Suzi's Blog

Wine Versus Beer at Cooking by the Book: This Friday, October 19th at 6:30PM

Men and women tend to have debates about key issues: money, children, do we have beer or wine with dinner.

For example, men tend to favor beer while women are more partial to wine. This dichotomy is brilliantly described in the book He Said Beer She Said Wine by Marnie Old and Sam Calagione.

This Friday at Cooking by the Book, in our next Small Bites Big Sips class, we will have our own Beer versus Wine debate featuring Sommeliers Samuel Merritt (beer) and Harriet Lembeck (wine) as they bring their expert perspectives to the ageless debate. We’ll supply appropriate bites of delicious food to go with the words you hear in an intense, yet friendly discussion. And, of course, some tastes of both beer and wine to let our experts try to sway you to their side. Some debates are not enjoyable. This one will be.

We hope you can join us this Friday at 6:30 PM. Here’s a link to register for the class, just $75 for beer, wine, food and spirited debate:

Register Now!

It’s actually a little hard to estimate the volume of beer and wine consumed in the US. The latest “public” statistics that I could find come from 2007. Now, during our 2008-and-on depression, I suspect that consumption may have gone up. The price points may have shifted, but the relief of a great beverage is probably a more loving sought respite.

What do we drink more of, beer or wine. Oh, you know it’s beer. You just don’t know how much more beer. In 2007, it was 6.7 billion gallons of beer versus a “mere” 650 million gallons of wine. That’s 21 gallons of beer for every single American, male, female, old, or just born. It’s true that on a warm day, you can consume a six-pack of brew. Downing a six-pack of Pinot Noir might prove to be a challenge.

Part of the difference in volume deals with marketing. Beer commercials are everywhere, especially if you are watching a sports show on TV. Cabernet ads are fewer.

Here’s a little fact you might enjoy. As you know, firms pay Hollywood producers for product placement in the movies or on TV shows. That’s why the countertops have those carefully arranged cans of soda or beer or a steaming pizza box. The James Bond films are different. They don’t take money for product placement, but they arrange to use only one product in a film if that product’s manufacturer will support the film through their own advertising. In the new James Bond film Skyfall about to arrive in the theaters, Mr. Bond will only sip one brand of beer before he kills anyone. And that beer firm has embarked on a $70 million worldwide advertising campaign featuring their brew and our favorite movie hero.

That volume of advertising money, the volumes of beer and wine being consumed, all that speaks to the importance of these products in our lives and how forcefully the efforts are made to draw our loyalty to one particular beverage type.

In our Friday discussion, we’ll put the advertising dollars aside and talk to you about the history, chemistry and intrinsic wonder of both beer and wine.

Please join us.



Oktoberfest at Cooking by the Book: This Friday!


This Friday will be Round 2 for Small Bites Big Sips, the new cooking classes here at Cooking by the Book. We’ve had many requests for classes open to the public and Small Bites Big Sips is our response. Uniquely, in these classes we start with the beverage and then find the foods that best complement those liquids.

Last week, we did four delicious wines from Paumanok Winery on Long Island. This Friday, with September already half gone, it’s time for Oktoberfest.

This Friday at 6:30 PM beer expert Tom Gelinne will feature a tasting of four outstanding German beers typical of Oktoberfest. We’ll sample the beers while Tom provides beer knowledge and some Oktoberfest history. Tom’s beer discussion with go from dark to light beers and what makes each one distinctive.

Tom will discuss beer quality, including the hops and grains used, the fermentation styles and the very distinctive tastes of combination creates for you.

Then you’ll take a tour, not of Germany, but our showroom kitchen. You’ll get a demonstration about to how to make the very best pretzels you have ever had in your life. Suzen has conducted serious R&D here, along with testing and tasting, to get you just the perfect pretzel.

You’ll return to the dining area for more beer and a tasting of four wonderful dishes:

  • Those homemade pretzels you just saw demoed
  • Beer soaked bratwurst
  • Spicy beer mustard for those pretzels and brats
  • Linzer tart [traditional, perfect and containing absolutely no beer!]

As with the wines, you’ll be amazed at how differently each of the four beers now taste when complemented with food. Your personal favorites might just change. And you will truly experience the power of pairing food and beverage.

If you are a beer lover or a curious foodie, we hope you can join us. If you would like to register for the class, please go to

If you can’t come, please consider this idea for one of your fall parties. It’s a great way to add some flavor to a weekend afternoon where some football fanatics need to cheer a victory or cry in their beer. Let’s make that good beer.