Monday, April 18, 2011

i love ina

I watch the Food Network more than any other channel on television, and I have my DVR set to catch every new episode of Barefoot Contessa. If Ina is on, though, I'll watch her no matter how many times I've seen the episode. She is my absolute favorite cook on the channel.
The warmth her blue or black collared shirts and short brown bob exude calm my nerves and relax me no matter what is going on. Her kitchen is amazing, and she absolutely lives what must be a worry-free life. She lives in East Hampton, talks regularly about her elaborate trips to Paris, and is married to Jeffrey, who is a business professor at Yale. And while her life might seem a bit too elaborate, she's got a story that got her where she is. Mind you, it isn't a rags to riches tale--she grew up in Stamford, CT.
 While I would love to sing her praises and elongate her life story, I'll spare you. I'll share just my favorite pieces. She met Jeffrey while she was in high school, and they got married when she was 20; such a modern day fairy tale. She worked as a budget analyst writing the nuclear budget after getting her MBA from George Washington University. The best part? When she was 30, and finding her job didn't fit her, she bought the little specialty food store in Westhampton Beach that was her first claim to fame. 

The Barefoot Contessa was born.

She has no specialty training, and she is all self-taught.

She slowly grew the business from 400 square feet in the seasonal location of Westhampton to 3,000 square feet in the residential East Hampton. It eventually closed, but it launched her into writing magazine columns, writing her first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, and of course signing with the Food Network to star in Barefoot Contessa.
Ina has the specialty food product line, Barefoot Contessa Pantry, but she has been approached with and turned down the idea of having her own cookware, furniture, and magazine. 

I love so many of the things she says, but some of my favorites are, "how easy is that?" and "make sure you use really good vanilla." Her hors d'oeuvres trays, dessert platters, and picnic lunches are pristine, and she is so fancy in such a simple way. And of course, it couldn't go unstated that her recipes are divine. I only pull out one of my Ina books when I'm feeling like over-indulging, but she never lets me down.

I love the story of her success, and my favorite is that she took a sizable risk to buy the specialty food shop to ensure that she lived a life with which she was happy. 

Do you love Ina? Do you love the food network or HGTV (my other fave)? Who is your favorite cook or what is your favorite show?
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TanaLicious said...

Ina is my hands down favorite too - I own all of her cookbooks and dream of hanging out with her in her open air barn kitchen, sipping lemonade and cooking away the day. Le sigh...

sarah nicole said...

Ina's cookbooks are so great! I also love Giada. And, of course, Martha. : )



Courtney said...

Ina isn't really my favorite. I find her to be a bit boring.

Paula Deen is my favorite! I just love her!! She has so much personality and plus her food is too die for!

Amber said...

Girl, I could watch Food Network ALL. DAY. LONG.

Most of the cooks I really enjoy. I do like Ina and always watch Barefoot Contessa if I see that it is on TV. She seems so sweet and worry-free, like you said.

My fave is Giada or Rachael though :)

Laura said...

Meghan, Ina is my favorite too! I think maybe because in a sense she reminds me of my mom :-) I love Giada and Claire (I think that's her name) on Five INgredient Fix. Have you watched the cooking channel? They have some good reruns and new shows too!

Amber M said...

I ADORE Ina! She is so approachable and I just want to sit at her lovely little table for every meal that she cooks so lovingly!

Paula Deen is another favorite... And Rachel Ray with her love for burgers, which I also share so seriously!

Mr. and Mrs. Smith said...

Don't hate me, but she annoys me a little. Her food looks delish, but she's definitely not my favorite to watch!

Alvira Blue-Roberts said...

I am with you I am always watching the food network show. I like Ina, but I also love Guy, big daddy, and Paula Deen.

jillian :: cornflake dreams. said...

i love her too! she uses WAY too much butter when she cooks tho :) i like the 5 ingredient girl too..forgot her name! and sandra with her cheap meals. rachael ray has grown on me too.. xoxo jcd :: cornflake dreams

Bridget said...

i love ina too. looove her. her recipes never fail me.

and if she had a blog she'd prob be one of those ones i would swear about.

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