Ina Garten's Most Popular Cookbook Is The Ultimate Hosting Manual

Besides being known as the host of the Food Network series "Barefoot Contessa," Ina Garten is most well known for her cookbooks — of which she has a whopping dozen. Bookending her first and most recent, "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" came out back in 1999, and just last year, Garten released "Go-To Dinners: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook." But with so many of her books to choose from, where does one begin?

Well, if you're looking for a book that provides recipes as well as tips for being a good host, then there's one clear choice: "Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof," which was published in 2012. It's packed with so much more than just meal inspiration. In fact, it's the ultimate hosting manual for any dinner party or cocktail party you're looking to throw. If you need proof of its value, according to Publisher's Weekly, "Foolproof" was far and away the top-selling cookbook of that year. 

Garten guides you on hosting etiquette and more

In the introduction, Garten writes, "For me, a foolproof meal is about more than great recipes; it's also about planning a menu." She helps outline the way these individual recipes can be used to develop a hosting "game plan" and offers practical guidance about how to think about devising one's own.   

Garten offers a range of menus for various occasions, like a summer dinner, a French-inspired dinner, and date-night dinners. And on top of cooking directions, she also includes cocktail recipes for drinks that will pair with these planned meals. There are also menus for specific holidays, such as the Fourth of July, Valentine's Day, and even Thanksgiving, so whether you want to a la carte her recipes or do up a full spread up Ina-style, this cookbook can simplify the sometimes stressful celebrations.

This step-by-step guide will help orient you to the breadth of the task if you're new to hosting and need a pro's perspective on what to do and what to serve. But even if you're comfortable in your hosting abilities, you can still pick and choose from this impressive selection of recipes for an original menu.

On top of all that, Garten begins the book with "10 Foolproof Tips for Cooking" for cooks of all calibers to keep in mind. With Garten's sage counsel propped open on the counter, what could possibly go wrong?