Jennifer Garner's "Pretend Cooking Show" has been a true bright spot during the past two years. Part culinary inspiration, part comic relief, we've adored following along with her adventures whipping up her pal Ina Garten's Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken, her grandma's cornbread, Garten's Crispy Chicken with Lemon Orzo and more.
Recently, the 48-year-old actress has been getting more into the baking game, showing off her skills at everything from impressive homemade cinnamon rolls to perfectly crinkly gingersnap cookies—all of which have us wondering when this "pretend" show will become real!
Besides having her gourmet guru friend Garten on speed dial and calling in reinforcements by way of family recipes (Exie Mae's sweet potato pudding is destined for our Thanksgiving table this year), what keeps the mom of three's kitchen skills so sharp when delivery is just a few clicks away?
Considering the meaning behind each dish certainly helps, Garner revealed to Good Morning America.
"Cooking connects me to my family because my mom was such a steady, solid, really great cook," she told GMA. "Whenever I smell a roast chicken or fresh bread baking or my neighbor Marge's gingersnaps in the oven, it connects me to my childhood. And I feel like I'm passing that on, and that comfort and coziness, as much as I can to my kids."
Sharing food also connects Garner to family, near and far, including during this holiday season.
"We're gonna do a holiday version, of course," she told GMA. "I love cooking with my family, my sisters, and mom and dad…I could really see us just setting up a screen somewhere and having it on while we cook together for Thanksgiving." (Sounds like a safe and sentimental way to celebrate the holidays during the pandemic!)
Proper kitchen equipment makes her frequent food experiments much easier, Garner shared, including one item that has recently rekindled her love of cast iron.
"This little piece of mesh that's a scrubber for a cast-iron skillet. I swear it changed my life 'cause now I use my cast iron skillet for everything. I always was just so confused about what a disaster it was trying to clean, and do you use soap or don't. Now, I really just scrub the bottom of it out, maybe oil it a little and I keep going," Garner said in the GMA interview. (Psst- We love this one from Amazon, $21.99)
That strategy sounds right on track, and in case you, too, need a refresher on all things seasoning and cleaning, we have your complete guide to cast-iron skillet care here.
This story originally appeared on EatingWell.com.
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