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Ina Garten Says These 3 Cookbooks Helped Her Learn to Cook

EatingWell logo EatingWell 10/29/2020 Karla Walsh
Ina Garten preparing food in a kitchen: Getty / NBC NewsWire © Provided by EatingWell Getty / NBC NewsWire

Like many things in 2020, Ina Garten's cookbook tour to spread the word about her newest launch Modern Comfort Food ($21, amazon.com) looks a lot different than usual.

While she's not making IRL appearances and hosting signings at bookstores from coast to coast, we think it's almost more inclusive and fun in the "new normal" world. Now—rather than just those in the same geographic area as her stops—we're all invited to tune into her intimate podcast conversations, Instagram cook-alongs and Zoom book chats with her pals including Katie Couric, Hoda Kotb and Jennifer Garner.

Earlier this week, Ina Garten joined Radio Cherry Bombe host Kerry Diamond for a fascinating 40-minute casual conversation. The Food Network star and the founder of Cherry Bombe (a media brand that celebrates women in food) covered a wide range of topics including Garten's love of pan-bang cookies, her "Q clearance" while working in nuclear budgeting for the White House in the 1970s and how she learned to cook—with zero culinary school involved.

Ina Garten preparing food in a kitchen: $84.96—the cost to invest in all three—is much less dough than culinary school! © Getty / NBC NewsWire $84.96—the cost to invest in all three—is much less dough than culinary school!

Related: Ina Garten's Quarantine Meals Are Giving Us Serious Comfort Food Inspo

That latter point was one of many highlights of the episode for us, because it offered insights about the fact that $84.96, the cost of three cookbooks, plus some dedication and a lot of hard work, can lead to some really impressive kitchen skills.

"You mentioned that you taught yourself how to cook and I had read that you didn't grow up in a household where you learned how to cook and you stood by your grandmother's side and learned everything," Diamond said during the episode. "You taught yourself how to cook through Julia Child's books. Is that correct?"

Garten answered that her mom never let her cook at home as a child, "so what I did was I bought Craig Claiborne's New York Times Cookbook, which I think was quite new at the time. I worked my way through that book when Jeffrey was in the military and moving around a lot."

Buy it: The New York Times Cookbook ($34.90, amazon.com)

Early on in their marriage, Jeffrey and Ina took a camping trip across France, living on $5 per day. When they landed back stateside, "I got Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and really started working my way through those two volumes," Garten said. "I was Julie & Julia... It's funny. Some people have told me that I'm their Julia Child for Julie & Julia, which is really flattering."

Buy it: Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1 ($21.99, amazon.com) and Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 2 ($28.07, amazon.com)

Diamond confided in Garten that she's now planning to cook her way through Modern Comfort Food this winter to see if she, too, can channel her inner Amy Adams circa 2009. (In the film adaptation of the book Julie & Julia, Adams' character Julie cooks through all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking to learn new skills and embrace a new hobby during a rough patch in her career.)

Related: Our Editors' 10 Favorite Food Shows & Movies You Can Stream at Home

It's going to be a long winter, most likely, so we plan to snag a copy of Modern Comfort Food and these three masterclass cookbooks to see how many new techniques and tricks we can learn, too! Who's with us?

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