This Is Ina Garten's Favorite Jewish Comfort Food

Comfort food has long been an integral part of "Barefoot Contessa," Ina Garten's popular cooking show that has been on air since 2002. As early as Season 1, in which Garten serves up everything from a complicated Mediterranean feast to a humble cup of tomato soup (per IMDB), the "Barefoot Contessa" menu has leaned heavily on homestyle cooking. As she revealed in an October 2020 interview with The Cut, the program was originally pitched as a fine dining show, but it transformed into a comfort food program as Garten discovered that simpler, homestyle dishes were what her audience really wanted. "In the beginning I was making all these complicated things, veal stuffed with prunes and Armagnac," she recalled. "Nobody bought it. And then I started making roast chicken and roast carrots, and that's what sold."

Garten, who didn't start cooking seriously until she was 20-years-old (via The Nosher), will occasionally walk her audience through more complicated dishes. In a popular 2017 episode, for example –– titled "Cook Like a Pro: Fearless Food" (via IMDB) –– she demos a somewhat involved soufflé à l'orange recipe. One of her main appeals for her viewers, though –– as Kitchn points out –– is a knack for "tak[ing] the scary out of scary food." The word comfort describes not only the kind of food Garten tends to serve up on "Barefoot Contessa," but also her whole approach to cooking instruction.

When it comes to comfort food, this dish is Garten's favorite

Ina Garten's love of comfort food goes well beyond her "Barefoot Contessa" persona, though. Growing up in a Jewish family in 1950s and '60s Connecticut, Garten remembers biweekly visits from her Brooklyn-based grandparents, who would bring bags of groceries with them from the local deli, according to The Nosher. As she told the publication, "They would pack "everything from chopped liver, brisket, and corned beef to rye bread and cookies and hot dogs." Jewish food holds an important place in the Garten household as well (Garten's husband, Jeffrey, is also Jewish, notes Kveller), and over the course of "Barefoot Contessa's" remarkable 26 seasons, Garten has prepared many classic Jewish dishes. That list includes brisket, chopped liver, noodle kugel, stuffed cabbage, and matzo balls, as reported by The Nosher.

When it comes to Garten's favorite Jewish comfort food, however, the nod goes to Challah French toast, which the Food Network chef prepares with her own from-scratch, saffron-infused bread, she told The Nosher. Her recipe on the Food Network's website clocks in at a brisk ten-minute prep time, making this Challah French Toast a food staple that's accessible to cooks of all skill levels. As the Barefoot Contessa herself might say: "How bad can that be?"