Kitchen Tips

5 Secrets To A Lasting Marriage From Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten

Ina and Jeffrey Garten have been married for 50 years, and their partnership is definitely relationship goals.

Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten husband Jeffrey

Photo, Quentin Bacon

Ina and Jeffrey Garten are truly couple goals. The Barefoot Contessa and her husband will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary later this year. Throughout Ina’s years in the spotlight as a Food Network regular and bestselling cookbook author, she’s shared glimpses into their fairy-tale relationship — heck, she even wrote a whole book about him. (Her tenth cookbook is literally called Cooking for Jeffrey.)

If publishing a bestseller about feeding your significant other isn’t the cards, here are some more down-to-earth tips for strengthening a relationship as shown by Ina and Jeffrey.

Stop texting and send a handwritten love note

Jeffrey first spotted Ina when she was visiting her older brother at Dartmouth College. Even though Ina had a date planned with another guy, Jeffrey got her address and sent her a handwritten letter and a photo of himself (it was practically Tinder). A few months later, they went on their first date and the rest is history. To make Valentine’s Day — or any day — extra special, write your S.O. something sweet by hand. It’s way more memorable and personal than just a text with a heart or kissy face emoji.

ina garten holding pie10 Baking Hacks From Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten

Keep it simple

In Cooking for Jeffrey, Ina says she first learned value of simplicity while camping with Jeffrey in Europe. The two recent graduates were short on money and Ina learned to craft beautiful meals from the ingredients they picked in local markets. Years later, she brings this ethos into her cooking and entertaining style by creating no-fuss recipes and party tips. Outside of the kitchen, Ina stresses this when giving advice to young women: “Complicate your professional life but not your personal life.” She credits her stable relationship with giving her the support she needed to succeed.

Encourage your partner to follow their dreams

When Ina spotted a for-sale ad for a specialty food shop in East Hampton, New York, it was Jeffrey who suggested they take a look at it. Ina bought it and that small store (called The Barefoot Contessa) was the launching pad for her massively successful career. Ina credits Jeffrey with being her biggest cheerleader as she’s carved a niche for herself in the culinary world.

Know what your Jeffrey loves to eat

Ina says Jeffrey loves everything she makes, be it a saffron-infused challah or cup of tea. But Ina keeps tabs on his favourite dishes (she lists them in the back of Cooking with Jeffrey), because there’s no better feeling than coming home to find your favourite meal (roast chicken or scallops Provençal for Ina’s hubby) on the table.

Ina Garten wth husband Jeffrey holding cake.

The cover of Ina’s book dedicated to Jeffrey. Photo, Quentin Bacon.

Romance doesn’t have to mean a big night out

Avoid the stress (and over complication) of a busy restaurant with a pricey prix fixe menu by staying in on the most romantic day of the year. This Feb. 14, Ina will be making Jeffrey a super festive dessert: coeur a la crème with raspberries (it’s a mousse-like cheesecake). Or reach for the chocolate if your Valentine prefers decadent treats.

Watch: How to make a classic lemon loaf