Entertaining

Guest Books

Nine cookbooks that will make you a master entertainer
Entertaining Cookbooks

Every month, we go through our bookshelves to share some of our favorite reads. And since we're partying nonstop this November, we've singled out nine go-to entertaining cookbooks. From a Martha Stewart classic to an array of showstopping cakes, these books will solve any hosting conundrum you might have. So dive in and start thinking guest lists—just don't bury your nose too far into a book that you forget to get up and celebrate.

Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun, by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35)
The exclamation point says it all: Look no further for a one-stop guide on how to please your guests. The Food Network star shares tips from her years in catering and many hosted parties for 16 festive ideas like a DIY pizza party or an outdoor summer bash.

Feast: Food to Celebrate Life, by Nigella Lawson (Hachette Books, $35)
Though it covers all your fall holiday needs, keep this book for year-round rotation—next Valentine's Day might just call for Quivering with Passion Jellies. Feast includes dishes like Champagne risotto for two and at least a dozen chocolate cakes and, like her other books, oozes with British charm.

Twenty Dinners, by Ithai Schori and Chris Taylor (Clarkson Potter, $37.50)
Longtime friends Schori and Taylor put together 20 menus for the ultimate dinner party book, all organized by season. The focus on simplicity instead of over-the-top dishes means you can spend time enjoying slow-roasted duck-fat potatoes and toffee pudding with your friends rather than camping out at the stove all night.

Surprise-Inside Cakes, by Amanda Rettke (William Morrow Cookbooks, $30)
This book proves that every occasion is best celebrated with a gorgeous cake. The recipes may take a bit more work than mixing a box of cake mix, but the delight on your guests' face when you slice into your finished product and reveal a hidden Christmas tree or balloon pattern makes the effort more than worth it.

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Sarabeth's Good Morning Cookbook: Breakfast, Brunch, and Baking, by Sarabeth Levine (Rizzoli, $40)
Not all parties take place after the sun goes down. Sarabeth Levine's eponymous New York restaurant dates back to 1981 and is famous for its brunch—and long lines—but now everyone can skip the wait and turn their homes into a Sarabeth's kitchen. Bonus points if you top your apple cider French toast with one of her many fruit preserves.

The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails, by Mittie Hellmich (Chronicle Books, $20)
We're not saying you have to memorize all 1,000, but when a guest asks you for an old-fashioned, you don't want to resort to crouching in the corner and googling the recipe on your phone. Master the classics, then try some of Hellmich's own boozy creations. And with a chapter dedicated to large-batch cocktails, you can host a cocktail party with ease.

Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties, by Williams-Sonoma (Free Press, $25)
You trust them with all your plates and cookware, so you might as well heed their advice for what to actually put on the plates as well. The book contains seven dinner party ideas based on season and includes guidance on all the gritty details like serving suggestions and workflow tips.

Thanksgiving, by Sam Sifton (Random House, $18)
We would be remiss to discuss November holidays without addressing the giant turkey in the room. Sifton's book is more of an ultimate Thanksgiving how-to than solely a recipe book, but you'll still find plenty of reliable recipes whether you take your turkey roasted, grilled or deep-fried.

Entertaining, by Martha Stewart (Clarkson Potter, $45)
This 1980s classic is Stewart's first book and contains more than 300 recipes to help turn anyone into a domestic champion. Do it for the extensive section on a Christmas dessert buffet spread, if not just for the nostalgia.

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