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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ina Garten @ Barnes & Noble in Union Square!

Ina drew a crowd of mostly women--ranging from young, single NYC apartment dwellers to grandmas, and some children, too.
I love this book and can't wait to try the recipes.
I love Ina Garten. Love her recipes, love her style. As of tonight, I own six of her nine cookbooks, the newest shown above. My friend Kim and I met at B&N on East 17th Street to get signed copies and see the Barefoot Contessa in person at a store event.

We arrived about 4:30 for the 7 p.m. talk, raced to the registers to buy the presigned books*, had green paper entry bracelets placed on our wrists [like a day at some Jersey Shore beaches], waited in line, saved our seats with the cookbooks once we were ushered into the event space. It was filled to capacity. When I called ahead, I was told it seats 300 [the tiny chairs were pressed together to make that happen].

Once we had our seats, we headed to the cafe for beverages and a long chat. It was great having 2 hours to talk to Kim and catch up, and we both enjoyed seeing Ina.

A few tidbits from the talk:
  • Nobody's perfect. When someone asked in the Q&A part if Ina ever gets cranky, she said I'm generally a happy person, and what you see [on TV] is really me. But sometimes I get exhausted and I eat chocolate chip cookies like everybody else, she added.
  • Sunday lunch. A young woman who lives in a NYC apartment asked for advice on how best to entertain--have friends over for hors d'oeuvres or dinner? Ina said Sunday lunch is a great time to entertain, since most people do their chores on Saturday and are energetic in the middle of the day on Sunday. Also, they don't have to stay late at your home. They can leave by 3. 
  • Butter up. Butter makes everything better, Ina said at one point. And if you've made her Raspberry Corn Muffins, as I have many times, you know that to be true. But I have found you can cut the butter back by about one-quarter in those muffins and still get great results. That recipe is pretty forgiving.
  • Culinary roots. The host, Julia Turshen, asked about Ina's favorite meal as a child. Answer: Broiled lamb chops and spaghetti with marinara sauce from a jar. That, Ina said, is what she loved to have for her birthday meal.
So many recipes I can't wait to make! I even went to the Whole Foods in Union Square after the event to get the Bob's Red Mill yellow cornmeal** Ina recommends for the Sour Cream Corn Bread recipe.

And remember, all of these recipes in the new book are do-ahead. So you bake this corn bread in loaf pans and when ready to serve, slice and toast it. Yum. Nice for warm schoolday breakfasts or snacks for Punch. Wish for Fig too, but it contains butter and eggs [though wait a minute, I have successfully made Ina's corn muffins deliciously vegan, using coconut oil for the butter and a small snack cup of applesauce for the eggs].

Also have my eye on the Maple Vanilla Cream of Wheat, Mini Italian Frittatas, Chocolate Banana Crumb Cake, Tri-Berry Crumbles, Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting--and some entrees and sides. I do like to cook for Figgy, but most [if not all] of these recipes are not vegan....I'll see if I can adjust some.

I have to get some rest. Good night to you.

  1. Did a lot of stairs taking the N train from Port Authority to Union Square and back.
  2. Caught up with my pals Celia and Kim--both have been in my life since way back, before all of us were even married.
*Celia let them swipe her B&N member card and the price with tax for my cookbook [$35 cover price, and that's what you'd pay at Williams-Sonoma] was $22.86. Thanks, Celia!
**Well, the recipe calls for Bob's Red Mill medium-grind cornmeal but the store only had the coarse grind tonight. It should work fine, especially since there's a corn bread recipe right on the sack. The bread may be a bit grainier than Ina's, but that's fine.


  1. So fun! Alice, send me Celia's email!! Hi Celia!

  2. will do! about to email you both, Kim.thanks for going to Ina with me!!!!!!!!!

  3. Alice I to love Ina & have her cookbooks.Watch her show whenever I can even those already seen.She is a delightful person,wish I could have been there.Hope Santa brings me her new book.
    love to all.Aunt Ann P

  4. Hi Aunt Ann! That's right, you made the orzo and shrimp for Judi and she was raving about it! I hope you and Harry are doing well Love Alice

  5. P.s. Still missing Judi and can't believe she's gone.