Jennifer Garner on cooking for children, her mother’s cooking and diets

Jennifer Garner says that when she was new to acting, she would practice her cooking skills by making her mother's recipes for her co-stars.  (Photo: Getty; designed by Zana Kaba)

Jennifer Garner says that when she was new to acting, she would practice her cooking skills by making her mother’s recipes for her co-stars. (Photo: Getty; designed by Zana Kaba)

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Jennifer Garner is no stranger to the big screen, but the 50-year-old actress has also become a cooking star, sharing posts from “fictional cooking shows” for her nearly 14 million Instagram followers.

Garner says she filmed the videos, in which she makes everything from cinnamon sugar apple pie to mini meat and cheese pies, at all times of day (and at every level of readiness for the camera). Most of the recipes June Y Alias The actress’s actions are inspired by her mother, who she credits for teaching her to make most things from scratch.

“My mom did everything growing up. Everything,” she tells Yahoo Life. “On Sundays the house smelled of fresh bread…my mom would meet me to take me from ballet to rehearsal in a different place and there was a hot meal in the car. I still remember: brisket and mashed potatoes and gravy and greens, so delicious, and basically licked the plate to go to the next place.”

When she started acting on stage, she practiced her own versions of her mother’s recipes and cooked for her co-stars. “She would show up with the weirdest things because she was trying to learn how to cook from my mom,” she recalls. “I wanted to make whole wheat bread. I wanted to make roast chicken and gravy and rice or potatoes, just a nice meal for Mom, which is still, she would say, my specialty, and it’s all I can do.”

Today, the mother of three says she finds feeding her children “incredibly rewarding” but occasionally a bit frustrating.

“To see a girl who loved scrambled eggs, who couldn’t eat enough scrambled eggs, who now can’t eat a scrambled egg to save her life,” she says, “a girl who is so picky about everything else, but he’s totally happy going anywhere in the world and trying everything. I’m so surprised.”

Garner says she was a picky eater growing up, but now she’s focused on filling up on foods that will keep her fueled all day. “My food is very predictable,” she says, sharing her favorite way to make a salad. “I have a big salad, not just a regular salad, but a mongo jongo salad, and I put whatever satiates in there: nuts, avocado, cheese, protein. We always have plenty of roasted veggies in the fridge to heat up, so the I add there too. That really keeps me full until dinner and it’s so delicious.”

“There’s a lot of fattening stuff in there,” she adds, “but it’s all so complete and good that it helps me not go too crazy or go where I want to go, which is the blue corn chips.”

Still, the Hollywood icon says she doesn’t like diet culture or see food as an enemy. “Nothing makes me hungrier than being told to watch what I eat,” he says. “I just can’t do it. I’m allergic to it. It gives me a feeling of scarcity and it drives me crazy. I’ll hide in the corner and eat a box of Triscuits.”

Garner spoke to Yahoo Life as part of her promotional work for KitchenAid: The brand recently gifted her its Christmas 2022 stand mixer, which she used to do a mock cooking show for her Mini Pumpkin Loaves recipe. But Garner says his fascination with KitchenAid stand mixers goes back to his childhood.

“We had a KitchenAid hand mixer, but it was the stand mixer that I coveted,” she recalls. “My best friend’s mom had one that was bright green on her counter and I thought she was cool. I dreamed of what it would be like, to have what even Julia Child had on her counter.”

“The stand mixer was the first thing I bought myself as an adult,” she continues. “It lasted me a couple of decades and it’s such a staple in my kitchen that when I go on vacation, if I take my kids, I take the blender with me.”

As part of her work with the appliance brand, Garner delivered the holiday mixers to four Los Angeles home cooks whose stories touched her heart. On Garner’s list were a special education teacher who bakes cupcakes and sells them to raise funds for children’s hospitals and a duo of sisters who bonded while trying to recreate her mother’s cultural cuisine. “It was amazing to be welcomed into their homes and learn why they cook and bake and what it means to them,” she says. “It was a really beautiful day.”

But on a different kind of day… a yes day …what would be Garner’s ultimate food menu? “She would have huevos rancheros in the morning and might even have pancakes and sausage for breakfast,” she says. “There would be pizza there, there is never no pizza, if I see pizza I eat it. And pasta. Anything good.”

the 13 going to 30 The star also shares the nostalgic food from her own childhood that she still craves: Little Debbie cupcakes. “Since my mom did everything, she never bought us anything processed,” she explains. “I dreamed of Little Debbie cupcakes—the oatmeal tarts, the Swiss rolls. I had a friend who I would trade my beautiful homemade chocolate chip cookies for her Little Debbie cakes with and they felt like I was eating a treasure.”

When it comes to Butter, Garner is nothing more than a rule follower. “ME only cook without salt,” she says. “I get confused very easily. I don’t mess with what I know how to make and if a recipe says without salt and I do with salt, I’m totally stunned.”

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