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Ina Garten reveals how quarantine has affected her 52-year marriage

Despite their emotional closeness, the pair hasn't spent this much time together since before her culinary career took off.
Jeffrey Garten and Ina Garten
Jeffrey Garten and Ina Garten at "Barefoot Under the Stars" on June 25, 2011 in Sagaponack, New York.Sonia Moskowitz / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Countless couples, families and roommates have had to spend extra quality time — way, way extra — with the people with whom they share a home. Some bonds have grown stronger while others have been strained. And on Tuesday, Ina Garten shared how she and her husband Jeffrey, (arguably) the food world's most iconic duo, have been doing during the pandemic.

"I feel like I prepared my whole life to be quarantined, or working towards a place where we could be quarantined," the Barefoot Contessa told People. "Jeffrey writes and he teaches remotely, and I think [he] is going to look back on these days as the good old days. I make him lunch, I make him dinner and he's home all the time."

Ina, who will be Willie Geist's Sunday TODAY guest this weekend, has always loved cooking for Jeffrey (one of her favorites to make him is fluffy Belgian waffles for dinner). In 2016, she even dedicated one of her cookbooks, "Cooking for Jeffrey," to meals made especially for her hubby.

But despite their emotional closeness, according to Ina, the pair hasn't spent this much time together since before her culinary career took off. In the '70s, the Gartens lived in Washington, D.C., where Ina worked as a nuclear budget analysis for the Carter administration, and Jeffrey, now a professor and Dean Emeritus at Yale, worked for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Then, in 1978, Ina launched her specialty food store, Barefoot Contessa, in East Hampton, and Jeffrey began commuting from there, for days at a time, to his government positions in Washington, D.C. and Kenya.

"He would always leave on Monday and come back on Friday and I stayed in one place," said Ina. "I always wondered what it was going to be like when he retired. And when this happened, I thought, oh, I guess that's what's it's going to be like."

It was — and so far, the couple, who have been married 52 years, have been thriving. In the past seven months since coronavirus lockdowns began in mid-March, the Gartens have been in the Hamptons day in and day out, cooking up a storm.

"I have to say, it's great," Ina said, adding that there's only a couple things she would change.

"I miss my friends and I miss dinner parties in the kitchen with six people, but being able to see people socially distant goes a long way. We can get through this," she said.

Since March, Ina has been helping her followers get through the pandemic by sharing easy recipes on her Instagram — like her famous giant cosmo cocktail — along with tips for safely and efficiently using your freezer. But we would also welcome any advice she might have on how to take advantage of all this unexpected quality time with our significant others.