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Ina Garten Is Our New Quarantine Role Model

We're all barefoot now

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: Ina Garten speaks onstage during a talk with Helen Rosner at the 2019 New Yorker Festival on October 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

Let me tell you a little secret: I own no less than four Ina Garten “Barefoot Contessa” cookbooks. What’s more, they’re my most used cookbooks by a mile. They are my favorite because her cooking and recipes manage to somehow be both fancy and indulgent but also easy and accessible. And that really described Ina Garten herself as well. If Martha Stewart is your fussy grandmother, Ina Garten is your fun, eccentric aunt and I love her for that. And thanks to coronavirus and Instagram, Ina is living her truth in the best way.

Ina’s been using social media every day to keep up her cooking and reaching out to fans since she, like all of us, went on lockdown in order to social distance. Her latest “cocktail” recipe is perfect for when you need to make a half-gallon of cosmos, and it got her trending on Twitter. And reminded us all why she’s so popular.

 

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It’s always cocktail hour in a crisis! Recipe link in profile. #staysafe

A post shared by Ina Garten (@inagarten) on

This is fantastic on every level. It’s not just fun and still very within Garten’s brand, it’s also a sweet way to spread some humor in this hard time. And comfort and cocktails are both something we all need right now. Honestly, Garten is a pretty impressive role model in a lot of ways.

Ina Garten has a fascinating story. Before she bought the Hamptons market known as The Barefoot Contessa (named after the Ava Gardner movie), she was an analyst in the White House who worked on nuclear policy! Since she took over the store and subsequently became so closely tied to the name that we think of her as the Contessa, she’s built a cozy yet classy empire.

Her image really does match the “barefoot contessa” name though. She’s accessible, but also a bit aspirational. After all, wouldn’t we all like to wait out quarantine in an immaculate house in the Hamptons with a sprawling garden? But she’s also just like us, as her Instagram in the past weeks has come to show: anxious and bored. And sometimes, dinner is a left-over waffle.

Garten just recently chatted with The Atlantic about how she’s become a beacon of comfort in these weird, weird times. “For me,” Garten said of her exploding Instagram reach, “It was a way to stay connected with people. But also it became a way to have purpose and order during the day. I cook in the morning and I post what I’m cooking, and then whatever it is becomes dinner.” She’s also cognizant that she’s very fortunate in her situation, and is just trying to share that.

And really, that’s why she’s a role model right now. She’s in the same place as most of us and she’s choosing to reach out and be fun and helpful in any way she can. We can’t all be contessas, but we can enjoy her and maybe try a recipe or two (I’m going for the Tuscan White Bean Soup tomorrow). Make quarantine fun as you can and keep it real. Be like Ina.

(via: The Atlantic, Brad Barket/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.