HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


I've noticed a number of Ina Garten fans here...

and I'm wondering, which of her cookbooks is your favorite, and why?

I don't have any of them, but was thinking of adding one to my Christmas list. I do watch her from time to time, and the way she cooks, and what she tends to cook, are what I enjoy, as well. TY.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I like Family Style the best. The only problem is the servings are for 8-12, so you have to do some math.
    I asked for the new one for Christmas - back to basics.

    4 Replies
    1. re: stellamystar

      AAAWWWHH...how to decide which of the babies is prettiest? If I had to choose I would go with family style first.


      1. re: stellamystar

        Eight to twelve, huh? Well, hubby and one kid in particular will take care of ten servings, which leaves two for the rest of us to divide. :-D TY, stella.

        1. re: stellamystar

          Family Style is a good cookbook. I like that there are basic go-to recipes as well as others that are not your "normal" family style food.

          1. re: stellamystar

            it true I made her chicken with barbeque sauce which came out fine, but I ended up with a quart of sauce which I froze for the future. I dont know if the recipe is from the Family Style cookbook because I found the recipe on the internet.

          2. I have her Parties book. And I often browse her recipes online. I am not a fan of her show but her recipes are fool proof. she has a great recipe for lemon cake that I make a lot as well as a roasted veggie and orzo dish. They are easy recipes too so especially for a newer cook, I think her books are great.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cassoulady

              I second "Parties"! It makes menu planning and entertaining so easy - and her recipes are easy, simple, and tasty.

            2. Count me in as a fan. There was a thread a earlier this year on this...


              4 Replies
              1. re: valerie

                Oops. I try to do searches here first, and found some threads discussing IG's recipes, but I missed that one, valerie. TY for posting it, and, thanks, everyone, for your patience with the newbie.

                1. re: Steady Habits

                  I like her first one best. I think it's just called Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Mine is covered with spilled ingredients and the pages sticking together so I can't always read the measurements anymore. :)

                  1. re: Steady Habits

                    I don't know if you found this thread or not, but it's very long and all about Ina's recipes: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/331255

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      I think I missed that one, too, Katie (I think). Well...anyway...if I've seen it before, I don't recall, but I certainly enjoyed reading through it now. Sort of. It was also torture. I'm hungry now...for lemon cake. :-D Thank you for the link.

                2. I have every one of her books including the latest, Back to Basics. The recipes sound wonderful and the pictures are gorgeous. All the tips are fabulous. I can't pick one favorite as I haven't actually prepared any of her recipes except for the margaritas and they were outstanding. I think any of the books would be a welcome addition to any collection.

                  1. I recommend all of them...but the most used in my house is Barefoot Contessa, then Family Style, then Parties. I own them all.

                    1. Whichever of Ina's books you end up choosing I'd suggest checking Costco - I saw some in ours on Friday going for significantly less than the cover price.

                      1. I want to thank you all for your responses. It looks like there are two or three of her books here that many of you endorse. That's good...it's always less frustrating for hubby if I give him a few choices. He knows I'm picky about cookbooks, and he's been known to panic if he's not sure he's getting the right one. :-) Thanks again.

                        1. I have her parties book, and boy, do I love Ina! I recently looked through her new book--I think it is titled "Barefoot Contessa in Paris" or something to that nature. I almost got it, but the price was pretty steep. Thanks to the internet, I'm able to download her recipes and laminate the pages, therefore amassing a nice collection. Her recipes truly are foolproof and are wonderful. I love her tone both in written and oral--she is like your best friend who is serious about cooking and wants to help you. She is no BS. Her approach to French bistro cooking is wonderful. I truly would recommend any of her books.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jarona

                            Yes, I've always liked her down-to-earth tone, too. I've made one or two dishes she made on the show. I can't even tell you which, because it's been a while. I haven't looked through the cookbooks, because I don't usually go for the glossy cookbooks while browsing. (Not out of any categorical disrespect for those books, but just because I'm usually looking for the "encyclopaedic" type books in tiny print with as many recipes and reference chapters packed into them as possible.

                            But then I read a few reviews that her books are "coffee-table" in style only--how usable and well researched and practiced her recipes are And *then* I saw how many of you here have found her recipes to be *foolproof*. So that's the real-life cooking "underwriters' laboratory", if you ask me.

                            1. re: Steady Habits

                              ugh! You know who's "Coffee Table" in cooking books? Martha Stewart! Really, I don't find Ina Garten's books to be nothing more than terrific. Not to change the subject, but I find Martha Stewart's recipes so time consuming for the average home chef. But uninvited guest is right though regarding Garten's love of Paris, she really does love the place and it shows when you see the clips of Barefoot when she is in Paris..it's nice to see as I love Paris and feel like I'm there when she gets into her Paris thing. She also DOES make French cooking very easy and non-threatening.
                              Anyway, I really and truly hope you get one of her books, or start watching her show regularly or download her recipes. You really will be very pleased and you will be a tremendous success. Bon Chance and Bon Appetit!

                          2. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. I know people love the new one, which I don't have yet. I use recipes from Barefoot in Paris all the time, as well as the original Barefoot Contessa book, although the latter seems more geared towards summer to me.

                            The Paris one is fun because they are "earthy" dishes that have really become staples for me. Also, her love of Paris really comes across in the book.

                            I almost forgot Barefoot at Home! I received that one as a gift more recently and really enjoy it as well.

                            That probably wasn't helpful at all. You really can't go wrong.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: theuninvitedguest

                              No, in fact, it *was* helpful to read your post and others here that gave me insight into the differences between some of her books.

                              From what I see on the show, Ina cooks the type food that's readily available and seasonal here in the general north-MidAtlantic and southern New England region. I'm looking for that and the type recipes I *can* use all the time, as you said, and if it has a Parisian flair, so much the better. The two cuisines I'm most interested in are New England and regional French.

                              And what I need help with these days is being inspired with some new everyday, dinner recipes. I never have problems finding things I'd like to make for guests or special occasions, but...as for nightly dinners...I've been having to turn out a nutritious, appealing meal like clockwork every twenty-four hours for years now, and sometimes, I get a little burnt out. Not about the cooking itself, but just standing at my generally packed freezer, looking through the packets, trying to figure out what I could do with something in there that has an exciting little twist but isn't too bizarre or inaccessible for the young'ns.

                              So, yes, you were helpful by giving me a little specific direction about the books. Thank you.