So, why dedicate an entire blog to the culinary delights of Ina Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa? The answer is two-fold: her recipes are delicious and I LOVE her. I have been chronically addicted to the Food Network now for about 10 years, but like the network itself, my culinary sophistication has evolved. I began my Food Network love affair watching Rachael Ray whirl around the kitchen trying to balance 20 ingredients on a sheet pan so she could grab everything in one trip to the fridge and pantry. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rachael and I believe the network owes her great thanks for elevating it to what it has become today.
At first, I did not like Ina. I would hear the instrumental intro to her show and would have to immediately change the channel; it gave me the heebee jeebees (much like my mom feels when she hears the “dun dun” at the beginning of Law and Order). I thought Ina was some elitist, rich Hampton’s bitch with a show being marketed to other elitist, rich bitches across the country trying to put together a meal for their bratty, spoiled kids and suit-and-tie husbands.
I have now come to realize that I misjudged Ina as a person and sold short her culinary point-of-view. What I perceived all those years ago as a monotone TV personality devoid of personality and understanding of the everyday Joe, I have now come to see as a calm, classy, knowledgeable and downright amazing home cook. She gives countless tips for entertaining and preparing meals in advance. Many of her recipes call for fewer than ten ingredients, and are, by and large, very approachable (except for her angel food cake where the recipe indicated dry ingredients be sifted FOUR TIMES…I followed her instructions, but, really, four times?). Now, when I need a dish to bring to a get-together or when I need a meal to put a big, fat smile on my hubby’s face, I turn to one of Ina’s cookbooks. I have NEVER been disappointed.
I don’t plan to pull a “Julie and Julia” thing here and attempt to make a recipe a day from one of Ina’s cookbooks in chronological order. I’m hoping to pull off a recipe or two a week consisting of whatever strikes my fancy and whatever that week’s schedule allows. I’m also not expecting thousands of followers on this blog. I am just hoping to make my husband, my mom, my sister, and some of my friends smile as they read (and hopefully taste).
How bad can that be?