Pour a cocktail with the "good vodka" and tune in for our conversation with the delightful Barefoot Contessa.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Ina Garten holding an dessert
Credit: Courtesy of Ina Garten

How does an entertainer adapt to a pandemic? Take a cue from the Barefoot Contessa. Ina Garten has remained connected to her friends and followers, from sharing ideas for cooking beans and other stockpiled staples to reinstating intimate dinner parties outside. Not to mention, her Instagram-favorite massive cosmopolitan couldn’t have come at a better time. Neither could her newest cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, in which she transforms familiar flavors (like black and white cookies or pasta carbonara) into fresh dishes. 

Garten touches on these topics with Homemade host Martie Duncan, but this episode covers much more. Garten speaks to the power of good ingredients and adding pre-made food to dinner, whether it’s packaged pasta from a local maker or a whole pizza from a restaurant. She also tells us about making bread pudding with croissants, her three must-have kitchen tools, why roasted filet of beef is her holiday go-to. Plus, she shares stories about her relationship with her adoring husband, Jeffrey. Download it for free at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts beginning December 9.

About Ina Garten

TV personality and cookbook author Ina Garten worked at the White House Office of Management and Budget when she decided to pursue a more creative career. With neither business experience nor training as a cook, she bought a specialty food store called Barefoot Contessa in 1978. Three years after selling the store, which had become a popular Hamptons haunt, Garten published a collection of its recipes in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook in 1999.

After two more cookbooks, "Barefoot Contessa" debuted on Food Network in 2002. Garten has written for Martha Stewart LivingThe Oprah MagazineHouse Beautiful, and others. Her most recent cookbooks include Barefoot in ParisMake it AheadCooking for JeffreyCook Like a Pro, and Modern Comfort Food. She and husband Jeffrey live in East Hampton, New York.  

Episode Transcript

MARTIE DUNCAN: Welcome to Homemade from Allrecipes. I’m Martie Duncan. I hope that the conversations we have on this podcast will inspire you to get into the kitchen, if you’re not already there. And if you are an avid cook, I hope it will inspire you to try new recipes and techniques.

Today's guest has been inspiring us for decades and she continues to do so with her awesome home videos she's filming during quarantine.

What you can’t see is that Ina Garten is mixing up the most gigantic cosmo I have ever seen. The Barefoot Contessa is a staple of our households and our social media feeds. She’s a Food Network legend with a long-running show and dozens of cookbooks, including her new cookbook called Modern Comfort Food — so timely. Y'all, help me welcome Ina Garten to the Homemade podcast.

INA GARTEN: Thank you, Martie. It's so good to see you. And it's so great to be with you.

MARTIE: You are the COVID queen, girl. You really handle that pandemic with such style. You broke out that giant cosmopolitan and everybody's like, "Yes, Ina!"

INA: You need one of those. It was like an entire bottle of vodka in one drink.

MARTIE: And I think we are all looking forward to it.

INA: In the middle of it, I was like, you know what, it's 11:00 in the morning, but it's COVID. So, anything goes, right?

MARTIE: I think you hit the nail on the head. You know, 11:00 in the morning, I'm sitting in my pajamas, I can have a cosmo if I want one.

INA: It was the beginning of April I did that, and I felt like everybody was really struggling to think, "Whoa, this isn't going to be a couple of months. This is going to be a year or two." And it was kind of sinking in at the time, like, how are we going to get through this? And the Instagram thing started actually because people were really — they'd gone out and gotten all these groceries. They didn't know whether they'd be able to go to the grocery store again. And they had all of these like white beans and pasta and all kinds of things in their pantry. And they didn't know what to do with it. And I thought, well, I'll just post, "Anybody, have any questions about what's in their pantry?"

I had no idea what was going to come back, but everybody was having a hard time. Everybody bought all these vegetables, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and what they really wanted was a grilled cheese sandwich. So, it really gave me a way to connect with people. And it also gave me — every day I would make something from my pantry, as everybody was doing and post it with the suggestion about what you can do. They gave me kind of purpose and order when I was kind of floundering around about like, how am I going to get through this? So it was good for everybody, I think. And I was really interested to see what people were thinking.

MARTIE: And so, I should point out that — I think this is correct — you were home by yourself, So you weren't doing like you normally do with big production teams...

INA: No.

MARTIE: And lots of people. You were doing all of this at home by yourself.

INA: And people would say, "Well, can't Jeffrey film you?" I'm like, "No, he has a job." So, no, I was doing everything myself, including filming a TV show.

MARTIE: That's remarkable.

INA: It was just insane. I thought, well I could do this!

MARTIE: Because, for those of you who've never done a television show, there are probably 30 people behind the scenes, maybe.

INA: Mine's really tight and it's more like 12 or 15. But, you know, I had to get up and do my hair. Then I had to do my makeup. Then I had to do the food styling. Then I had to do the prop styling. Then I had to actually make something because if you put it in the refrigerator, you need to be able to take one out.

MARTIE: Right.

INA: You know, and then I had to set up the camera and then I had to set the microphone. And then when I was done with everything else, I actually had to be the presenter. And something always went wrong. The mic didn't work or the camera fell over or I put something away thinking it was free of the camera and it was smack right in the middle of the camera. So you couldn't see anything. I had to do it all over again.

MARTIE: You love to do it. I mean, whether or not you can feed people at your house is one thing, because that's really what we love to do. But at least you were feeding people.

INA: What I love about books and TV is it's this handmade thing. It's not a production line. It's not manufactured. It's like a dinner party. You start from nothing, you have the ingredients and you make a dinner party. Or you end up with a cookbook. Or you start from nothing and you decide, this is how I'm going to film, and you end up with a TV show. And I think that's what I like about it. That you're creating something.

MARTIE: Very personal, too. Speaking of personal...

INA: Uh oh...

MARTIE: Yeah, uh oh. You and Jeffrey, you're America's couple. You're our relationship goals, the two of you. He idolizes you and adores you and puts you up on this pedestal and loves everything you make and just supports you.

INA: He's pretty great.

MARTIE: And you in turn, cook for him and take care of him. Oh, just I love that. And I think America loves that. Was Cooking With Jeffrey your most personal book? Because I have all your books, and that one to me was quite personal.

INA: I find writing the books, like the text, really hard. That one just wrote itself. It was personal. It was really just kind of the story of what food is to our relationship. And Jeffrey always reminds me about when we were in college and I went to a cooking class, actually, at Syracuse. It was called "Culinary Arts." And I told him I was going to make a souffle and bring it to him. He figured it was going to be like a big souffle. It was this tiny little souffle that had sunk by the time he got there. He was like, "That's it?"

MARTIE: Tell me if I'm right. It was your cookies that won him over? Or was it brownies?

INA: Brownies. It was brownies, yeah. This is so old-fashioned, and this was the era of like women's lib where women would never do this. He said I was the only girlfriend who would send boxes of brownies to Dartmouth. And he said all the guys who said, oh, their girlfriends would never do something like that — they were always in his room eating the brownies. They were like burning their bras at the time or something.

MARTIE: Exactly. But y'all met so young. Were you not just a teenager?

INA: I was in high school. Yeah.

MARTIE: Oh, wow. And you knew right away, both of you.

INA: I don't know that I did, but apparently he did. I don't know. I'm not sure what he saw. We knew each other for like three years when we got married when I was 20 and he was 21.


INA: Actually, I think it might have been 22. I don't know, I think our lives are simpler than most because we don't have children. You don't have that one thing that you feel like, is so important it has to be done your way. I think we're both pretty flexible about what we want to do. And when push comes to shove, Jeffrey always wants to do what I want to do, so it makes it easy.

If I give him two choices, he always chooses one. And I'll go, no no no, you think that's what I want to do. He's like, "Well why wouldn't I want to do what you want to do?" So that's really nice.

We were going through the airport in London once, and, you know, my show was in like 40 different countries. So people see it overseas. And the guy who stamps the passports he looks up and he goes, "It's you!" And he said, "What, what, what?" I thought they were going to arrest us. He said, "My wife always says to me, 'Why can't you be more like Jeffrey?"

MARTIE: Oh, so sweet.

INA: Isn't that sweet?

MARTIE: Listen, I want to really dig into Modern Comfort Food because I think it's so timely. But I also want to talk a little bit, before we do that, about the dinner party. I love to have dinner parties, and I think you're one person who, at a time where everybody thought that things had to be so perfect, you kind of said, "You know what, it's OK. Make what you can, do that very well, and then take some help from the store." And I think it was liberating for a lot of people. And I think as we start another round of this COVID lockdown, whatever we’re experiencing, I think maybe people could entertain dinner parties, things like that at home, perhaps, but in a socially distanced and responsible way. Can you give us a few tips for how we might accomplish that?

INA: Well, you know, the first thing I did this summer — because I knew this was coming, we were going to be in the same situation for a long time — is I went out and bought on outdoor heaters.

MARTIE: Oh, smart.

INA: And so I put them around a big, long table. So we only invite one group of people that live together at a time. And each of us has two heaters. And they are really effective. It's incredible. We had some people over and it was, I think it was 38 degrees.


INA: And we were literally in our shirts, because it was so warm around that. So that's the first thing. The second thing is you don't want people to feel like they've been pushed apart. You want them to feel like everybody's at the same party. So I fill the table with candles and, you know, this time of year with pumpkins and do like a wreath with candles and down the middle of the table. So the table's filled with something beautiful. And then the table setting, it feels normal. It doesn't feel like, you know, two chairs have been pushed really far apart. I got sheepskins to put on the chairs, you know, they're metal chairs outside and it can be really cold.

MARTIE: Right.

INA: So that keeps people warm and everybody gets a little cashmere blanket. And we have a wonderful time. It kind of feels like you've gone away to a little inn in England and you're sitting outside and having this incredible meal. But frankly, by the time you've done all that, it's a lot to do.

So, sometimes I'll just go to town and get a pizza. I'll make a big Caesar salad. And for dessert will have affogato, which is vanilla ice cream with an espresso poured over it. It's a really easy meal. And people come and they go, "This is like the best restaurant in East Hampton." And I haven't really done that much. I've just kind of set a scene that makes us feel like we're not during lockdown. We're outside. The stars are out. The moon is out. I have a fire bowl. We light a fire. It's really wonderful. And it makes me wonder why I haven't done it until now.

MARTIE: As long as it's delicious, it doesn't really matter so much about if you made it or got it.

INA: It doesn't make any difference whatsoever. I always say my friends aren't going to have more fun if I spend six hours making dessert or an affogato, which took me like 15 seconds to make. And in fact, I think if I'm stressed out because I've been cooking for days and it's going to take two minutes to eat, I think people don't have fun. I think they're much happier if they feel like you're having a good time too.

MARTIE: No doubt. And I hope this will encourage all of you listening to, you know, get a couple of friends and get some blankets out and create your own little ambiance in your own backyard, and have a few people over and start living again in some responsible way.

INA: Exactly.

MARTIE: I want to ask a hard question. So if you could only be known for one recipe, which one would you want it to be and why?

INA: It's funny, I think the classic roast chicken with vegetables in the pan is kind of what people know — I mean, people call it Chicken Jeffrey.

MARTIE: They do.

INA: They do, don't they?


INA: Because anybody can make it. It's simple enough to make. I think everybody has to have that in their repertoire. And whatever vegetables are in season, now it's, you know, fennel and butternut squash and potatoes, you can do that in the pan around the chicken. And even roast the chicken on a big slice of bread, so all the juices get into the bread and it gets crisp and then I cut it up into croutons for people to eat it with the chicken. I think it's the simplest, most satisfying meal, and yet when people come for dinner and I'm making a roast chicken, I think they're kind of expecting some fabulous meal, and they're thrilled that it's roast chicken.

MARTIE: Home cooking.

INA: I have to do dessert, but maybe the croissant bread pudding was an invention of mine. That, too, you can assemble the whole thing in advance, leave it in the fridge, put it in the oven. And it's just luxurious. But it's just basically custard and croissant. Bread pudding was originally invented to use up leftover bread. So, it's simple country food, but really, really delicious.

MARTIE: I had Jacques Pépin on the show just recently.

INA: Oh did you? Oh, I love him so much.

MARTIE: Oh, gosh. Don't we all? I mean, he's such a love, first of all, adorable, but just so insightful. And he was telling me the story of when he was in the restaurants, he would go up and gather all the cookies and the bread and the leftover anything because he is very frugal in the kitchen. So he came up with recipes for bread pudding or apple brown betty or things like that. And so it was a real delight to talk to him about that. I really thought your apple tart would be the recipe...

INA: Oh, you're right. I take it back. The French apple tart. It's my favorite recipe of all the recipes that I've done in my books. It's probably the dessert I've made the most.

MARTIE: And, you know, I used my mom's pie crust, but I did start making it in a food processor once I saw you do it so I've been making it in the food processor ever since. And I use her pie crust recipe and I use that technique. And, oh, it's so easy.

INA: Isn't it great? And it comes out every single time. That's how we used to make them at the store and we had to make like 100 piecrusts at a time.

MARTIE: In case you don't know, Ina started her food career when she bought a restaurant.

INA: It was a specialty food store and bakery.

MARTIE: And it was called the Barefoot Contessa. Before that, she didn't cook. You were in some sort of a chemist or something to do with nuclear science within the White House?

INA: I worked in a group in the White House called Office of Management and Budget, and we wrote the president's budget, which is basically the policymaking arm of the administration. So I worked on a part of the Department of Energy and the budget of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. I didn't hate it.  I just thought it wasn't me. I like making things. And this was all process, and I wasn't actually making anything.

MARTIE: Right.

INA: So I thought I either wanted to go into architecture and build things or go into the food business. And the food business just kind of revealed itself.

MARTIE: So you went and looked at this little place. You saw it for sale. You went looked at it, you and Jeffrey. And the next thing you know, you made an offer, and you got it.

INA: Yeah. Much to our surprise we got it.

MARTIE: You didn't really come from a cooking household, is that right?

INA: Not at all.

MARTIE: You're truly a self-taught cook.

INA: I had to teach myself how. My mom didn't love cooking. I mean, she got dinner on the table, but she didn't love cooking.

MARTIE: And I think a lot of people feel that way. You know, they will cook because they kind of have to, but they don't really love it. And I think that's why these books are so instrumental, is because they can help people. I think one thing I really like about it is that you make the books so accessible.

INA: Thank you.

MARTIE: You test all the recipes, and they work. When I talk to people and I'm like, "Who's your favorite cookbook author, favorite cook on Food Network?" And they'll always say you...

INA: Aw, thank you.

MARTIE: Because the recipes are well-tested, well-written. And they work. They turn out.

INA: I test them over and over again. Sometimes I'll test them 20 times before I'm done with it to make sure it's exactly what I want it to be. But then I hand it to at least one assistant, usually two and sometimes three, and say, I want to watch you make this recipe. So I find out what they don't know, what questions they have before it actually gets to somebody who reading it at home.

MARTIE: And so with Modern Comfort Food, was that something you started during the pandemic or something you'd been working on for a long time?

INA: No, the last photo shoot for the book was March 16. So I had no idea there was going to be a pandemic. What happened was, is two years ago when I started the book, I was trying to figure out what subject to write about. And I knew that the book was going to come out a month before the election. And no matter what side of the aisle you were on, you were going to be totally stressed out. And so that's why I wrote the book.

Little did I know that it was gonna be a pandemic. It was gonna be calls for racial justice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was going to die. I mean, all of these layers of stress added on to it just made it much more compelling. But a lot of that was serendipity. I mean, it's not good for anybody, but it was the right book to write at this time.

MARTIE: And I love the fact that you reinvented some of our favorite classics. I particularly loved that waffle-iron hash brown. I am making that. Girl, that looks awesome.

INA: Isn't it great?

MARTIE: Oh, it is great.

INA: It was fun because I just thought of the things that I kind of remembered, flavors. And I thought, well, how can I make this better? How can you make hash browns better? And I thought, well, how about if you cook it in a waffle iron. And it worked great because it's kind of crispy on the outside. It's got lots of surface, and it's still like creamy potatoes inside.

MARTIE: Who doesn't want that?

Coming up after the break, Ina shares the three tools that she says are the most important things in her own kitchen. Stay tuned.

I'm Martie Duncan, and this is Homemade. My guest today is Ina Garten.

Do you ever kind of say, wow, isn't it amazing that I have said things that have become part of the culinary — like Rachael Ray and the EVOO — you have things that you say that have become part of all of our language?

INA: Like what?

MARTIE: Like, “How easy is that?”

INA: Oh, yeah!

MARTIE: And the good vanilla, you know.

INA: The good vanilla.

MARTIE: So when anybody asked me, like, what to do for this or that, I'm like, "Oh, and get the good olive oil." Like, they know what it means. I mean, it's an Ina-ism.

INA: When I wrote my first book, I thought I just wanted to write, it doesn't mean the most expensive. It just means think about the ingredients. Make sure you get something that's as good as you can in whatever your budget is. You know, good mayonnaise is Hellmann's. Everybody can afford it.

MARTIE: Well, I'm from the South, so I might have to argue with you about that mayonnaise choice.

INA: Oh, Dukes. Dukes, right?

MARTIE: Yeah. Dukes is our mayonnaise.

INA: And I agree with you. It's fabulous.

MARTIE: It is.

INA: But not everybody can get it.

MARTIE: Before a book comes out, do you look and think, this is going to be the favorite? And do you have your own favorites?

INA: I never know what the favorite is going to be. It always surprises me. Yeah. I never know.

MARTIE: So if I had to ask you to pick a favorite book, do you have one?

INA: A favorite book? Wow. It's kind of like choosing between your children, I think, I don't know. I probably use the one I'm working on right now the most because that's what's in my mind. So, I think probably whatever book I was working on is the one that's my current favorite until I do another one.

MARTIE: So, what would be a couple of tips you could give our listeners to help give them confidence in the kitchen? Like, are there one or two things that you can recommend doing every time you walk in before you begin or something like that that will help give them a little confidence to cook more?

INA: That's a really good question. No, there are three things I have in my kitchen that I think are really important. And one is a ruler so that when you're measuring the pot size or the pan size — I can't tell you, almost every time I make a recipe, I end up pulling that ruler out. And I have like a 24-inch ruler, like from the drafting store.

Another one is a scale, like a food scale. I'm always measuring things that, you know, it sometimes says a pound, but I've got a three-pound bag of it. And so I don't know what exactly pound this. Or if I have a cake that, you know, batter makes two cakes, I want to make sure that both of them are exactly the same size. I weigh the pan and the batter and then I can make sure. So, a scale is something, it's very accessible. And yet I think it makes everything you do a little more professional looking.

The third one is an oven thermometer. It's even more important than the other two. Everybody thinks that the oven is exactly the temperature it says on the dial. And it's never. It's anything but that. And so every single time I turn on the oven, I put a thermometer in to see what the actual oven temperature is. And it doesn't take five minutes to get there. An oven guy explained to me once that most ovens, if you set it at 350, the temperature goes all the way to 400 and then back to 300, and then it goes to 375. And then it goes to 325. And after about 15 or 20 minutes it settles at 350.


INA: So you can't just turn it on and think it's going to get to 350 and stop. So you really need to give it time to preheat.

MARTIE: I usually give mine about a half an hour at minimum.

INA: Then you're doing exactly the right thing.

MARTIE: You know, that makes a lot of sense to me, knowing now what your background was at the White House that you would take that practical approach. And I remember one time seeing you, make — I don't know if you were making gougeres or cream puffs or whatever you were making, but you traced out the size that you wanted them on the parchment paper, and then you made them.

INA: Oh, I know what it was. It was a pavlova.

MARTIE: OK, yes.

INA: I would trace it on a, like, the size that I want the pavlova to be and then turn the actual paper over so that the pencil doesn't get on the pavlova. And then you just copied it around that.

MARTIE: And so they were uniform. And I thought, how brilliant is that. Because I always struggle with that, like getting things to look exactly the same. So I thought that was so brilliant. But now that makes a lot more sense to me.

INA: And actually another thing to make things consistent is an ice cream scoop. Which I use for everything from meatballs to cupcakes or muffins, things like that. If you have like a scoop like that everything comes out exactly the same size.

MARTIE: Ina, I always knew I was going to be friends with you if I ever got a chance to meet you. And I've been stalking you for like a hundred years. Because you're like a rock star. You're friends with Jennifer Garner.

INA: Ahh, she's such a lovely, lovely woman.

MARTIE: And Taylor Swift.

INA: Well, we don't share makeup secrets.

MARTIE: And Nancy Myers. I follow both of you.

INA: Oh, she's great. I just — I love being friends with women that are independent and have created a life for themselves and a business for themselves and are just doing what they love to do. I just really admire that. Kinda like you.

MARTIE: I wanted to ask you this, though. I get this question a lot and I imagine you do too. A lot of women, especially during the pandemic, are looking for maybe something new like you were all those years ago when you said, "you know, this just isn't for me. I really want to do something else with my life." What advice would you give to somebody to step out and try that thing that's sitting here on their heart and know that it may not be always easy, but it will be OK?

INA: I think they're, a lot of people — what I say is that people stand on the side of the pond trying to decide whether to jump in. And it's very easy to convince yourself that you don't know what's in the pond. And it's too scary to take that chance or there could be fish in there. It could be cold in there. It could be lots of things. And you never take the jump. I think you just have to jump in the pond and swim around and see what's there. And once you're in, you'll see stuff that you wouldn't have even imagined that you couldn't have seen from the side of the pond. So, we don't want to take a risk that will destroy us, so you want to make sure that you can get out of the pond if you need to.

But I think, just take a chance. Just take a chance on something that you feel is interesting. You know, I met a woman years ago, probably 30 years ago, who was a career therapist. She helped people find the career that they want. And I said to her, "What do you talk to your clients about?" And she said, "I ask them what they used to do when they were 10, because that's what you did before you had this, 'I should be a lawyer.' 'I should be a doctor.' 'I should be in the government.' This is what you just loved to do, and then figure out how to make a business out of that." Best advice in the world.

MARTIE: You know, I think that's such great advice, Ina, and here's the reason why. Do you remember that scene from "Pretty Woman" where Richard Gere says to Julia Roberts, "I think you have, like, some very special gifts." And she says, "The bad stuff is easier to believe."

I think a lot of people don't want to do things because they've heard people say they can't do it. So they're afraid to try. And I think you've just given us some great advice, like jump in the water, take a life preserver. It may not work out exactly like, but the doors and the windows that are supposed to open for you won't open if you're still standing over here.

INA: Exactly. And it's a good time because one of the things you have to do is you have to just kind of be quiet. You have to kind of pull in and just think about what would be interesting to do. And this is a great opportunity to do it. You can turn a pandemic into something really positive rather than just a difficulty.

MARTIE: I want to go back to something you said a minute ago, and it stuck with me. You said "remembered flavors." I think that's so important because I think all of us are looking for a little nostalgia in our lives these days. So, your brand new book, Modern Comfort Food, you built that around remembered flavors — things that were sort of ingrained in your brain for a reason or another. Either something you tasted somewhere, something you'd made before. Is that what you were going for? Sort of a nostalgia? But a new spin on nostalgia?

INA: Exactly. I was looking for flavors that we know, like pasta carbonara, which you know exactly what it tastes like, but it's a little too rich now and it's a little too heavy. And I thought, well, how can I make that a little more modern? So I did two things. I made a pizza with carbonara and shaved Brussels sprouts, and I made pasta carbonara with spring vegetables. So, it’s a remembered flavor of pasta carbonara, but it's done in a different way.

Or I took a black and white cookies and I thought, how can I make them have more flavor? Because they usually just sweet. They're really not that interesting. And I did it with bittersweet chocolate and I did it with good vanilla, while we're on the subject. And I made the cake part of it, like, really delicious. And they're great. They're just great.

MARTIE: So the black and white cookies made more like a cake than a cookie?

INA: Black and white cookies are actually a cake. I don't know why they're called cookies.

MARTIE: I didn't know that.

INA: You scoop the batter out on a sheet pan. And so they're a little rounded cakes. And then what you do is you take them and turn them upside down. And on the flat side, you do half in chocolate and half in vanilla.

MARTIE: When I used to go to New York for my job back in the day, my dad would always say to me, make sure you go and get a black and white cookie. So I'd always get them. And I would say, "God, Dad, I'm not sure why you remember them so well, because they're not that great."

INA: Well, that's exactly what I was looking for. Make the ones in the book and then you'll know what a good black and white cookie is.

MARTIE: I saw a lot of things in there I want to try. As we're going into the holiday season, give us a couple of tips for maybe — do you brine your turkey, for example? Is that something that you believe in? Give us a few turkey tips, if you don't mind.

INA: Well, I actually, what I do is what I what's called a dry brine. So, for example, in my book Make It Ahead, I have a turkey that I rub the outside with lemon zest, salt, and thyme. I think that's what it is. And you put it in the refrigerator for a couple of days, and the seasoning really gets into the meat. Because very often the seasonings just on the outside but the meat of the turkey is really kind of boring. And this is a turkey that you actually make earlier in the day. You carve the whole thing up, you make gravy ahead, and then do a puddle of gravy on the oven-proof platter, slice the turkey, and just set it aside. Cover it and set it aside. And just before dinner, put the whole thing in the oven and reheat it. And it comes out so moist because the turkey is sitting on the gravy and it stays really warm for a long time. It's the best turkey. So, a dry brine is best.

MARTIE: I think that sounds easy, too.

INA: And you're not worried about whether it's done or not. You know, it's all done before guests arrive.

MARTIE: You've got a whole index of your recipes on your website.

INA: Yes, I do.

MARTIE: Which I love because that shows you where you can find them. That's so smart, so wonderful. But I saw one for apple cider, which I thought was kind of fun for right now to see. It's apple season, and if you have guests coming over, you can also mix it with bourbon and make a cocktail.

INA: It's in the new book, hot spiced apple cider. It's so good.

MARTIE: Can you walk us through that one really quick? Do you remember how you make it?

INA: It's just got all the apple pie spices in it and good apple cider — and grocery stores have fresh apple cider. And then if you want to put a slug of bourbon in, it's even better.

MARTIE: I think so too. Why not, right?

INA: Especially if you're entertaining outdoors, it's nice to have something hot like that.

MARTIE: It is. And it's a nice little party starter. Who doesn't like apple cider, anyway? It's hard to make it if you don't have a press. I love the idea that you can get some help from the store, like we talked about before, and float a nice little apple slice or something in it to dress it up a little bit and some bourbon and the campfire and you're off.

Ina, what's your one go-to holiday dish. What one thing would you say has to be on your table to make the holidays complete?

INA: I think — it's luxurious, so it's good for the holidays — but I think, like a roast filet of beef is the easiest meal in the world to make. And you can make all different kinds of sauces. You can make a cold horseradish sauce or you can make a hot gorgonzola sauce. You can just serve it with mustard, and you've got a great dinner that's really special and it doesn't take any time at all.

INA: And it's easier to carve. All you have to do is just slice it and if it's slow roasted, it comes out perfectly. The perfect temperature, like perfectly rare all the way through. It's just great.

MARTIE: Ina, I am so honored and so thankful to have had you on the show today.

INA: Thank you, Martie.

MARTIE: And I am going to continue to follow along and stalk you on social media. I am just really grateful for people like you who paved the way for people like me. If there was no Ina Garten there probably would be no Martie Knows Parties. So thank you for that.

INA: Thank you. Really, it was a pleasure to talk to you.

MARTIE: Well, I want to ask one more question before we go. What are you cooking for, Jeffrey for supper tonight?

INA: Tonight, I actually have a woman whose name is Missy Robbins, who owns two restaurants in New York, Lilia and Missy. During the pandemic, she's been making bags of groceries from local farms and pasta and pasta sauces, and they deliver them on Thursdays to East Hampton. So I always have some kind of pasta from Missy for dinner, which is just heaven, absolutely heaven. So we get to go to Misty's restaurants without leaving home.

MARTIE: I do think that brings up one really good point. Y'all, during this pandemic, our restaurants have struggled. It is hard to make a living on a good day, much less at half or one third or, you know, quarter capacity. So, y'all, please continue to do takeout and continue to support your local restaurants.

INA: A hundred percent. Absolutely. We need to keep them going.

MARTIE: Yes, we got to do whatever we can to keep our restaurants going so they're still there when we come back, when everything comes back.

INA: And I also love that Missy is supporting the suppliers...


INA: By buying produce from the suppliers and delivering them to the customers. So, she's acting as a middleman. And I think one of the things that's going to come out of this is that she's going to realize there's a huge market for her pasta and sauces. And so I think if you go into a crisis like this and just think I'm just going to stand still and hope it's OK at the other side, you don't really reorganize during the crisis. You really need to reorganize during the crisis and figure out what you're going to do. How are you going to use your people, how are you going to take care of your suppliers, and how you're going to stay connected to customers. And if you do that, you may actually come up with something completely different that's really as good or even better than running a restaurant.

MARTIE: It's like you said a minute ago, like jump in the pond. And then...

INA: Jump in the pond.

MARTIE: Things will open up for you. Yeah, I think a lot of us have stood still hoping it was all just going to go away. And I think we can see now that it's really not going anywhere anytime soon.

Well, thank you so much. You and Jeffrey, enjoy your pasta dinner. Thank you for being part of our Allrecipes Homemade podcast. We have so loved getting to know you.

INA: Thank you. My pleasure.

MARTIE: I have been inspired by Ina forever. Maybe, I don't know, since 1999 when her first Barefoot Contessa Cookbook came out? Her new book, Modern Comfort Food, is available at your local bookstore and also online. Her website is BarefootContessa.com. She’s got that recipe index there that we spoke about, and you can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @InaGarten. That's where you’ll find those giant cosmos and fun things like that. Garten is spelled with a T.

Homemade is about all kinds of cooks, and on the next show, we're bringing you some of our favorite Allrecipes Allstars. Y'all, these home cooks are so talented and they have some of the most popular and highest-rated recipes on Allrecipes.com.

SHELIA JOHNSON: So my mother, a Southern girl from northern Louisiana. Every Sunday for as long as I could remember, collard greens were always on Sunday's menu. So that meant preparation on Saturday. Cleaning them, picking them, and my mother was really picky about her collards.

HAROLD WULFORST: She made the cheesecake, and it had cracks in the top of it. And she said, "Never worry about the cracks. That's what the cherries or the blueberries are for on top." And did a little bit of research, turn a plate upside down on top of the cheesecake, and that's supposed to help self-heal the cheesecake.

ANGELA SACKETT: Do you know what the Pink Stuff is? This crazy weird combination of Jell-O and Cool Whip that can't even be real whipped cream, which just hurts my culinary soul.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss it. And don't forget, you can find thousands of recipes, meal ideas, and cooking how-tos from the world’s largest community of cooks at Allrecipes.com. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Homemade is produced by Allrecipes with Executive Editor Jason Burnett. Thanks to our Pod People production team: Rachael King, Eliza Lambert, Tanya Ott, and Maya Kroth.

Thanks for listening! I'm Martie Duncan, and this is Homemade.