The Fixer Upper star and author of Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering tells PEOPLE that similar to her career in home design, she “never set out to have a cookbook.”
“I never set out to get the opportunity to share my recipes with the world,” she says. “That was never something that I put down as a dream.”
In fact, Joanna’s first go at home cooking didn’t go so well. In Magnolia Table, Joanna tells the story of how her husband Chip disliked her attempt at making her mom’s spaghetti because they didn’t taste like his mom’s spaghetti. “I almost choked on my noodles,” she writes in her debut cookbook.
But the designer, who is pregnant with the couple’s fifth child, says the opportunity to improve in the kitchen was what motivated her.
“That first time that I cooked dinner for Chip and he really ticked me off, that set me back a little bit but then eventually I got over it and was like, ‘Hey, I mean I gotta try my hand at this,'” she tells PEOPLE. “So I think that’s why I have such a heart for it is that I really feel like this isn’t something that you have to be amazing at. It’s just the idea of getting after it, trying it, being okay with failing, but then there’s so much more reward.”
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After much “trial and error,” Joanna put together the collection of 125 recipes, including a few of Chip’s favorites like strawberry shortcake, chicken pot pie, and scalloped potatoes, which the pair showcased on an appearance on Today on Tuesday morning.
“It’s not these unapproachable or really hard recipes; it’s just really good, classic recipes that hopefully families will love and will become their favorites as well,” says Joanna.
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During their Today segment, Chip also revealed that he’s been loving his wife’s new pregnancy curves.
“Prior to my relationship with Joanna, I always dated slightly bigger-boned girls,” said Chip. “So whenever Jo’s pregnant, it’s kind of my thing. It’s kind of my jam.”
Joanna, who celebrated her 40th birthday with doughnuts last week, was ready to quickly change the subject. “Let’s talk about chicken pot pie,” she said, laughing.