"I boned a duck today," she boasted from the back of a taxicab as it sped through the streets of New York City.
Yes, these are heady times for the hottest actress in Hollywood, who was just seen in two big movies ("Enchanted" and "Charlie Wilson's War"), has a film opening Friday ("Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day") and has no less than four more movies lined up, including two opposite Meryl Streep.
Last week, Adams sang one of the nominated songs at the Academy Awards. This week, she is the host of "Saturday Night Live."
"I'll have to take your word for it," she responded when it was suggested that her career is generating some serious Hollywood heat. "All I've been doing is working. I haven't noticed any changes, except that every minute of my life is booked."
Surely, the boning of the duck signaled a change of sorts.
The daily cooking classes are part of her research for one of those films with Streep ("Julia & Julia"), in which the multiple-Oscar-winner plays the late cooking icon Julia Child and Adams, an Oscar nominee in her own right for the 2005 film "Junebug," plays a secretary who spends a year in her Queens apartment whipping up every recipe in Child's classic French cookbook.
"I need to look like I know what I'm doing in a kitchen so I've been doing a lot of chopping and slicing and dicing. I'm learning how to handle a knife like a chef, and I even made Hollandaise sauce from scratch. Did I tell you that I poached an egg today?
"And the best part is that I'm bringing home a bag of leftovers for my boyfriend (actor/artist Darren Le Gallo). He's going to be so excited."
She certainly doesn't sound like a movie actress whose star is ascending at an astonishing rate, does she?
In fact, during this telephone conversation, she paused once to give the cab driver directions to her apartment, and again to pay the fare. Normally, movie stars are never alone in a cab. Heck, movie stars don't even take cabs. They ride in limos.
Asked why she wasn't in a limousine, and what happened to her entourage - the people who give directions and pay fares for celebrities - she giggled.
"It's just me today."
In "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day," based on the 1938 novel by Winifred Watson, Frances McDormand plays the title character, a frumpy housekeeper whose dreary life is altered dramatically when she makes the acquaintance of an ambitious but ditzy blonde (Adams) who aspires to be a movie actress but spends most nights singing in an World War II-era London club owned by her tough-guy boyfriend.
If you think of Adams only as a Disney princess type ("Enchanted") or only as a smart, fast-talking congressional aide ("Charlie Wilson's War"), you're in for a surprise.
"I got in touch with my inner bimbo," Adams explained with a laugh, "and I don't mean that in the modern, pornographic sense. I mean that in a real old-fashioned sense. Actually, I see her more of a free spirit than a bimbo. More important, I wanted people to understand that she is an authentic person under all that affectation."
The actress said working with the likes of Streep and McDormand, another Oscar winner, has been one of the perks of her recently elevated status within the film industry.
"Yes, I absolutely recognize that the people I'm working with these days are extraordinary. But if I start to think about it, I'll make myself crazy. I won't do my best work. I can't start thinking about their accomplishments because I won't accomplish anything. I have to stay in my zone and just keep working.
"It's like performing at the Oscars. If I had stopped to think about how many millions of people were watching, I would have been overwhelmed. The only thought that I allowed in my head that night was that the Kodak Theatre was no different than all those dinner theaters I used to perform in. That's the only way I got through that."
Adams, 33, was a military brat born on a U.S. Army base in Italy where her father was stationed. She was the middle child of seven siblings, and her only focus from an early age was dancing. After the family moved to Castle Rock, Colo. (between Denver and Colorado Springs) when she was 5, she studied in earnest and was dancing professionally at 16. Three years later, she added singing to her list of talents and began appearing in local musical theater productions.
An injury prevented her from pursuing dancing as a profession but she made a respectable living on the dinner theater circuit, first in Boulder, Colo., and later in Minnesota. During an engagement in Minnesota, a film crew came to town and auditioned local actresses for roles as extras. Adams won a small role as a beauty contestant in "Drop Dead Gorgeous," and it sparked an interest in movies.
With her Broadway dreams shattered, she moved to Los Angeles and gave acting a shot. In just three weeks, she got her first acting job.
After a string of small roles in forgettable films and TV shows, she made a few heads turn opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can," and then made everybody in Hollywood stop and take notice in "Junebug." She was nominated for her performance as a pregnant motor-mouth named Ashley.
"Junebug" had not been released when she auditioned for "Enchanted," so she walked into that Disney tryout as an unknown.
The filmmakers said they were "encouraged" by the studio to hire a better-known actress but even the studio conceded that Adams embodied the character.
"Once Disney saw Amy's audition tape, I didn't have to do a lot of convincing," director Kevin Lima said in an earlier interview. "It was so obvious that she was our princess."
With fair skin and strawberry blonde hair, Adams did seem to embody a Disney princess. The film has made more than $125 million in this country, and Adams has become a star because of it. But she said she was never worried about being typecast.
"I think adults can separate me from this role," she said just before "Enchanted" was released. "If a 4-year-old can't make the separation, that's fine. I would be happy to be their Giselle forever."
At the time, Adams said she was confident that the diversity of her upcoming roles would demonstrate to the industry that she is much more than a Disney princess.
"If you look at the work I did before "Enchanted," you'd see that I have always done a wide range of characters. I really am a character actor. If I could choose, I would be a character actor."
Of course, there is little chance of that. Adams doesn't look like a character actor, and she acknowledges that there seems to be more media curiosity about her with each successive movie role.
"I know I'm becoming more of a public figure, but it hasn't been too bad. I'm not out there with my private life all the time so the media and paparazzi have respected my privacy".
"Look, right now, I'm walking down the streets of Manhattan and nobody's chasing me, and nobody's taking my picture. I'm just a regular person walking down the street."
Not for long.