Wednesday, November 09, 2005

the big con

Ina Garten IS the "Barefoot Contessa"! And why do i tell you this? Just because I want to!!!!

I love this East Hamptonite! She inspires me in a culinary sense, but not strictly in that sense -- I'm drawn to her boundless generosity, her huge hospitality gifting, her considerable prowess with raw ingredients and her imaginative use of these ingredients. Here: check out her website!

You know, when i think more about why i won't miss her shows, i think its because I wish she was my mother!!!!! *psychoanalysis needed here?!* She so huggy and bubbly and everything i would think a mother should be. Plus the woman can cook!!!! MAN! There are other able cooks on the Food Network. There's Jamie Oliver, with his frenetic bashing of raw goodies in his mortar and pestle and all his Jamie phrases *pukka tukka*, *easy peasy*, *Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt*. Gotta love this guy. . but I feel almost like I need a Valium after watching him. There's Nigella Lawson, another Brit who's handy with a cleaver. . but she sort of intimidates me and annoys me with her over the top descriptions of her ingredients. . "chartreuse shards of greenish goodness" *BARF* I think she's either a frustrated writer or perhaps a reformed porn star. She seems to play a bit too much to the camera with her 'va va va voom'. She's like the Jessica Rabbit of the kitchen?! does that make sense?! Don't enjoy that. . probably cuz i'm a woman! I wanna say to Nigella. . just cook for me and stop suggestively licking food off of your fingers!! And then there's Emeril Lagasse!!! Oh boy, what do i say about this guy, except BAM!!!!! food and toothpaste both seem to elicit this frightening response from this 'dees, dem and dose' Noo Yawker" I feel like instead of wielding a pastry bag, he could just as easily slip on some brass knuckles!! I cannot watch Emeril (though I do love the 'morning grooming' commercials in which he thoughtfully takes himself and his toothpastey toothbrush in a cab across town, to a remote location, where he can responsibly BAM to his heart's content without waking half of Brooklyn!) And there's also Mario Battali. . . okay, this guy - he's a true gourmand. . . loves his own cooking a bit too much, there Mario? He looks EXACTLY like the "comic book guy' from The Simpsons!!!! Spitting image!!!!! Rotund, like a Santa Claus with red hair, beard and a pony tail. . he even wears red clogs!!! Needs Clinton and Stacey really badly!!!! I know i'm being a bit superficial here. . . sorry about that. He's a regular on "Iron Chef America", which i only glance at because its a bit bizarre. . . they work with really, really 'out there' ingredients like sea urchins, eel, etc. BLECH. Mario also has a show which shows him eating his way across America!!!! Literally!!!!! Mario! how many points in that mountain of manicotti?!!! geesh! He's a great chef though. . . he seems to have an exquisitely sensitive palate and nose, this guy can go into some random restaurant kitchen and tell you if there's truffle oil in some else's 20-ingredient sauce!!!! Its so funny, he does 'the taste' then he smacks his lips and tells the camera everything that's in it. Yeah, he's that good!

Anyway, other 'food personalities' are some of the reasons why I love my Contessa!!! She doesn't annoy me or agitate me. I don't need to take mood stabilizing drugs after watching her show. . i don't feel intimidated by her. . she comes across as this fabulously nurturing, chubby, sweetie pie of a cook!

My family makes fun of her. . They call her "The Big Con". . (a jibe re. her 'well-upholstered' body) But as KK's' boyfriend Joel says "Hey, you can't trust a skinny cook!" Right on, Joel! I may have already talked about this a few months back. . . if i have, just humour me!!! I print out her on line recipes, cuz her cookbooks are $53 a pop!!!! too rich for my blood. . . On some of the first print outs, Rob had scratched out the "Contessa" at the top of the page and had scrawled "FATessa!" Oh! the nerve!!! But he has to admit that her recipes are fantastic!!

Now she does have a few 'tendencies'. . one being her lavish pouring of cream, her extravagant volumes of butter, olive oil, eggs and sugar. I do feel the need to book in with the Cardiologist, just watching the various fats get plopped into the Kitchen Aid mixer! Boy, its kinda disturbing. Her favourite phrase is "How bad can that be?" PLENTY, BAD WOMAN!!! But she does make me want to whip up a batch of brownies and eat them all myself!!! *no, i wouldn't ever really do that. . but i might have a few!!* And yes, she's a bit of a boozehound. She often demonstrates the making, mixing and consumption of various cocktails. She's got all the accoutrements, the corkscrew, the blender, the shaker with the holes on top, the pitchers for the sangrias, margaritas and other "Jimmy Buffet-worthy" beverages. Today, she made French Onion soup. I couldn't believe it. . .. the soup was made with 1. cognac. 2. medium dry sherry 3. chardonnay.???!!!!!! HUH?!!! sure there were some onions and stock, but who the heck would notice? They'd get tanked after one bowlful!!!! Her boozy ways do not go unnoticed by Rob, who says that she must immediately start downing all the 'demonstration cocktails' once the cameras stop . I say, "Give her the benefit of the doubt, come on!"

Never mind, I love you, Ina! Or at least I love your TV personna!!!! I have learned how to chiffonade basil, make pesto, strip thyme stems of their leaves, I have learned what a 'half sheet pan' is and how to make brioche. I have drooled over all the pretty, pretty baking!!! I have learned to decorate food with the foods that are in it. I have learned how to elegantly and imaginatively set a table. You've taught me how to make garlic, lemon and herb roasted chicken and how to slice it. . not to mention granola, orange yogurt, outrageous brownies, croque monsieur (French ham and cheese grilled sandwiches), brussel sprouts with pancetta, tabbouli. Oh, there's much, much more. . but that's enough. The people who read my blog, *i think their patience wears thin with my wordiness!!?*

Ina Garten IS "The Barefoot Contessa". Her shows make me happy. Her warm smile makes me smile and her recipes are excellent. She has made me a better cook. Well done, "Connie" I love ya!! You are my culinary heroine!


Tracy said...

One thing....I can't stand her laugh! It sounds so artificial to me, so forced. Ick!

That's the only thing I can't stand about the Contessa (is she really a Contessa?) I enjoy watching her just for the unreal extravagance. :)

Kathryn said...

well, yes, there's the laugh. .i have to agree. . but I try to tune that out. Yes, extravagance is the perfect word to describe her! I love extravagance!!! She apparently took the title "Barefoot Contessa" from a movie of that title. This is the name of her former fine foods store/catering business - (she's since sold the business). I think that she makes most of her money developing recipes and publishing cookbooks. I'm sure she gets a fair bit being on TV too!

Lindsay said...

Ha ha.. that onion soup recipe was hilarious! I've seen a lot of recipes like this, way more alcohol in them than food! That recipe book you gave me that was put together by the oncology nurses at CMH was like that. Every second recipe called a cup or two of whiskey, brandy, Kahlua, Bailey's irish cream or vodka!

Kathryn said...

yeah!! too funny! sorry about that book! I didn't even realize, without ever having used it. Yesterday i watched Ina make a chocolate orange mousse. . with 8 eggs separated, PLUS 4 more whole eggs. . .gobs of butter, cream, whipping cream, sugar and of course Grand Marnier!! She kept saying "Jeffrey's (her hubby) going to be very happy." I wanted to scream!!! "He's not gonna be too happy when he's having his coronary bypass!!!" The mousse looked delicious but oh, so dangerous.

Tee said...

I hate almost all the chefs on Food Network for inexplicable reasons. Just thinking about going into it annoys me. LOL.

One guy I like is Jamie Oliver. He's just cute. LOL. I must have totally tuned out all those weird phrases because reading them annoyed me. (I'm annoyed today in general. Sorry. LOL.)

I've always hated Emeril.

Haven't watched the Barefoot Contessa but the name is slightly unappealing. Barefoot and food. Gross. LOL.

Kathryn said...

oh, Tee! you're cute! Jamie Oliver is cute. I joined his message board. . its such an international board. . amazing!

I think the American Food Network has a lot of different hosts than we do here in Canada -- When i go onto the American website, i don't know over half of the chefs!

Certain shows, i know what you mean, i don't like them. Don't like Bobby Flay's show, have never liked Emeril's show! Alton Brown, he's really weird but such a whiz with the food information trivia. Watching his show is like a series of 'in your face' montage bits all strung together. . i can't really seem to like it.

Barefoot in name only. Even if she was, as long as she ain't cooking with her feet!

Tracy said...

Oh I like Alton Brown. I find his show very interesting. But I've always liked those informative types of shows. I don't like Bobby Flay either...he's an arrogant little piece of...I digress...he's not appealing to my senses.

Kevin said...

Emeril is fun to watch sometimes. I never thought cooking could seem so explosive...

But I must say I don't make a habit of watching FoodTV. It usually makes me hungry.

Kathryn said...

yeah, watching the Food Network DOES make a person hungry!!!

Emeril. . .i think he's one of the pioneers on the Food Network. He's a trained chef, gotta give him his due. . . but i can't stand him!!! I love passionate displays and he has a real passion for food. . but i can't seem to be able to watch him for very long.

Alton Brown is quirky, isn't he? I have seen many of his shows and they are interesting. . i agree. I guess i'll just say that he's not my favourite. . but I will watch his show sometimes. I like Rachael Ray too!!She's as shiny as a new penny and as chipper as a little chipmunk!!!! *similie overdose!!!* She even has dimples! how adorable is she? 30 minute meals is a great show, i haven't seen any new ones for a while, but they keep switching times periodically, so i seem to have lost track of her!