Monday, April 02, 2007

Barefoot and in Love

For those of you who've been around this little corner of the wide world of web for a while, you may know I have a propensity to have Food Network celebrity chef girl-crushes. At first, it was Rachel Ray, back when she had only two shows on that network and zero syndicated talk shows. Now she's been overexposed in a boy's magazine and overexposed in my heart. For a while, it looked like Paula Deen was coming up as the heir to Rachel's throne. While Paula isn't as beautiful as Rachel, Paula has a hot son, a cute house, and a propensity to cook with butter I deeply admire. During my Mom's hospital stay, I got up to watch Martha Stewart's talk show (mainly because I want to be there when Martha cuts one of her clueless starlets who ruins what Martha is demonstrating). One day, Paula Deen came on. Paula was appropriately in awe of Martha's sheer awesomeness, because while Martha Stewart may not be a cuddly ball of cotton candy and puppy dog smiles, the woman knows her way around the home. After pleasantries, Paula started talking about her assistant waking her and her husband, Michael Gruber, up in the morning.

"You let your assistant in your house?" Martha asked incredulously.

"Why yeis," replied Paula.

"I try to keep my assistants out of my house," Martha said, almost to herself.

"Well, this one tiime, my assistant came in twirlin' a baton and singin' to me and Michael..."

"Do you let people wear shoes in your house?" asked Martha out of nowhere.

"Oh, yeis," said Paula, not skipping a beat. Martha looked like she was about to vomit.

But I grow weary of Paula as well, as she now has a pseudo-talk show on the Food Network and my Mom said her restaurant, which I really hoped was good, is not. While Dave Lieberman is my eye candy on the Food Network (seriously, Dave, I'm free most weeknights, call me!) and Alton Brown is hot in the way that he is smart but not physically hot (and he has a KitchenAid with flames on it!), I need my girl-crush.

Enter Ina Garten.

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Someone's making cookies!

My love for Ina has grown ever-stronger as I watch her show. I get to the gym shortly after 5, so I start watching Barefoot Contessa when it's already started. Her recipes always look so good. She has a potato salad I'm dying to make. I've made her tomato and feta salad and it's amazing. She likes a cold cocktail, which she makes with liquor I generally can't afford and with simple mixes that I bet taste better than anything you can get at an average bar. She advocates for the consumption of bellinis. Like Paula with less brashness, she also has a deep love for butter and cream. Like Giada with less conspicuousness, Ina correctly pronounces foreign foods and techniques. Like me with more money and a nicer kitchen, Ina also cites Julia Child as one of her culinary heroes.

Mostly, I want to be Ina Garten. I want her absolutely breathtaking house in the Hamptons. I want her huge pantry. I want her firsthand love of France. I want a doting husband who loves everything I cook for him. I want her kitchen. I want her rich arty friends with boats. I love her pretty blue eyes, big smile, and sense of beach-chic style. I want to be able to ask rhetorical questions at the end of a recipe or instruction ("...How simple is that?") and pull it off without sounding like a snob. I want to have a slew of gay male friends in Nantucket red pants over for dinner. I want to have a home that I can make very comfortable for my friends. I want everything to be simply fabulous.

So, Ina, if you ever need a sous chef for your show, you need someone to help you polish off a bellini or fourteen, or just want to talk about boys or shoes, email me. Just make sure you bring Dave Lieberman along to keep me company when Jeffery comes home from work. Wouldn't that be to die for?

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