What does one do with a new baby and his working wife on maternity leave?
As I stated yesterday, I've been watching a good amount of day time TV with my wife being home. I've also let it be known that I've been watching a good amount of the Food Network. The Food Network is pretty much the perfect channel to have on in the background if you like ambient noise. During the day, it's pretty much all straight forward cooking shows. The night time is when the competition shows come on. So, during the day, having that ambient noise in the background is nice when I'm blogging or when I'm cleaning or doing something around the house. I do watch pretty much all the competition shows too. With my wife being home, we watch shows like "Pioneer Woman" and "Everyday Italian" and "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". We also enjoy the competition shows like "Chopped", "Cutthroat Kitchen" and any iteration of the "Baking Challenge", be it Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas. The only shows we avoid on the Food Network are, anything involving human douchebag Guy Fieri and their awful rip off of "The Chew" called, "The Kitchen". First of all, "The Chew" is terrible, but, "The Kitchen" makes "The Chew" look like "Breaking Bad". "The Kitchen" is awful.
None of these shows compare to what I believe to be the greatest show the Food Network has ever created. I'm talking about "Barefoot Contessa" with Ina Garten of course. This show is absolutely perfect on every level. First of all, Ina Garten is the best host of any cooking show ever and yes, I think she's much better than Julia Child was. She has a very soft, calming way of talking about food. She never raises her voice to show appreciation of food like Fieri does. She doesn't need any catchphrases like "BAM!" or "winner, winner, chicken dinner" or, "that's money", she just talks about food like a normal person. She also seems to get the very best ingredients. She made steak the other day and my mouth was watering when she brought out the cut of meat. It looked so good and it was clearly the best quality her butcher had. Same thing when she made bone in lamb chops on a recent episode. She has an affinity for fruit tarts. The fruit she gets is the freshest fruit I've ever seen. I didn't know strawberries could look that red and fresh. She also hand makes all the crusts for these tarts. When the finished product comes out of the oven, I want to go into my TV and eat this delicious looking food. She also makes all her drinks fresh. Sure, most people do this with alcohol, but how many people go out to their garden and grab the freshest mint leaves I've ever seen? The only person involved with my life that does this is my mother in law. I've never seen anyone else use fresh herbs from their garden to cook besides from mother in law and Ina Garten. Ina also made a fresh hot chocolate for her husband Jeffrey, I'll talk more about him later, and it looked dynamite. She boiled milk and half and half in a big pot, used big hunks of what I'm sure is expensive milk chocolate, put semi sweet chocolate and used vanilla extract and ground decaf coffee. I used to work at a Saint Louis Bread Company and we used real milk and Hershey's syrup to make our hot chocolate and RD, my brother and founder of the website, used to refer to this as "orgasmic" (ed note: yes it is). Ina's hot chocolate puts Bread Company's to shame and I don't need to taste it to know this, I can judge it simply based on seeing it. Simply look at the ingredients I listed.
Now, the food is the main part of her show, as it should be, but she also seems to be the most genuinely happy person I've ever seen. She has the perfect life. She loves her husband Jeffrey and he reciprocates this love ten fold. When he gets home from work or a trip and Ina has a big meal ready for the two of them, he lights up. But, he doesn't just light up at the site of the food, he's happier to see Ina and she's just as happy. Each embrace is different, but they all share the same amount of love. These two are clearly soul mates. When Jeffrey is working, Ina seems to have an endless number of friends involved in many different occupations. She's friend with carpenters, florists, college students, painters and butchers, just to name a few. These people love Ina and she loves them back. It doesn't hurt that she's making them delicious food and has these friends of hers be her "tasters". We all know the food is delicious. I'd love to befriend Ina and become one of her "tasters". Very few things would make me happier in my life. She also has a beautiful home in the Hamptons. Jeffrey and her are clearly well off and the pictures of her home during the show hammer home this point. I don't say this because I'm envious, I say this because Jeffrey and her deserve this. They both work hard and are very accomplished in their fields, so why not live lavishly? Good for them.
One other thing I like about Ina was told to me by my mother in law. She never competes on these competition cooking shows because she feels like 1) cooking shouldn't be a competition, you should cook because you love it and 2) she won't compromise her ingredients, she believes you should use the best ingredients available to you. This makes me like Ina even more, and I'm already a HUGE fan. I wish there were more chefs and personalities on the Food Network like her, but Ina is one of a kind. I don't think her show is on anymore, she's probably happily retired from making a show and doing whatever she wants, as she's want to do, but at least we have reruns. I look forward to these episodes twice a day. I love her show and her whole vibe. Ina Garten is the best thing that the Food Network ever had and I'm glad they still air "Barefoot Contessa".
Ina, you're a national treasure, thanks for everything you do. And thanks for being you, you're the greatest.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. "Cooking a Steak" would be Ty's favorite food show, if only it existed in the real world. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.