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The Foodie’s Companion

By MaryAnn Miano

If you are a foodie, you will relate to Ian Alan Holder, a local author and blogger who loves all things food-related: the preparing of food, the cooking of food, the trivia and history of food. Mr. Holder came to the food industry at the age of 65, after a long career as a professor of microbiology, when he graduated from the Culinary Arts Department at Cincinnati State College. Living in Red Bank after retirement, he worked in a professional kitchen to gain experience and then was offered a job at Mumford’s Culinary Center on Saturdays, where he has been honing his skills for over a decade.

This schedule allowed Mr. Holder to begin researching everything about food that piqued his fancy. The outcome is two books: The Foodies’ Companion and The Foodies’ Companion II.  These two books are excellent for beginning cooks as well as for the seasoned chef. The tips, tricks, and food history create a nice balance of an interesting read to make anyone a better cook.

Mr. Holder cleverly separated his books into three sections:  Cooking Tips and Tables, Food History, and Fun Food Facts. In section one, he teaches you about cooking techniques and preparation. Learn how to brine, how to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, when to use different oils for the best-tasting dishes, how to preserve fresh herbs, how to freeze a variety of foods, how to test your oven temperature, how to sear, roast, and grill using charts and tables.

The Food History section lists many foods in alphabetical order, with a brief summary of how those foods came to be (are California Rolls really a Japanese food?)

The Food Facts section will give you lots of tidbits you thought you knew (or never thought about before) pertaining to food.  (Do you know why fish is often served with lemon? Since the Middle Ages, it was believed that the acid in a slice of lemon would dissolve any accidentally swallowed fish bones!)

The Foodies’ Companion II continues along the same theme, with an added Chapter 4 of “Things I Like.” He offers some favorite recipes, such as the one featured here. So, foodies everywhere, read these two wonderful and charming books for advice, for ideas, and just for fun! These books can be found on



2/3 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

3 oz. (6 Tbsp.) unsalted butter

6 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped

1 lb. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

5 eggs, room temperature

1 ¾ cups sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 lb. milk chocolate, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt.

Melt unsweetened, semi-sweet chocolate and butter; mix.

Whip eggs and sugar until pale in color.

Fold chocolate mixture with egg mixture; add vanilla.

Fold in flour mixture.

Fold in milk chocolate.

Spoon onto baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.

These cookies break easily, so allow them to cool completely before removing from baking sheet.


Recipe from The Foodie’s Companion II, Page 99-100, By Ian Alan Holder, Publisher:  Vanguard Press, 2011.



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