We’ve reached peak recipe video, I scroll through them with ease and an air of semi-blasé. After a while, they blend together into a never ending series of two minute feasts—where one recipe ends, another begins and I find myself lost in a weird viral spiral where I’m forced to look at food instead of eat it. A recent video, however, seized me from this stupor. Was that Jennifer Garner? In her kitchen? Kneading dough and thumbing through Ina Garten’s cookbook? Why, yes, yes it was. It seems Jennifer Garner has entered the online recipe video arena.
Thus far, the actress has uploaded two videos to her Facebook page. You can watch them both here. In the first, she prepares Ina Garten’s recipe for honey white bread, masterfully kneading the dough on her white marble kitchen counter before shaping them into three plump and pillowy human-like shapes. She quips about the kids loving these designs before popping them into the oven. “I tried to do an Ina!” reads the video’s caption.
In the second video, she ups the ante with a recipe for english muffins that requires overnight proofing. This video is a bit more complex than the first because she has to film once at night and then again in the morning. First we watch her prepare the muffins at night—"You’re going to be everyone’s favorite!” she promises before we cut to the next morning. The next day, she stands at her stove, bathed in gold morning light and griddles the individual muffins before popping them in the oven. Honestly, the browned and fluffy muffins look downright delicious.
Her onscreen presence is definitely captivating—I mean, she’s an actress. But still, a mastery of the dramatic arts does not a cooking star make. Between sped up cuts set to tinkly music, Garner comes off effortless, relatable and smiley. It seems she’s calling the series her “Pretend Cooking Show.” So, is it pretend or real? It feels real, but maybe to Jen, it’s actually all a joke?
Regardless, Garner wouldn’t be the first to make the crossover from entertainment to lifestyle media. Others, like Chrissy Teigen, Questlove, and Oprah Winfrey, have made similar pivots and seen success along the way. Garner’s family-friendly image and wholesome appeal work in her favor and I could easily see her helming a cooking show
A slurry of the shows currently on network television began as web series. Broad City, Insecure, and High Maintenance—to name a few—drummed up a considerable online presence before places like HBO and Comedy Central took notice and snatched them up to air in primetime. Could Jennifer Garner’s cooking show follow this trajectory? Food Network are you out there watching? I guess we will have to wait and see.
Would you watch Garner cook breakfast? If you're a potential fan, let us know.