Monday, December 5

Great Cookbooks for Holiday Gifts

There are some people who are so cool, you just wish you could be friends with them. You know what I’m talking about. Is there a woman alive who didn’t want to be friends with Carrie Bradshaw during her heyday? And she wasn’t even real.

Well, guys (and gals) get ready for the best friend you’ll ever have. How do I know he’ll be your best friend? Because he just wrote the book, Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World’s Craft Brewing Revolution.

Please meet author and resident cool guy,
Josh Bernstein. With his easy, conversational tone and deep knowledge of all things beer, Bernstein makes Brewed Awakening a fun read for all beer lovers, from newbies to connoisseurs.

You'll learn
 how hops, grain, and yeast work, where to travel for killer craft beer weeks, and how to pair beer with food, which Bernstein affectionately calls, "brew and chew." You'll also be entertained with tales of cutting-edge craft brewing and discover 150 craft beers you need to try. There's a hefty section on home brewing, and if you visit Bernstein in Brooklyn, NY where he resides, you can even take a home brew tour with him.

As a beer-lover I was intrigued by the section entitled, "Women in Brewing." Did you know that ancient Sumerian and Egyptian women commonly brewed beer at home? Or that females are more sensitive to the different layers of flavor in beer? Or that there are gal-friendly beer groups such as Girls Pint Out with chapters in Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas? That's right, ladies. 
Put your pinot grigio aside, and get crafty with beer.

So if you’ve got a beer enthusiast on your holiday gift list, (everyone does, right?), then get him or her a copy of Josh Bernstein’s Brewed Awakening. And while you’re at it, throw is a six-pack. 

Need more holiday gift book ideas? Several cookbook author friends of mine and I have gotten together to share these great cookbooks for holiday gifts. Below is a blurb about each book, but if you click on the link, you'll be sent to a full post with a recipe. Have fun on your culinary travels, and let me know what you find!

100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love
By Jill Silverman Hough

Chock-full of delicious, creative, and easy-to-make recipes for everyday cooks, 100 Perfect Pairings makes food and wine pairing easy and approachable. With recipes organized into twelve chapters by wine variety, simply turn to the chapter for the wine you want to serve, make any of the entrees you find there, and enjoy it with your wine. It’s that easy. Be it Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir, a big dinner party or a simple meal with friends, “100 Perfect Pairings” promises wonderful recipes that make every pairing, well, perfect!

Jill Silverman Hough is a cookbook author, food and wine writer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor whose forte is making food and cooking simple yet special. On Jill’s blog: Tortilla Soup from Almost Meatless

By Joy Manning & Tara Mataraza Desmond

Ideal for today's conscientious carnivores, Almost Meatless is a timely new book featuring 60+ tasty recipes that go light on the meat.  Without compromising flavor or protein, these dishes maximize health benefits while minimizing the grocery bill and impact on the planet.

Co-author Tara Mataraza Desmond is a writer, cookbook author and recipe developer focused on food for health and wellness, pregnancy and parenthood.

On Tara’s blog: Yogurt Chicken with Yogurt Chutney Sauce from 100 Perfect Pairings

By Patricia Tanumihardja

Asian grandmothers—whether of Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, or Indian descent— are keepers of the cultural, and culinary, flame. Their mastery of delicious home-cooked dishes and comfort food makes them the ideal source for this cookbook. The 130 tantalizing dishes assembled in this tome comprise hearty food, brightly flavored, and equally good to look at and eat. Plus, all the recipes are translated to work in modern home kitchens.

Pat Tanumihardja is a food and travel writer currently based in the Washington, D.C. metro area and blogs at
On Pat’s blog: Chickpea Curry with Tomato and Mango from Roz Cummin’s blog.

By Joshua M. Bernstein

Brewed Awakening is Joshua M. Bernstein’s definitive take on the craft beer revolution. The book is the deeply reported story of the wild innovations and passions driving craft beer, focusing on the tales of the risk-taking brewers, bar owners and the dedicated beer drinkers across the globe. There’s a story in every pint glass, and Brewed Awakening gives voice to each one.

Josh Bernstein is a Brooklyn-based beer, spirits, food, travel and bicycling (phew!) journalist, as well as an occasional tour guide. 
On Josh’s blog: The Jucy Lucy Burger from The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches

By Susan Russo

How do you keep a Dagwood from toppling over? How did the Hero get its name? And who invented the French Dip? Discover these answers and more in The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches—a chunky little cookbook dedicated to everything between sliced bread. You'll find recipes for every sandwich imaginable along with fascinating regional and historical trivia. From the humble Sloppy Joe to the chic Nutella sandwich, from the iconic Po 'Boy to the fresh-faced donut sandwich, The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches will satiate sandwich connoisseurs everywhere.

Susan Russo is a San Diego-based cookbook author, blogger (Food Blogga), and freelance writer specializing in food and lifestyle. 

By Andrea Lynn

The ultimate one-stop shopping guide, The I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook finally offers starving college students a welcome relief from fast food fiascos. Designed to help shoppers recognize the best finds and reap the fruits of Trader Joe’s smart buyers, many recipes utilize TJ’s signature products to create unique meals like olive focaccia, frito pie, pulled-pork sliders, and fish tacos, among other things.

Andrea Lynn is a NYC-based food writer and recipe developer who has tasted almost every product Trader Joe's has to offer. On Andrea’s blog: Ravioli Lasagna and Baked Macaroni with Ricotta, Spinach and Mint from Parents Need to Eat Too

By Debbie Koenig

Give a new parent the gift of sanity! Parents Need to Eat Too makes it easy for new moms and dads to take care of themselves as well as they're caring for baby. Every recipe has been tested by a group of more than 100 moms, and every recipe also includes instructions for turning that dish into baby food. The book goes on sale in February, but author Debbie Koenig has created a special holiday offer, available now: She'll send a free signed, custom-made bookplate and holiday card to anyone who pre-orders the book as a gift.
Debbie Koenig is a Brooklyn-based food and parenting writer and blogs at Words to Eat ByOn Debbie’s blog: Olive Focaccia from The I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook

By Roz Cummins

Roz Cummins is a Boston-based food writer who specializes in sustainability. She also loves tea and baking. She has worked as an editor, a teacher, and an arts administrator. She is currently working on an e-book called Golden Afternoons: The Official Handbook of the Society for the Preservation of Ladies' Afternoon Tea. Visit her website:

On Roz’s blog: Steamed Meatballs with Tangerine Peel from The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook


sheila @E2gather said...

OOoo I think I would love the Asian Grandmothers Cookbook! Great list, one can never have too many cookbooks ; )

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Great suggestions, and several books that are new to me. Thanks for sharing your list of holiday cookbooks.

debbie koenig said...

Susan, I love your writing. I don't even like beer, and I want Josh's book! I certainly know a few people who'd be thrilled to receive it this year...

Radu said...

I'm a huge fan of beer :) As german people do, i also consider beer a great food :D

Andrea Lynn said...

And a shout-out to Josh's beer tours! If you're in the NYC area, it's a great gift (I gave it to my fiancee for his bday.).

Jill Silverman Hough said...

It's making me thirsty just reading about Josh's book! And what a great photo of him - how could you not want to be best friends with that guy??? Thanks for such a fun introduction.

Anonymous said...

I second Debbie's comment, love your voice! Thanks for the lively insight into Brewed Awakening. I know several beer fiends who'd love a copy of Josh's book.

Tara M Desmond said...

Mmmm, beer. Thanks for the preview, Susan, including the cool idea for Josh's beer tour.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

sheila-I think you would too! :)

lydia-And they're all by friends which makes them extra special to me.

debbie-Oh, thank you so much. I'm flattered.

radu-You mean some people don't? ;)

andrea-They sound great!

jill-Such a cute pic!

pat-Thank you. I appreciate that!

Jeff @ said...

I'm a beer-lover myself too and I think Brewed Awakening will a good read for me.



What a great list and big congrats to Josh! So many great cookbooks have come out this fall :)


Scott at Real Epicurean said...

I'm seeing cookbooks everywhere that I don't own. Hope Santa is going to be nice to me this year!