Joanna Gaines has a lot cooking.
The mother of five and her husband, Chip, have a Discovery cable network brewing, with a slate that includes her debut cooking show, along with a fresh cookbook, out April 7. Add to that a new normal that everyone is coming to terms with: coronavirus quarantines.
In an interview Monday from Waco, Texas, Gaines says the family that includes Drake, 15; Ella Rose, 14; Duke, 11; Emmie Kay, 10; and 1-year-old Crew is doing well.
"It’s now two weeks into it, and I feel like (we’re) just learning new rhythms and new schedules. The kids just got finished eating lunch, so it’s like, 'OK, go back to class,' – whatever that means," she laughs.
While her brood is "trying to make the best out of it," the former "Fixer Upper" star admitted it's "hard not to feel" everything going on "and just kind of get anxiety about it."
Gaines, 41, writes in "Magnolia Table Vol. 2" (William Morrow Cookbooks, 352 pp., $35.00) that her "absolute favorite purpose of food" is "that it gives us a reason to gather." With precautions put into place to stop the spread of COVID-19, people have a new reason to be together, which Gaines acknowledges has changed the mood around her dining table. Prior to the outbreak, Gaines said the predicament was figuring out how to eat as a family with four children whose sports schedules conflicted.
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"Then this hit, and now it’s we’re home all day, every day," she says. "It’s not trying to figure out how to fit in two or three meals a week. It’s now every single meal that we’re eating is cooked from the kitchen."
"The perspective has changed, and that is kind of our moment of togetherness – those times in the kitchen, those times around the table," she adds. "I feel like in some ways (it’s) deeper now because the kids have all of these questions about what’s going on... I would say those times around the table have just felt like the sweetest, the most comforting."
The cookbook offers comfort foods like pecan pancakes – a favorite of Gaines and the children – casseroles (Chip loves the Friendsgiving version), soups and desserts, including French silk pie, which she makes on a weekly basis.
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Gaines has been in the kitchen with her kids, as she's documented for Instagram followers. It's a less anxiety-inducing activity than, say, doing it for your own network.
"I’ve never had a cooking show before, so, I get butterflies when I think about it," she revealed of her show for Magnolia, the new cable network. "I can shoot with my kids in the kitchen when they’re shooting me on their little iPhones, or on my iPhone. It’s a whole other thing when there’s, like, 20 people looking back at you."
Still, Gaines is excited and her goal isn't "perfection," as she understands it will take some time to acquire the new skill.
"Just like with 'Fixer,' it’s not like (in) the first episode we nailed it. It’s not like the first season we nailed it," she says. "It was this ongoing learning experience, and that’s how I’m going to look at it with the (cooking) show..."
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The series will be filmed in a renovated old flour mill, which Gaines loves for its history (and the fact that it's not her home).
"When you’re shooting a cooking show, one thing I realized is there’s multiple cameras, there’s multiple lights and people and production," she says. "And anytime we would do that at the farm, it would really kind of disrupt our daily rhythms. And it didn’t feel like home; it felt like a set."
Gaines says she was supposed to shoot her series in March, but "everything’s been delayed," although the network is still scheduled to launch in October.
"As of now, we have not changed the date, and that’s basically where we are. But it’s an everyday conversation. We don’t know. Next week may be a different answer."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Joanna Gaines has daily conversations over network debut