'Barefoot Contessa': Ina Garten Once Revealed She Did a 'Bad Job' At Preparing This 1 Dish

Ina Garten might be the queen of simple meals, but that doesn’t mean cooking comes easily to her. Rather, the Barefoot Contessa star has admitted that cooking is “so hard.” And while she’s mastered plenty of techniques through the years, she once specifically recalled doing a “bad job” the first time she attempted to cook one popular seafood dish. Plus, her biggest tip for how to avoid doing it again.

‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten taught herself to cook

Ina Garten wasn’t searching for fame. Rather, the Connecticut native had settled down with her husband, Jeffrey, whom she married in 1968 — and that’s when she realized she had such a passion for cooking. Though Garten had always liked the idea of being in the kitchen, she wasn’t allowed to cook much at home growing up because her parents wanted her to focus on her studies.

Once she was out of her parents’ house and in with a new husband, she had more freedom to do what she wanted. Garten taught herself to cook using Julia Child’s cookbooks. From there, she and Jeffrey purchased a specialty foods store in East Hampton, New York, which Garten turned into one of the most well-known shops in the Hamptons.

Ina Garten once revealed she did a ‘bad job’ the first time she cooked scallops

Though Garten might have perfected her craft by now, she had to learn the same way everyone else did. And when she was first starting out, some dishes were more of a challenge than others — including scallops.

“I did a bad job the first time I made scallops,” Garten once confessed in an interview with Oprah.com. “I crowded the pan. Scallops need a lot of room to get a good crust.” Now, Garten typically adds a note in her scallop recipes reminding fans not to crowd the pan. If the pan is too full of scallops, the juices will cause the scallops to steam instead of sear.

Garten has several tasty scallop dishes, including her scallops Provencal, which are floured scallops cooked with a white wine and butter sauce. Find Garten’s recipe on Food Network.

Ina Garten said she purposely keeps her recipes as simple as possible

Garten tries hard to keep things simple. Those who read her cookbooks and watch her show might have noticed that she often uses typical household ingredients to create basic meals, on which she then puts her own twist.

Garten cooks this way for a reason: She once admitted in a PBS interview that she finds cooking to be “so hard.” Part of the reason Garten can relate well to her readers is because she doesn’t have any professional culinary training. Plus, in an interview with Indie Bound, Garten added that when she owned her store, she often simplified recipes so that she could make them in large quantities. This allowed her to translate that simplicity into her cookbooks and television show. 

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