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Cooking and Booking by Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

Cookbooks. These two words may instill excitement or fear in you. In me, it provokes curiosity and enthusiasm.

See, I look at cooking as one of the great joys of life. Farther up the this-is-what-I’m-thinking the chain of custody, I love food. I’ve always enjoyed grocery shopping and buying, sorting and unpacking the bags of lovely food brought home to enjoy. Smelling, examining, planning, cleaning, storing, and then eagerly awaiting the next cooking time are all part of food to me.

To that end, I want to share a few cookbooks I like to use as resources. Mentioned here are less known books since the well-known ones are, well, well-known. It’s fun to shed light on smaller tidbits of wonderful in the cooking realm.

Since I’m rarely the Follow That Recipe cook unless there’s chemistry involved, the cookbooks provide more of an inspiration station in my kitchen. Enjoy these suggestions, they’re in no particular order. And know we appreciate your suggestions in return.

  1. 10,000 Tastes of Minnesota, Women’s Club, Minneapolis, MN, 1990

For full disclosure, my mom helped with this project. The Woman’s Club solicited, vetted, cooked (3 –5 time each recipe), corrected, and published this book from member contributions. I’ve vivid memories of my mom working on it AND our family trying new recipes, daily, for The Book. While it’s regional, what I love about it is that it’s a reflection of another time and the recipes are solid and tasty.

  1. Allagash, The Cookbook. Allagash Brewing, 2012

cookbooksIt had me at the cover. A deep blue woodcutesque image on the front of the pillowy hard-bound book entices the reader to open the pages and see what’s inside. Gorgeous photography – one of my good book indicators – greets you and sucks you in. Beyond the aesthetics, it’s a book with ideas I haven’t seen elsewhere that I want to try.

  1. The Beervangelists Guide To The Galaxy, Fred Bueltmann.

I’m a Fred fan. First meeting Fred at SAVOR in 2012 at a Salon which I was moderating turned out to be a big boon for me. We’ve become friends and colleagues, even given a Fred & Ginger beer & food pairing session GABF 2013 and share some similar flavor philosophy. This book is a good read too, with Fred’s voice clearly extolling ideas and considerations for our eatings and drinkings.

  1. The Soup Bible, B & N Books, 2002

A go-to book for me, this is terrific to use and adapt to sauces and gravies, cold and hot, thick and thin soups….all varieties. Yum.

It’s hard for me to stop…after one last look at the shelf….

  1. The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook, 2008.

Yes, this may be a big cookbook, all the same it’s a gem in my kitchen. Great instructive photos, explanations, very doable recipes from the simple to the fancy, never stuffy though. Their other smaller cookbooks (Risotto, Chocolate, etc. series) also have earned shelf space.

Cheers to books of cookery, ideas, and mouth-watering images. A lot of work goes into writing one and it’s definitely on my radar to do so as well. Maybe I can mix it up soon….what can I make for you?

Till the next glass ~


Go Here: Seek out bookstores in your neighborhoods, towns, cities and in your travels. They’re a treasure trove of discoveries waiting to be made and bought. Keep in mind, new books are the way authors and writers make money. Used books have their place AND we support the arts with new purchases in harmony with used.

Try This: “Walk The Stacks.” This valuable advice I got years ago from a long time friend. Walking the stacks means going to the local bookseller and simply slowly viewing the choices on display. What catches your eye? Who would be fun to buy a gift for (you or otherwise)? Act on impulse and take home a few goodies that catch your eye and imagination.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at or

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About Basil & Salt Magazine (817 Articles)
Basil & Salt Magazine is filled with recipes, cocktails, wine, beer and travel recommendations, focusing on the enjoyment of the gourmet lifestyle. Our first issue will print and be distributed in September of this year. ~Please join us and poke the 'subscribe' button on the menu to receive exclusive content found only on our printed pages.

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