Anna Faris wears many hats, from actress on CBS' Mom to host and producer of Unqualified (an advice podcast), but she feels most accomplished after she forages her kitchen pantry to throw together a meal. "I love attempting to be creative with whatever I have because I don't love going to the grocery store after a long day at work," she admits. "In an odd way, I think I used to be a better cook before I became a mom because you didn't have to cater to a toddler's needs. For me, it's almost meditative to cook. I love the process. If I'm not with [my son] Jack, I love putting on some reality television and just checking out and making dinner."
When we caught up with Anna in NYC, she was busy promoting her partnership with Clorox and the brand's $150,000 donation toward DonorsChoose.org to help foster productivity and creativity in schools across the U.S. "I think it's really important to have a clean, organized place for kids because if the area is messy, then the mind can be messy. Which is kind of like my mind, all the time," she joked.
Read on to find out about the funny gal's kitchen adventures with her 7-year-old son, Jack, what's on her dream burger, and the late-night snack craving she can't resist.
On creating special traditions with her son
"Jack is about to enter first grade, so this is our second back-to-school journey together. We're going to get our supplies, and I want to have a tradition where he gets to have an ice cream as we walk to school on his first day back. I love the idea of having something special, whether it's going to the local toy store after school or just any fun tradition. I still haven't worked it out. I'm terrible."
How she bonds with Jack in the kitchen
"He loves to just break eggs and smash them together with his hands, and he likes to—of course—bake cookies and make sundaes. I don't think that qualifies as cooking, but that's bonding time for us. I would like to say when we make broccoli with a little bit of garlic and a little bit of butter, he eats it, but I'm not quite sure that's true. He does eat spinach and he likes carrots. I think ranch dressing is sort of the key to a kid's heart—and my heart as well."
Why cooking with her mom is intimidating
"My mom is a great cook. She was a caterer, and she also taught a bread-making class. When I was a kid—it's one of my earlier memories—this woman, who was taking the class, said to my mom, 'I could watch you knead bread all day.' My mom has won pie contests for crusts, which are amazing, so she's intimidating to cook with, but it's something we have always bonded over. There was nothing like the smell of her bread when coming home from school. It was the smell of home and comfort ... it was really special."
On trying to become the "perfect mom"
"I feel much more in control at work. I don't know, do most people feel that way? I feel less powerful at home, because I still feel like I don't have a handle on how to be a perfect parent. [On the set of Mom], I actually have a gavel, which makes everybody crazy! Work is more of my comfort zone, and I say that with a little bit of embarrassment, I guess, but I think there's truth in it. How do you know how to become the perfect mom? And does anybody? I'll say to Jack sometimes, if he's getting fussy, I'll say, 'I really don't want to bark at you right now.' For now, that's enough for him to get his act together, but it's really tough."
An undeniable late-night snack craving
"Cheetos, which aren't great after you brush your teeth, but I love the puffy ones that are almost like styrofoam."
Her favorite hometown food
"I'm from Baltimore, so Dungeness crab and crab cakes. My mom makes amazing crab cakes."
Building a dream burger
"Two thinner patties. I don't love a big, thick patty because I want the charred taste. I like American cheese. Thousand Island dressing or a version of that, because I love mayonnaise. It's my favorite condiment. Maybe a slice of iceberg lettuce. If need be, for show, maybe a slice of tomato, but I think it sort of gets lost in the deliciousness. I can handle a touch of bacon, but I don't want it to overpower the patties. If you have a good patty, I don't know if it's necessary."