By Kenzie Bryant. Photos: Getty Images.
An Ina Garten completist may have noticed nary a mention of children in her 10 cookbooks or umpteen Barefoot Contessa episodes. A Garten completist would be forgiven, too, for never thinking to think about it. Between the friends that stop by her East Hampton barn-slash-set, her pleasant jokes, the recipes, the cooking, the drinks, the fun, the Jeffrey, there’s already too much to enjoy. She and her husband never had children, and on Thursday, she opened up about about that decision on Katie Couric’s podcast.
“It’s a choice, and that was the choice I made,” the Food Network gem said. “I really appreciate that other people do [have children], and we will always have friends that have children that we are close to, but it was a choice I made very early.” Couric wanted to know if she ever felt societal pressure? A judgment? “I never felt that people did,” she said. They missed out on the large network of parents for which a child is the one-time price of admission, she explained, but "no, I never felt judged by it—maybe people did, but I didn’t notice.”
Choice comes up a lot in the Garten universe, on- and off-screen. Her latest cookbook title, Cooking for Jeffrey, had some folks bristling because, at first blush, cooking for her husband countered the do-it-yourself ethos that colors Garten’s persona. But if it’s it a burden, she’s never let on. Choosing to cook for Jeffrey, choosing not to have children, choosing this or that is no small part of her appeal, especially among women (of course, many of her choices come with Jeffrey’s support, or as she put it to Couric, “If Jeffrey and I disagree on something, he always agrees with me.” That makes choice a little easier.) Garten concluded the subject, saying, “I really felt—I feel—that I would have never been able to have the life I’ve had.”
For a final word on the risks that come with choosing something different from what’s prescribed for you, here’s a bona fide Ina Garten moment of Zen, the inspirational quote you might need this morning or afternoon—and twice on Sunday—one you’ll maybe consider for your next rib-cage tattoo: “I think people stand at the side of the pond talking about the pond is. Is it hot? Is it cold? Is it deep? Are there murky things under there? I think you have to jump in.“
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
More from Vanity Fair: