Political views aside, I think we can all agree that Ina Garten (also known as The Barefoot Contessa) is the Martin Luther King, Jr. of our generation. A plethora of cookbooks and an award-winning television series on the Food Network, this East Hamptonite has managed to draw in millions of fans and single-handedly fuel the recovery of our economy.
How does one achieve such success? Here are 10 reasons for Ina’s rise to complete world domination as conveyed through her show, The Barefoot Contessa:
1. For Ina, everything is easy as shit to make.
One of Ina’s copyrighted catchphrases (more on that later) is, “How easy is that!” It doesn’t matter if she is explaining how to pump gas or grow one’s own grapes in a backyard vineyard to make a peppery, full-bodied Malbec over the course of 5-10 years. It’s. All. So. Fucking. Easy. For her. And she never misses a chance to remind us of that.
2. Strict qualifications to be Ina’s BFF.
Ina has only three simple rules to become her absolute favorite person in the world: be a gay man, have the gayest job possible, and live in East Hampton. How easy is that! Ina’s life is gayer than a Kylie Minogue concert. You’ve got Miguel making the sassy table centerpieces for every one of Ina’s parties (more on that later), the pastel-clad pudgy one with the flower shop, and the other good-looking freelance photographer/trust-fund baby who is always her recipe-testing guinea pig. The bro in the specialty foods store is not a confirmed homo, but we can only assume he is at the very least ‘experimental.’
3. The overwrought catchphrases.
Robot Ina-Tron 9000 repeats the same 6-10 phrases for every show, like a Furby except with a much glossier ganache recipe. Some of the classics include:
- “How bad can that be!” For anything with heavy cream or butter in it (so essentially everything)
- “Turn up the volume!” For any recipe that she’s added some cutting-edge ingredient that all us uncultured folk have never heard of, like “cinnamon” or “basil” or “salt”
- “How easy is that!” Reserved for anything difficult to make ever
- “If you can’t make your own _________, store bought is fine.” Used for expressing disapproval for the general American public for being constrained by finances or time in regards to making their own marmalades, wine, cream, sheep’s cheese, or blown-glass vases.
4. She wears the pants in the relationship (allegorically and literally).
Jeffrey is Ina’s adorable and completely emasculated husband. Between the parties (OMG, the fucking parties again!) and the gay friends rotating through at any given moment, he is virtually a guest in his own home. When Ina lets him speak (only on special occasions and his birthday), it’s usually just to make a few gurgling approval noises while tasting the food for that episode.
5. She is rich and can get the “good” or “homemade” versions of things.
Another thing Ina is always reminding her viewers to do is to buy “good” ingredients: mayo, olive oil, plates, friends, lube, etc. In the event that she does not spend the average American’s monthly salary on some goat cheese, she requests that her viewers make it themselves. My personal favorite is her insistence for homemade chicken stock, which will cost you no less than $94 and will take no less than 48 hours to prepare. Just for the stock. She knows you’ll never actually be able to do this, but is just reminding you that she can. And will.
6. A soon-to-be uncovered double-life.
One thing Ina is doing more often than drinking heavy cream is issuing cautions to her viewers in the form of, “Don’t tell Jeffrey!” It’s usually because she has some “crazy” idea to make him a pot roast instead of his usual Friday chicken dinner (the universe subsequently fell out of alignment in this episode) or like, new flower arrangements in Jeffrey’s study/kennel. I think we are only a few episodes away from, “I’ve been out late this afternoon because I was helping Miguel and Frank turn their cocaine smuggling business up another notch! Don’t tell Jeffrey *awkward nervous giggle*.” And I’m gonna be all like, girl I am legally obligated to tell Jeffrey.
7. Smock/Tent/Denim Haute Couture.
In the morning the sun rises in the east. In the evening it sets in the west. And every day, Ina will wear an oversized, parachute-like denim shirt. The world in equilibrium. What is she hiding under those Barnum and Bailey tents and that medieval shoe cobbler’s haricut? Certainly not Spanks. Perhaps Jeffrey.
8. Awkward interactions with human beings.
There are the nervous giggles after anything and everything she says in a public sphere. “Here is my peach souffle *nervous giggle,*” or even, “I just farted *nervous giggle*.” Additionally, there are the painful-to-watch sideways half-hugs with people twice as tall as her and her inability to speak to children like humans, which I assume is because she has her arms full with her own man-child, Jeffrey.
9. The. Mother. Fucking. Parties.
Prepare to be jealous. Because you will never, ever be invited to the series of fiestas that Ina believes the rest of Americana will find relatable. Art gallery openings. Lobster dinners on the beach. Major Hollywood movie pre-screenings. Ugh, we are totally leading parallel lives. Said nobody ever. Except Jeffrey.
10. Plain simple: she is better than you.
She is always eating the best food, has fun gay friends, is probably drunk on premium vodka, and drives a Mercedes convertible. She made this life for herself by never leaving her kitchen and not taking any shit from Jeffrey. #Werq.