Does Jennifer Garner eat French fries?
I only ask because when actresses talk about food, it’s usually about how much they love to indulge. This 2011 article about the interview eating habits of actresses is something I have gone back to many times over the years.
But since 2011, there’s also been a heightening of wellness trends and the language around dieting has moved towards words like detox, cleanse, fasting and juicing. Because it’s never about the weight, right?
Jennifer Garner isn’t raving about pork jowls, but she is an enthusiastic home cook – I just don’t recall her ever gushing about eating. That is often true of home cooks, though; they are so busy feeding everyone else, they never seem to make their own favourite dishes.
She makes bread on Sundays; Ben Affleck has mentioned this many times in interviews. She recently started a “Pretend Cooking Show” on social media -- her first recipe was that famous bread, courtesy of a Barefoot Contessa recipe (she is an Ina Garten devotee). Her latest installment of Pretend Cooking is Huckleberry English Muffins from the Huckleberry Café’s cookbook.
Is it just me, or is this recipe really complicated? (Lainey: yes, very complicated. I have recently mastered baking biscuits after my friend Lorella sent over a very, very easy recipe that I nailed on the first try. You don’t need one of those stir machines that Jennifer is using in her video, whatever they’re called. Mixers? See below if you’re interested, I’ve posted the recipe.) Granted I’m a horrible baker, but it seems like this is a lot of work for biscuits? Or have I been taking for granted the amount of work that goes into biscuits I sometimes buy? (That being said, these biscuits look delicious and I would certainly devour them if someone made them for me.) Anyway, I’ve watched a lot of celebrity cooking segments (Gwyneth Paltrow, Camila Alves, Drew Barrymore, Nicole Kidman, Chrissy Teigen) and I can tell you that Jennifer Garner is Food Network ready.
As I said back in 2015, Jennifer Garner has mom charm. She is a charming mother, and she can charm mothers. She is earnest and goofy and really comes off as genuinely happy in these videos. That’s how good of an actress she is. To project an aura of contentedness is not an easy thing. (Kate Hudson does happy, but in a more bubbly, performative way.) Her aspirational offering is not bent towards anything material (like clothes) or aesthetic (like a “killer bikini body”) or romantic (her ex-husband with the stained shirts), but rather her energy, her mood, her sing-song-y joy.
What Jennifer Garner lets us in on here is her inner sanctum – hair up, wearing pajamas and glasses. Just a mom with her dog, a well-loved copy of her favourite cookbook and some flour and yeast. Even at her most casual, her most “undone,” she is still cheerful. This is what she wants us to see, so she is showing us. She is making it easy for women to adore her and trust her. I read through the comments on this post and the only person who gets as much social media love is The Rock.
The Rock harnesses that love into global movie stardom. Jennifer Garner, who is certainly famous, doesn’t open movies overseas. Whether that is out of the choices she’s made or the options she’s given, we don’t know. But what we do know is that around the same time she joined Instagram, she launched baby food line, Once Upon a Farm. Now she is doing a “Pretend Cooking Show” on Instagram. For those who think all these things are unrelated, let me ask you: Who is filming her while she’s cooking? Editing the videos? Adding music? Writing out the full recipe in the caption? This looks casual, but it’s set out in a very specific way. Yes she’s Betty Baker Homemaker, but she’s also strategic as f-ck.
That savviness is something I have grown to love about Jennifer Garner. I don’t think I’ve seen one of her movies since Dallas Buyers Club, but I still keep up with her career. I watched this video of her baking biscuits no less than 7 times even though I don’t ever intend to try this recipe.
So what is next? It has to be a cookbook, right? I’m guessing this is a build for demand, or part of a roll-out for a book that is already well in the works.
What I’m curious about is how far she is willing to take it. Moving into celebrity lifestyle requires giving up a bit of one’s life. And while we know very intimate things about her former marriage (like Ben’s affairs), part of her charm is her ability to mother without selling (at least it doesn’t come across that way to her base, the MiniVan Majority). Jennifer has spoken out against the paparazzi many times; maintaining that position while satisfying the fans on social media (who will eventually want to see more than her kitchen) could be tricky. Not that I doubt Amazing Amy for one single second.
The full video is here on Facebook.
(Lainey – here’s the recipe for the biscuits I’ve been baking almost every weekend for months. They passed the most demanding test of all: my ma, the Chinese Squawking Chicken, LOVES them. Like I said, it’s not hard at all. This is what mine looked like on the first try:
And since then I’ve learned to brush some egg on top of the before baking to give them a little glaze.)