It happened today. I met The Barefoot Contessa. Yes, that contessa otherwise known as Ina Garten. My cooking idol.
For this self-professed foodie meeting The Contessa ranks high upon my list of wishes. Actually, being invited to dinner at her house in the Hamptons ranks higher on my wish list, but if we are dreaming that big I would also like to meet Oprah and be in the audience on the day she gives away all her favorite things. However, the reality of meeting Ina today was really surreal and very exciting.
The week before Thanksgiving my good friend, who comments here under the pseudonym smelltheroses, forwarded me an email from Ina Garten announcing her book signing at Central Market in Dallas. I responded immediately that we must make the road trip to see her.
Balls in motion nothing was going to keep me from making the trek north for the day. I sent Brother to a neighbor’s house after school, cancelled several appointments, and begged the babysitter to pick up the girls from school and stay until Husband could come home from work early. I prayed Baby would sleep through the night so I would be alert to drive on a highway notoriously known for making knuckles stark white.
And so it was. Smelltheroses, my mother and I left the house at 7:40 this morning and road-tripped like a food inspired version of Thelma & Louise. We arrived at Central Market (after a brief detour through Stanley Korshak) around 11:30 and claimed our tickets. A HUGE thank you to Michael Cox the uber manager of Central Market who made our arrival smooth and seamless. We even got bumped in line ahead of about 75 eager groupies. For those of you wondering about the crowd Ina can draw….there were over 500 people. That’s a lot of Ina lovers.
I had my beloved Barefoot cookbooks with me and bought two more for Ina to sign. The actual meeting was so fast I can hardly remember our brief exchange. I mean what do you say in 5 seconds or less to Ina Garten? Talk about pressure. So much to say and so little time. I’m sure she had lots to say to me too. She probably wanted to give me several of her unpublished family recipes, pass along oodles of cooking and entertaining tips, and even extend that invite to dine with she and Jeffery. But it all happened so quickly — flash went the camera, squeak went her Sharpie, and in about 10 seconds we were back in the parking lot in which we started.
We giggled like school girls recounting our brief encounter with Ina. Our bliss lasted all afternoon. We lunched at Zoë’s in Snider Plaza, picked up a few Christmas treats at St. Michael’s Women’s Exchange and oohed and aahed at several stores along the way. The only mishap of the day was that Kuby’s ran out of knishes. I had hoped to bring a package of these delicious potato and meat filled baked treats home to the children for breakfast tomorrow.
Home again and hoping Ina is too, I am so grateful for the memories made today. I’m off to read my newly signed cookbooks which undoubtedly will continue to inspire many a meal at The Schell Cafe.
P.S. Since I have failed miserably at importing my old blog entries to the new site feel free to visit www.theschellcafe.blogspot.com for older posts, many of which pay homage to Ina.