Barefoot Contessa Family Style: Easy Ideas and Recipes … (2024)


174 reviews13 followers

October 2, 2010

- Never read Barefoot Contessa cookbooks on an empty stomach.

- I want to be Ina Garten when I grow up.

- If I can't be Ina, then I want her to be my next-door neighbor.



16 reviews2 followers

December 8, 2007

I like Ina's recipes/books a lot, but this book was a bit of a let down if you consider yourself any kind of a cook. Do I really need a recipe for roasted potatoes? Ingredients - Potatoes, salt, pepper and olive oil. Pretty much a no-brainer.

But the book does have some great recipes - specifically the Sagaponack Corn Pudding and the Tequila Lime Chicken. both were big winners when I made them.


5 reviews1 follower

January 9, 2009

Visually stimulating and mouth watering! Ina Garten makes everything seem accessible through her clear instructions. We have all read those recipes that can inspire fear just through their length. This book does not contain a single one.
Sharing food is an act of love and it makes cooking so much more enjoyable when you remind yourself that you are doing it for someone you love, whether or not it is yourself or someone else.
Since Ina firmly believes that hosts/hostesses should not spend their parties chained to the stove, the majority of these dishes can be made in advance so you can spend more time with your friends.
P.S. Check out the flag cake!


2,617 reviews64 followers

March 4, 2022

This is the second Barefoot Contessa cookbook I picked up and I thought this one looked a bit better than Barefoot Contessa at Home. I noticed that this cookbook didn’t have as much fluff as the “at Home’ cookbook did and I was hoping that the Family Style would provide me more realistic dishes to prepare.

In the Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook, I found that the “everyday recipes you’ll make over and over again” were not everyday recipes for me. Her everyday recipes were too fancy for me. My question when I opened up this cookbook was, are Ina’s “easy ideas and recipes that make everyone feel like family” actual recipes and ideas that we will use and like? Are they family-time meal recipes or will they fancy meal recipes that we’ll make for company? (These quotes were taken from the front of the cookbooks)

This cookbook has a bit of everything in it. There is the simple dishes for individuals like me who like chicken stew with biscuits, oven-fried chicken, real meatballs & spaghetti, deep dish apple pie, string beans & shallots, and parmesan chicken just to name a few. Yet, there is also garlic sauteed spinach, tiramisu, run raisin rice pudding, arugula with parmesan, lobster cobb salad, Sunday rib roast, saffron risotto with butternut squash and linguine with shrimp scampi for those who like something different.

This cookbook has lots of different sections: Welcome Home, Planning the Meal, Starters, Salad for Lunch, Dinners, Vegetables, Desserts, Breakfast, Kids, Nine Ingredients, Ten Kitchen Tools, Menus, Credits, Index and Recipe Index. Ina includes some personal information in the Welcome Home section and each of the recipe sections contains around 10-12 recipes. In the Nine Ingredients section, Ina lists nine ingredients that are her favorite. In Ten Kitchen Tools, Ina lists ten pieces of kitchen equipment that she feels individuals will use over and over again on a regular basis. Ina puts together some of the recipes in this cookbook and creates menus for different occasions under the Menu section. From a Winter Breakfast, to a Summer Brunch, to a Spring Lunch, Ina puts the dishes together for you. There are 2 indexes which I like in cookbooks. One is the general index and one is the recipe index. Another big plus for me in this cookbook.

For each of the recipes you will find, how many the dish will serve, a small paragraph describing the dish, a list of ingredients and step-by-step directions. There is a picture to accompany each recipe which to me is a big plus. Sometimes she adds additional information to the recipe at the end, like additional cooking information, what to serve with the recipe, additional ingredients, etc. You will not find any nutritional information nor how much the serving size is or many total cups the whole recipe yields. I really wish cookbooks would include either the total cups or the serving size per person as that really helps me when I am cooking. Sometimes I can tell by looking at the list of ingredients but sometimes, it’s hard to tell. The pictures make the recipes look delicious! I liked that this cookbook has more recipes and these recipes looked appealing. There were a few that looked out of my range but a majority of them were something I would try. 4 stars

    cookbook food library

Tracy O

198 reviews3 followers

July 8, 2008

I've only made 3 recipes from this book so far: Linguine with Shrimp Scampi, Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomotoes (the quintessential pot-luck bring-along) and the Lasagna with Turkey Sausage. The recipes are not the very, very easiest in the world, but they are PRETTY darn easy. We're talking 30 min. prep time and maybe 30 min. cooking time, and, that's for stuff you can make for folks who are coming over to your home. There are great pictures, too - I like to know what I'm shooting for. When I was MUCH younger I got a used copy of the Martha Stewart Entertaining book which had lovely pictures, but NONE of the recipes worked - to an almost comical extent (don't get me started on the honey and currey dip or the shrimp stuck into a cabbage - ah, mispent youth!). Martha's book was a true nightmare - lot's of work and no results. The recipes I've tried from this book have been yummy, yummy (I've had the same experience with her other books). I can't wait to cook more stuff! The only negative thing I should point out (my work life is now bleeding into my real life at an alarming rate) is the recipes skew at little bit into the unhealthy (oh, wait, that's me).



15 reviews

August 19, 2009

Wasn't familiar with Garten until I attended a bridal shower where the food was prepared from her cookbooks - it was so delicious!! I went out and bought this cookbook!! Everything I have made has been wonderful; my husband has loved it and I have also taken dishes to functions and people have asked for recipes (so I tell them the same story about going to the bridal shower/etc.).... =) Also, ingredients are items most people have in their kitchen already (always a plus!). Yes, the recipes are pretty basic, but they are very delicious and you can also be creative with them and tweak them in small ways to mix it up!



37 reviews3 followers

September 25, 2008

Her cookbooks are a big must-have in our family. We do, however, call it 'Would you like some fatty-fat with your fatty-fat?' cookbook. Cream, half-and-half, cheese, butter all make repeat performances in many of the dishes. But in the end, does anything with those ingredients ever suck?

Favorites: The Turkey Lasagna, Sagaponack Corn Pudding and the Parmesan Chicken.


710 reviews4 followers

January 27, 2020

I'm so glad I have Ina in my life.

Jodi Palmer

39 reviews1 follower

January 14, 2023

Probably my favorite Ina book in awhile. Some slightly “Garten bazaar” recipes-Low Country Boil in the oven - but everything I’ve made, I’ve loved. And the presentation tips are lovely and always work beautifully. Another winner!


33 reviews3 followers

February 24, 2013

Before we start, I have to confess I am a little enamoured of Ina Garten. Ina, and Ree (The Pioneer Woman) are two of my favourite US cooks around today. They are similar in that they produce really tasty recipes, have a passion for great tasting food, and are fearless when it comes to not sacrificing flavour for calories. That is not to say that all their recipes are laden with fat, but that they appreciate sometimes there is just no substitute for flavour.

Ina Garten left an unfulfilling government position in the 70’s to purchase a speciality food shop in New York called The Barefoot Contessa. Under her management it grew in popularity, then in 1999, she brought out her first recipe book and hasn’t looked back since. With successful TV shows, countless recipe books and a massive following, Ina Garten is one of the most popular TV chefs around today.

This is her ninth recipe book, and as the subtitle Family Style suggests, the focus here is on cooking for your loved ones. There are a couple of introduction chapters, with some charming anecdotes about the importance of setting the scene and planning.

There follows seven chapters of recipes broke down into categories such as starters, salads, desserts and breakfast. There are then a few chapters that list ingredients Ina thinks you should always have in stock, and equipment that you should have in your kitchen. The final chapter is a series of meal plans to give you some inspiration on how to use the recipes within.

The recipes themselves are very much Ina’s style, and one of the reasons I like her. They are unpretentious, and not too complicated. They can be served for intimate family gatherings or to entertain extended family or close friends.

The instructions are clear, concise and easy to follow. Ina guides you through the steps of each dish effortlessly. I must warn you that the measurements are in US cups, but as I have said before, do not let this put you off as measuring cups are now widely available.

The recipes make great use of everyday ingredients, although there are a few items, such as clams or lobster, that are obviously easier to come by in upstate New York, than here in the Midlands. There is a nice balance of recipes that pack a lot of spice and punch and ones that are more simple and satisfying, so there is something for every palette.

My favourite recipes are Chicken Stew and Biscuits, Herb Roasted Lamb, and Pumpkin Banana Mouse tart. The Chicken Noodle Soup was a particular favourite. It has little more than half a dozen ingredients, yet it was sooo good.

The photos in the book are lovely, and had me salivating. Some of the photos include Ina and her friends and family enjoying the fruits of her labour. I personally found them a little twee and staged, and would have much preferred more pictures of the glorious food.

This is a hard bound book and is currently available for £12 from Amazon, which is a bargain if you ask me.


214 reviews2 followers

April 10, 2013

The recipes in this book are simple, looking over the table of contents did make me roll my eyes. Do I need a recipe for roasted asparagus? Green salad? But they still have the Ina Garten touches and simple doesn't mean not tasty. The green salad recipe, for example, is all about the vinaigrette. The roasted asparagus tastes amazing. It's a good book to give to new cooks, but I also like it for when I want dinner fast.

    100-in-2013 cookbooks


983 reviews56 followers

November 19, 2017

Good, basic recipes for beginners, plus a bit of advice for hostesses.

We don't agree theologically or philosophically, but the lady knows a thing or two about good food*.

*Except for putting tomatoes on top of mac & cheese. That's weird.

    cookbook food

William Bitterman

146 reviews7 followers

December 30, 2018

All her books are perfect but this one is just so particularly wonderful. The recipes are solid and down to earth and the pictures are really warm and fun. I love to flip through this one while watching tv.


117 reviews

June 16, 2010

Love a cookbook with tons of photos. Although Ina's presentation is undoubtedly better than mine, the hubby thinks I am a master chef while cooking her recipes. Love love the parmesean chicken.

Torie Brooks

28 reviews4 followers

October 30, 2010

It reminds me that eating together with the people you love is something to be done often!

Rachel Hanes

563 reviews427 followers

February 6, 2019

This book has a beautiful presentation along with mouth watering pictures of the dishes that were prepared. Unfortunately for me, I only found a few recipes that I would probably actually make.


234 reviews


April 22, 2023

Love Ina - am going through her books often for recipes and this was my first of her cookbooks
Am going to review recipes I’ve made:

Meatballs: very good but I got the Rao’s cookbook and have decided that I like those better (the ones made with milk)

Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes: delicious pasta salad but watch the salt - turns out she uses diamond kosher salt (not Morton’s), which is less salty lol per Tbsp. Otherwise it gets way too salty.

Shrimp scampi and linguine/ chicken noodle soup/ Parmesan roasted asparagus/ Parmesan chicken/ chicken stew with biscuits/ Scott’s short ribs/ blueberry coffee cake muffins: all yum!!

More to come…



156 reviews3 followers

February 3, 2019

I have almost all of Ina’s cookbooks. There is just something special about her flair for cooking and entertaining! What I enjoyed about this edition is the quality of the photography. They appeared less staged and had a warm, everyday family feeling about them; maybe even a little retro. The recipes weren’t anything new, but good solid food. There is a helpful chapter in the back for special kid’s menus.


761 reviews9 followers

July 6, 2019

I really enjoyed how down to earth and simple she makes these recipes and party ideas. It was nice to see a nice variety that are friendly to so many different diets too or are easily tweaked to fit them in, and very nice to have a whole section for kids. The pictures are all beautiful and do their job of making you want to jump into the kitchen. I admit I’m not a big fan of her shows, but her recipes have yet to disappoint.

    cooking how-to


625 reviews10 followers

November 25, 2020

This book features some good and simple advice in the beginning followed by recipes broken down into sections. The recipes are very simple, which is what the premise of the book is about. I personally don't think these are there great of family recipes though. My kids wouldn't eat a lot of the things in here. I found a few different things I will probably try for lunches. The desserts all sounded and looked amazing.

Lonnye Sue

88 reviews

November 18, 2019

Many cookbooks by professionals are loaded with ingredients found only in big cities or require special cookware/tools to prepare. Garten, for the most part, avoids those issues. Her recipes are simple and delicious - her challah French toast is divine (if you can find the bread) as are the Provençal Tomatoes. I look forward to trying her Mashed Turnips With Crispy Shallots next!


1,302 reviews2 followers

December 16, 2020

This one has a ton of classic recipes that are (for the most part) kind friendly. There are a lot of recipes I plan to try from this book. Tons of great full color pictures. The kid friendly hot chocolate has decaf coffee in it though. Step away from the coffee Ina.


18 reviews

December 27, 2023

This review is for the reading of the book. I’ve noted the recipes I want to try but have not cooked them yet. This cookbook does not disappoint. Full of recipes that I’m interested in trying and a good sprinkling of Ina’s tips that make life easier and more fun for the cook and the guests.


3,595 reviews3 followers

October 16, 2017

Lots of yummy recipes in this book. Tried the sour cream banana pancakes and they were good!

    2017 cook-books nonfiction


14 reviews

November 3, 2017

This was my first Ina cookbook and it is fabulous! I've made practically everything in this book and it's great!!!


Eva Jonas

4 reviews

December 1, 2017

Read this book if you want be master chef.

Victoria Harper

1 review

January 17, 2018

Just love her cooking I learn a lot from her recipes

Lynn Fox

39 reviews

July 8, 2018

I love this cookbook! The recipes are classics. I think this is a great cookbook for someone just starting out that doesn't quite have a handle on cooking for the whole family or a dinner party.

Veronica Smyth

151 reviews2 followers

March 6, 2019

Beautiful pictures and easy to follow recipes!

    food to-purchase work-through-it
Barefoot Contessa Family Style: Easy Ideas and Recipes … (2024)
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