The Real Reason Ina Garten Uses Store-Bought Vanilla On TV

Ina Garten is an incredible chef who makes us all wish we lived in the Hamptons and had her as a neighbor. This statement has so much veracity to it, the sitcom 30 Rock even wrote a dream sequence where Garten made a cameo in the show's finale as Liz Lemon's neighbor, bringing her white wine and bruschetta (via Eater). Garten just has that je n'ai sais quoi appeal and culinary know how that makes her perfect. And over the years, the cookbook author and Barefoot Contessa host has taught us so much, from organizing our pantry properly to sharing the secret ingredient you need to add to your mashed potatoes to always keeping a jar of spoons on your counter to what ingredients should always be at room temperature. Garten is clearly one of our absolute favorite chefs from the Food Network universe.

Garten is well-known for making her own vanilla extract, too. While back in 2012 when she put the entire vanilla bean into some vodka in a mason jar, it seemed so unconventional, these days it's all the rage (via Chowhound). But have you ever noticed that when Garten is cooking recipes on her show that require vanilla extract, she always reaches for a store bought bottle of the ingredient?

"Store bought is fine"

You're not alone in your wondering, and luckily one individual mustered up the courage to ask. A viewer from Houston also noticed and took to the Barefoot Contessa's "Ask Ina" to find out why. The viewer wrote, "You mention how to make vanilla extract and have shared your recipe with us, so why do you use commercially made vanilla extract on your show?" 

Garten's answer goes back to a philosophy she coined early on in her career, and what the internet notes has become a popular meme over the years: "Store bought is fine." Garten wrote back to the Houston fan, saying, "While I do make my own vanilla extract, I don't assume that people at home have homemade vanilla on hand, so I use store-bought vanilla in my recipes. I always try to use ingredients that people can find at the grocery store." Yet another reason we're so fond of Garten, she doesn't make assumptions about her viewers and instead offers the most convenient option. 

This also harkens back to Garten's revelation that she's not into fancy. She told Food Network, "When I did fancy things in the store, nobody really bought them. People wanted roast chicken and roasted carrots. I'm inspired by specialty food-store recipes as opposed to restaurants." Still, if we did live next to Garten, we would hope she'd bring us over a mason jar filled with a vanilla bean and vodka.