I am nothing if not a man of obsessions. For example, I am completely obsessed with Fiestaware to the point that I take pieces of it to Home Depot for color matching whenever painting a room in my house.
I am obsessed with the cinematic classic "Mommie Dearest" to such an extent that rarely a day goes by that I don't remind someone that this isn't my first time at the rodeo.
"I've fought worse monsters than you for years in law school. I know how to win the hard way."
But for the past year, more than most things (Fiesta aside), I am obsessed with Ina Garten, Food Network's Barefoot Contessa.
Now at first glance, I assumed Ms. Garten might not be my cup of tea, much in the same way I respect the talent and drive of Martha Stewart, but find her to be WAY too much to take. The Hamptons house, zipping around in a BMW finding the perfect ingredients...I mean, who lives like that? Watching her interact on her show with her loved ones, though, convinced me she is a genuine and kind friend to the people in her life, and that she has carved out for herself exactly the life that makes her happy. I also enjoy the fact that she is not a typical television host trying so hard to ooze personality. She just seems relaxed, and the events she throws are casual enough that whether you do them as upscale as she often does or as downscale as I might on my student budget, people are going to enjoy themselves.
Oh yeah, and her food is EFFING AMAZING!
My beloved pretend ex-wife, Katie, first pointed out that the original Barefoot Contessa cookbook is essential to every kitchen. When Katie talks about food, I listen, so I bought it and have yet to go wrong. It is now to the point, though, that if you come to my home for dinner, you are more than likely going to have an Ina meal. I made my own vanilla extract because she taught me how. I dream of her kitchen, stocked with Fiesta. I haven't gotten to the point of wearing smock-ish shirts and referring to Craiggers as "Jeffrey," but I fear I am not far from it. Like I said, I'm a wee bit obsessed.
When I am stressed about school, cooking calms me down. It allows me to focus on something else that needs my concentration. I also love to entertain and show my appreciation of my loved ones with food, so when my friends enjoy my food, it is the ultimate compliment. Ina's books and shows have taken that to a whole new level. And when her hunky pal T.R. makes an appearance on the show, well, that is just the buttercream on the cake.