Sometimes you have someone in your life that inspires you. You have someone that you admire from afar, someone who you may know through their art, or a tv show, or because you aspire to do something in the way that they do. Ina Garten has been that person for me for nearly ten years. I first admired her cookbooks- the stories she wrote in them, sharing bits and pieces of her life, the way she shops, the way she feels about food. I loved that her recipes always seemed to work properly, or that whenever I made them, those I love enjoyed them so completely. Some of our favorite meals are from her cookbooks- chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, chicken salad, fresh corn salad, sugar snap peas with sesame, and our favorites- palmiers and pavlova! Her food is delicious, and yet she seems to create meals that aren’t complicated or fussy. I so admire that she has created a way of cooking that makes it accessible to such a wide range of cooks.
When Ina began her tv show I was thrilled. The chance to get to know her- to see her in action doing what she does best- it was the ultimate opportunity for someone who is forever looking for inspiration when it comes to gathering, feeding those I love, and really enjoying the process rather than stressing over putting delicious and nutritious meals together. I love that her kitchen is always so calm and that she has demystified so many recipes that could easily be complicated. I love that she encouraged me to try making boeuf bourguignon for the first time. It is now a winter staple on the farm.
When the opportunity arose for me to go listen to her talk in Seattle, I jumped at the chance. What could be better than seeing her close-up, talking food and gathering and entertaining? Well, maybe MEETING HER at a pre-show meet & greet! Let’s just say that giddy didn’t really begin to describe how I was feeling when I woke this morning. My husband – always the level-headed one reminded me that “you never know what she is going to be like so don’t be disappointed if she isn’t what you hope”… But I had no doubt. She just had to be wonderful.
And she was, and more so. Ina is the most gracious, kindhearted public personality I have ever met. She is quick to laugh with a fabulous sense of humor. She clearly loves her many (many many) fans and gives them 100% while she is with them. She is completely grounded and immediately puts you at ease. I shouldn’t have been surprised and yet throughout the afternoon Lissa and I kept looking at each other, exchanging “isn’t she the absolute best?” looks. Her story was inspiring, her outlook is inspiring, and her wonderful warmth was the most inspiring to me. I loved how passionate she is about what she does, and how she really does want things to be simplified for people so that they are encouraged to cook. I loved when she said “the fresher your ingredients, the less you have to do with them” – how true is that?
I could go on and on, but it may get a little mushy and I won’t bore you with my increased admiration for her. Let’s suffice it to say that I am looking at things a little bit differently this evening. I took many things that she said to heart and truly wish I could have recorded the entire talk to be able to listen to it again. I’m pretty sure the smile on my face is going to last for some time to come~
I also wanted to share this fundraiser with you. My gorgeous friend Liz is hosting it to help my mom get the wall built so that she can move the kids into the orphanage. Buy yourself a red cross and know that you are making a difference!