Back in April, during the darkest days of lockdown, Ina Garten brought a smile to millions of shut-ins when she posted an Instagram video in which she made her favorite cosmopolitan-style cocktail from a whopping three cups of hard liquor—and then sipped it from a vase-size martini glass. But such behavior is nothing new for Garten, who has been bringing good-natured humor, optimism, and inspiration to home cooks and food-lovers around the world since the arrival of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, in 1999. Her Food Network show of the same name is now airing its 26th season, and just this month Garten has published Modern Comfort Food, which includes 85 new recipes that are tailor-made for these unusual times. Herewith, she shares her key components of the good life. —Ashley Baker
Airline: Air France to Paris, in first class with those natural linen curtains. Jeffrey treated me for our 50th anniversary.
Bedtime: When I’m so tired that I can’t stand up, and not a minute before.
Birthday: My friend Susan Stroman gave a big party for me for my 60th birthday in her very glamorous penthouse.
Breakfast, weekday: McCann’s Irish Oatmeal.
Breakfast, weekend: McCann’s oatmeal with maple syrup.
Car: My Mini Cooper convertible. Put the top down, back out of the garage, and it’s summer!
Date: Jeffrey and I spent our 50th anniversary at a wine bar in Paris; just the two of us. Heaven!
Dress: My navy-blue coatdress with gold embroidery from Oscar de la Renta.
Drive: Top-down-convertible drive through the Luberon. There’s a theme here …
First MAN: Barack Obama. If only!
Hotel: The terrace off my room at Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, in Antibes. You simply can’t be unhappy there.
Last meal: A French apple tart and a glass of Château d’Yquem Sauternes.
Movie: Dial M for Murder or The Remains of the Day; it’s too hard to choose.
Nonfiction book: Becoming, by Michelle Obama, both the physical book and the audio book.
Piece of advice:
Jeffrey says, “Do what you love; if you love it, you’ll be really good at it.”
Podcast: The Daily does a deep dive on something you thought you understood but really didn’t, and Into the Dark, which investigated a murder conviction and saved a totally innocent man from death row.
Restaurant: Lilia, but now I won’t be able to get a reservation.
Saying: “Some of the worst things that ever happened never really happened.”
SHOES: It’s a toss-up—my black Manolo Blahnik slides with pearls, or my Loro Piana cashmere slippers.
SINGER: Taylor Swift, because she turns her life into brilliant poetry.
SPOUSE NO. 2: Jeffrey again!
Television series: Broadchurch, The Crown, and Thicker than Water, but The West Wing will always be my first love.
Time of Day: When the sun goes down and you’ve done everything you need to do for the day. Oh, and it’s cocktail time!
Wake-up time: One of the great luxuries of my life is that I almost never have to set an alarm.
Vacation: Paris, at any time of the year.