Actress and everywoman Jennifer Garner seems to spend as much time cooking as she does acting. First, over the weekend, she went barefoot with Ina Garten in East Hampton, per a recent Instagram selfie. (Ina shared almost the exact same selfie, noting that there’s “nothing more soul satisfying for me than to spend time with a smart, compassionate woman I admire.”) Garner echoed the fangirl praise with her own caption, gushing, “I understand if this brings up big feelings for you , but I spent the morning with @inagarten.” She ended with two hashtags: #sheseverythingwewanthertobe and #luckyme: The duo reported going out to the garden that day before heading into the kitchen.
I understand if this brings up big feelings for you , but I spent the morning with @inagarten. ❤️ In her barn kitchen, in her garden, having coffee...yes. It’s true. I even got a sneak peek of the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook— #CookLikeAPro— it’s fabulous. Thank you for the perfect morning, Ina, you are beloved for a reason. I can’t wait to continue the conversation. ❤️, Jen. #sheseverythingwewanthertobe #luckyme
A day later, proving that she had a better Monday than everyone else in America, Garner hung out with Martha Stewart. The two accomplished women filmed a Facebook live together, which is full of charming learning moments, seasonal produce, flaky pastry, bacon mayonnaise, and genuine, unabashed glee.
LIVE with Martha and Jennifer Garner as they create recipes from our new summer issue!Posted by Martha Stewart on Monday, July 16, 2018
Garner, who, like Stewart, raises chickens for eggs and bees for honey, was there to promote her new line of children’s fruit pouches, called Once Upon a Farm. (She’s also starring in a new HBO comedy called Camping, and has a movie coming out in the fall.) Stewart shows off her farm-fresh eggs, and Garner identifies each by the breed of chicken that laid it. Next, Martha announces that the plan is to make a peach pie with a puff pastry topping, and lobster BLTs. As they roll out puff pastry and cut up peaches, the ladies chat and answer questions from the audience.
Garner’s ease in front of the camera and charming self-consciousness mean she’s a great foil for Stewart’s expertise. Far from a newbie, Garner’s been a guest on Stewart’s show at least a half dozen times in the past. Several years ago, the two were joined by Claire Danes to bake cookies and decorate for the holidays.
Stewart’s producers know what Stewart might not want to admit: The audience just loves Garner’s low-key, can-do attitude. She’s eager, she’s open, she’s... ready to be a lifestyle guru. Even the Cut dropped an “I like this bitch’s life” on the actress’s shiny new persona. Hear me out: Garner has long been praised for her sense of humor and approachability. Now that her divorce from Ben Affleck is final, W magazine says the Jennaissance is upon us. “It’s clear,” W writes, “that the actress is fully living her best life.”
In addition to booking acting roles left and right, Garner’s best life includes, well, a lot of homemaking: There’s Jennifer the mom, Jennifer the beekeeper, Jennifer the snack expert and product developer, Jennifer the kale gardener, and Jennifer the lady with a thriving chicken coop. Meanwhile, Jennifer the avid, not-quite-pro-level cook has been stepping it up in the kitchen, sharing recipes on Instagram and trading tips with the aforementioned cooking queens Garten and Stewart. And for the past few months, Garner has been posting short videos of herself cooking in her kitchen, tagging them #PretendCookingShow.
#PretendCookingShow, Episode 4 brings us one of my favorite “pass-it-back” snacks-- you know, those easy snacks you can pass back to hungry kids in a car on the way to wherever your afternoons bring you. Here’s a way to make them at home with ingredients you know and can pronounce. The full episode with results is on my Facebook! Link in bio. #passitbacksnack #sofarsogood #notaprettybaker • Ingredients: 2 cups oats 1 cup unsweetened coconut 1/2 cup wheat germ 1/2 cup sunflower seeds 1/4 cup flaxseed 2 tbls butter 1/2 cup honey 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp vanilla • Recipe: 1.) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 2.) Combine dry ingredients. 3.) In saucepan melt the butter, honey, brown sugar, salt and vanilla. 4.) Mix all ingredients together. 5.) Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper and pack it all in there. 6.) Put in oven for ten minutes. 7.) Take it out. Pack it down again and bake another 10 minutes. 8.) Yum. Let them cool. 9.) If you like chocolate ( ♀️) melt some chocolate with a spoonful of coconut oil/Crisco over a double boiler and drizzle over the bars. 10.) Cut. Enjoy! • : “Scrapping and Yelling” by Mark Mothersbaugh
It could happen! But when a Facebook Live viewer asked if she’d like to have her own show, Garner responded, “No, thank you. I like doing a three- or four-minute version in my pajamas in my house... and I like being here but, no, that’s as far as I go.” Stewart seems to approve, chiming in with a comment: “If I could act like you could act, I would be doing that and not this!”
Stewart’s slight scoff at the suggestion that Garner could make a living by teaching others how to cook was reminiscent of a reaction she had to another actress who pivoted from film to food. Several years ago, when Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow started ramping up her health and wellness newsletter, Goop — now a full-blown lifestyle brand encompassing consumer goods and a print publication — Stewart couldn’t help but express her disdain and disapproval. In 2014, Stewart told Porter magazine that Paltrow “just needs to be quiet,” and tried to put the actress in her place with this explanation: “She’s a movie star. If she were confident in her acting, she wouldn’t be trying to be Martha Stewart.”
But Paltrow isn’t the only actress to dabble in brand-building or media. Jessica Alba is full steam ahead at the Honest Company, an organic snack and product seller she launched in 2011. Reese Witherspoon’s name graces a line of clothing in addition to a new cookbook. Alicia Silverstone lives a cruelty-free life on the Kind Life, her blog and media company, and even newly minted Duchess of Essex and former Suits actress Meghan Markle once had a site for fashion, food, and family called the Tig.
If Garner is gearing up to go full-on lifestyle, she seems to be taking baby steps. She’s been in with Stewart for years. Lately, she’s been working on her friendship with Garten: Three years ago, Garten cooked Garner dinner for her birthday; earlier this year Garner shared a photo of them dining together, and wished Garten a happy 70th.
And when asked, Stewart said she would join Garner on #PretendCookingShow. “But I don’t wear pajamas,” Stewart says, “I wear nightgowns... we can wear sexy nightgowns.”
There are so many questions: Would you watch Jennifer Garner cook on Instagram with Martha Stewart? Would you buy Martha Stewart-branded nightgowns? Would you eat up a Jennifer Garner lifestyle brand? I know I would. I really, truly would.