The first moment of clarity came to me when I was standing in the middle of my kitchen and I realized that I had not one, not two, but THREE of her recipes in different stages of completion planted all over the place. I made her chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips (I substituted peanut butter chips), the one and only necessary cookie recipe in my opinion, and the caramelized onion dip for my sister's 4th of July picnic. I also finally came through and made her incredibly awesome barbecue sauce from scratch. Holy hell, people, you must make this sauce! Ben had company over on Friday night and I offered to make homemade sloppy joes for the boys. Rather than digging up a mundane joe sauce recipe or opting for the canned junk, I combined Ina's BBQ sauce with some lean ground beef and it was pure heaven. There are an awful lot of ingredients to this recipe, but it's totally worth it. Plus, one batch makes a tremendous amount of sauce so store it in the fridge, whip it out on a whim and wow your friends and family with it.
The second revelation came about when I stopped and noticed how excited I got to find this site over the weekend. I'm not going to get all "fatal attraction" or anything like that, so please don't be alarmed. She's just such a private person and to get little glimpses here and there of who she is behind the scenes is thrilling. I love her decorating style: simple and cozy. Her cooking mirrors that very same style.
I adore this woman, although the most recent episodes of her show on the Food Network leave me longing for the older ones. The food and cooking tips were the focal points, and her friends and social life were tossed in as personal touches. Now it's all about the friends in the Hamptons and so very few of us can relate. Sorry, Ina. I watch the show to learn and lately I feel somewhat, uh, jealous. Not sure if "jealous" is the word, but you get the point. Still, I'm a huge fan, and I think I'd keel over and die if I ever had the chance to meet her and pick her brain. Yes, I'm a total Ina fanatic dork, and proud of it!