Who wouldn’t want to eat like one of the most iconic chefs of all time, the Barefoot Contessa herself? With Ina’s winsome charm, delicious yet unintimidating recipes, and flawless entertaining ability, most of us could only dream of imitating a lifestyle like hers.
Fortunately, thanks to an interview with Bon Appétit, we can gain a little insight into the Contessa’s daily cooking, shopping, and eating habits, and start living more like Ina. In fact, a day in the life might not be as hard to achieve as we might think.
Most of Ina’s cooking is not, as we may have been lead to believe, simply for Jeffrey, as she spends a huge amount of the week testing recipes for her cookbooks. A little background for those of you depriving yourselves of exposure to the culinary world’s most adorable relationship: Ina’s latest cookbook, titled for her husband, is called Cooking For Jeffrey. If you’ve never watched an episode of her show Barefoot Contessa, we highly recommend you stop reading this article and go watch Jeffrey dote on Ina as she effortlessly whips up a three course dinner, serves martinis, and exchanges laughs and smiles with guests. Will it make you simper over their relationship while simultaneously questioning your own inability to find love? Yes. It will also make you hungry.
While Ina’s show and cookbooks may feature her and Jeffrey’s favorite recipes, the Contessa confesses that she rarely cooks only for herself. She even admits that the “most extravagant” meal she would make for herself is a fried egg with avocado toast. Oh Ina, a woman after every millennial’s heart.
Speaking of breakfast foods, Ina has been eating the same thing for breakfast every day for ten years: McCann’s quick-cooking Irish oatmeal and coffee. Her secret? Add salt to the oatmeal to keep the breakfast from getting boring. This is a totally affordable and easy way to start living a little more like the Contessa.
Ina has a few other staples and splurges of eating and grocery shopping that the rest of us can easily emulate. She always keeps a bowl of lemons (and often additional citrus, such as limes and oranges) in the kitchen. Eggs, butter, parmesan cheese, and chocolate are also always on hand. See? You’ve probably got at least two of those items in your kitchen right now. When grocery shopping, Ina can’t resist a couple of temptations: Tate’s chocolate chip cookies, and vanilla Häagen-Dazs ice cream. But who can really walk through the ice cream aisle without succumbing to a pint? Not us, and not Ina, either.
If you want to step up your Contessa game and start trying a few of her recipes, a good place to start would be one of her hearty soups. She admits that she always keeps some in the freezer, along with the aforementioned ice cream, homemade stock, and a bottle of Grey Goose vodka. And if you just want to keep it basic, Ina revealed that for dessert on Sunday nights, she and Jeffrey enjoy store-bought granola with yogurt and fresh fruit.
While her recipes and lifestyle may be elegant, Ina proves that it’s easy to take a page from her book and eat beautifully and simply at the same time.