Why Ina Garten May Not Cook As Often As You Think

Despite having no formal culinary training under her belt, Ina Garten sure has a knack for cooking tasty meals. After leaving a job at the White House in favor of running a specialty food store in the Hamptons, the Food Network star leaped into the world of cookbook writing with "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook," which was published in 1999 and, according to her website, ended up being a "surprise best-seller." Now, more than 20 years later, Garten has become a household name who is revered by home cooks and dinner party hosts around the world. The 73-year-old has a total of 12 cookbooks under her belt filled with delicious recipes for any occasion, many of which are inspired in some part by her love for entertaining friends. As for what of what drives her desire to cook, "I love the process of giving people something that they enjoy, so I think that's really what makes me happy," she explained to Food Network.

Garten tends to gravitate to a few particular dishes from her extensive repertoire when hosting a dinner party for her pals – a group that includes names like Katie Couric, Taylor Swift, and, of course, her husband, Jeffrey. However, a full dining room table isn't always in the cards, and on the occasions that she's just in need of a meal for herself, you may be surprised to learn that The Barefoot Contessa keeps it incredibly simple and might not even step foot in the kitchen at all.

Ina Garten prefers cooking for a crowd rather than just herself

When it comes to cooking, Ina Garten writes on her website that she takes great pleasure in making a meal for the people she loves. "Cooking is a sharing thing; it's not about the cooking itself," she explained to Food Network. According to HuffPost, there are also some major psychological benefits to cooking for a crowd, like giving us a sense of fulfillment and lifting our self-esteem, which is part of the reason that making a meal for one feels like such a hassle.

During the moments that the lovable Food Network star does find herself dining solo, she avoids spending an exorbitant amount of time in the kitchen at all costs. In an interview with Bon Appétit, Garten revealed that "avocado toast with a fried egg is about the most extravagant thing I'd make," though fruit, yogurt, and granola, or a bowl of her favorite Irish Oatmeal are a few of her other go-to's. "The rest of the time, I go out to dinner or pick up something from a local store like Loaves & Fishes," she said. The next time you find yourself feeling guilty for grabbing a meal from your favorite restaurant instead of cooking, just remember that The Barefoot Contessa herself does the exact same thing. However, if you're looking to save a few bucks by whipping up your food at home, here's a cookbook that Garten suggests you get your recipes from first.