The best lifestyle books for cooking, entertaining and tablescaping

Who am I?

As a child of divorce who moved around often, cooking and entertaining was consistent in my life on both sides of my family. The comforting smells and traditions around food in the home became a religion to me—something I could count on. My grandmother was a hostess to be admiredher impeccable entertaining etiquette was where my love of hosting was born. My degree in psychology lends itself to sharing what’s so important about creating intentional gatherings at the table. My education and passion for creative arts pair well with my husband’s expertise as an Architect, where we understand the importance of creating inviting spaces for people to occupy.

I wrote...

The Modern Hippie Table: Recipes and Menus for Eating Simply and Living Beautifully

By Lauren Thomas,

Book cover of The Modern Hippie Table: Recipes and Menus for Eating Simply and Living Beautifully

What is my book about?

The term “Modern Hippie” celebrates a way of living and entertaining that creates an intentional series of moments at home, where good food, conversation, and design come together to create lasting memories. Lauren Thomas’s The Modern Hippie Table combines more than 70 curated recipes and assorted themed menus with beautiful and doable tabletop ideas, creating a vibe of laid-back elegance that complements whatever is on the menu, from an intimate dinner for two to a large celebration.

In this debut collection, Lauren shares favorite dishes that can be easily prepared for entertaining, which allows you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests and family. 

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The books I picked & why

Cook Beautiful

By Athena Calderone,

Book cover of Cook Beautiful

Why did I love this book?

Cook Beautiful goes way beyond a traditional cookbook—Athena Calderone is the goddess of all things food and design. She truly executes her love of each by styling and photographing stunning recipes and giving tips on how to make the food look as good as it tastes. Each section closes with ideas for beautiful tablescapes inspired by nature. This lifestyle cookbook looks as good on your coffee table as it does in your kitchen, and you’ll want to turn every page for one gorgeous recipe and tablescape after another. 

By Athena Calderone,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cook Beautiful as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The debut cookbook from Athena Calderone, creator of EyeSwoon, with 100 seasonal recipes for meals as gorgeous as they are delicious.

In Cook Beautiful, Athena reveals the secrets to preparing and presenting unforgettable meals. As the voice and curator behind EyeSwoon, an online lifestyle destination for food, entertaining, fashion, and interior design, Athena cooks with top chefs, hosts incredible dinners, and designs stunning tablescapes, while emphasizing the importance of balancing the visual elements of each dish with incredible flavors. In her debut cookbook, she's finally showing the rest of us how to achieve her impeccable yet approachable cooking style.


Book cover of True Comfort: More Than 100 Cozy Recipes Free of Gluten and Refined Sugar: A Gluten Free Cookbook

Why did I love this book?

Another lifestyle cookbook with recipes and tips that are simple, comforting, and family-friendly. Kristin shares not only recipes for healthy comfort foods, but also the staple ingredients she keeps in her pantry. I love how she offers gluten and dairy-free alternatives in her recipes and how she uses natural sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey. The Nashville Hot Chicken Salad cups and the Creamy Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad are my two favorite dishes to make from this book—and my family agrees!

By Kristin Cavallari,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked True Comfort as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The TV star and author of True Roots shares 130+ of her favorite recipes for healthy, natural, wholesome comfort food in this essential cookbook.

“Kristin’s family-friendly, decadently ‘health-ified’ recipes will have you reliving favorite memories and making delicious new ones bite after bite!”—Daphne Oz, Emmy Award-winning television host and bestselling author


Over the past few years, Kristin Cavallari has become known for the healthy recipes she cooks at home for her family. In her bestselling cookbook, True Roots, she shared the recipes that keep…

Book cover of Giada's Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets: A Cookbook

Why did I love this book?

We all love to know what someone we admire does beyond the scope of what they are most known for. I love how this cookbook goes beyond recipes—Giada also shares her beauty secrets such as hair and makeup routines, how she stays trim with lifestyle and exercise, tips for choosing healthy options when eating out, and what she packs for snacks while on the go. It’s truly a lifestyle that I want to subscribe to!

By Giada De Laurentiis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Giada's Feel Good Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Food Network's most beautiful star shares her secrets for staying fit and feeling great in this gorgeous, practical book with healthy recipes including nutritional information, and personal lifestyle and beauty tips.

The number one question that Giada De Laurentiis is asked by fans is, "How do you stay so trim?" Admirers then ask about her favorite recipes, her nail polish color, her exercise routine. . . and much more. In Giada's Feel Good Food, she answers all of these questions in her most personal and also most hardworking book yet.

Here are 120 recipes for breakfasts, juices, lunches, snacks, dinners,…

Book cover of The Modern Bohemian Table: Gathering with Friends and Entertaining in Style

Why did I love this book?

As an event planner, Amanda shares her tips for how to host beautiful and meaningful gatherings with friends from small and simple to a larger outdoor party, all of which she uses a bohemian vibe to do so. Her ideas for throwing themed parties are creative, fun, and doable, and I love how she organizes them by season. Her bohemian style uses interesting contrasts, the mixing and matching of tableware and linens, and is a vibe based on feeling rather than rules. There are so many good tips on how to be the best hostess using good planning, calculating how much food you’ll need, and also how to pick drinks to complement your meal.

By Amanda Bernardi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Modern Bohemian Table as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Learn the rules, traditions and customs of table setting and entertaining and how to incorporate principles of bohemian design.

The Modern Bohemian Table teaches you how to: Build an heirloom tabletop collection; Design a welcoming and beautiful table; Calculate how much food you need you for each gathering; Select wine or other drinks to complement the meal.

And inspires you with over 20 fresh and fun party ideas, broken up into seasons, including: Morrocan Rooftop Soiree; Wine Night; Medieval-Inspired Feast; Garden Gathering; Apres-Ski Get-Together.

From tablescapes to menu planning, napkin folding to cocktail mixing, learn to gather your favorite people…

Book cover of Heirloom Kitchen: Heritage Recipes and Family Stories from the Tables of Immigrant Women

Why did I love this book?

What a beautiful tribute this cookbook is to immigrant women from around the world. This book is a collection of family recipes from around the world—Anna’s realization that she didn’t know how to make her mother’s meatballs led to the curiosity of how many other family recipes would be lost or forgotten if not written down. The result is a collection of delicious international recipes with beautiful stories behind them that inspire you to want to get in the kitchen and also write down your favorite beloved family recipes.

By Anna Francese Gass,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heirloom Kitchen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gorgeous, full-color illustrated cookbook and personal cultural history, filled with 100 mouthwatering recipes from around the world, that celebrates the culinary traditions of strong, empowering immigrant women and the remarkable diversity that is American food.

Born in Italy, Anna Francese Gass came to the United States as a young child and grew up eating her mother's Italian cooking. But when this professional cook realized she did not know how to make her family's beloved meatballs-a recipe that existed only in her mother's memory-Anna embarked on a project to record and preserve her mother's recipes for generations to come.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in cooking, American cuisine, and sugar?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about cooking, American cuisine, and sugar.

Cooking Explore 83 books about cooking
American Cuisine Explore 20 books about American cuisine
Sugar Explore 18 books about sugar

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Joy of Mixology, Cheese Sex Death, and Platters and Boards if you like this list.