The most entertaining cookbooks to be the host with the most

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a clothing designer in NYC in a previous life. I would cram friends into my small apartment and have dinner parties whenever I could. I love food, cooking, and entertaining. Food is a way to show love, but for me, cooking was also a way to flex my creative muscle outside a creatively and emotionally draining industry. For years I mused about how to pivot into the food industry without being a classically trained chef. Upon being laid off in 2020 the door was finally opened for me to move on a begin a career in food styling and photography. Once Upon a Rind in Hollywood is my first cookbook.


I wrote...

Once Upon A Rind In Hollywood: 50 Movie-Themed Cheese Platters and Snack Boards for Film Fanatics

By Rachel Riederman (photographer), Ulysses Press,

Book cover of Once Upon A Rind In Hollywood: 50 Movie-Themed Cheese Platters and Snack Boards for Film Fanatics

What is my book about?

Lights, Camera, Snacktion! Whether you’re streaming an AFI classic or a classically bad movie, munchies are a must-have. This unique cookbook offers 50 different snack board ideas, from timeless cheese boards and charcuterie to candy platters and cocktail pairings, all themed around iconic movies. With gorgeous flat-lay photographs, this book outlines everything you need to create cheesy cinematic pairings (and even cheesier puns).

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Cheese Sex Death: A Bible for the Cheese Obsessed

Rachel Riederman Why did I love this book?

I came across this cool and edgy “bible” for the cheese obsessed as I began working on my cheese-themed snack board book.

I enjoy good cheese and know a thing or two about it, but I am no expert, and this book has been and continues to be an invaluable resource for buying, serving, and enjoying cheese.

Cheese Sex Death: A Bible for the Cheese Obsessed written by Kubick, an ex-cheesemonger, is truly an encyclopedia of cheese. The book is written in a cheeky tone playing into biblical references regarding the worship of “Cheesus.”

It is smartly laid out, explaining the history of cheese, how to buy and properly store cheese, a breakdown of types of cheese, tools to serve it, and lots of clever food and drink pairings.

This book has all you need to know about the ritual of enjoying cheese.

Since it is written in a fun and clever tone, with beautiful photographs and illustrations, it is great as a cheese reference manual, a casual enjoyment read, or a coffee table book for your guests to peruse as they enjoy one of your handcrafted cheese plates.

By Erika Kubick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cheese Sex Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From lauded cheesemonger and creator of the popular blog Cheese Sex Death, a bible for everything you need to know about cheese

For many people, the world of artisan cheese is an intriguing but intimidating place. There are so many strange smells, unusual textures, exotic names, and rules for serving. Where should a neophyte begin?

From evangelist cheesemonger Erika Kubick, this comprehensive book guides readers to become confident connoisseurs and worshippers of Cheesus. A preacher of the curd word, Kubick provides the Ten Commandments of Cheese, which breaks down this complex world into simplified bites. A welcoming sanctuary devoted to…


Book cover of Platters and Boards: Beautiful, Casual Spreads for Every Occasion

Rachel Riederman Why did I love this book?

This book features casual yet elegant boards and spreads alongside simple and accessible recipes and the most gorgeous photos!

Broken out by morning, afternoon, evening, and anytime, with a theme for almost any occasion. The book is laid out to show even the most novice home entertainers how to easily assemble a beautiful spread for guests or how to arrange a small platter for a no-cook meal on a random evening. 

Once again, I’d like to mention the beautiful photos! I enjoy casually flipping through the book and dreaming about what to serve at my next gathering.

By Shelly Westerhausen, Wyatt Worcel (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Platters and Boards as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bestselling cookbook shares the secrets to easy, attractive, and delicious spreads

With 40 contemporary spreads to graze on presented with gorgeous photography, easy recipes, and helpful tips

An inspiring resource for throwing unforgettable get-togethers: Platters and Boards is the guide to entertaining with effortless style. Author Shelly Westerhausen shares the secrets to creating casually chic spreads anyone can make and everyone will enjoy (and envy). Organized by time of day, 40 contemporary arrangements are presented with gorgeous photography, easy-to-prepare recipes, suggested meat and drink pairings, and notes on preparation and presentation.

With recipes and presentation ideas for breakfast, brunch, appetizer,…


Book cover of The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft

Rachel Riederman Why did I love this book?

This no-frills cocktail handbook has been hailed the “Most-read cocktail expert around” for a good reason.

Regan engagingly romanticizes cocktail and drinking culture. He details the history of specific cocktails, includes theories of how certain drinks came about and adds quotes about drinking from notable figures.

He makes you want to try drinks you have yet to try. He also muses about the philosophy of being a bartender and what it takes to be a good bartender.

Although the author makes it a humorous and fun read, the book is much more. It is a thoughtfully laid-out handbook for creating classic cocktails. Of course, one can search for a recipe by cocktail name.

But the book includes a great glossary, and charts by the family of cocktail, making it easy to be like; it’s been a long day, and we have some leftover rye and lemons in the fridge. What can we create? Which is often how cocktails are created in my home.

This classic mixology handbook is one to keep in your library (or bar) forever.

By Gary Regan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Joy of Mixology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A thoroughly updated edition of the 2003 classic that home and professional bartenders alike refer to as their cocktail bible.

Gary Regan, the "most-read cocktail expert around" (Imbibe), has revised his original tome for the 15th anniversary with new material: many more cocktail recipes—including smart revisions to the originals—and fascinating information on the drink making revival that has popped up in the past decade, confirming once again that this is the only cocktail reference you need.

A prolific writer on all things cocktails, Gary Regan and his books have been a huge influence on mixologists and bartenders in America. This…


Book cover of The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual

Rachel Riederman Why did I love this book?

In this in-depth yet simple entertaining cooking manual filled with beautiful illustrations, the two Frankies of Frankies Spuntino’s in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, infuse the book with their stories of family traditions and how they are kept going.

A whole chapter is devoted to Sunday Sauce, which they consider a way of life. It includes a perfectly timed flow chart that begins on Saturday that describes step by step when and what ingredient to pick up from the local specialty shops and how to bring this red sauce classic to the family table.

Also included is a section of family photos and the Frankies in the neighborhood purchasing from the local specialty shops, which is extra special to me, as I lived in that neighborhood and often how we would spend our Sundays, strolling down Court Street, casually stopping into those amazing shops for ingredients for our own Sunday dinner.

This book makes you want to have a few friends over and entertain. The ingredient lists are short, and the recipes are simple, flavorful, and easy to follow. With handy guides and tips beginning each chapter, you learn to make perfectly roasted vegetables and the crispest & fluffiest simple salads.

We’ve adopted their homemade pasta recipe as our own and impressed guests with the orecchiette with pistachios and braised lamb ragu.

While I can’t replicate the effortlessly cool and romantic experience of eating by candlelight in Frankies Spuntino’s garden on a summer evening, with this book, I can bring their simple and elevated flavors home to share with my family and friends.

By Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo, Peter Meehan

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Frank Falcinelli told his grandmother about the Brooklyn restaurant he planned to open with childhood friend Frank Castronovo, she instructed them to call it a spuntino - the Italian word for both a snack and a place to have snacks. Today, their tin-ceilinged, brick-walled restaurant (along with its newer Manhattan cousin) has a line out the door. This smart and entertaining cookbook may have an old-fashioned look, but the recipes are precisely what we want to eat now: Meatballs with Pine Nuts & Raisins, Fennel, Celery Root & Parsley Salad with Sliced Red Onion, Lemon & Pecorino, Red Wine…


Book cover of Cook Beautiful

Rachel Riederman Why did I love this book?

Athena Calderone welcomes you into her casual, cool, and elegant world in Cook Beautiful.

Recipes are listed by season, using simple and healthy ingredients at their peak of freshness. The recipes are simple and straightforward and include gorgeous and “swoon-worthy” photos and tips explaining how to style and plate your meal for maximum impact and little effort.

The recipes in Cook Beautiful are equally impressive for an intimate dinner party, yet simple enough to serve on a Tuesday night. Many of the seasonal dishes have made it into my own dinner rotation.

By Athena Calderone,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cook Beautiful as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The debut cookbook from Athena Calderone, creator of EyeSwoon, with 100 seasonal recipes for meals as gorgeous as they are delicious.

In Cook Beautiful, Athena reveals the secrets to preparing and presenting unforgettable meals. As the voice and curator behind EyeSwoon, an online lifestyle destination for food, entertaining, fashion, and interior design, Athena cooks with top chefs, hosts incredible dinners, and designs stunning tablescapes, while emphasizing the importance of balancing the visual elements of each dish with incredible flavors. In her debut cookbook, she's finally showing the rest of us how to achieve her impeccable yet approachable cooking style.

Included…


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Book cover of Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success

Joylynn M Ross

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What is my book about?

Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business is for anyone who wants to learn how to make money with their book and make a living as an author. Many authors dive into the literary industry without taking time to learn the business side of being an author, which can hinder book sales and the money that can be made as an author.

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Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success

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What is this book about?

Do you want to make money with your book? Do you want to make a living as an author? There’s more to doing so than simply writing and publishing your book. Many authors dive into the literary industry without taking time to learn the business side of being an author. This could dramatically hinder your book sales and the money you can make as an author. Without a guide such as this, mastering the art of financial literary success can take you years, and you’ll be sure to make mistakes during the learning phase. Some mistakes could cost you money;…


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Interested in cooking, cheese, and cocktails?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about cooking, cheese, and cocktails.

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