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My family's Christmas celebration is always over the top. Not in a Martha Stewart, homemade-calligraphed-placecards sort of way (although that sure sounds nice!), but in a crowded, smorgasbord kind of way. I tell people that I don't have a family; I have a clan. There is a distinction to be made.

Let me start this post by saying that marmalade is time-consuming. I won't give you any false hopes of "effortless" or "30-minute" marmalade. Marmalade is the jam-maker's painstaking ode to the winter fruits. It is not a process to rush along. It is, rather, the fullest expression of intensely perfumed citrus fruit.

To say that snickerdoodles have been on our mind lately is something of an understatement. Some time ago, we received an email asking if there was an error in our snickerdoodle recipe. We tested it, and as it happened, our recipe was short 3/4 cup flour. If you're a baker, you know that 3/4 cup flour can make a huge difference.

This year, we moved from a small cabin with a decently large kitchen to a tiny apartment with a tiny kitchen. People love to complain about their kitchens, and to be fair, most kitchens are horribly endowed, their dimensions and layout seemingly thought up by a hobbit or, more likely, by someone who didn't do a terrible lot of cooking.

Last night at the restaurant was a tough one. Don't get me wrong--it wasn't like something out of an Anthony Bourdain memoir. I didn't cut my finger off and then sew it back on without anesthesia. But sometimes--in fact, often--it's the little things that can make an evening particularly dreadful.

Time has been at a premium these past several months. Working two jobs that are both demanding and time-consuming is a lesson in making hard choices. As in: do I get up and go to yoga class or sleep a little longer? Unfortunately, sleep has been winning out. When you work until midnight, waking up early becomes less of a priority.

We don't often hear the words "cookie" and "elegant" in the same sentence. I don't know why this is exactly. There are, of course, elegant cookies to be had, but I think we (by "we" I guess I mean "I") consider them among the most playful of sweet things, morsels of sugar and butter, often nubby with nuts and chocolate.

We get a lot of emails expressing disappointment that our website doesn't mirror the cookbook. That you can't find Parker House Rolls or Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic.

This will be my first Thanksgiving ever spent away from my family in North Carolina. I have always approached things like this stoically. I am not much given to excessive emotion, which some mistake for apathy, but which is really just my disposition. I have never really had the energy or seen the point to getting upset and lingering in disappointment. It just isn't how I operate.