas, is crammed with personal recollections, history and lore, and threaded with recipes and photos of landscapes freighted with snow. The food writer Nigel Slater says he loves “the crackle of winter” and setting the season’s table by the fire. He tells you how to steep dried fruit in spirits, and he provides recipes for roast goose, fig and blue cheese salad, and mincemeat, which Mr. Slater suggests deliciously sandwiching between slices of toasted panettone to serve with ice cream. The recipes are in metric, but a decent American cook can wing it for some, like pot-roasted partridge, and sausage with leeks and beans.

The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, Stories & 100 Essential Recipes for Winter” by Nigel Slater (Harper 360, $35).

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