Ina Garten frequently says, without a hint of boastfulness, that her husband Jeffrey loves everything she cooks. I mean, who wouldn’t, right? She also cites Jeffrey’s undying support as essential in not only her pursuit of the business of cooking, but also her underlying love of it. S’cute.
If you’re trying to impress, well, anyone, “Cooking for Jeffrey” will serve as an invaluable handbook. The included recipes represent Ina’s cooking journey, with updated old favorites and delightful new dishes inspired by influences encountered along that journey.
On the pages between the recipes, “Cooking for Jeffrey” reads like a wonderfully conversational autobiography, which lends a delightful personal atmosphere. Just in the introduction, Ina takes us from her first date with Jeffrey, to her store that was the eponymous precursor to “Barefoot Contessa,” to today.
However, not everyone was as delighted by this book as me. Some took issue with her decision to dedicate this book to Jeffrey, saying it diminished her success and put her in a subservient position to her husband.
But does Ina (pilot, self-taught chef, former nuclear budget analyst, entrepreneur) really need anyone telling her that she’s diminishing herself by writing a book – her TENTH book – about cooking for her husband?
Cooking is meant to be shared, and any argument about the “problematic” nature of the title completely misses that point. Indeed, were it a man who dedicated a cookbook to his wife, the entire internet would collectively swoon. All that matters here is that this book is about a person cooking for their partner, which is both admirable and adorable.
Anyways, the recipes themselves showcase Ina’s singular mix of homeliness and bougie-ness. The simple cocktails and starters are great for any gathering, and the roast chicken with radishes would delight most anyone with its balance of French-y elegance and simplicity. Pair that with the root vegetable gratin and a nice wine and you have an absolutely delightful evening meal. Or, go full French peasant and bang out her ratatouille of eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and tomato with garlic and fresh basil.
#SpoonTip: If you can’t wait for the cookbook, check out this recipe on how to make roast chicken with veggies.
But, whatever the occasion, as Ina says, “I hope you and the people dearest to you love these recipes, too!”
If you want to be as happy as Jeffrey looks on the cover, “Cooking for Jeffrey” hits shelves October 25th, 2016.