By Ashly Moore Sheldon • November 04, 2021
After more than a year of pandemic isolation, many of us are feeling more than a little excited for the upcoming holiday get-togethers. But if you're also feeling like your entertaining skills are a touch rusty, don't worry—we've got you! Here are thirteen cookbooks that will help you get back into host mode.
Whether it's a Sunday family meal or an impromptu dinner party with friends, these books are packed with accessible recipes that will delight your taste buds and impress your guests.
Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over
According to social media star and food writer Allison Roman, having people over should be fun, not stressful. Her abundant new collection of easy-to-execute recipes—like coconut-braised chicken and chickpeas and lemony turmeric tea cake—works for gatherings big and small, any day of the week.
Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings
Food stylist Susan Spungen arms readers with elegant meals that are easy to share and enjoy. Her collection features contemporary, stylish, and accessible dishes like burrata with pickled cherries, rosy harissa chicken, and roasted strawberry-basil sherbet, along with her signature "get-ahead" cooking tips.
See You on Sunday: A Cookbook for Family and Friends
"People are lonely," NYT food editor Sam Sifton writes. "They show up. Feed them. It isn't much more complicated than that." The 200 recipes in this collection are mostly simple and inexpensive, from big meats to big pots, with a few words on salad, and a diatribe on the needless complexity of desserts.
A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty
Sunday Times columnist Skye McAlpine shares her recipe for stylish and relaxed get-togethers of any size. Divided into four chapters— Stars, Sides, Sweets, and Extras—these deliciously doable recipes include such gems as tagliatelle with gorgonzola, pear & walnut and chocolate chestnut meringue cake.
Gather & Graze: 120 Favorite Recipes for Tasty Good Times
Since becoming Top Chef's first female winner, Stephanie Izard opened three restaurants in Chicago, traveled to China, and became an Iron Chef. Here she shares her collection of fun, flavor-forward recipes including duck breast with brown butter kimchi and sticky sweet potato cake with blueberry-tomatillo jam.
For your holiday parties, you may want to amp up the glam a bit, without making things overly complicated for yourself. These books present recipes and strategies for catering to a crowd.
Mixtape Potluck Cookbook
He may be best known as a musician, but Questlove has made a name for himself as a consummate host with his renowned "food salons." Combining his passions, he curated a collection of winning recipes contributed by chefs and entertainers and matched each dish with a song—so your party playlist is built in.
Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any Occasion
Visually exciting and deliciously enticing, Maegan Brown's snack boards will have you spending less time in the kitchen and more time having fun. Easy to prepare in advance, the artful and whimsical variations include such ideas as Bloody Mary Board, Build-Your-Own Taco Board, and Cobb Salad Board.
The Art of Mixology
This collection of more than 200 classic and contemporary cocktails recipes for any occasion includes an informative introduction packed with all the essential knowledge any experienced or novice mixologist could ever need. Another option is this literary-themed alternative, Tequila Mockingbird.
Barefoot Contessa Parties!
The keyword here is fun! Ina Garten's parties are enjoyable for everyone, including the host. Pull off parties like a pro with tips for organizing like a caterer. Versatile dishes like filet of beef, butternut squash and apple soup, and sour cream coffee cake provide the wow factor for any kind of occasion.
From turkey to latkes to gingerbread, special days call for special dishes. These cookbooks will help you cook the perfect thing for every occasion.
Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well
With simple, fool-proof recipes for classic Thanksgiving staples, as well as new takes on old standbys, this guide from NYT food editor Sam Sifton provides assurance that the fourth Thursday of November does not have to be a day of kitchen stress and family drama, of dry stuffing, and sad, cratered pies.
Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season
Filled with elevated takes on classics like giant molasses spice cookies and peppermint bark, this collection from veteran baker Elisabet der Nederlanden also offers guides for making gorgeous gingerbread houses and edible ornaments. The delectable recipes are easy to scale up or down for every occasion.
King Solomon's Table
From the James Beard Award-winning Joan Nathan comes this compendium of more than 170 Jewish recipes, from Israel to Italy to India and beyond. With contemporary riffs on traditional dishes like apple kuchen and shakshuka, this gorgeous book showcases the dazzling diversity of an age-old culinary tradition.
An expert in bold flavors and textures, Gaz Oakley offers a collection of fantastic alternatives to the traditional turkey and trimmings. From holiday breakfasts like sweet potato waffles and tofu benedict to party food like mini sausage rolls and boozy tiramisu, enjoy a decidedly decadent vegetarian holiday.
Food plays such a huge role in our holiday traditions. Get set for some scrumptious celebrations with these beautiful cookbooks. Many of these would also make great gifts for friends and family who enjoy entertaining. We're certainly adding them to our wish lists!