I was watching a documentary on PBS about chickens and one of the stories was about a farmer who thought he killed a chicken but it ended up living without its head --for like, a long time. Eventually that headless chicken (named Mike) toured with side shows and became sort of famous. Someone they interviewed said, "And that chicken traveled all the way to London, England."
If the documentary hadn't been on PBS, I definitely would have thought it was a joke. I get the same feeling when I watch The Barefoot Contessa on The Food Network. It really seems like a perfect parody of a cooking show, but it's on a channel dedicated to cooking shows, so it's probably just about food. However, there are so many ridiculous subplots on Barefoot that I can't help but think that Ina Garten is a satirical genius who has us all fooled.
Ina always speaks like she's popped a few muscle relaxants, so no matter how many people she's having over for dinner she keeps repeating things like, "How easy is that?" or "Who wouldn't like that?" as she slowly floats around her kitchen making coq au vin and setting the table using some kind of whimsical theme. "I need to go to the store and get sailboat rope for the table."
When I cook I start by opening a bottle of chef's juice and then swear a lot.
Ina and her husband Jeffery have an incredibly weird relationship that centers around Paris, what Jeffery likes to eat, awkward kissing scenes, and celebrating benchmark moments in Jeffery's life. Apparently Jeffery is the most wonderful man in the world despite the fact that he can never quite get off his ass to make his own sandwich. Jeffery has 30,000 favorite meals and Ina makes some version of them for seriously any occasion, while he stays in his study doing whatever it is he does. "Today is Tuesday and when we lived in Paris, Jeffery always loved Tuesdays. So I thought, what better way to celebrate Tuesday morning than to surprise Jeffery with Beef Bourguignon for breakfast? Now who wouldn't like that?"
Her Hamptons lifestyle keeps me glued. Running errands consists of going to three over-priced speciality food markets and then stopping at the beach to drink a split of Veuve. I like when she calls a friend and tells them to pick up one random thing before a party. Those completely planned scenes are amazing.
-Oh hi Ina!
-Hi! Listen, can you pick up a jar of jam?
-Thanks! Actually, I'll make my own jam. Can you pick up a case of Grand Marnier?
-A case? Sure.
-Oh, you know what, Jeffery has a case in his study. Can you buy 5 throw pillows for the table?
And then every episode ends with a dinner party where the guests laugh maniacally at nothing. Watch for it. It's actually really scary.
Not everyone is a fan though. Someone on Youtube described different clips from her show like this:
"Ina Garten shows where her stupid friend will be staying."
"Ina's stupid old friend tries to take over The Barefoot Contessa."
"Ina and her stupid friend have a midnight snack and claim that it doesn't count."
But if you're bored and making dinner anyway, it doesn't hurt to pretend you're Ina while doing it. Make up an elaborate backstory about why Jeffery loves frozen veggie burgers, call a buddy to have them pick up 3 organic peaches, and put something that doesn't belong on a dinner table on the dinner table.
How bad can that be?