The Tales

The Bookshelf – The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Jun 09, 2022

The Bookshelf – The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

What good are our plant-based plates and bowls if we’re not filling them with great food? To help out, each month we’ll be asking some friends and Zungleboo fans what their favorite cookbook is and why. 

The latest recommendation in our Bookshelf series comes from journalist, life coach, wife, mom and cooking enthusiast Janine Zabel (@zabeliciouslife on Insta).

A few things you should know about Janine:

First, she’s really into cookbooks (really into cookbooks.) When planning their new home build, one of her priorities was to ensure enough bookshelf space in her kitchen to hold her cookbook collection.

Second, she’s not a rule follower. She uses her cookbooks for inspiration more than a strict roadmap on how to make a recipe. Sometimes she actually merges two or three recipes. In fact, her friends and family have coined the term “Zabelicious” to describe Janine’s improvised approach to cooking.

While it was difficult for Janine to pick a favorite cookbook (like picking your favorite child!) she tells us that one of her go-to books for inspiration is Ina Garten’s original The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. She likes Ina’s laid-back approach to cooking and has even referenced some if Ina’s recipes in her online lifestyle magazine, Zabelicious Life.

Depending on the seasons, you might find Janine making Filet of Beef Bourguignon (she says that Ina’s version makes it a lot more approachable than some others), Spinach Pie, Crab Cakes or a Sun-Dried Tomato Dip for entertaining. But you can be sure that whatever she makes Janine will put her own twist on it. For example, her Zabelicious note on the crab cakes is that she sometimes makes it with cornmeal instead of breadcrumbs to make it gluten free.

Cooking enthusiasts of all levels can enjoy The Barefoot Contessa and for additional cooking inspiration be sure to check out the Zabelicious recipes on Janine’s site.

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