November 30, 2013 at 1:00 am

Maureen Tisdale

Let's Talk Food (& maybe win a cookbook): Holiday blessings & cursings

I don’t know about your family holidays, but mine are not all chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Sure, there are some chestnuts roasting on an open fire (as in, warm toasty memories you couldn’t buy with cold-hard cash). But we still have cycles of Wanting Things Just So and Being Afraid We’ll Mess Up and general Hanger (“anger when hungry” — a phrase from a press release I’ve been dying to use). So we contend with some ups and downs.

I wouldn’t miss them for the world, though, the ups nor even the downs. I was thinking about that a bit before Thanksgiving, during a spate of bad-sleep nights, when my son was up crying miserably due to congestion; I wouldn’t want to forgo his giggling and saying “UH-oh” when he (intentionally) drops something just to get out of some rough nights, and I wouldn’t get out of the general hilarity and cleverness of my family for the occasional crabbiness.

Which brings us to today’s cookbook giveaways: “Bless This Table (Celebrity Family Recipes)” by Teri Diamond & Jayme Foster and “The Crabby Cook Cookbook (135 Almost-Effortless Recipes Plus Survival Tips)” by Jessica Harper.

The focus of “Bless This Table,” according to its book jacket, is “the importance of family dinners and what a nurturing tradition it is to prepare a special meal for those you love.” It includes notes and recipes — usually, more than one per celebrity — from Alison Krauss, Andrea Bocelli, Cat Cora, Celine Dion, Clay Aiken, Dave Koz, Donna Summer, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Reba McEntire, the Pointer Sisters, Wolfgang Puck and more.

“The Crabby Cook Cookbook” features Harper’s tales from the kitchen, complete with recipes and a fair amount of entertaining grousing. I snickered at recipe titles throughout: “Bruschetta with Somebody-Else’s-Garden Tomatoes,” “Sorta Mac and Cheese” and “Chicken Teriyaki-ish.” This is a cook I can relate to, and I bet more than one reader has a friend or family member who instantly comes to mind as a possible recipient of this book as a holiday gift.

If you’re interested in one of the books, send an email to Eats& with one of the two titles — depending on which book you’re interested in winning — in the subject line: “Cookbook/CelebrityFamily” or “Cookbook/CrabbyCook.” Include your name and mailing address in the body. Enter only once by midnight Dec. 8. A winner will be chosen from among entries, with preference given to those who comment below. (If it’s Dec. 9, 2013, or later when you read this, the cookbooks will have been given away — but thanks for stopping by.)

Good luck!