Entertaining and cooking for guests is a right of passage for any young adult. After experiencing my fair share of birthday bashes, weddings, dinner parties and holiday festivities as a guest, I've come to understand what it means to have a successful celebration. No matter what the event, food has been—and always will be—the center of every occasion. That's why I've made an internal promise to learn how to cook not just my favorite everyday dishes, but also the complex crowd-pleasing entrées that elevate otherwise ordinary gatherings to exuberant events. Here are some of my favorite tomes that will assist any aspiring adult in becoming an entertaining extraordinaire.
ryan chetiyawardana GOOD THINGS TO DRINK
WITH MR. LYAN AND FRIENDS
I came across Ryan Chetiyawardana's (who goes by Mr. Lyan) cocktail book while shopping in an Urban Outfitters and was instantly intrigued by it's modern, yet timeless, photography. I was surprised at just how many unique offerings Mr. Lyan had in his publication; you won't find any run-of-the-mill drinks that have been repinned thousands of times on Pinterest in this book. With two swanky bars of his own and a collection of eponymous bottled cocktails, it's no wonder Good Things To Drink lives up to its truthful title.
shawn steiman THE LITTLE COFFEE KNOW-IT-ALL
If (at the very least) you can provide a guest with a great cup of coffee in your home, you've done something right. Coffee itself is an art form that invites conversation and unity in any group setting. Quarry Books gave me a copy of Shawn Steiman's The Little Coffee Know-It-All and I have to say that I'm a more knowledgeable coffee fan after reading it. I love the book’s infographics that illustrate everything from brewing techniques to origin history. You’ll be able to find the answers to every burning question you could ever have about coffee in here.
chrissy teigen CRAVINGS
Chrissy Teigen is a celebrity that needs no introduction, especially in the world of food. Between her highly-stalked Instagram and her hunger-inducing blog, Chrissy has created a cult following of foodies. Her debut cookbook, Cravings, is everything you wouldn't expect from a Sports Illustrated model. Her recipes call for "extra parm," spices and salt, resulting in some truly decadent meals. Cravings has the kind of food you love to eat and makes no apologies for it. I made her delicious Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe with ease and would gladly serve it to my friends who appreciate a little more spice in their life.
raquel pelzel TOAST: THE COOKBOOK
While toast has always been a staple to any breakfast, it has become such a trendy meal on it's own when savory ingredients, like avocado or skirt steak, are piled on top of it. Raquel's elegant homage to toast is organized by season, so you'll find recipes for your soirées year-round. Toast makes a chic appetizer for dinner parties and cocktail hours alike. You could even create a "toast bar" by featuring several recipes found in this book.
lauren conrad CELEBRATE
Once a MTV reality starlet, now a millennial lifestyle icon, Lauren Conrad is on a mission to make every party an unforgettable celebration with the aptly-titled Celebrate. Lauren's latest book covers all the bases of entertaining including etiquette, pre-planning mood boards, DIY decor and menu ideation. Flipping through this book, I already started to draw inspiration from the ethereal settings Lauren created for twelve different occasions. I'm in the midst of planning my sister's graduation party at our household and I know Celebrate will be incredibly useful in materializing the event's every last detail.
food52 GENIUS RECIPES
When it comes to searching for recipes online, my first stop is always Food52's communal website. Food52 has over 40,000 recipes alone, but only the best of the best were hand picked for this cookbook. These recipes rethink common ways of cooking and challenge flavor profiles we've grown accustomed to. Each contributor takes a classic dish (like romaine hearts with caesar salad dressing) and enhances it in a refreshing way. While the recipes in here are a touch more complicated than what I'm used to, the entrées these recipes produce are geniusly delectable.
Fantastic food has the power to bring people together in a distinctive way. If your guests leave your event to remember only one thing, let it be a good taste in their mouths.