We all have our tried-and-true family recipes, but sometimes, there's nothing like a good cookbook for an extra dose of kitchen inspiration. If you find yourself searching for some solid recommendations in advance of the holiday season, you're in luck. We consulted the foodies in our office for the culinary tomes they always turn to in a pinch. Below, their go-to picks.
1. The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts by The French Culinary Institute
"On a day-to-day basis, I turn to The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters ($22; amazon.com) because it tells you how to do all the basics, from making a quiche to roasting a chicken. But for desserts, there's nothing better than this book from my alma mater, The French Culinary Institute. It contains all of the delicious recipes I made while I was in pastry school. My most revisited one is the clafoutis, which is easy to make and a big hit at dinner parties—especially with my husband!"
—Anne Kim, Lifestyle Editor
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts ($55; amazon.com)
2. It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow
"I'm a big Gwyneth Paltrow fan, so I had to get my hands on this cookbook when it first came out. To my delight, every recipe I’ve ever made from it truly is delicious, even though you look at the ingredient list and wonder, 'Where is the cheese? The butter?' My favorite is her risotto with peas and greens. It's vegan, but somehow magically maintains a creamy texture. I usually add some ground turkey to the mix for some added protein."
—Jennifer Merritt, InStyle.com Deputy Editor
It's All Good ($18; amazon.com)
3. Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook by Kristen Miglore
"I've sworn by Barefoot Contessa Parties! ($28; amazon.com) for years, but this Food52 cookbook is quickly climbing to the top of the list. Each recipe is a lifelong favorite from one esteemed chef, from Marcella Hazan to Nigella Lawson."
—Angela Matusik, InStyle.com Executive Editor
Genius Recipes ($20; amazon.com)
4. Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten
"Ina always has such delicious recipes, but I particularly love this book because she explains how to prep items in advance. It's a must-have for anyone who likes to entertain but doesn't want to spend the entire evening in the kitchen."
—Sheryl George, Beauty Editor
Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook ($22; amazon.com)
5. Dinner: A Love Story: It All Begins at the Family Table by Jenny Rosenstrach
"I love that it's not too preachy and is written as if a friend is giving you cooking tips."
—Wendy Wallace, Market Director
Dinner: A Love Story: It All Begins at the Family Table ($21; amazon.com)
6. How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman
"I love the simplicity of this cookbook. The recipes are delicious and don't require a ton of crazy ingredients. Quite a few have become staples in our weekly cooking. My husband and I especially love the roast chicken and the pan-seared, then oven-finished steak."
—Meggan Crum, Accessories Director
How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food ($21; amazon.com)
7. Eva's Kitchen by Eva Longoria
"I came across this cookbook a few years ago when I interviewed Eva Longoria for a story and was impressed by how easy to execute all of the recipes are. There's a Mexican stuffed peppers dish in there that takes literally 15 minutes to prep and makes people think my kitchen skills are way more advanced than they actually are."
—Christina Shanahan, Senior Editor
Eva's Kitchen ($21; amazon.com)
8. Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland
"My sister-in-law, who is a chef (and the Executive Producer/Director of Trisha's Southern Kitchen on the Food Network) gave me this book a couple of years ago. It was written by a friend of hers and is filled with the most delicious and unexpected vegetarian recipes you could imagine. The photos are mouthwatering and it's easy to pull off these dishes, even if you are a novice chef like me. A friend of mine who is vegetarian liked the book so much, when she came to visit me, she 'borrowed' it indefinitely and I had to buy a new copy."
—Amy Synnott, Executive Editor
Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite ($24; amazon.com)
9. A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes (That Will Make You Feel Amazing) by Anna Jones
"I've been cooking from this new book by Anna Jones and loving it all. From quick breakfast ideas (that you can put in a mason jar and bring with you as you're dashing out the door) to satisfying vegetable-based dishes, everything I've tried has been filled with surprising, inspiring flavors. It's a total keeper!"
—Joanna Bober, Lifestyle Director
A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes (That Will Make You Feel Amazing) ($24; amazon.com)