A pretty cool package arrived by FedEx yesterday: the new Cooking Light anniversary cookbook, for which I did all the wine and beer pairings.

I don’t actually ever make Cooking Light recipes, with the exception of this amazing Thai pork (sorry Jan, I know you’re going to say it’s not really Thai) that I make all the time and that everyone loves. Derek calls it “Peanut Butter Pork,” so the dinner guests are usually pretty freaked out about it and are relieved when it turns out to be this amazingly tender pork blanketed with sweet, spice, salty, and sour.

These pairings were a last-minute “Hey, we should add wine and beer pairings to some of the recipes” thought by the CL staff. I got the call, and said yes (duh). I do a lot of pairings for the magazine, but this is a whole other thing, the flagship cookbook, a quarter-century after the magazine began.

I wrote most of them at the park on a summer Wednesday, where the kids and I spent the morning. I sat on the slide steps while Jonathan went up and down, up and down, and worked out the pairings with the help of a few phone calls to Derek to consult on the beer portion. It was actually rather complicated because some of them had to match the color of the drink in the picture, and I couldn’t use the same type of wine or beer over and over, but they had to actually, yanno, match the recipes.

So it’s not my book, but one I’m happy to be a part of. Even if I don’t exactly cook light.


  1. Congratulations! I am fascinated by your work and that you can do it while watching the kids at the park. Way to go!

  2. Congratulations! But, uh, how do you pair wines you may not have tasted with foods you have not tasted? I’ll have to get this book sometime and see how you did!

    • You just do it by experience. I’ve been doing it for so long and writing about what works and what doesn’t work that I can make pretty decent educated guesses by reading the recipes. Now you’ve seen behind the curtain. Isn’t the Wizard ugly?