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A Really Nice Interview with Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa...

Gio Dec 3, 2012 08:56 AM

...in which we get a sense of what she loves about cooking and writing about it, and more.


  1. f
    foodieX2 Dec 3, 2012 09:11 AM

    I love her. I know many on this site find her snobby, pretentious, etc but her cook books are ones I go to time and time again. I enjoy her show and wish my husband was half as appreciative as hers, LOL!

    2 Replies
    1. re: foodieX2
      LindyCindy Dec 3, 2012 08:15 PM

      I had the pleasure of meeting her a few weeks ago when she was in town for her book signing. What a classy woman. I too use her cookbooks over and over. Her recipes actually work because Ina has taken the time to carefully test each one before she publishes it. It's during this time of the year when her Hot Chocolate becomes a staple in our home.

      1. re: foodieX2
        cleobeach Dec 4, 2012 08:36 AM

        I love her too. I do think she can be snobby and pretentious and I still adore her!

        I also go to her recipes over and over again, always with great results.

      2. juliejulez Dec 3, 2012 12:52 PM

        Great interview, thanks for sharing it.

        I wish my bf was appreciative like Jeffrey too! Just about every time he likes something, which is most of the time, I get, "it's good". LOL

        1 Reply
        1. re: juliejulez
          mariacarmen Dec 6, 2012 02:55 PM

          haha! i usually get "tasty"!

        2. m
          Mother of four Dec 3, 2012 01:28 PM

          Do you honestly believe that she only has one oven! With all her money and all the cooking she does that sounds totally crazy to me.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Mother of four
            kengk Dec 3, 2012 02:55 PM

            What sounds crazy to me is that she would lie about it when the lie would surely be quickly found out.

            1. re: Mother of four
              juliejulez Dec 3, 2012 04:07 PM

              Her show is filmed at her house. Older episodes were in her actual kitchen, newer episodes are filmed in her "barn". It appears that in her newer barn, there are two ovens as part of her range: http://designinmyview.blogspot.com/2012/07/ina-gartens-kitchen-and-friends.html but I don't recall ever seeing double wall ovens or anything like that. I believe I read another article that they only use the barn for large parties and for filming the television show. In her actual house kitchen it does appear to only have one oven. http://cdn8.wn.com/pd/f3/d8/4d416032d3aa67a9e276a8ae2b8f_grande.jpg

              Older kitchen:

              Newer kitchen: http://www.foodnetwork.com/chefs/star...

              1. re: Mother of four
                Scoutmaster Dec 4, 2012 08:21 PM

                One oven but 2 dishwashers!

                1. re: Mother of four
                  rasputina Dec 6, 2012 08:26 AM

                  In her new cookbook, Foolproof, she talks about how they did some remodeling and she replaced her range. Her old one was a 48 inch with 2 large ovens. The new one they put in had one large and one small oven. She didn't realize until she went to use it that she couldn't fit a 1/2 sheet pan in the smaller oven. So she said she now has one oven she can cook in and one where she can heat plates. She also said it forced her to adjust her cooking so that she is now cooking one thing in the oven and the others on the stove, or choosing dishes where everything doesn't need to be in the oven at the same time.

                2. h
                  HillJ Dec 3, 2012 02:48 PM

                  Ina has a great laugh, wonderful wit, charm and knows how to stay calm during a party. What's not to like about that?

                  1. The Dairy Queen Dec 3, 2012 06:06 PM

                    Darn, that just makes me want to buy her new book! Seriously, though, she sounds lovely.


                    1. eviemichael Dec 4, 2012 03:12 AM

                      Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed reading that.
                      I'm not sure why people find her snobby, she seems really down to earth and friendly.

                      Also, her recipes come through for me every time.

                      1. n
                        NE_Elaine Dec 4, 2012 04:49 AM

                        Thanks for posting this. Her shows were the only ones on Food TV that I still enjoyed before I gave up on cable TV. I don't have any of her cookbooks, but have made a number of her recipes that were posted online. They always came out well.

                        1. Gio Dec 4, 2012 05:08 AM

                          I thought the interview reinforced the Ina we actually see on the TV program. Her bubbly personality, her ability to teach, her desire to make things not just attractive but sensible and tasty too.

                          As for the one or two oven issue. Of course she has one oven in her house but a more professional set-up in her barn where the filming takes place. It simply makes sense. It's the kitchen in her house where she develops and tests recipes but then has a more elaborate set for the entertainment and recipe presentation. Thanks to juliejulez for the links.

                          Here in the Boston area her program is on late afternoons and sometimes I'm able to catch it. It seems to be on an endless loop and has many re-runs but still makes a pleasant respite to the frantic, drama laden other FN shows. Oh, and the recipes of hers I've cooked have been terrific.

                          1. m
                            mwk Dec 4, 2012 06:49 AM

                            I hope this will put to rest most of that ridiculous kerfuffle over the Make a Wish kid. I met her at a book signing a few years ago and she was lovely. I've enjoyed every one of the recipes of her's I've made. Right now, I have a batch of her "Outrageous Brownies' baking in the oven. I am required to bring them to parties, and there are only crumbs left over afterwards.

                            1. k
                              khat mange Dec 4, 2012 09:56 PM

                              This is a nice interview. I understand the people who say she's snobby. I don't think I have ever heard the word "fabulous" uttered so often. However, overall I think she's lovely. She laughs genuinely (non of that tee hee stuff that Rachel Ray is always doing) and doesn't take herself too seriously. Also, in my experience, her recipes are down to earth and amazingly delicious. I have yet to make something of hers that hasn't gotten rave reviews. (Though, I do always use about half the amount of salt that she recommends).

                              1. Scoutmaster Dec 5, 2012 10:24 AM

                                I saw this (or identical) interview live on November 29th. The written one being length edited. She is just as sweet and humble in person as she is on TV. She stated she couldn't function in her kitchen without 2 dishwashers but manages fine with one oven. I found it interesting that her film crew is from Europe. She told a funny story of having to bone a duck on camera and it took several tries to get it right since apparently it's very difficult to do (much different than a chicken). She said that she slipped with a word that rhymes with duck and they had to stop rolling. :)

                                Regarding salt ~ she mostly uses Kosher. Keep in mind a teaspoon of Kosher weighs less than regular table salt, so you're getting less sodium and less "saltiness".

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Scoutmaster
                                  Gio Dec 5, 2012 10:50 AM

                                  Ah... see? .... she's human after all. I have noted she uses Kosher salt, and extra large eggs, but when she measures it's rather hit or miss. She says, "1/2 teaspoon", for example, but then it's 1/2 teaspoon in the 1 teaspoon measuring spoon Same with pouring wine into a pot. "About a cup" becomes quite a large splash. All done in the interest of saving time, probably. Yes, I do like watching her show.

                                  1. re: Gio
                                    Scoutmaster Dec 5, 2012 11:26 AM

                                    When you've been cooking as long as she has, I'm sure you become pretty good at eyeballing. Regarding the salt for instance; yes she often uses the 1 teaspoon measuring spoon, but doesn't fill it up all the way. With the wine, starting with a newly opened bottle, it's fairly easy to judge how much you're pouring out, knowing where the liquid line is on the bottle, if you've measured for past recipes. She almost always says (on her show) it's important to measure when baking, but not so much with regular dishes. During her interview she said she writes EVERYTHING down when preparing for a party, no matter how small and ALWAYS follows a recipe.

                                2. j
                                  jarona Dec 5, 2012 05:02 PM

                                  Thank you so much for that link. Printed it and will read it later. So excited. Tomorrow I'm going to a book signing -- Ina's gonna sign my "foolproof" book! Merry Christmas to me!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: jarona
                                    Gio Dec 6, 2012 08:22 AM

                                    Oh what fun. Have a great time! Hope you come back and tell us all about it.

                                    1. re: Gio
                                      jarona Dec 9, 2012 10:56 AM

                                      Gio. I went to the book signing at King of Prussia Mall and here's how it went down:
                                      I was so excited that I ended up taking three hours off from work. Since I work five minutes from the Mall, I figured I would get the time to do some Christmas shopping. Wrong!!! The line to have Ina sign the Foolproof book was astounding! It was seemingly a never-ending line. All I could think was "How will Ina ever be able to write the paragraph I composed for her to place in my book"? I swear the line went clear around the circumfrence of the Mall. It was very organized as well. Staff of Williams Sonoma checked out receipts to make sure we on the line, did, in fact, have our receipts at the ready. The staff had another receipt and an envelope with our name. If you didn't have a receipt or pre ordered the book, there was no chance in he*l you would have the book signed. I was getting a bit "tsk-tsk-y", I have to say. Luckily the two women who were on the line in front of me were a hoot and the three of us engaged in food and "Ina" conversation. We also looked through the book, which staff gave us when they checked our receipts, for great recipes. The line progressed quickly, but reminded me of years ago, when my kids were young, and we would wait on these Disney lines for the attractions at Disneyworld. Two and a half hours later, I was face to face with Ina. I felt like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" when he gets face to face with Santa and says so quickly that he wants a Red Rider BB Gun. Ina was very charming, and genuinely happy to greet her fans. Her smile is sincere and she does have kind eyes--which is a big plus. I didn't get what I wanted written in my book, but as fast as Ralphie spoke with Santa, I blurted out "Hey Ina, I hope I see you in the Sixth--each time we are in Paris, I always hope we run into you and Jeffrey"--and instead of giving me a look of "Oh-boy-this-one-is-a-lunatic", she smiled and said "Well, I hope I see you too". HOW GOOD IS THAT??? PS. I made her "Perfect Poundcake" last night and it was astoundingly perfect!

                                      1. re: jarona
                                        foodieX2 Dec 9, 2012 10:59 AM

                                        :) What fun, even if the line was long!

                                        1. re: jarona
                                          Gio Dec 9, 2012 11:51 AM

                                          Jarona, thank you so very much for coming back to tell us about your Ina experience. I can relate to your past waiting in line with children as I did the same thing with mine... to see Mr. Rogers!

                                          Anyway, I very happy to hear Ms Garten is just as welcoming as she appears on her TV show. I'm also glad your experience was so positive even though the wait was long...

                                    2. ttoommyy Dec 6, 2012 10:16 AM

                                      Thanks for the link Gio. It is indeed "a really nice interview with Ina Garten." While I find her show unbearable to watch at times (it's not her; it's her affected friends I can't stand) I do find her recipes to be excellent and her cooking on the show to be among the best as far as technique goes. You can tell the woman knows her stuff. Why do all of these new cooking shows have to have a story and cast of characters to go with them? I would watch an Ina Garten cooking show every day if they would leave out all the silliness and just show her cooking.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: ttoommyy
                                        ItalGreyHound Dec 6, 2012 12:06 PM

                                        Agreed. Love her show and think she's just lovely. Don't quite get where some think she is pretentious; possibly, it is because she is a cook and entertainer first, and comes off a little awkwardly in front of the camera occasionally? That's just my guess.

                                        The only thing on her shows that consistently makes me roll my eyes are the "made for TV" phone conversations with friends...

                                        1. re: ItalGreyHound
                                          silence9 Dec 12, 2012 11:05 AM

                                          In a certain episode where she hosts a pre or post-performance party for her friends in a theatre company, the episode ends with the theatre troupe singing to Ina ("Nothing could be fine-a - than to be with Ina - in the Hamptons"). I was uncomfortable for Ina and/or the director of that episode. Cringe-worthy.

                                          Sure, it was her 'friends' who hammed it up, but that scene should have been red-penciled for its' pretension.

                                          Other than that, I do like her hair-cut (nice bangs)...

                                        2. re: ttoommyy
                                          kengk Dec 6, 2012 01:04 PM

                                          I have been tempted to make this comment ever since this thread started but have held my counsel for fear of reprisals.

                                          Ina seems to have an inordinate number of youngish, gay/prissy/metrosexual, men friends. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

                                          1. re: kengk
                                            Gio Dec 6, 2012 01:15 PM

                                            Well... they certainly are an interesting bunch, and they dress really well. It's The Hamptons, after all.

                                            1. re: kengk
                                              ttoommyy Dec 6, 2012 01:25 PM

                                              "Ina seems to have an inordinate number of youngish, gay/prissy/metrosexual, men friends. Not that there is anything wrong with that."

                                              And they are soooooo annoying. And I'm gay!
                                              Like I said before, I wish they would just get rid of that forced "story" that seems to be the basis of every show and just let her cook!

                                              1. re: ttoommyy
                                                Samalicious Dec 6, 2012 04:24 PM

                                                She's a big girl with a cute little husband and a whole bunch of gay boyfriends. I would be showing that off too.

                                                1. re: ttoommyy
                                                  rasputina Dec 6, 2012 05:00 PM

                                                  Most of her friends are pretty boring to me, but I will watch T.R. Pescod on her show anytime.

                                                  1. re: rasputina
                                                    LaLa Dec 7, 2012 07:11 PM

                                                    Plus one

                                                2. re: kengk
                                                  rasputina Dec 6, 2012 02:09 PM

                                                  I record it and just FF past the uninteresting parts.

                                              2. m
                                                miss_belle Dec 6, 2012 04:19 PM

                                                Looks like some of us replied to the wrong thead the other day..:-)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: miss_belle
                                                  chloebell Dec 9, 2012 02:00 PM

                                                  Regarding her kitchens.....I'd take either one of them - two ovens or one!!! (though yes, I have an oven. ;) )

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