We think it’s pretty safe to say that Ina and Jeffrey Garten are the Food Network’s most beloved couple – we certainly are not impervious to the charms of their adorable relationship. You’d basically have to have a heart of stone not to be in love with their love.
The two tied the knot 49 years ago today, on December 22, 1968 on a “perfect day” at Garten’s parents house in Conneticut. And yes, as you’d assume, it snowed.
“Right in the middle of the ceremony, it started to snow. It was beautiful and romantic, but by the end of the party, the poor guys parking cars had to dig everyone out!” Ina exclusively told People Magazine.
But that’s not even where their love story began. Since the Gartens are giving us the warm-and-fuzzies right now, we’re taking a look back at their life together — and it’s darn impressive.
This story was updated on Dec., 22, 2017. It was originally published Sep. 23, 2016.
Jeffrey and Ina met when she was just a 15-year-old high school student, visiting her brother at Dartmouth College.
“He saw me walking around the campus, and he said to his roommate, ‘I wonder who that girl is,'” she said in an interview with Katie Couric.
“When I was 16 and Jeffrey was 18, I used to make him brownies and send them in a big box to school,” she said during an episode of her show about their 40th wedding anniversary. “I think he was the most popular guy in the dorm when they arrived.”
1963 – 1968
The lovebirds stayed in touch and dated while Jeffrey was in college and Ina finished high school. After Ina graduated, she moved on to study at Syracuse.
In ’68, Ina postponed her education to marry Jeffrey.
The late ’60s
After they got married, Ina and Jeffrey moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where military-man Jeffrey was stationed, according to the book American Food by the Decades.
Jeffrey left for Vietnam, and it was during this time that Ina’s love for cooking and entertaining blossomed. She filled her time with different projects to keep her longing for Jeffrey at bay.
She also got her pilot’s license while he was away.
Back from the war
Upon Jeffrey’s return from his four-year tour in Vietnam and completion of military service, he and Ina headed to Paris for a four-month-long camping trip.
This is said to be the time when Ina’s love of French cuisine really took flight.
Once back from the life-changing European trip, Ina began experimenting more with French recipes (including those of the great Julia Child).
Ina and Jeffrey moved to Washington, D.C., in 1972, where Ina worked in the White House and eventually earned her MBA from George Washington University, while Jeffrey worked in the State Department and completed his graduate studies.
Ina worked her way up the political ladder, and even wrote the nuclear energy budget and policy papers on nuclear centrifuge plants for Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, according to American Food by the Decades.
In ’78, Ina was totally burned-out on working in D.C., so she impulsively bought a small shop in Westhampton, New York. And The Barefoot Contessa was born.
During this time, Jeffrey was working on Wall Street.
Time goes by
Over the next couple of decades, Ina grew her business while Jeffrey became part of the faculty at Yale. He became dean of the Yale School of Management from 1995 to 2005, according to People magazine. (Now he’s a dean emeritus, and teaches six courses.)
In 1996, Ina sold her Barefoot Contessa shop to take a sabbatical — and probably cook a ton of delicious food for Jeffrey, who doesn’t cook at all.
“Jeffrey makes coffee,” Ina told People in 2011. “As somebody [once] said, smart men need coffee so they all know how to make coffee. And he’s very good at making coffee… Jeffrey spends four hours driving back and forth from Yale to East Hampton twice a week. That’s what he does for me. And I cook for him and take care of him. I love to cook for him. He doesn’t have to do anything and that’s my pleasure.”
After her cooking sabbatical, Ina returned to the world of Contessa at the urging of Jeffrey and The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook was born.
Ina’s show launched on the Food Network in 2002, making her a household name.
And of course, Jeffrey’s adorable appearances on The Barefoot Contessa show catapulted him to celebrity hubby status.
Throughout the 2000s, Ina and Jeffrey have done a lovely job balancing both of their professional successes with thoroughly enjoying themselves — and taking adorable photos of each other during their travels to far away places.
“Uh oh! Champagne for breakfast! #paris #cafédeflore #drunkhubby,” Ina captioned this pic.
Ina’s latest cookbook is out this year, and it’s an ode to her beloved Jeffrey.
“I’m so excited about my new cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey, which is coming out on October 25,” she wrote on Instagram. “It’s filled with the recipes I make for Jeffrey at home, and lots of fun stories from our life together.”
We can’t wait for the book to come out so we can read more cute stories about their life.
In 2017, Ina opened up to Katie Couric about their decision to live a child-free life.
“I really appreciate that other people [have children], and we will always have friends that have children that we are close to, but it was a choice I made very early… I really felt, I feel, that I would have never been able to have the life I’ve had,” she explained.
Ina and Jeffrey have definitely lived a happy 49-years, although we wouldn’t have minded if they had spawned a hot son.
Now, everyone raise your glasses to Ina and Jeffrey Garten, who have shown us that love is alive and well in 2017.
Leave a Comment