To the 25 prominent ""chef-writers"" whose Christmas memories constitute this choice collection, the ghosts of Christmas past linger accessibly in the family kitchen. Marcella Hazan speaks movingly of ""life regained"" in her family's postwar return to their farm in 1945; Carol Flinders describes the togetherness and natural treats that dominate her California community's holiday celebrations; and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi provides a Latin American perspective with his account of Christmas treats in Lima. Amid all this nostalgia, Julia Child admits a gust of fresh air with a self-deprecating recollection of her on-camera preparation of a buche de Noel. Along with the memories come recipes: for classic turkey, roast goose, and Jacques Pepin's roast capon; for oysters, salt cod, and Ed Giobbi's ""seven fish seven ways""; and for an array of venerable sweets and goodies from bread pudding and plum pudding to Maida Heatter's mother's gingersnaps--all, of course, made doubly enticing by these kitchen masters' fond endorsements. A winning idea overall, and a thoroughly pleasing package for Christmas giving, Christmas cooking, and holiday reading.