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?
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
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
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!"
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.