Ina GartenWho said you don't have to be a rocket scientist to be a good cook? Apparently it helps! Ask Ina Garten! Even without Emeril screaming â€œBamâ€ to the top of his lungs, we fell of our chair when we learned that our beloved Barefoot Contessa was a former White House nuclear policy analyst! Yes, it's a lot to digest! Ina is the role model for everyone out there who cooks and entertains friends as a release from a high-pressure job in which they think they are stuck for life. Ina, unlike the majority who find themselves in that situation, knew she wanted more of a life so she set out to make it happen. While working in her government job, she started buying houses in the Dupont Circle and Kalorama neighborhoods of Washington, renovated and flipped them at a profit. These profits made it possible for her to buy the Barefoot Contessa specialty food store in East Hampton. From there she made culinary history when the Food Channel recognized her and brought her to fame.
Ina's first trip to France was the inspiration of her life-long obsession with the freshness of food. It's true that for anyone who has lived or done extensive traveling in France, their entire attitude about the freshness of food changes. After shopping daily in the open markets there, a squash isn't fresh unless the flower is still open on the end! In the U.S where everyone is accustomed to large refrigerators that have the space to store copious amounts of fruits and vegetables, we take it for granted that a trip to the grocery store is a weekly event. However, in the small towns in France, many homes are still getting by on small under-counter refrigerators the size of a dishwasher, and daily shopping is a necessity; sometimes for each meal. Food shopping there requires visiting the fruit and vegetable market, then the boulangerie for the day's bread (much of which will be devoured on the way home), the boucherie or charcuterie for meat, the marchand de vins to refill your jug with fresh local wine, and finally the pÃ¢tisserie for desserts. It's all hot out of the oven or just plucked from the land. So is it any wonder that Ina has such an extensive vegetable garden and orchard? After you've lived in France, the very thought of a tractor trailer full of green tomatoes being gassed to make them turn red is enough to make chills run down your spine!
Though Ina and her husband have homes in Manhattan and Paris, East Hampton is the site of her wonderful barn-type abode, her extensive garden and outdoor entertaining area. The kitchen in the â€œbarnâ€ has everything for great living: Living room with fireplace, dining, office area, huge bar for gathering around or to be used as a buffet, and the kitchen with carefully designed function in mind. There is also a lovely bedroom and bath that can be used as a guest room or more importantly, a retreat while filming her television show. With a â€œbarnâ€ like this, who needs a house?