Dear Ina Garten,
I idolized you in 2005. It started when my roommate bought me a copy of Barefoot in Paris for Christmas. It was our first December in our minuscule seaside apartment, tucked away from English Bay in Vancouver’s West End. Between cooking for ourselves and hosting parties – yes, parties in a bachelor apartment – I spent a lot of time experimenting in our shoebox kitchen.
Come January I invested my Christmas money heavily into cookware. It was a slippery slope after the ramekins and blowtorch moved in. That humble kitchen is where it all started. Its hideously charming pink and black countertop could tell a lot of stories, I’m sure.
Things started picking up for you after that book and I got a little turned off by it all. I started seeing Donna Hay and fell head over heels. Once the cookbook fanatic in me bloomed, it was over between us.
Now that I’m revisiting my past and applauding those who have shaped and inspired me, I believe I owe you an apology. Please forgive me for snubbing you like some twentysomething hipster glaring at Starbucks through thick-rimmed glasses.
More than apologies, I owe you a bevy of affirmations. First of all, thank you for Barefoot in Paris. The book was my gateway into French cuisine. You demystified its complexities, stirring up a confidence in me I didn’t know I possessed.
Thank you for your wholistic approach to hospitality. What’s a good meal if it isn’t shared in relaxed company? I love how you cheerfully cut corners and take shortcuts within recipes for the sake of giving your readers more time to engage with their guests.
Thank you for having the nerve to quit a secure job at the White House for the sake of your chasing down your dream, especially because you admittedly had no idea what you were getting into. Your decision then was a catalyst for mine years later.
Finally, thank you for generously including butter and heavy cream in as many dishes as possible. Thank you for introducing me to E.Dehillerin and last but certainly not least, thanks for your lemon curd recipe. It’s citrusy perfection every time.
With humble gratitude and sincerest apologies,
Elissa Joy Watts