Ina Garten Was Never The Same After Barefoot Contessa

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Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, has graced our TV screens for over two decades, welcoming us into her gorgeous East Hamptons kitchen, bringing us along with her as she visits her local mushroom farmer for fresh mushrooms or preparing yet another gorgeous luncheon for her bridge club. After purchasing The Barefoot Contessa specialty foods store in the Hamptons in 1978, she eventually published her first cookbook, aptly named "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" (via Insider). The book was a hit, and soon Food Network came a-knocking, and the rest is history.

Garten has repeatedly made it clear she never set out to become famous, and that humble, down-to-earth quality has made her such a fan favorite. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Garten even went viral with a hilarious and relatable Instagram post where she mixed a giant cocktail, captioning it, "It's always cocktail hour in a crisis!" That one post alone has over 3.2 million likes! Read on to see how going from Ina Garten to the Barefoot Contessa has forever changed Garten's life.

Ina and Jeffrey have become relationship goals

Ina Garten never thought she'd be famous, and she likely never would have expected that her over 50-year-long marriage to her husband Jeffrey Garten would become so idolized! Through her various cooking shows and cookbooks, fans have gotten a peek into their very happy marriage. Ina often centers episodes around cooking Jeffrey's favorite meals, which include her famous roasted chicken (more on that in a bit). In fact, Ina even released the cookbook "Cooking for Jeffrey" in 2016 — a tribute to all her husband's favorite dishes. How romantic is that?

The fact that Ina gets so much pleasure out of cooking for her husband after all these years, and the fact that her husband is so smitten with his wife and her culinary skills, is what makes this couple the ultimate in "relationship goals." From an article about their relationship appearing in Vogue to a line of Etsy cards declaring "You're the Jeffrey to my Ina," their love story has officially been cemented in pop culture history.

Garten has tons of celebrity friends

One of the perks of being a beloved celebrity chef is that you get to rub elbows and sometimes even become besties with notable celebrities! Since becoming a household name, the Barefoot Contessa now counts celebs like Katie Couric, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Obama, and even Taylor Swift among her pals (via Delish.) According to an interview Garten did with NPR, she and Taylor Swift met doing a photo shoot and naturally decided to bake a pavlova together. Nothing cements a new friendship like baked meringue.

Garten and Katie Couric's friendship goes back to 2017 when Couric had Garten on her podcast "Next Question with Katie Couric." Years later, the two are close enough that Couric wished Garten a happy birthday on Instagram, the truest testament to modern-day friendship. Garten also shares a friendship with Tina Fey, who once declared Garten "more beloved than Tom Hanks and Blue Ivy combined" (via Vanity Fair.)

Garten is trying her hand at interviewing celebrities

After doing a wildly successful cooking show for 20 years, Ina Garten has decided to branch out and try something new. She just launched an interview-style show for Discovery+ called "Be My Guest with Ina Garten" (via Variety.) In this show, Garten will utilize her experience hosting and cooking for friends, family, and famous pelike by inviting celebrities to her East Hampton barn, where they'll commune over good food and drinks. Because everyone knows, it's much easier to open up and get the conversation flowing over a good meal and one of Garten's famous cocktails.

As one of the most famous celebrity cooks in the world, Garten clearly will have a comprehensive roster of celebrity friends to choose from. Upcoming celeb guests include Willie Geist, Julianna Margulies, and director Rob Marshall (via USA Today.) While she's branching out from her usual cooking show format, Margulies made it clear that Garten's already crushing it, comparing her to Barbara Walters.

She's become a pantry influencer

Garten has been showing us how to cook and host like an expert from her East Hamptons home for decades. But you know you've reached peak fame when an Instagram post about spring cleaning your pantry goes viral. With over 120,000 likes, Garten shared her cleaning routine and how she uses some simple, cheap plastic bins to organize the products she keeps in her ample pantry. When an ordinary person cleans their pantry, they're just spring cleaning. When Garten does it? Food and Wine dubs her a "pantry influencer."

Commenters were pleased to see everyday items also gracing the shelves of this famous cooking show host. One commenter said, "Ina, I always loved you but now that I see you use Stubb's I love you more." Plus, she shares tips like buying simple, chich white utensil crocks, one to hold wooden utensils, and one for stainless steel. And she suggests displaying lemons and limes in white dishes since they look nice and room-temperature citrus fruit bears more juice. This kind of aspirational-meets-achievable vibe is exactly why we love our Barefoot Contessa.

She's become more vocal politically

Not only are Ina Garten and Taylor Swift buddies, but the two share a commonality: they both kept their politics to themselves for years, despite being in the public eye. And for Garten, it seems this was intentional at first. According to Huff Post, Garten compared people's politics to their diets, meaning they're no one else's business. Surprisingly, Garten has a political background and worked as a nuclear policy analyst in the White House for both Republican and Democratic administrations (via Vox.)

But in recent years, things changed for Garten and the world, and she started to let her affiliations be known. According to Eater, the most notable instance was at a 92Y event where an interviewer asked her what she'd serve former President Donald Trump for dinner. Her response? "A subpoena." Sorry, Garten, but the Department of Justice beat you to it! Garten and her husband have also served as honorary chairpersons and event hosts for Planned Parenthood as far back as 2004 (via Planned Parenthood).

She's sharing her Parisian roots with her legions of fans

Before any Parisians get offended, we're not suggesting that Ina Garten is from France. But she does have an apartment there and has drawn a lot of inspiration from Paris' world-famous culinary scene. Garten recently returned to Paris for two weeks after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus with husband Jeffrey at her side. And this time, she made sure to share her version of Paris with her 3.7 million fans on Instagram.

While most of us will never get to live in the 7th arrondissement, it's fun to live vicariously through Garten as she shares everything from her delicious-looking and very French "Breakfast of champions" to her favorite local cheese shop. We get to glimpse inside one of the world's largest specialty food shops, La Grande Épicerie de Paris, or travel all the way to the 17th to peek at delectable pastries at Jeffrey Cagnes. We can't all lead the life of a Barefoot Contessa, but at least we can pretend.

She loves being approached by fans

Ina Garten is one of the most recognizable faces in the culinary world, which means she has legions of fans, a fact that she embraces wholeheartedly. According to an interview with Time, Garten loves being approached by her fans. Whether a fur-clad woman on Park Avenue or a truck driver, she delights in hearing how she's influenced their cooking. Another fan she loved meeting? Tony Bennett! The legendary crooner came to one of her book events and told her, "I love your meatballs" (via Today.)

Garten even changed how she does book events to better connect with her fans. Usually, people would wait in long lines to get just 15 seconds with her to sign their book and snap a quick, impersonal selfie. "They didn't even have a conversation with me," she told Buzzfeed News. Now at book events, she sells pre-signed books in the lobby and does a 60-minute interview followed by 30 minutes of Q and A with the audience, allowing them to connect and converse with one another.

Her roast chicken recipe might get you engaged

Hoping to convince your partner to put a ring on it? Look no further than Ina Garten's roast chicken recipe. According to Garten, her roast chicken has been dubbed "Engagement Chicken" by an editor from Glamour whose boyfriend finally popped the question after she made it for him. And TONS of other Glamour staffers went on to have the same matrimonial success after baking this bird (via Today.) In fact, the lucky fowl was so successful that they created a whole cookbook around the phenomenon!

Garten's roast chicken has even brought together some of our favorite famous couples. Emily Blunt credits the recipe with helping her lock it down with husband John Krasinski (via The Kitchn.) And Garten might be responsible for one of the most famous couples of our generation: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle! In an interview with Willie Geist, Garten admitted that she knew Markle liked to make her roast chicken and that she had heard rumors she made it for Prince Harry shortly before they got engaged.

She's influenced a generation of women

Ina Garten is a famous host, cookbook author, business owner, a former White House consultant, and half of an iconically famous couple. In other words, this woman has achieved a lot more than many of us could ever dream. In the era of "Lean In," she certainly is up there as an example of a woman shattering the glass ceiling. But at times, her devotion to her husband Jeffrey, and the fact that a lot of her career has stemmed from her love for cooking for him, can feel old-fashioned or traditional in a way that doesn't feel modern and feminist.

But as Garten explained to The Washington Post, the fact that she likes to take care of her husband doesn't mean she's anti-feminist: "I love cooking, I love feminine pursuits. I just want to do them in my own way." Instead, Garten re-defines what a modern, independent, and successful woman can look like. Turns out, maybe women do belong in the kitchen, so long as that's where they choose to be. (Doesn't hurt if that kitchen is giant, gorgeous, and in the Hamptons.)

She continues to write new cookbooks

Between all her jaunts to Paris, book tours, hanging with celebrity friends, and hosting both cooking AND interview shows, you'd think Ina Garten would have had to put writing cookbooks on the back burner. But luckily for us, Garten continues to publish a new cookbook roughly every two years since her very first one, "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook," was released back in 1999 (via Insider.)

In October 2020, Garten released the incredibly timely "Modern Comfort Food" right when the nation, and the world, needed comfort food more than ever. And according to People, "Go-To Dinners" will be the next Barefoot Contessa cookbook to grace our shelves in October of 2022. Written during the COVID-19 pandemic, even Garten got sick of cooking daily, so she collected some of her favorite dinners that were both easy to adapt and prepare. In the words of the famed chef, "How easy is that?"