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. 

The books I picked & why

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Cook Beautiful

By Athena Calderone,

Book cover of Cook Beautiful

Why 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. 


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

By Kristin Cavallari,

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

Why 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!


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

By Giada De Laurentiis,

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

Why 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!


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

By Amanda Bernardi,

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

Why 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.


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

By Anna Francese Gass,

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

Why 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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in cooking, American cuisine, and Bohemianism?

5,809 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about cooking, American cuisine, and Bohemianism.

Cooking Explore 68 books about cooking
American Cuisine Explore 12 books about American cuisine
Bohemianism Explore 14 books about Bohemianism

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Homesick Texan Cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and A Domestic Cook Book if you like this list.