If one were to mosey on over to Ina Garten’s Instagram right now, they might encounter some lovely tips for fall floral arrangements, or a “scrumptious!” lobster pot pie recipe. Things are totally chill on Planet Ina, where she and husband Jeffrey have been living since the start of lockdown measures in March. She says it herself: “I feel like I prepared my whole life to be quarantined, or working towards a place where we could be quarantined.”
In a new interview with People, Garten claims that her entire life prepared her for quarantine, admitting that she thinks her husband will remember this moment as “the good old days” because “I make him lunch, I make him dinner and he’s home all the time.” The main appeal of having her husband around for Ina, it seems, it that he staves off the boredom that comes with living in the Hamptons. At least she’s honest!
“When I started [my specialty food store] Barefoot Contessa in 1978, I was living in the Hamptons, and there’s nothing he can do here. So he was always commuting from New York or he was commuting from Washington when he was in the government, or he was commuting from Kenya when he was working with the government of Kenya. He would always leave on Monday and come back on Friday and I stayed in one place.”
It’s interesting, really. Jeffrey was an omnipresent specter on Barefoot Contessa—just how many times did she say the words “Jeffrey!”—so I never quite realized how much he traveled, leaving poor ol’ Ina alone in that gorgeous Hamptons homestead. Now he’s back, more permanently, and I’m happy for her! If anyone deserves to be holed up in a Hamptons sex nest, it’s Ina Garten. Besides, I don’t leave my house currently. But if I had this view, instead of the massive Scientology building-slash-L.A. strip mall across the street, I’d bolt the doors shut and die a shut-in, totally content:
As for dealing with the stress of the pandemic, Garten says she misses “friends and dinner parties in the kitchen with six people.” (An oddly specific number.) It’s why she’s spent most of quarantine posting comfort food recipes on Instagram. And as is always true of the Barefoot Contessa, there’s a heartwarming quote to pair with these various delicacies: “It gave me a focus when we didn’t have one and connected me with people who were really struggling. I think people liked that I kept it upbeat, even though we were all anxious.” I’ve certainly been anxious, and let me be frank, her summer garden pasta with marinated cherry tomatoes fixed me right up!
More good news: Garten is releasing another cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, on October 6, just in time for the weather to cool down and the looming winter dread to set in. Her inspiration for new collection of recipes? “During times of stress, there’s just something about a hamburger and a Coke that makes us feel better.”