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picnic in the park in a large city

A few months ago, I wrote about the Danish concept of hygge – the feeling of contentment derived from coziness and comfort. Little did I know that Germans have their own “hygge,” called gemütlichkeit!

Whereas hygge focuses on the effect of an environment and well-decorated space, Gemütlichkeit celebrates the general mood generated from being surrounded by friends and loved ones. It is all about those around you and how they make you feel. Think of a family picnic on a hilltop, the whole family gathered for the 4th of July, bonding over strawberry-rhubarb pie and a cold bottle of coke. There are many ways you can cultivate Gemütlichkeit. Here are some great titles to get you started:

The relaxed kitchen book cover

The relaxed kitchen: how to entertain with casual elegance and never lose your mind, incinerate the souffle, or murder the guests by Brigit Legere Binns

Gemütlichkeit should be stress-free, so ditch that cookbook with obscure ingredients and complicated instructions, and pick up “The Relaxed Kitchen.” Brigit will walk you through simple yet impressive recipes for all of your entertainment needs.

 America's Test Kitchen menu cookbook: kitchen-tested menus for foolproof dinner parties book cover

America's Test Kitchen menu cookbook: kitchen-tested menus for foolproof dinner parties: 51 menus for every occasion plus strategies that guarantee less stress and better food

Is there anything more classic than America’s Test Kitchen? This cookbook’s amazing recipes will help you throw your first dinner party and get your friends around the table.

Superhuman social skills book cover

Superhuman social skills: a guide to being likeable, winning friends, and building your social circle by Tynan

There will be zero Gemütlichkeit in your future if you don’t get out of your house. Tynan is here to help you navigate the social ambiguities of life and build your social circle.

Is everyone hanging out without me? book cover

Is everyone hanging out without me? (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling

In this hilarious memoir, Mindy Kaling details the insecurities she faces in life and how she overcomes them, ruminating on the meaning of friendship and love. A perfect book to pick up if you’re worried you lack the poise and social graces to pull off successful Gemütlichkeit.

Love, loss, and what we ate book cover

Love, loss, and what we ate by Padma Lakshmi

In this memoir of food and family, Top-Chef judge Padma Lakshmi opens up with surprising vulnerability about her life as an immigrant’s daughter and the meals she ate along the way. She describes in beautiful detail the power of friendship and family.

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