Ina Garten’s Favorite Kitchen Items Include Spoons, 3 Types of Salt and 35-Year-Old Homemade Vanilla

An inside look at Ina Garten’s East Hampton, New York kitchen? Don’t mind if we do.

In a new video for The New York Times, our queen in chambray (aka the Barefoot Contessa) gives a behind-the-scenes tour of her barn-slash-kitchen-slash-office, and spills the tea on her favorite culinary tchotchkes. And let’s just say, the whole video is a treat.

“I don’t have a lot of fancy equipment,” Garten begins. “I have things that anybody else would have…maybe a few more, but not a lot.” (She says nonchalantly through the computer as we stare at our shoebox apartment kitchen.)

Unsurprisingly, the video is filled with helpful tips that we’re immediately stealing for our ourself, like the ingredients Garten always keeps at room temperature on her countertop: garlic, oranges, eggs and lemons. She also takes care to mention her collection of antique spoons, which are always within reach for tasting recipes. There will be no double-dipping in Ina Garten’s household, thank you very much.

Next, Ina takes us to the stove, where she shows off her collection of not one but three types of salt. “I have three salts that I use all the time,” she says while secretly judging us for only having one salt (just kidding). First up is kosher salt—Diamond Crystal, to be precise. “It’s actually different from other kosher salts,” she explains. “Some of them are much saltier.” (We can attest that this is true.) The second is fleur de sel, a type of French sea salt Garten uses to finish dishes. Last but not least is Maldon flaky salt, which she likes to sprinkle over pastry crust as a garnish.

Among the myriad other gadgets (timers so she won’t forget something in the oven, a kitchen scale for precision, multiple Le Creuset dutch ovens), the most remarkable thing Ms. “Store-Bought Is Fine” brings to show-and-tell has to be her truly massive jar of “good” vanilla. It’s homemade—no big deal—and she says she’s had it brewing for over 35 years. “What I did was, I took a jar and I put vanilla beans in it. They’re expensive but you don’t have to do it very often. Then I poured in vodka, very inexpensive vodka. After about four to six months, the liquid becomes vanilla extract.” Ina, can we siphon off a teaspoon of that?

In Contessa style, Garten ends her tour with a few comforting words for a not-so-normal Thanksgiving: “I think it’s important to find joy in the small things, and to make it a real celebration.”

What can we say? She’s a gift.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...