Ahhhh – Food TV – yum!
Let me say right from the start, I am a total food junkie! Ok, if truth be told, I am also a Food TV junkie! I may need help with this but my husband is the same way about sports (all sports, all the time) so at least he benefits from what I learn by watching the cooking shows. Even before the advent of Food TV, I loved cooking. Nothing is more satisfying to me than preparing a great meal for family and friends whether it is something simple to be served around the kitchen table or outside on the deck or something elegant and intimate to share with guests over the holidays or at special events (and we all know that every event can be a special event).
With Food TV, I was able to take my cooking skills and dreams to a whole new level. While I am not a fan of the trend toward reality cooking shows like the cooking competitions using exotic or unusual ingredients, I still tune in and watch whatever is on trying to glean that one little nugget that makes the next dinner party or gathering that much more interesting. I really love the shows that actually show good cooks or chefs in their kitchens whipping up dishes that can be prepared without a degree from Le Cordon Bleu using ingredients that I can spell and buy readily at my local grocery store or supermarket. I salivate at the dishes prepared by Tyler Florence, laugh with the Neely’s, and practice my southern drawl Trisha and Damaris. But my absolute favorite chef to watch is Ina, the true culinary Contessa – barefoot in the Hamptons, no less.
How easy is that!
I feel like I should remake that movie Julie & Julia and instead of cooking all the dishes in Julia Childs’ Mastering the Art of French Cooking I would work my way through all of Ina’s cookbooks starting with Back to Basics then moving on to Foolproof before tackling the rest. To me the dishes are classic, simply prepared and delicious. Whenever I am fixing dinner for two or for twenty, the first thing I do is turn to Ina’s cookbooks and find ideas for what to serve. I may not follow the recipes exactly – most times I don’t. Sometimes I just get ideas on how to tweak dishes that I already prepare taking them to another level. Sometimes, it is something that is new and interesting and I do follow the recipe to the letter. I never claimed to be a baker and other than the occasional pie, I stayed away from it. After watching her show, I was inspired to make my favorite desert which is a carrot cake and Ina’s recipe was absolutely foolproof and wonderful!
I am so bad that this summer, I was entertaining several friends on the deck and after describing the preparation of one of the dishes I had prepared, without thought I ended with “How easy is that?” It’s Ina’s classic line when she is describing a dish and the funniest thing was that one of my friends immediately responded “You sound just like Ina!” She has her TV show and her cookbooks but otherwise she is fairly low key – just living and loving life in the Hamptons.
It may not be cooking but what is the one thing that excites you and makes you try new things? Cooking relaxes me and provides yet another outlet for creativity. Food feeds the body and the soul and brings people closer in the preparation and sharing of it. So much of our journey takes place over the shared meals along the way.