It it no secret on this blog that I have a severe girl crush on Ina Garten.
My fandom goes back to her early days as the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. That show was a staple for the Little Mister and I during his formative years. There was Ina on the big TV, in her denim button down, making chicken for Jeffrey and my Little Mister would point his chubby fingers at the screen say “Nine-a!”
I have made countless recipes from her cookbooks (some will appear later this month on this blog), and every one is delicious. I used to watch her all the time, so while my TV viewing time has reduced dramatically, I find other ways to get my Ina fix.
I’ve been driving a bit more to Boston, and now I listen to Ina on podcasts. She did a great interview with Willie Geist on his Sunday Sitdown, and made scrambled eggs for the interview queen Katie Couric. But perhaps the best podcast is Ina’s own, which is an audio version of her show on Discovery Plus, Be My Guest.
A little independent bookstore (remember those?) here in Connecticut was celebrating the release of Ina’s new cookbook, Go To Dinners, by offering a ticket to a zoom interview with Frank Bruni and Ina with the purchase of the book. Sign me up!
The Zoom was at 8pm. I popped in my Airpods and grabbed a glass of full-bodied Cabernet to enjoy while my girl crush shared what life was like for her during pandemic. It was during this time that she wrote this cookbook, inspired by “pantry cooking” and living and eating more simply.
And…there she was! In her barn kitchen, looking all Ina-like.
Ina shared quite a bit about what life was like during the pandemic for her and Jeffrey – who were suddenly spending every day together which they don’t normally do since he commutes to work. As she spoke, I realized that my idol and I have quite a bit in common.
I learned new things about Ina on this interview (I didn’t think that was possible!) And here is how Ina and I are #twinning:
- We both enjoy cooking for people we love
- We both have big gardens
- We both have never gotten COVID (to quote Ina, “And I don’t plan on getting it!”)
- We both went a little mental preparing 3 meals a day during the pandemic and felt like the minute you cleaned up the lunch dishes it was time to start making dinner!
- We both enjoy cocktails
- We both appreciate a well-dressed table
- We both like not only to cook, but to EAT
The next day Ina’s book arrived in the mail. It’s beautiful!
I don’t want to rush through it, so I take my time. First, I do a overview flip through, noting recipes that I will flag later. Then, I go through it slowly, reading the recipes and anecdotes, putting stickies on the pages of the recipes that I know I’ll be making. I will definitely be trying the oven risotto (no stirring at the stove!) and I saw an appetizer or two that will be making their debut at Thanksgiving. And chicken and orzo. And cinnamon shortbread cookies. I could go on!
How amazing is that?