Ephemera

Let's Be Real: *Every* Ina Garten Book Has Been For Jeffrey

November  4, 2016

Cooking for Jeffrey may be the only Ina Garten cookbook on which the Barefoot Contessa shares cover space* with her doting and doted-on husband Jeffrey, but it's certainly not the only book in which he has a co-starring role. If you read the dedications, the headnotes, the acknowledgements, or the introductions (or if you've seen Jeffrey pad into a kitchen like Pooh bear looking for honey at the end of many a TV show), you'll know that Ina's been cooking for Jeffrey all along: All of her books deserve that title.

Close to every one of her ten books is inscribed to her husband of over fifty years; and when he's not the direct recipient (in 2008's Back to Basics, for example, the late cookbook writer and chef Anna Pump has that honor), it's still Jeffrey who is at the heart of the acknowledgements.

Their devotion to each other is nearly as unbelievable—and inconceivable?—as the amount of butter in the devil's food cake on the cover. And while the Independent Woman in me might shake my fist (cook for thyself!), the constantly-seeking-love human in me wishes every cook—every person!—had the adoration of a Jeffrey, the spoonful of buttercream of an Ina. How much is that to ask? How easy is that?

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So, from a heart that wants to be annoyed but can only be enamored, in a fit of jealousy and fascination...

...here's a look back at how Ina's thanked him over the past seventeen years:

For my adorable husband, Jeffrey, who always encouraged me to do what I loved and who cheerfully ate all those brownies.
Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999

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Top Comment:
“Jeffrey has always encouraged Ina's entrepreneurial interests and she is an amazing example of a woman entrepreneur. Simply because she enjoys cooking for her husband, does not mean she is not a great female role model. ”
— jeannehansen
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But most of all, I again want to thank two very important people: my dear friend Martha Stewart for being such a constant spirit and advocate for me, and my adorable husband, Jeffrey, who has believed in me always.
Barefoot Contessa Parties!, 2001

For Jeffrey, who makes all my dreams come true.
Barefoot Contessa Family Style, 2002

For Jeffrey, who makes Paris so delicious. [...] who encourages me to do what's fun first and who takes me to Paris and shows me the time of my life.
Barefoot Contessa in Paris, 2004

Jeffrey ready for Christmas dinner! #happyhubby in #paris

A photo posted by Ina Garten (@inagarten) on

My home is wherever Jeffrey is.
Barefoot Contessa at Home, 2006

And finally, there's my sweet husband, Jeffrey, who, no matter what I serve him, thinks it's the most delicious thing he's ever eaten. I love making him happy and his delight keeps me looking for the best recipes I can possibly make.
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, 2008

For Jeffrey, who makes my life fun—and so easy! [...] without whose unconditional love I couldn't get through the day.
Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?, 2010

For Jeffrey, he's foolproof. [...] But most of all, my husband Jeffrey, who is such a good sport on my TV show (yes, he's my real husband—not my TV husband). I could never have done a day of this without his loving encouragement and support.
Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, 2012

"Hey, this isn't Jeffrey!"

Just hanging with my Sesame Street friends! @sesamestreet

A photo posted by Ina Garten (@inagarten) on

And of course to my husband, Jeffrey: I can honestly say that none of this would be possible without you. Thank you for your unconditional love and your inspiration over the past fifty years.
Make it Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 2014

For Jeffrey who makes everything possible. [...] who always makes me laugh and takes such good care of me. None of this would have happened without your love and inspiration.
Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 2016

And now, the only question that remains: Does Ina ever call him "Jeff"?

* The original 1999 book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, includes no face at all, however!

Do you have a "Jeffrey" to whom you dedicate your love and cooking? Tell us in the comments.

11 Comments

jeannehansen January 5, 2017
I think Ina Garten is very much an example of feminism. This article is too concerned with what role that takes. Jeffrey has always encouraged Ina's entrepreneurial interests and she is an amazing example of a woman entrepreneur. Simply because she enjoys cooking for her husband, does not mean she is not a great female role model.
 
lisa January 6, 2017
Amen to that!<br /><br />
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. January 6, 2017
Hi there, I responded below to Eldora.
 
lisa November 5, 2016
Love Ina, love her recipes . love her joy and admire her for her unbridled adoration of Jeffrey... makes for a sweet life !
 
April S. November 4, 2016
Bad Sarah BAD! How dare you feel threatened by food sharers.... You must now print a redaction or your apology will seem insincere. But for real, this article hit me in the feels (until I got to the finger wagging I mean comments section). Question: if I share food with a very presumptuous and ungrateful golden doodle, where does that put me on the feminist scale?
 
April S. November 4, 2016
**retraction<br />
 
lisa January 6, 2017
Those golden doodles... take,take,take !<br />
 
Stephanie November 4, 2016
Cooking is an act of love. Whether it's self-love, romantic, or directed at friends or family - who cares...the fact that cooking is in and of itself an act of love, that's enough.
 
Eldora November 4, 2016
Really, "cook for thyself", when was cooking ever about cooking for yourself? Isn't cooking always about sharing. What fun would it be otherwise? Do we have to be feminists even about this? Really independent women are not threatened by things like this!
 
Lara November 4, 2016
Not to mention, you can be a feminist *and* love your husband. Being a feminist is not about spending your life alone and only doing things for you in the name of loving yourself. You can love yourself, be a feminist, and love your husband. Ina's a fucking girl boss. She built an empire. She can love her husband and still be a brilliant, talented, self-made millionaire.
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. November 4, 2016
Ah, yes. Sorry for any misunderstanding—I didn't mean to insinuate—at all—that Ina isn't a feminist or a brilliant businesswoman. She is, of course!! I merely wanted to point out that I think it's interesting to position a career as *for* someone else. And I wanted to raise the question: How does this make us see Ina differently than if she had never brought Jeffrey into the picture at all? Especially in the context of cooking, which, as Stephanie pointed out, is often portrayed and understood as most noble when it's an act of love.