In the summer of 2004, my mother had a kidney transplant, and I spent the summer at home with her, hanging out, making sure she felt okay, taking her to appointments, and doing a lot of cooking. We would pile up in bed together and watch episode after episode of 30 Minute Meals, Everyday Italian, and Barefoot Contessa, then often shop for and make the recipes we had just seen. I had grown up in a family that enjoyed food, and I began learning to cook as early as the age of 7, but I often think of this summer as the one that cemented my decision to attend culinary school after university.
As years went on and I developed my own approach to food and cooking, I actually found I didn’t enjoy watching cooking shows as much, but my love for Barefoot Contessa never wavered. There was always something so refreshing, organic, and honest about it, for me at least. Yesterday, Eater published a long feature about Ina and Jeffrey Garten, and I thought it was a joy to read. It also made me realize what it was I’ve always loved about her and her show — she has a unique ability to maintain singular focus, know herself, and to say no. What a gift! One of the traits I most admire in others is such a strong, confident sense of self, and it was interesting to read more about Ina’s background, her career path, and her ability to hone in on what she really enjoys doing (and to be able to say, “Screw the rest.”). We live in a culture that’s always trying to convince us that we should want more and be on to the next thing already, so I found it really refreshing to read about someone so successful who found their bliss (in cookbook writing!) and hasn’t felt the need for the “so much more.”
Consider this an early Week/End link — I felt like I had more to say about this article, so I wanted to post about it singularly. I hope you enjoy the piece too; I think you will, especially if you enjoy Ina’s show and her cookbooks! You can check it out here (also, this extra little tidbit with the writer is gold!).