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Bastet

Past Episodes: Chicken 100 Ways, Jeffrey, and Hampton Elite

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I prefer - by a factor of infinity and beyond - the shows in which Ina simply cooks a fabulous meal.  She's not an actor, and it shows painfully when she does ridiculous storylines with her friends. She's also almost unbearably annoying to me when she's fawning over Jeffrey.

One of the episodes on today is "Rehearsal Dinner."  It makes me think of the other rehearsal dinner episode, which is one that just baffles me -- the food being prepared (and bought) is for the tasting she and one other person are doing, not for the rehearsal dinner itself.  Yet they wind up with enough food for a dozen people. 

Apparently, the next series of episodes will be titled "Cooking Class."  I'm hoping these will be something akin to Martha Stewart's Cooking School on PBS.  But maybe it will be something where Ina learns from other chefs how to cook things outside her wheelhouse.  She has done a few episodes like that already.

Edited by Bastet
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I watched this show for the first time in ages at the gym the other day. It was the charity auction luncheon with Mariska Hargitay and Alec Baldwin. How Alec Baldwin managed to hold it together for the episode, I have no idea. 

Anyway, as I am watching, I am thinking that Ina is totally phoning it in. These folks pay $100K for a luncheon and she doesn't even spoon dessert into glasses herself (or pay her minions to do it)? And not even that, she just brings that kitchenaid bowl out, doesn't even bother to put the whipped cream into a nicer bowl??

Then at the end, I see that the cookbook she is promoting is How Easy Is That? her ultimate phone it in cookbook. I like to forget that cookbook ever existed. 

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I saw the rum cake and floating island rehearsal dinner show today. That was one of the only times I felt like she really fell short! Still love her.

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I saw the rum cake and floating island rehearsal dinner show today. That was one of the only times I felt like she really fell short!

I agree.  But part of me likes watching to see the bitch face on the bride-to-be when she's presented with her choices.  Because I'm perverse that way.

And not even that, she just brings that kitchenaid bowl out, doesn't even bother to put the whipped cream into a nicer bowl??

This always bothers me too.  I get the argument that it's meant to be down-home or whatever.  But she puts things in STERLING SILVER bowls when it's just her and Jeffery for Friday night chicken.

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But she puts things in STERLING SILVER bowls when it's just her and Jeffery for Friday night chicken.

 

There you go!  Thanks, Aquarius - I believe that's the underlying theme of our disgruntlement (that's a word, right?) with The Charity Auction lunch.  She certainly provided a nice meal in her home for Mr. & Mrs. Whalepants (and the camera crew lovingly showed us, twice, the gorgeous Whalepants summer home too - those folks got their money's worth in many ways). 

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I too have wondered why he cannot have a boat. It came up in more them one episode, and Ina always says she will be swabbing down the decks. I think not, she can afford hired help. It is a bizarre thing. I say get Jeffrey a boat for his next birthday. 

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I think if Jeffrey really wanted a boat, he's have one.  I've always taken their banter as one of those things that happen between couples and friends, sort of taking on a life of its own.  Ina has mentioned a couple of times about getting sea sick, but we've seen her on at least two boat rides that I can remember -- Bobby's tug boat and, more recently, the dinner cruise around Manhatten.  It's certainly not a matter of money!

Edited by schnauzergirl

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They cruised around Manhattan with some friends on their boat. The boat had a professional crew - a husband and wife - so the owners didn't do anything except show up with their guests. That is the kind of boat Jeffrey should have.

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Maybe if Jeffrey got a boat, Ina would see him even less than she does now!  Although if he did get one, she could make him snacks and meet him at the dock.  "I brought Jeffrey a faaaaabulous chicken sandwich and delicious brownies because he now sleeps on the boat instead of coming home on Fridays."

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Did anybody catch today's repeat of the doggie birthday party?  I think that's one of Ina's worst episodes. She looked so miserable grilling out there on the cold and windy beach. I also didn't recognize any of her guests. At least it looked like the dogs were having a good time!  LOL! 

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I just saw an episode I had never seen before! Canapes & Canvases.

Nothing earth shattering, I was just surprised that I have not seen every episode. I started watching her show in the summer. My stepkids lived with us every summer. One of them falls on the autism spectrum and he LOVED watching Ina, I thought she was boring at first until I realized she had a soothing quality.

That is why my stepson was drawn to her.

Eta, Miguel looked SO young in this episode!

Edited by CheeseBurgh
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Eton Mess is on today. The whole part where Alec Baldwin goes shopping for Ina is so bizarre to me. "A man's got to do what a man's got to do for fresh dill and scallions" And the farmer guy with that beard, the way his eyes bug out when Alec mentions Ina. 

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I used to get a kick out of Alec Baldwin.  Now I cringe whenever I see him on TV (and in the Eton Mess episode).  Years ago, when I first learned about Eton Mess (pre-Ina), I tried to make something like it - breaking up meringue (Forgotten) cookies and layering with ice cream + berry sauce.  It was good (Mr. P914 loathes meringue so I no longer make it). I appreciate very much all the warnings I've seen (over at TWOP) re: how awful the cucumber soup is...so I won't waste time making it.

@CheeseBurgh: that's so interesting about your stepson enjoying Ina's show...for the same reason so many of us do--that soft voice, the serene colors in her home and barn and garden.  When I watch her show, I just relax as I'm pulled in to her world.  Her show would definitely not appeal to the folks who need razzmatazz in their lives (cupcake war, supermarket grab competitions, hyper camera work bouncing all over the place, raucous laughter & goofy antics, etc).  I hope she enjoys creating these shows and will continue to do so for a long time (on her terms of course--we want our BC to be happy!)

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NOTE:  Lura is my new name.  My old name was Mlle Poilane.

I'm with AnneZeePark914 about Alex Baldwin.  I guess it's his reputation that turns me off.  However, he's only one reason for my not caring for this episode.  The Eton Mess struck me as being cloyingly sweet with the meringue and other ingredients.  Am I right in remembering that Ina didn't sweeten her whipped cream?  I guess that would help cut the sweetness a little bit, but I still can't get a burning desire to try it.

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I first had Eton Mess at a restaurant waaaaay back in the early 90s. It was made with homemade meringue (broken up), fresh whipped cream and fresh strawberries (not cooked, probably macerated with a bit of sugar but not tons). It was so simple and yet delicious and not too heavy after a meal. I've loved it ever since, but I don't know about Ina's idea re: cooking the berries. The freshness was what made it so delicious. Also, it was not layered. It was all folded together with a few fresh, unsweetened berries on top. Mmmmmmm.

Maybe it's such a simple recipe (not a recipe at all, really) that Ina cooked the berries to make it look less lazy on her part. Those people paid a LOT of money for a Barefoot Contessa lunch!

Alec Baldwin makes me uncomfortable, too, even though the only time I saw him irl was at a restaurant where he was very polite and grateful that adjacent diners didn't bother him.

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I just don't get unsweetened whipped cream when it's used for desserts.  If you don't want to end up with sweet overkill, cut way back on the sugar.  I use confectioner's sugar from a container in which I've placed a vanilla bean.  This way it's semi-sweet, very muted, but also a nice contrast to a very sweet dessert.  

Hey, Lura - welcome to the new Land of BC :>)  

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Why did Ina say in her salmon tutorial that it had been something like 15 years since she sliced smoked salmon?  Did she forget about the television crew at her house when she did it on her show?  Several times?

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Lura=Mlle Poilane

I learned today that we're having more out-of-state guests later this spring or this summer.  For some reason, it made me think of Ina's preparations for a guest, especially her guest bathroom, laden with nearly every cosmetic the world has seen!  She had shelves of bath and shower potions, plus perfumes of all sorts, and she even placed a box of chocolates tied with ribbon on the bed.  It was better than a five-star hotel!  I wish the FN would rerun that show.  Has anyone seen it lately?

Trivia question:  Who was Ina's guest?  The red-haired businesswoman from Texas?  The older couple who ate salmon all weekend?  The cookbook author, Patricia Wells?  Someone else?

Edited by Lura

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Love Ina.  Love her laid-back relaxed approach to life.  Love the easy romance between Ina and Jeffrey.

However, sometimes I imagine Ina as a Miss Havisham.  Jeffrey died long ago or left her at the altar.  Ina spends her days cooking roasted chicken in anticipation of his imaginary return.  Ina has 24 hour mental health surveillance- she thinks they are just ground security.  Ina's guests are really well-paid, great looking mental health workers coming over to check up on her.

By the way, Ina is 66 and seems to have tapped into the fountain of youth.  What is her secret?  I can tell it is not exercise or a low-fat diet.

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Trivia question:  Who was Ina's guest?  The red-haired businesswoman from Texas?  The older couple who ate salmon all weekend?  The cookbook author, Patricia Wells?  Someone else?

 

This is gonna drive me nuts!  I can see the guest room and Ina mentioning the little extras she likes to place in the room for her company.  I think her guest was a female (not a couple)...but I'm not positive.  I keep a basket in the guest bathroom...filled with sample shampoos, travel toothbrushes and toothpaste, little soaps, all those little things hotels/motels put out (I always take a few with me ;>) + small bottles of Deer Park water. But I don't do chocolates a la Ina.  I'd love to be a guest in her home--you just know it would be a divine experience (lovely bed linens, treats on the night stand and then, breakfast in front of the fire in the living room or out on the veranda overlooking the garden). ~sigh~

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I thought it was the lobster-eating couple, but it's been such a long time I may be wrong.  If I'm remembering correctly, Ina paused and checked her lipstick after fluffing the towels.  

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By the way, Ina is 66 and seems to have tapped into the fountain of youth.  What is her secret?  I can tell it is not exercise or a low-fat diet.

Say whaaaaat? She really does look great for 66, although I think her secret might be in keeping more than a couple extra pounds on her frame. Her fuller face keeps her looking younger than if she were thinner. I'd also have to wonder if she doesn't color her hair, as I'm surprised there's not even a bit of white showing yet. Either way, though, good for her.

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I'd also have to wonder if she doesn't color her hair, as I'm surprised there's not even a bit of white showing yet.

She does have a few gray hairs. I went to a cookbook signing several years ago, and you can see them in person. You can also see them on the show sometimes. She could be dying her hair and having the hairdresser leave a few grays - some people do that to make it look more "natural".

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Today's Washington Post Food Section had a little item about where you can buy "what would Ina do?" towels. They said they heard that her publicist even bought a few. The site is www.facetofacedesigns.com. They're $14 each. I may have to buy a few. Not sure if this goes here or in small talk.

Edited by chessiegal

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What I want to know is how does she keep that phenomenal shine on her hair?  Her skin looks great too, and no it's not a low fat diet that's for sure.

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Her hairdresser probably applies a glaze after coloring.  Glaze makes one's hair look like the hair in a shampoo ad.  Ina's beautiful skin is probably part genetics and part chemical peels, facials and daily use of fabulous skin care products.  That girl may wear high-water pants but she sure does take good care of her skin and hair!

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I think that Ina definitely dyes her hair because her hair turned redder a while back.  I thought it was very obvious, and I didn't care for it as much as the dark brown.  I also think that it's Ina's weight that makes her wrinkles disappear.  Maybe other factors  may play into it, too, like glaze.  I'd like to learn more about glaze.

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Thank you very much, annzeeparK914.   You helped me get here! 

Glowlights, I no sooner got finished writing that I'd never try Eton Mess when I read your post!  I have to take it back.  I'll never try Ina's Eton Mess, but I'll sure make yours!  I love fresh strawberries with a little bit of sugar on top of homemade vanilla ice cream and sweetened whipped cream, which I will add myself in the kitchen!!!

You made it sound like a truly refreshing summer dessert, and I can't wait for berries to be in season.   Thanks for describing your restaurant experience.

Edited by Lura
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Hi Lura, The key is to make it at the height of strawberry season, when the berries will be at their best (and sweetest). Enjoy. :)

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Question: Do we see a need for the general discussion thread and this thread? It seems to me that there's pretty much total overlap between them and it'd make more sense to keep one (likely this one) and merge the other one. How does everyone else feel about that?

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Maybe this one should be slightly tweaked to "Past Episodes: Chicken 100 Ways ..." and then, when new episodes start up again, we can do specific episode threads.  At any rate, yes, I do think the two threads would be better merged into one.

(We should probably also have an Ina thread - for her tweets, book signings and other non-show stuff - so whomever comes up with a good title for it, go for it.)

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Love Ina.  Love her laid-back relaxed approach to life.  Love the easy romance between Ina and Jeffrey.

However, sometimes I imagine Ina as a Miss Havisham.  Jeffrey died long ago or left her at the altar.  Ina spends her days cooking roasted chicken in anticipation of his imaginary return.  Ina has 24 hour mental health surveillance- she thinks they are just ground security.  Ina's guests are really well-paid, great looking mental health workers coming over to check up on her.

By the way, Ina is 66 and seems to have tapped into the fountain of youth.  What is her secret?  I can tell it is not exercise or a low-fat diet.

OMG, this made me crack up. Ina as Miss Havisham- brilliant! I love Ina, but that is hysterical.

Lura, I think Ina's guest was Patricia Wells, but it has been a while since I've seen that ep.

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Wallybear, I agree that it might have been Patricia Wells, but I'm more inclined to think that it was for the red-haired businesswoman from Texas.  You're probably right, though, because Ina and Patricia are close friends.

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Today I saw the episode where Ina makes "nursery food" for the Lieberman's & their daughter who just had a baby. I still have no idea what nursery food is; I haven never heard that term before. She made turkey meatballs, which looked delicious, & used jarred gravy. She used Rao's, which is the ONLY jarred gravy I will use, but I don't like to watch a cooking show, especially one hosted by the cook I hold in the highest esteem, use pre-made food. What was funny to me about this, is that immediately before this ep aired, Giada was cooking with the delightful Raffi, who couldn't believe Giada was using a boxed brownie mix, & didn't let her forget it the entire time they were making & eating the recipe. I have no problem if Ina uses Rao's when the cameras are off, but I want to see her make the damn gravy when filming a show.

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I still have no idea what nursery food is; I haven never heard that term before.

It's a British term not often heard in the U.S. but it means comfort food reminiscent of childhood.  Which always makes me laugh when applied to this episode, because I'd have hated that menu as a child (I'd have to be pretty hungry to eat it as an adult).

 

I'm pretty sure that's the episode where they actually made a storyline out of the "lighting design" that my cat could come close to pulling off. 

 

Between that, the menu and the presence of children, it's an episode I skip.

Edited by Bastet

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Ah, the infamous Baby's First Bash episode, in which Ina's friends bring their daugher and her two children to a dinner party at Ina's house. A light designer hangs some lights in the trees and sets up a firepit, which the toddler is in danger of falling into all night. The whole party is outdoors in cold weather, so everybody is bundled up in coats as they try to eat at a picnic table.

On the menu - Truffled popcorn, because doesn't every child love truffles? Spaghetti and meatballs, which the new mom tries to eat one-handed while balancing an infant in her other arm. S'mores, since nobody knows how to make those. Strawberry-rhubarb crisp, because, again, doesn't every child just love rhubarb?

For me, this episode represents a low point for Ina. It feels cobbled together and non-sensical. Yes, I know it's just a TV show and doesn't represent her real life, but hopefully the real Ina would never throw such a ridiculous, bizarre dinner party. This is one that I definitely skip whenever it repeats.

 

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Ina and children generally don't mix.  Let's not forget one of my personal favorites, Cooking with Tess.  Poor, sweet, helpless 13 year-old Tess gets the privilege of helping Ina make lunch for her and her mother (since she is an *amazing* baker, we're told).  However, Ina has essentially assembled most of the lemon meringue tart at that point, leaving only the task of piping on the rosettes of whipped cream.  Tess limply squeezes out one blob out of the pastry bag that clearly doesn't meet Ina's specifications, so Ina swoops the bag away from Tess and finishes the damn thing herself!  

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Ina and children generally don't mix.

To my eyes, Ina has the most chemistry with gorgeous, talented gay men.  Every other interaction can seem a little forced sometimes.

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"Tess limply squeezes out one blob out of the pastry bag that clearly doesn't meet Ina's specifications, so Ina swoops the bag away from Tess and finishes the damn thing herself! "

Yes, and if you look at the tart on the table at the end of the show, it's clearly a different tart. The piping is totally different from what Tess and Ina collaborated on.

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doesn't every child just love rhubarb?

 

Right???  I mean, I did, but I think all of my relatives got a kick out of my rhubarb love.  Now, granted, the only way I would eat rhubarb was either dipping it in sugar and eating it like celery, or in a pie.  So it definitely had to be covered with sugar for a kid to like!

 

I couldn't believe Ina used a jarred tomato sauce either.  Marinara is like the easiest sauce in the world.  She makes her own sauce in the episode where she makes spaghetti and meatballs for her boss, right?

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Yep, Larapu, I believe Ina made her own sauce when she had that al fresco dinner for Stephen Drucker and his magazine editors.  There was something about Rao's restaurant involved, wasn't there?  Did she use Rao's sauce recipe or meatball recipe?  Ina finally has the connections to get a reservation at Rao's -- if she's lucky.  I'm jealous!

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I don't recall any mention of Rao's during her al fresco spaghetti & meatballs dinner for Stephen ("dinner for my boss") but I do remember her trip to Rao's last year to learn how to make their famous lemon chicken (I tried to make it several years ago when I checked out their cookbook from the library...it wasn't all that fabulous IMO...maybe it has to be made in their kitchen?).

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The only thing I remember with certainty about that episode were the sloppy ice cream sodas.  They bore no resemblance to the sodas of old that I once made as a soda jerk.  They were more like watered-down versions of the real thing.

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