Holding Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Let’s Stay Inside and Cook! April’s Cookbook Club Pick Is “Barefoot Contessa at Home” from Ina Garten

updated Mar 26, 2020
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Hello my fellow Cookbook Club-ers! I hope you’re all doing ok, or as ok as you can be, during this unprecedented time. It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago I announced that Vivian Howard’s Deep Run Roots was our March pick for Kitchn’s Cookbook Club. So much has changed since then. The food industry looks completely different than it did at the beginning of the month. Grocery stores are packed and shelves are empty, restaurants are closing down temporarily (and some for good), and there are so many questions about what to stock up on and eat while in quarantine.

I’m not going to lie: I’m scared. But I’m trying to be grateful for what I do have right now, and help those in need where I can. I’m also cooking a lot, like I imagine many of you are too. I want all the comforting pantry-staple meals (beans, rice, pasta) and baked goods (breads, brownies, cinnamon rolls). Cooking, in a time where I feel like I have little control, feels especially powerful.

So, with all these thoughts and feelings in mind, we decided that one of the best cookbooks we could feature for April is none other than Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home. Ina, after all, is the patron saint of beginner cooks and the queen of comfort cooking. Does anything sound better? Read on to see how you can follow along next month.

Credit: Kitchn

Want to follow along with Kitchn’s digital Cookbook Club? Here’s how to participate.

  1. Get the book! You can buy the book here or look for it at your local library; while many libraries are currently closed, you may be able to access a digital copy.
  2. Join Kitchn Cookbook Club Facebook group. This is our private space for all of you to talk about the book, ask questions, and chat about what you’re cooking. Click here to join! It’s very active.
  3. Share a recipe review on Instagram and tag with #kitchncookbookclub. Make a recipe from Barefoot Contessa at Home. Post a photo of your dish on Instagram, with a short review of the recipe in the caption.
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Why Barefoot Contessa at Home Is Our April Cookbook Club Pick

We knew we wanted to feature a book from Ina Garten for April, but it was hard to pick which one. She’s the author of 11 cookbooks, with another one coming out in October: Modern Comfort Food. To help us out, we enlisted Trent Pheifer, who has been cooking his way through all of Ina Garten’s recipes (yes, every single one). Trent said choosing a favorite cookbook from Ina was a little like Sophie’s choice, but he gave us a few options, and we ultimately went with Barefoot Contessa at Home. “This is usually the one I recommend to people, ” he explained, “[It’s] approachable, [there are] a ton of tasty recipes that I’ve made over and over again. And it has Beatty’s chocolate cake and coconut cake!” Sold.

In what is possibly the sweetest dedication of any book, Ina Garten says: “My home is wherever Jeffrey is.” This cookbook is a collection of the recipes she makes over and over and over again for her, Jeffrey, and friends. And like Trent says, the book is full of approachable recipes — things like mustard-roasted potatoes, and portobello mushroom lasagna. While many of us are inside right now (and I sincerely hope you are if you’re able to!), this book feels like a celebration of home.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Get the Book

I personally have baking on the brain right now, so I have my eyes on the easy cheese danish and lemon yogurt cake. She also has some great sandwich recipes in the book that I’ve been eyeing, like the tomato, mozzarella, and pesto panini and the Caesar club sandwich. What are you planning on making first? We were also thinking about doing some kind of virtual cookbook club on our Facebook group. Is that something you’d be interested in? Let us know!

Stay home (if you can), stay safe, and be healthy. Let’s cook!

— Ariel Knutson, Features Director