For a foodie bridesmaid, you really can't go wrong gifting her a cookbook—it's thoughtful, and she's guaranteed to get some use out of it. Don't just snap up the first cookbook you see at Barnes & Noble, though—select a book by one of her favorite chefs or centered around her favorite type of cuisine.
And if she's into the local Bay Area food scene, consider wrapping up a copy of the new Junior League of San Francisco cookbook, San Francisco Entertains ($33). The 176-page tome includes 139 recipes, with each chapter dedicated to a different decade in San Francisco culinary history. The book includes contributions from top local chefs and restaurants, including Chef Gary Danko (Restaurant Gary Danko), Chef Michael Chiarello (Bottega), Chef Gerald Hirigoyen (Piperade), and even Chuck Williams (founder of Williams-Sonoma). In addition to entrees, appetizers, desserts, and beverage pairings, the book also includes full entertaining menus for specific occasions (so your friend will know exactly what to whip up the next time she throws a '49ers tailgate party or a Wine Country-themed cocktail party, for example). Plus, all proceeds go to the JLSF's goal of helping families in need, through direct service, advocacy, and grantmaking.
The cookbooks are available at sfentertains.jlsf.org starting October 20 (and if you pre-order ten books, you get a 20% discount). —Lauren Matthews, editor, Brides Northern California