A few months ago, Chrissy Teigen posted a photo of our "Best Carrot Cake," and our staff has collectively been in love with her ever since. Well, let's be real. We've always loved her, but it was at that point we realized she's pretty much our spirit animal. Check out the post below.
The Sports Illustrated model, wife to John Legend, new mom, and co-host of Spike TV's "Lip Sync Battle" is also an avid cook. She runs a food blog called Delushious and released her first cookbook Cravings earlier this year. But in the public food landscape, perhaps she's best known on Instagram, where she's forever sharing images of over-the-top, indulgent food creations.
Case in point.
With these food shares can come some serious haters—we mentioned she's a model, right? But in typical Chrissy T. fashion, she completely owns her arguably lowbrow cravings (insert guacamole with cheese fiasco and Captain Crunch controversy) and rightfully puts the ridiculous food and body-shamers in their place.
I recently sat down with Chrissy for some real talk about how she cooks and eats, and the one word I'd use to describe her is just that. Real.
On Re-entering the Kitchen as a New Mom
Like most first-time mothers, Chrissy is re-learning where and how to redistribute time and energy to maintain balance in her day-to-day living—including her day-to-day eating. It's come down to a couple of realizations, like understanding that leaving the house now requires 2 1/2 hours of prep time and accepting that not everything can be made from scratch.
MR: Obviously, you’re busy with Luna—but do you still find time to cook regularly?
CT: That was a big fear of mine. I was cooking more at 9 months—just waiting for her to come—than ever. A couple days after baby, I looked at John and said, "Do you think I’m still going to have this energy and passion for it?" And then all it took was a week or so, and I jumped right back into it. And now it’s a really nice chance to get off my butt... literally. I’m with her all day, on the couch, nursing, so it’s nice to be able to put her down at 7 pm and then start cooking. So we eat later than ever, but we’re still cooking meals every night.
MR: How have you adapted your cooking strategy to save time?
CT: When I started cooking right after the baby, I was going through my cookbook looking at all my own recipes and thinking “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I actually begged people to take the time to fry their own tortilla strips for the Chinese Chicken Salad.” Like you definitely look for any quick way you can to jazz things up.
I think a lot of my things now are just for jazzing up ingredients you already have around. I love to keep my staples around. Lawry’s is always in our kitchen cabinet. I always have chicken breasts, cilantro, and green onion. I think there are just some staples you always have in your kitchen that you know you’re going to be able to work with for so many different things. If I have 10 things in my kitchen, I can take over the world, I swear.
MR: We know it's a ways off, but what are you planning to do for baby food? Are you going to make your own?CT: That’s a good question. I don’t know if I’m necessarily going to be the kind of girl that purées baby food all day. But I do see her [Luna] right on my arm in the kitchen all day. Even now when I cook, she is sitting there watching me. I hope she’ll have the same love for the kitchen as I do. I’m hoping she’s going to be eating some of the very same crazy foods that I did at a very young age.
On Being in the Kitchen with John
Impressively, the two are still cooking meals together nearly every night, even with a 3-month-old baby girl. #goals
MR: Do you guys listen to music while you're cooking?
CT: Honestly, we are television watchers. We are into cracking open a bottle of wine and putting on really bad reality television. I like having it in the background—something you don’t have to think too much about, like “Housewives.” If John’s cooking, he turns on MSNBC. We’re not so much into music as much as everyone thinks. We’re work and car music people, and at home we’re television viewers.
MR: What's a quick-and-easy dish you and John like to whip up for guests that still looks impressive?
CT: We love Frito Pie, which is a tailgating-style dish. We make John’s chili, dump it into a little bag of Fritos, and then have an entire buffet of all of these accouterments for it like shredded cheddar, green onion, and sour cream. It's one of my favorite recipes in my book, and I think it’s one of the coolest things to walk into for a party. When you see these little bags of Fritos with their tops rolled down and this pot of crazy-flavorful, bold chili, and then all these little bowls of toppings for people to jazz it up however they want, it really sets the tone for a party.
MR: What are you planning to do for Memorial Day? Are you going to entertain?
CT: We were actually just talking about that. We’re just moving into a new home in Los Angeles, and it has the most beautiful space for outdoor events. We’d love to get into it before Memorial Day to be able to show it off and feel like we’re finally at home. We know how to throw a BBQ.
John likes to throw parties in LA, and they’re always very casual. There’s no like passed hors d’oeuvre’s or anything. It's very friendly to the masses. We have ice buckets around, everyone’s pouring their own drinks, and there's no bartender. You’re going to come, and you’re going to have a good time. Hopefully we’ll be in for that, because I love cooking for the masses. I need to make like 12-15 dishes to feel happy.
On Her Instagram Eats
Sure, the indulgent and outrageous pictures Chrissy posts are an organic part of her food world, but they're not all of it. Her relationship with food is characterized by a playful spirit and over-the-top fun, but it's also grounded by balanced choices and practicality.
MR: Clearly, the decadent foods you get attention for online can't be the only things you're eating—how do you find dietary balance?
CT: I think everyone has his or her own special body type. The reason I never talk about diets is because what works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for everybody. So I’ve always been hesitant to talk about it.
When I’m cooking like a 4-hour meal or something, it might look so decadent or like I’m making so much, but when I sit down to eat, my portion sizes are really good. There’s a real balance in everything. On Monday I went hard because we went to my favorite restaurant. I know that Tuesday I have to be a little bit better.
John and I always try to eat kind of low carb. We eat a lot of protein and a lot of vegetables. And if we want a pasta, than we’re going to share a pasta. It’s really about the little decisions you make that you know work for your body type. And, of course, there are always going to be decadent times where you’re going to be like, “I can’t believe I ate that.” You want to be able to indulge and enjoy life and enjoy flavors. I’ve never been a salad girl, really.
Chrissy is real about how she eats. She rejects the pretension that surrounds the intersection of food and pop culture like a boss. She owns her appetite, and she puts grated cheese in her guac because she likes it. You do you, Chrissy. #respect