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Which Ina Garten Cookbook?

I don't own any, but people here seem to speak highly of her recipes and whenever I see her show on tv, I want to crawl through the screen and join her at dinner. So. Which one? I do far more family cooking than company cooking, if that helps.

I was flipping through one in the store the other day (and wouldn't it help if I could remember which one?) and wasn't terribly impressed. It seemed like lots of recipes for things I either already have 900 recipes for or for things that I don't need a recipe for. I don't need her to tell me to put mozzarella, tomato and basil on a plate and drizzle with good olive oil.

So, was I just not looking at the best or is it that her versions of the common dishes are just superb?

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  1. A lot of her stuff is simple, but she has some excellent recipes, as well. However, a lot of them are available at Food Network's Web site. You may want to go there and search through her recipes.

    It's not to say that you won't want to buy a cookbook at some point - I, personally, love having things down on paper. But it'll give you a good sense of what you value from her, or if you value her at all.

    1. I love The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. The Parmesan Smashed Potatoes are amazing, the turkey meatloaf is great, I make the Indonesian Ginger Chicken over and over again. I would probably use some of the recipes more, but, for example, the Parmesan Smashed Potatoes have butter, 1/2 & 1/2, parmesan and sour cream, so they are not exactly "light". Delicious, but not for every day. The Indonesian Ginger Chicken, however, is fairly healthy.

      Yes, you can find most of the recipes on line, but I like having a cookbook.

      3 Replies
      1. re: valerie

        I have all the Ina Garten cookbooks on a shelf in my dining room, the funny thing is once I looked at them cover to cover I don't use them, I print out all the recipes that I make on Foodtv.com website then it does not matter if I spill something on them and I take notes. So far any recipe of hers that I have tried has been great!

        1. re: valerie

          I also love that Indonesian chicken - so easy to make, and really good. But I do double the spicing.

          1. re: valerie

            I agree - I have all her books, and the "Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" is the one I still use the most.

            Some of the recipes are deceptively simple, but they're always a success (and I get lots of requests for the recipes). I especially like that many can be made ahead or served at room temperature - perfect for entertaining.

          2. I have a couple of her cookbooks and while the recipes look pedantic, they are indeed great ones. I haven't made anything bad from her cookbook. Everything is simple and easy to make. I find a lot of her stuff too heavy for me for everyday cooking. But it's great as a treat once in a while.

            Her espresso brownies are absolutely delicious.

            1. I vote for the first one, Barefoot Contessa, or the second, BC Parties. I have all of her cookbooks too, but those are the ones I use the most. And it's true a lot of the recipes are on the FN site -- but she also takes them down after a certain amount of time, so it's not all there.

              1. I have Barefoot in Paris, and all the recipes I've tried have been good. The recipe for mussels is especially good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MrsCheese

                  Ditto here- I recommend Barefoot in Paris.

                  I know the recipes seem simple, but they never ever fail, and that's important to me when I am choosing, say, a boeuf bourguignon recipe to make for guests and I don't feel like trying a bunch of versions and/or flipping through a ton of books for the recipe!

                  It's amazing how she can take something really basic and give you a recipe that makes it come out just right before you do any tweaking, you know? Usually I mess with recipes to get them just the way I want. I don't need to do that with her recipes.

                2. I JUST made Ina's recipe for Chicken Gravy - I know, basic, right? Um..it's the best gravy I've EVER made - and to top it off..it's EASY!!!!!!
                  It's from Barefoot Family Style. Sooo tasty!

                  I find her recipes to be consistent and tried and true.

                  I also have the Parties one - very good, but I don't make food for 12 very often (ever..) So, you have to scale down a bit. Great ideas, though.
                  I got both from the library and will make copies of my favorites.

                  yes, most are online, but I like the copies.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: stellamystar

                    I am a member of the Barefoot Contessa Addict Club..
                    I made Tequila Lime Chicken - so tasty..and easy, of course.
                    Tonight, I made spinach gratin - excellent as well.
                    Gotta love her.

                    the only thing I've ever made that I wasn't over the moon for was a Chinese Chicken Salad.

                    1. re: stellamystar

                      Made the hummus recipe from the original BC - wonderful. Make sure to double it for a weeks' worth of hummus.

                  2. I have all of her books, but Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and Barefoot In Paris are my favorites.

                    1. jfood recommends going to the library, take out 3-4 of them and then start using them for the month.

                      see which one you go to the most.