Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Barefoot Contessa

I love Ina Garten-- she is one of my heroes! 

Ina Rosenberg Garten (born February 2, 1948) is an American author, host of the Food Network program Barefoot Contessa, and former White House nuclear policy analyst. 

At 15, she met her future husband, Jeffrey Garten, on a trip to visit her brother at Dartmouth College. After a year of exchanging letters, they began dating.

On December 22, 1968, Rosenberg and Garten were married in Stamford. She began to dabble in cooking and ... she also acquired her pilot's license. After her husband had completed his military service, the couple journeyed to Paris,France, for a four-month camping vacation that Garten has described as the birth of her love for French cuisine. On returning to the U.S., she began to cultivate her culinary abilities by studying the volumes of Julia Child's seminal cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.Her weekly dinner party tradition began taking shape during this time.

Ina's amazing herb garden

In Washington, Garten worked in the White House and took business courses at George Washington University, eventually earning an MBA, while her husband worked in the State Department and completed his graduate studies. She climbed the political ladder to the Office of Management and Budget and was assigned the position of budget analyst, which entailed writing the nuclear energy budget and policy papers on nuclear centrifuge plants for Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

Garten left her government job in 1978 after spotting an ad for a specialty food store in New York. The store was named Barefoot Contessa. "My job in Washington was intellectually exciting and stimulating but it wasn't me at all," she told The New York Times four years later.

After the success of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and Barefoot Contessa Parties!, Garten was approached by Food Network with an offer to host her own television cooking show... Garten was reportedly awarded the most lucrative contract for a culinary author to date, signing a multimillion dollar deal for multiple books. She has also been approached several times to develop her own magazine, line of furniture, set of cookware, and chain of boutiques , but has declined these offers, stating she has no interest in further complicating her life. Between 2004 and 2005, Barefoot in Paris sold almost 400,000 copies and rose to number eleven on the New York Times bestseller list.

Ina's simple kitchen

Garten is known to guard her private life closely, and declines to take part in Food Network charities and activities. Her husband, Jeffrey Garten, went on to become the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade and dean of the Yale School of Management. He is now the Juan Trippe Professor in the Practice of International Trade, Finance, and Business at Yale. He can also frequently be seen on her cooking show, assisting his wife with simple tasks or sampling the dishes she has created. They divide their time between Manhattan, East Hampton, and Paris.

"You can be miserable before you have a cookie and you can be miserable after you eat a cookie but you can't be miserable while you are eating a cookie." 
— Ina Garten

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