Jess Schreibstein

Name | Hometown | Currently Reside In?

Jess Schreibstein | Wrentham, Massachusetts | Baltimore, Maryland

Is your work influenced by season or changing weather?

Definitely. I’m a bit of a homebody no matter what the season, but the work I produce, the colors I wear, the tone of music I listen to all change with the seasons. I gravitate to painting during the summer, and more knitting in the fall and winter.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever gotten in the mail?

My best friend sent me an antique wooden jewelry box from China that she received from a collector when she worked for her years ago. The outside of the box is surrounded by hand-carved figures and the inside has a mirror when you lift the lid. It has so many drawers and hidden compartments, which my friend stuffed with notes, candy, and bits of jewelry.

What is your favorite holiday tradition (new or old)?

My mom’s side of the family is part-Polish, so my mom makes dozens of handmade pierogi for Christmas Eve, stuffed with cheese and mashed potato. My dad fries them up in butter and we eat piles of them with sauerkraut, sour cream and caramelized onions.

How do you find comfort?

When I need some true, deep comfort, I take a bath and light some candles. I also find that turning off the TV for an evening does a whole lot of good for re-centering myself.

Do you have a favorite fall/winter/holiday memory?

My parents are BIG into Christmas. I mean, we’re talking Christmas music, non-stop, starting Thanksgiving weekend for an entire month. I love Christmas tree hunting with my parents and sister, we always choose the fattest one! Once the tree has had a chance to fall out a bit, we break out the egg nog and decorate the tree together.

What is your go-to holiday dish?

I’m such a sucker for cranberry sauce! My mom makes two kinds for Thanksgiving: a traditional whole cranberry sauce, and then a jelled version with apples in it. I always take a double portion of each at the dinner table. But she also whips up a double batch of sugared cranberries for snacking before the big meal, which I eat by the handful.

  • 2 cups sugar (plus 3/4 cup for coating the cranberries afterward)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries

Combine the sugar and water in a small pot and bring to a simmer, and stir until the sugar dissolves and forms a thick syrup. Remove the syrup from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, then pour the syrup over the cranberries in a medium-sized bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain the cranberries. Put the extra 3/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl, and add the cranberries, a few at a time, to coat with sugar. Spread the cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry, for about an hour. Add them to your favorite boozy beverage, or just pop them in your mouth while watching A Christmas Story.