The Nostalgic Food Both Ina Garten And Anderson Cooper Love

Comfort foods have enjoyed a huge resurgence over the past few years, as the pendulum swings away from molecular gastronomy, sous vide and other overly-fussy food prep methods. Diners are not only craving foods they actually recognize but, in many cases, they want something that takes them back to simpler times. For many of us, those halcyon days were kindergarten, right before teachers started piling on homework, extracurricular activities got extra-competitive, and we were told that being assigned to a lower-tier reading level would doom us to a lifetime of paper hat-wearing.

No matter the issues underlying our food preferences, there's no denying that certain comfort classics such as mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and mashed potatoes have become near-ubiquitous in the past few years, with the former two spawning chain restaurants and food trucks. There's one other childhood classic, however, that's getting a bit less buzz, perhaps because it never really went away: the humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich. While there are a few PB&J-centric restaurants scattered around the U.S., including PBJ LA and Milwaukee's Peanut Butter and Jelly Deli, it's not popping up all over the place. Maybe it's because PB&Js aren't quite as Instagram-worthy as are the cheesier comfort foods. Still, zillions of people secretly — or not secretly — are feeling the love for their old lunchbox companion. Two of the most prominent proponents of the PB&J, include the Barefoot Contessa and the silver fox of CNN.

Anderson Cooper and Ina Garten extolled the virtues of PB&Js on CNN

During a recent episode of CNN's Full Circle, Ina Garten and Anderson Cooper got to talking about — what else?  Everybody's favorite conversational topic, food. Surprisingly, Cooper and Garten have lately been eating a lot of the same thing, and that thing is good ol' PB&J. As Cooper related in an anecdote about his even more famous mom, heiress-turned-designer Gloria Vanderbilt, he told Garten during a phone chat with his mom he had, "rediscovered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and they're so good."  His mom, in turn, said to him, "Darling that's amazing, I just rediscovered them as well!" Cooper went on to say that "She had apparently been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch," but it seems her little grandson Wyatt has yet to be introduced to their delights. Wyatt's just seven months old, according to People, so he's got a few years yet before his lunchbox days begin.

Garten was somewhat late to the peanut butter and jelly party, but she told Cooper she's making up for lost time. "In the beginning of the pandemic that's what Jeffrey and I had too," she told him, going on to admit "I don't think I'd ever had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — my mother never made them — and we were just like 'This is great!" And PB&Js are oh-so-affordable, too, not that this need concern Cooper nor Garten. Still, it's fun knowing that even millionaires chow down on some of the same stuff we brown-baggers do.