Local books on cranberries and beer

Two books with local flavor offer takes on two of our favorite local flavors: tart cranberries and flavorful beers. "Minnesota's Best Beer Guide" is by Kevin Revolinski, a Wisconsin native who calls himself "an amateur beer snob and born-again ale drinker with a writing habit." He also wrote well-reviewed beer guides for Wisconsin and Michigan, all published by Thunder Bay Press. The book is organized by regions and towns, and is more of a guide to breweries than specific beers. He describes a brewery's history with info about tours, special offers, styles of beer brewed and things to do nearby. Think of it as a travel guide, or as he says, a pils-grimage. For more info, visit themadtraveleronline.com.

Wayne Martin is another Wisconsin native who grew up in that state's cranberry country and now runs his own photography business in the Twin Cities. Little wonder, then, that "Cranberries Revealed" is subtitled "a visual journey." Cranberries are among three indigenous fruits of North America that are commercially cultivated. The book does include recipes, but mostly it's a collection of stunning and fascinating images with just enough info to make you feel that you've learned something. The book is in many local bookstores and in Kowalski's Markets or can be purchased online at cranberriesrevealed.com.

How to cut food waste

For the first time, the United States has goals for cutting food waste nationwide — ideally, by 50 percent by 2030. So expect to hear a lot about what this means and how to do it. One good source may be the "Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook" by Dana Gunders, staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Gunders notes that Americans throw away 40 percent of food prepared for consumption, or about $1,500 worth of uneaten food per family. She includes tips for cooking with leftover ingredients, shopping smarter, decoding expiration dates and more. For more info, visit nrdc.org/media/2015/150909.asp. To read one of blog posts with links to even more information, visit on.nrdc.org/1UVjQpD.

Go nuts for Nutella

Nutella, which calls itself "the original hazelnut spread, announces its first Chief Nutella Ambassador Contest, with first prize being a year's supply of Nutella, a weeklong trip to New York City that will include culinary tours and "fine dining that highlights Nutella," and the chance to help plan events leading up to World Nutella Day on Feb. 5. Who knew? Enter at Nutelladay.com, which involves submitting a short video that demonstrates how you'd lead World Nutella Day. But don't dillydally: Deadline is Oct. 11.

Hot, hot, hot

If your taste profile tends toward spicy, head to the Heat Up Your Life festival Oct. 3 at Bent Brewstillery (1744 Terrace Dr., Roseville) to sample hot products, from salsa and kombucha to the peppers themselves. 3-10 p.m. Free.

Three cheers!

Congrats to freelancer Steve Hoffman for winning second place in the Best Food Essay category of the 2015 writing competition for the Association of Food Journalists. His story, "Of Links and Legacy," about his family's Romanian Christmas tradition of making sausage, appeared in the Taste section last year.