Ina Garten Is a Big Fan of Jennifer Garner’s ‘Pretend Cooking Show’ and Thinks She’s ‘Really Special’

Celebrities are just as bored at home during the ongoing quarantine as the rest of us, and some are heading to the kitchen to whip up a little excitement. Jennifer Garner is just one of several celebs putting her culinary talents on display with her “Pretend Cooking Show” series.

But the 48-year-old actress has a so-called secret sauce that makes her cooking demos stand out from everyone else’s: she’s actually friends with Food Network queen Ina Garten in real life and even solicits cooking advice from her in the videos.

Garner adores Garten and based on comments The Barefoot Contessa made during an interview, that feeling is mutual.

Ina Garten and Jennifer Garner
Ina Garten | Mike Smith/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Jennifer Garner | Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Jennifer Garner made Ina Garten’s honey white bread for her kids

There’s a national shortage of yeast right now but apparently, Garner was able to squirrel some away because she recently shared a video of herself making Garten’s Honey White Bread at home. Instead of sticking to the recipe precisely, the mother of three used half the dough to assemble three “bread men” for her kids, which she said reminds her of childhood. Her own mother used to do the same.

In the demo, Garner apologizes to Garten for not letting the bread men rise a second time, which they don’t require. “Sorry Barefoot,” she says in the video. Garner also stresses that the beauty of bread men is how they’re not perfectly formed, which she insists is what makes them so delightful.

Ina Garten said Jennifer Garner is ‘really special’

The Barefoot Contessa is known for being polished and precise in her presentation, which makes her a unique match for a very real, down-to-earth home chef like Garner. But Garten insists that she’s a huge fan of the actress and appreciates how real she is.

“Isn’t she lovely?! I just think she’s so wonderful. I love her videos so much,” Garten told People. “She is adorable and smart and not at all performing—that’s just who she is. I just think she’s really special.”

Garten and Garner forged an unlikely friendship

The two women first connected three years ago when Garner invited Garten to a birthday party. She’d been a longtime fan of The Barefoot Contessa’s cookbooks and show, and since they were both celebrities, they were able to connect.

“Somewhere along the line I found out that she liked my cookbooks and my TV show, so I asked if we could cook together,” Garten said. “She was very sweet she invited me to her birthday party. It was all girls in swimsuits—it was so Jennifer!”

She continued: “It was so fun and not fancy, which is what she’s like.”

Jennifer Garner sought Garten’s advice for her ‘Pretend Cooking Show’

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If you’re looking to have a Good Mom Day , homemade soft pretzels should do the trick. ♥️♥️ Perfect for passing back to kids on their way to soccer/swim/ballet/coding/piano (add in @onceuponafarm’s new bottled smoothies and ⭐️⭐️⭐️—sorry, shameless plug, but its true!)…I’ve tried a bunch of recipes and love @altonbrown’s Homemade Soft Pretzels, below. . Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups warm water 1 Tbsp sugar 2 tsp kosher salt 1 pkg active dry yeast 22 oz AP flour (appx. 4 1/2 cups) 2 oz unsalted butter, melted Vegetable oil, for pan 10 cups water 2/3 cup baking soda 1 lg egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp water . 1. Combine water, sugar and salt in bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 mins, until mixture begins to foam. 2. Add flour and butter and, using dough hook attachment (I START PADDLE//GO HOOK), mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until dough is smooth and pulls away from side of the bowl, appx. 4-5 mins. Remove dough from bowl, clean bowl and oil it well with vegetable oil. Return dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for appx. 50-55 mins, until dough has doubled in size. 3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Set aside. 4. Bring 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8qt saucepan. 5. In the meantime, turn dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces (I did 16, but think you could even do 24! ‍♀️). Roll out each piece of dough into a rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto parchment-lined pan. 6. Place pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1 (I did 2 by 2 and nothing bad happened ), for 30 seconds. Remove them from water using a large flat spatula. Return to the pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, appx. 12-14 mins. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 mins before serving. 7. Yum! Yum yum.

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As expected, the A-lister called up the veteran cooking show host before launching her “Pretend Cooking Show” series, seeking tips on how to prepare food on camera for an audience. But Garten said she didn’t offer too much by way of advice.

“We talked about it a little bit, but really she’s doing this all on her own,” The Barefoot Contessa told People. “And it’s working—they’re so charming.”