Felicity Huffman has a "crush" on Jamie Oliver for teaching her cook.

The 'Desperate Housewives' star and her actor husband William H. Macy started a tradition of family dinners where their first daughter was born in 2000, much to her dread.

But the 49-year-old actress - who has two children, Sophie, 11, and Georgia, nine, with William - has learnt to prepare delicious meals over the years, and has TV chef Jamie and cookbook writer Gwyneth Paltrow to thank.

She said: "I have actually learned to cook a little and enjoy it. I am now in love with writers of cookbooks and not just writers of novels. I have a crush on Jamie Oliver and feel like Gwyneth Paltrow is a personal friend. I want to write them a thank-you note when a recipe works out."

Despite initially being reluctant to have regular family dinners because of her own experiences growing up, Felicity now looks forward to meal times.

The Hollywood star says the dinner table has produced some hilarious, and surprising, family moments.

In her first blog for the iVillage blog series CelebVillage, she added: "Here is what I didn't expect: They (the dinners) are actually, truly, surprisingly fun. Wonderful watershed events have happened at our family table. When our youngest was two, she finally said her sister's name out loud for the first time, which made her sister do a dance of joy around our kitchen. When our oldest was nine, she suddenly threw her arms in the air and shouted, 'I can't wait to grow boobs and get my period!' Bill fell off his chair.

"I love dinnertime now. We have created our own family ritual and it has relieved me of carrying around old baggage from the past. I don't know if it will keep my daughters off DRUGS, or give them the backbone to stand up to pushy boyfriends, or raise their test scores, but in shooting for a long-term benefit I have gained a short-term blessing."