Updated 12:00 a.m., Thu December 18, 2014

Simmering in an open pot

This year, enjoy holiday chestnuts in a tasty soup

If you grew up almost anywhere cold in North America or Europe, one of the most evocative sensations of the holiday season is the smoky-sweet smell of chestnuts, roasting irresistibly on charcoal-fueled street-corner stands. I’ll bet right now, at that very thought, you’re hearing in your head the famous lyrics of “The Christmas Song,” written and sung by the late Mel Torme, who dined often at my Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills. Both music and foods have an uncanny power to spark our memories. And chestnuts are among those ingredients that capture the holiday spirit. That... READ MORE

Braided Egg-and-Butter Loaf: Enjoy golden homemade bread on your holiday table WOLFGANG PUCK/TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY

“I’ve baked a loaf of bread.” These are such simple words. Yet if you say them to family or friends, especially during the holidays, there’s a very good chance they’ll be greeted with awe, admiration and gratitude.