The Entertaining Rule Ina Garten Never Breaks

How do you get your Barefoot Contessa fix? Whether you choose to devour Ina Garten's many cookbooks from cover to cover, plop down in front of her cooking shows, or simply catch up with quick clips on Food Network's YouTube channel, the Contessa is a wealth of information when it comes to all things cooking and dining. 

Previously the owner of a Hamptons, New York specialty foods store that became known for "both elegant and earthy" comfort food items such as roast chicken and green herb dip (via Showbiz CheatSheet), Garten has known a thing or two about entertaining for a long, long time, and frequently shares her recipes and tips for hosting guests. She's even got an entire cookbook — "Barefoot Contessa Parties!" — dedicated to the theme of entertaining, though it's a topic that comes up frequently on her shows, as well. 

If there's anyone we can come back to again and again for advice on having people over and feeding them delicious food without a hitch, it's Garten. So, when she shared one of her golden rules on entertaining, we listened.

Ina Garten sticks to tried-and-true dishes when having people over

A dinner party can seem like a fun opportunity to bust out a new cookbook and whip together one of the recipes you're excited to try, but when entertaining, cooking doyenne Ina Garten advises pumping the brakes on that approach. After all, we can never really know how a recipe we've never made before will turn out — and that's not a risk Garten is willing to take.

"I never try out a new dish on my friends," she explains in a YouTube clip of "Barefoot Contessa" as she arranges raw shrimp in a casserole dish for her Baked Shrimp Scampi. "I hardly even do it with Jeffrey," she continued of her long-time husband. "When I'm entertaining, I want to be really sure that the dish is exactly the flavor I want it to be — and that usually takes one or two tries."

It's advice that's been echoed, well, since the dawn of dinner parties, probably, with Bon Appétit summing it up in these five simple words: "Don't attempt a maiden voyage." So, the next time you've gathered friends or family together for a meal, it's probably best to stick to your tried-and-true recipes.