Last week Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, came to Wayne, New Jersey, for a book signing. I saw the article in my local paper and immediately determine that no matter what, I’d be at the Wayne Stop and Shop and that I’d meet her. Ina’s recipe books line my kitchen shelves. I have never — that’s right, never — made a bad meal from any of her cookbooks. Her books are beautifully illustrated and her recipes are easy to follow. I’ve thrown entire parties using only recipes from her Parties! book. My family loves many, many of her recipes, particularly Jeffrey’s chicken.
I got to the store 45 minutes early, only to find out that tickets were required for the event. And only 100 tickets had been issued, during regular store hours the day before and then again at 7:30 am that morning. Boy was I disappointed. Neither the article nor the local advertising had mentioned tickets. I joined the back of an ever-growing line, determined to at least catch a glimpse of my culinary idol. Women were chatting with the store manager and I eavesdropped shamelessly. It seems that the 100 people with tickets were going to get a free autographed copy of Ina’s Foolproof! The rest of us, though, could meet her and even get her autograph if we had one of her cookbooks with us.
Cookbook-less (I thought I’d be purchasing one on site), I waited. And wracked my brain trying to figure out what I had in my purse that I could ask Ina to autograph. I texted my daughter Tory; she suggested I go big or go home: “Ask her to autograph your forehead.” I didn’t want a semi-permanent autograph, though; I wanted one that would live in perpetuity, hopefully on my inspiration board. Then I remembered that I had the newspaper article in my purse! I pulled it out just as I approached the table where Ina was seated. She glanced at the article, glanced up at me, then graciously signed it. I was thrilled. And told her so; she smiled. Can I tell you something? Ina is even more beautiful in person than she is on TV!
Ina was signing autographs and store staff was giving out samples of her new saute dinner selections — dinners for two. I tried the Penne Pasta with Five Cheeses; it was tasty.
I had the Best Day Ever because I met Ina Garten; her smile is a delight.
Do you buy cookbooks and try new recipes? Who’s your favorite chef/author? Please let me know!