Where Ina Garten Stands On Basting Your Thanksgiving Turkey

If anyone in the foodie community has their finger on the pulse of all that is both "aspirational and accessible" in the way of cooking and home entertaining, it would have to be the seemingly highbrow-yet-refreshingly-lowkey cookbook author and celebrity chef, Ina Garten. Garten rose to fame in the tony Hamptons as the owner of East Hampton's fine food emporium and catering establishment, the Barefoot Contessa, which she owned from 1978 until 1996, according to Garten's website, which goes by the same name. The host of the Food Network's long-running similarly styled show, Garten offers a uniquely elegant and yet almost defiantly uncomplicated take on cooking and hosting. 

Indeed, Garten's catchphrase — "wasn't that easy?" — has a charming way of reminding her audience of the luxury in simplicity (per Investors). Indeed, it just may be the secret sauce in Garten's enduring breezy appeal. After all, who else but Ina Garten would we trust to validate our suspicions that while lavender is lovely in potpourri, it's entirely unnecessary to learn to cook with it? And who else would we trust to cleverly strategize our low-stress yet still impressive Thanksgiving appetizer game

Moreover, who else could make us feel, not just okay, but literally, awesome, about using store-bought crust to whip up a decadent, boozy Thanksgiving pie? Likewise, when it comes to demystifying the old-school rule that holds it's necessary to baste one's Thanksgiving turkey, we can't think of a better choice than the well-heeled but down-to-earth Barefoot Contessa.

Ina Garten's comforting take on turkey basting

Roasting a Thanksgiving turkey can be deceptively simple — once you get your turkey brined and into the oven. Depending on the size of your bird and whether or not it's stuffed, its cook time will run from roughly one to five hours, according to the Food Network. What that means is you'll have a nice chunk of downtime available for other tasks — or to do nothing at all — unless, of course, you plan on basting your turkey at 30-minute intervals. But should you?

Basting is an old-school technique that's supposed to yield juicier meat and some believe it can improve the look and flavor of the skin, per Cook's Illustrated. Others regard turkey basting as a waste of precious time. "There's a big debate about it," Ina Garten acknowledges, per YouTube. The fact is there's little evidence to support basting as "necessary." Indeed, the strongest imperative we could find comes from Food Network, whose argument in favor of basting is merely that doing so earns you "extra points."

Extra points? From whom? Apparently not from Ina Garten, whose cooking and entertaining philosophy eschews devoting time and energy to pursuits that don't add actual value. So where does our patron saint of elegant simplicity come to stand on basting the Thanksgiving turkey? "Do it if you like it, don't do it if you don't like it, it doesn't matter," she says, reassuringly. Don't mind if we don't!