I've always felt an affinity toward Jennifer Garner. Before she was the spokesperson for Capital One or tearing it up on the dance floor in 13 Going on 30, she was just a small-town girl growing up in Charleston, West Virginia. Her low-key approach to fame and her insistence of raising her children far from the spotlight makes me feel even more like we would be friends. And as with all of my friends, we all love to cook. Houston-born despite moving east at a young age, cooking seems to run in Garner's blood. Raised by role model parents, the Garner girls grew up learning skills that would benefit them later in life. That's why, when I saw Garner's Pretend Cooking Show on Facebook, I knew we'd be in for a treat.
The first two episodes went off without a hitch! In the first episode, she paid homage to her good friend Ina Garten and made the Barefoot Contessa's Honey White Bread recipe. I love the simplicity of the show, how she's just filming in her kitchen and don't even get me started on how much I love that cross-back apron! If there's one thing I could collect, it's aprons, y'all.
Check out the first episode here. Each episode is incredibly short, about two minutes long or so, and fun to watch.
Garner infuses personal anecdotes into her cooking show, and with every tidbit she shares, I'm even closer to the belief that we would be friends.
In the second episode, she picked up the cookbook from "one of her favorite restaurants in Santa Monica," Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes from Our Kitchen. For these English muffins, she lists the recipe in her video description on Facebook.
Prepping the recipe the night before in owl pajamas, she points out the most important tips in the recipes that must be followed. Hearing from someone who's not a professional cook is so refreshing because the instructions are infused with personality and free-styling.
This recipe turned out divine, of course. But it's the third episode of her Pretend Cooking Show that really convinced me she is truly one of us. It seems that, on Christmas morning, Garner made some incredible bagels. And like most good home cooks, when she wanted to replicate the recipe for her Pretend Cooking Show, they just did not turn out.
What's most endearing about this very short clip, and what matters the most to me, is that Garner isn't afraid to show us that her recipe failed. As a home cook, I believe that fear of failure keeps us from trying the most exciting recipes in our own kitchens.
And why should it? Failure is a natural part of life, and in the kitchen, it should be celebrated as a learning experience. Sure, it's no fun to bake something with high hopes, only to find that when it leaves the oven, they didn't turn out the way you imagined. After all, even the Barefoot Contessa probably messes up a few recipes here and there.
So the next time you feel too intimidated to make your own Easy Pear Kolaches or bake that beautiful Tres Leches cake, just think of Jennifer Garner. If she can fail on camera, then you can fail in your own kitchen. And once you stop being afraid of failure?
Well, that's when you start to make your best recipes yet. Thanks, Jennifer, for being an incredible example of a real person, one that makes mistakes, because when it comes down to it, we're all just doing our best anyways.
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