Learn to Cook Book, Print Edition!

OhBoy OhBoy OhBoy OhBoy!!!

It’s finally here: My Learn to Cook book, PRINT EDITION! I really wasn’t expecting to be so goldang excited, seeing the first proof arrive at my doorstep, but wow! It’s really exhilarating, knowing that every word, explanation, definition, every dumb joke, every embarrassing and inappropriate anecdote that went into the book is alive now: tangible, highlight-able, dog-ear-able, and even flammable, if you decide you really hate it.

Obviously, by “exhilarating” I also mean “scary as shit” but given how may revisions we went through and how many cruelly capable eagle-eyes we had proofreading, there should be very little chance of any typos or other things that could destroy my credibility, casting me invalid. (Just kidding, what is this, Gattaca?)

In this new, revised edition you’ll find about 20 more pages of information, covering new topics like cooking oils (types, classifications, best practices) and butter; Sauces: Their Spirit and Their Use; Kitchen Safety and Hygiene; more conversion charts than ever before; and a few new recipes. We’ve also added cartoon illustrations by the man, the master, the magician: FreekZone! While some of them are educational, most of them are there for the LOLs to ensure your never-ending amusement and subsequent never-ending learning. LOLs make learning FUN!

Chris spent many painful hours formatting and designing the book himself (more on that here) in InDesign, using the mad skills retained from his years making his own ‘zines. Oh, ‘Zine-Chris, how I wish I’d known ye. But he proved he still has the chops and the attention to detail and the perfectionist in him to do a damn fine job. I’m really proud of him and the book which turned out so beautifully.

Roasted Chicken Dinner made the back-cover cut

Finally, I meant to post a behind-the-scenes blog about the ebook when we released it last year, but the partially-finished draft has been sitting in the queue gathering e-dust since June 2011. In honor of this print edition, here are the pictures you never saw from the really wonderful, unforgettable day we spent photographing food (and me) for the book. Most of the food pictures didn’t make it in to the print version because I think b&w food pictures aren’t very fun, but we did slip a few onto the back cover of the book.

There are no behind the scenes pictures of me revising the book or of Chris designing it because we were very feral-looking at those points and not very photogenic at all.

Huge, giant THANK YOU to the following super-talented people:

Editor Diane Morrison for giving my book the third degree without making me cry, not even once.

Illustrator Craig Matthew Staggs (Aphid Animation) for adding needed shots of silliness with his food-toons.

Photographer Nadia Caffesse (FullTilt Photography) for her amazing work capturing my image without stealing my soul.

Stylist Laurel Kinney (Trophy Boutique) for dressing me up with style and spunk, letting us shoot in her house, and fixing my belt with a clothespin.

Makeup Artist Jenny Linn for making me glow without making me look sweaty as hell.

And eternal love and gratitude to the lovable, generous, kind, creative, inimitable James Devery, hair stylist extraordinaire. James was our friend and cohort and sadly passed out of our world earlier this year. I know he’s bouncing around with glee right now. We love you, James.

Laurel Kinney and Hilah Johnson

Laurel also styles boobs. Copyright FullTilt Photography, 2011

James Devery

James loved this picture especially. Nadia printed a copy and we framed it for his salon wall.

Laurel Kinney and Hilah Johnson

Laurel works belt magic

Laurel Kinney and Hilah Johnson

James Devery in his salon

Cheers, my darling James. We miss you.


  1. Linda on December 4, 2012 at 11:50 am

    With a daughter who will be graduating from college in a few weeks and only knows how to make ramen noodles and soup, what better Christmas present for this culinary newbie! I’ll be ordering this week!

    • Hilah on December 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      Perfect, Linda! I hope she likes it and uses it! Sounds like she can use some new recipes. 🙂

  2. Don on December 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Love your Youtube channel. I know this will be a great and fun cookbook.

    Just ordered 5 of them for Christmas presents for my kids who should learn there is more than McDonald’s food in the world. 🙂

    (actually, one of them is an accomplished cook, but the others….well…)

    • Hilah on December 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Whee! Don, you made my day! I hope your kids enjoy the book. *on edge of chair, nibbling fingers* Have a merry Christmas. 🙂

      • Don on December 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm

        The last time I was on the edge of a chair nibbling something it was one of the “forgotten cookies” from your holiday cookie book 🙂

  3. Joe on December 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Hi, can’t tell you how happy for, and proud I am of you. You’re an incredible cook and an incredible woman with an incredible sense of humor, personality and outlook on life. I wish you and Chris all the best during this holiday season; love the photos! God bless.

    • Hilah on December 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you, thank you, Joe! That means so much to hear. I’m glad to have people like you in my corner, so to speak. 🙂 Have a wonderful Christmas!

  4. Chris on December 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Wow. This is great Hilah. Congratulations. I have been following your site since your amazing Chik-fil-gay sandwich recipe I have since tried the kale chips and well, three words.. Shrimp Corn Dogs. I have already asked santa for your book and I am recommending to all my friends on FB and twitter. Your energy and fun personality add to the great recipes.


    • Hilah on December 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      Thank you so much for your support, Chris! We sincerely appreciate the word-of-mouth traffic you’re creating. Merry Christmas!

  5. Brenna on December 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I am so incredibly excited for you. I plan on ordering this book very soon. And with my almost 10-year-old daughter wanting to help me more and more in the kitchen, I think this will be perfect for us to read through together. Congrats, Miss Hilah! And Happy Christmas! xo

    • Hilah on December 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you, Brenna! 🙂 Your daughter is a great age to start cooking more. Good for you for teaching her. Merry Christmas! xo

  6. Joe Fontanetta on December 4, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Amen, amen, amen

  7. Diane on December 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Love back! And HUGE congratulations!!!!! Now let’s have a drink. Or two.

    • Hilah on December 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm


  8. Ryan Renee on December 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    When I met the boyfriend, his claim to fame was cheesy scramble, pb&j and ramen (which I would later learn was cup of noodle, which he placed in the microwave… Styrofoam and microwaves… really?!?!?!?). I once watched said boyfriend try to boil water on med/low… Needless to say, he will now be getting this book for Christmas! Good timing, Hilah! Love the blog and congratulations!!

    • Hilah on December 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Ha! Dude. Right?! Those cup noodles have always creeped me out for that very reason – just seems completely poisonous, right?
      Hope your BF likes the book!! And maybe you will get some use out of it, too. Thank you!

  9. Chris on December 5, 2012 at 12:07 am

    I stumbled across your site a couple of months ago. Since then, I’ve learned quite a bit and have enjoyed some great meals as a result. Really enjoy the videos. Just ordered a copy of your new book and I’m looking forward to digging in. Congrats on finishing your project – looks great!

    • Hilah on December 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Thank you, Chris! I really hope you enjoy the book and the recipes in it. 🙂

  10. Mother Effingby on December 5, 2012 at 11:16 am

    My daughter has been calling me up, asking, how do I do this, how do I cook that? This is going to be my answer for her from now on. She’s gonna cook it! And she’s gonna like it!

    • Hilah on December 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Yes! You tell her! Thanks, Mother E. 😀

  11. Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat on December 10, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Mazel tov, Hilah!! The book looks beautiful!! I’m so gosh darn proud to know ya!

  12. Natasha of Natashaskitchen.com on May 1, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    So exciting!! I’m so happy for you about your cookbook!! I’m going to check it out soon! Any advice for someone who is contemplating writing a Russian Cookbook ? 😉

    • Hilah on May 3, 2013 at 9:15 am

      Hi Natasha!
      The only advice I have is to treat writing like it’s a second job. It takes so much time – more than I really thought it would – to get all your ideas and recipes and advice and tips down in one place and it’s hard to tell when you’re actually finished. You will probably need to write for an hour a day at least! But it is a ton of fun. 🙂 Please keep me in the loop. I’d love to get your cookbook!

  13. Brenda on December 28, 2016 at 5:06 am

    Can’t find a link to purchase ….

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