Magazine article The American Organist

From the Chaplain

Magazine article The American Organist

From the Chaplain

Article excerpt

The Barefoot Organist

TURNING OVER the fresh page of a new calendar is an appropriate moment to confess a guilty pleasure: I am in love with The Barefoot Confessa. It's a program on television's Food Network originating from the well-appointed kitchen of chef and champion entertainer Ina Garten. A former White House staffer, Ina decided years ago that the specialty food world was where she really wanted to put her energy. That decision has led her to the center of a culinary empire that now extends to several cookbooks and a line of gourmet food products.

There is nothing new about cooking shows on television, and The Barefoot Confessa shares many traits with its predecessors. What makes me love Ina's show is that each 30-minute episode is organized around preparing food for a particular occasion. It may be a simple visit from friends, a low-key celebration of a milestone in someone's life, or a special evening at home with her husband. Her point of departure is deciding what would best suit the occasion. As she gathers the best ingredients and prepares several recipes, Ina muses in anticipation of how the resulting fare will be received by the people for whom she is cooking. Her eagerness transforms the proceedings from just another page of recipes or a display of cooking technique into a statement on how to live life. She is at once down-to-earth (that's the "barefoot" part) and unstintingly elegant (like a "contessa"). Of course, cooking for a family or oneself in the real world can be drudgery and may consume time one would rather spend on other things. Conversely, it's not hard to imagine how pleasurable cooking and entertaining can be when it is done in Ina's gorgeous home in the Hamptons with all the best utensils, ingredients, and tools! But the thing that really makes Ina's program beautiful is the anticipation that surrounds every stir of her wooden spoon. …

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