Ina Kinda Fangirl! My Search For The Barefoot Contessa Will Never End!

As I was laying reclining like the lazy slob that I am, comfortably while drinking my morning coffee earlier, I happened to catch a couple of episodes of The Barefoot Contessa.

Because I actually have a real job now, it’s been difficult nearly impossible to watch my make-believe bestie on TV these days. And we all know how one thing leads to another with me.

Watching my Ina did lead to another thing—and that was my never-ending search for her! Fuggetabout finding her on Long Island.  Even though I grew up out there, the traffic on the Belt Parkway is so horrific that I limit my visits to my sister’s house on Thanksgiving.  And even when I visit on Thanksgiving, I always bring a touch of Ina with me.  I make her Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream as one of the many desserts I bake! It has become a tradition.


Silly me. I can’t find any photos of the Pumpkin Roulade that I make–this is off The Food Network site and my roulade looks just like this!  Ina also taught me the wonderfulness of Mascarpone cheese!

No. I’ll just continue my search for her when we are in Paris next month!


I do believe that Jeffrey is whispering into Ina’s ear “Don’t look down Ina, I think it’s that crazy woman again trying to invite us for an aperitif!”

But as I was watching her this morning, I turned to Bonaparte and said “Hey. I can continue my search for Ina when we’re in Paris next month! Maybe she and Jeffrey will be there after Thanksgiving!”  “Oh. My. God.  Maybe they will be on the same Air France flight from JFK and I can sit with her and she’ll want to be my best friend!!”

Bonaparte’s reaction to this was not a good one. In fact, he was downright upset, angry, concerned French about my plan!

“NON!” “Cassee, ou wee no’ look for zees Eena woman!” “Ou nid tew stop zees behahvvv-ee-our—I wee no’ allouw zees stowk-eeeng to go on!” “Pliz—we go to Paris for Hugo’s feem premiere—no’ tew wok zuh strits to stowk zee Eena!”  “We go to Guerlain and Repetto—ou be  a good gehrl!”

In case you are not used to Bonaparte’s accent he said “No! Cathe, you will not look for this Ina woman. You need to stop this behavior. I will not allow this stalking to go on. Please—we go to Paris for Hugo’s film premiere—not to walk the streets to stalk the Ina. We go to Guerlain and Repetto—you be a good girl!”

And as tempting as a trip back to the Guerlain boutique and Repetto for more shoes seems, I will search for Ina through the side-eye as we carry on our favorite activity of flaneur and flaneuse through the 6th and other arrondissements!


At some point I WILL have to stop and rest my feet, but finding Ina will be in the back of my mind as I wander the streets of the 6th!

But there is a reason that I love Ina. It is because she is me. She is everyone–woman or man, who loves to cook. She is everyone who loves that casual/chic approach to entertaining.


Our incredibly casual dining room table is always transformed into chic with simple and elegant table linens.  For now, it’s just plain old casual! I think Ina would like my table!

She friggin’ speaks to me through her cookbooks.


You can literally hear Ina speak to you as you read the recipes. There isn’t a bad one among them!

I know if Ina met me, I would be the “Well-Heeled Peasant” to her “Barefoot Contessa”!

Perhaps it is time to trade these heels in for a clunkier one!

Get it? Well-Heeled Peasant?  Hmmmm. Can I brand myself?

And it goes beyond that.  She is the only cookbook author whose books I’ve made countless recipes that have become regular dishes.


I hold her close to my heart!


Not gonna lie. I went out and purchased little tabs to bookmark favorite recipes. How CRAZY is THAT?

Oh…and speaking of tradition, her Slow Roasted Filet of Beef with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise has literally become the “new” Christmas Tradition meat dish in our home since it was published in her Foolproof cookbook in 2012!


You can tell from the condition of the page that this recipe is a well-used one in our home! It has become the Christmas meat choice of the family. This is beef perfected!

The most requested dessert of all time in Chateau Bonaparte happens to be Ina’s “French Nougatine”. It is the perfect dessert after a hearty or any meal.

sauces and nougatines all made. Into the freezer wiwth the loaves and the fridge wiwth the sauces. Waiting for Saturday.

I always have to make two of the Nougatine because the family loves this so much. I also make a chocolate sauce to accompany it!

She writes the truth. Her recipes are foolproof. They are simple. They are easy. They are delicious!  Trust me on this one. I have a lot of cookbooks.  And I’ve had both successes and failures with them all. The only exception of 100% success is with Ina!

But I’m especially giddy with delight at—”Barefoot in Paris”.  It is one of my two favorite cookbooks offering French cooking (The other being “French, The Secrets of Classic Cooking Made Easy”).

Ina’s Souffle on the left.  My Souffle on the right.  

Barefoot Contessa Gougeres on the left. Mine on the right.

Ina’s Madeleine on the left, mine on the right.

Lest we not forget about THIS regular recipe! The best aperitif ever. The KIR!

Food. Theoule. Apartment Kir royales on the terrace.

Although I must admit, we like ours “Royale” style–with Champagne and a bit more Cassis! (CAVEAT–now that I”m on a diet, I take mine with a lot less Cassis–to many calories)

Not only does she have wonderful versions of French home cooking, but she adds resources and has a few pages on places to visit if and when you do visit Paris.  She even includes my favorite cooking equipment store—E. Dehillerin!

*Sigh* Ina and I have so much in common.

She’s really, really intelligent. OK. Scratch that one. I’m not the brightest lightbulb in the pack.

She loves cooking for Jeffrey! I love cooking for Bonaparte!

We both love our Kitchen Aids!

We both love Paris! (Even though she is lucky enough to have an apartment there…)

We both love good vanilla and olive oil!

Not only do I love good vanilla, but I also love good vanilla bean paste! And the GOOD Olive Oil  I smuggled brought back from France is all gone!

We both love casual chic.


That’s right.  I get my casual chic on with nice table settings. Like Ina, I love me some white plates. And it’s fun to be casually chic when serving appetizers like proscuitto-wrapped asparagus stalks.  I listen to Ina’s advice about mixing store-bought appetizers with home made. I’ll make deviled eggs but serve them with olives and other items from the store!

We look like sisters (OK–not really, but I like to believe we do!).


We DO look a bit alike when I don a short bobbed wig and wear my navy shirt!  And I love my Kitchen Aid!

I also become quite envious of her circle of friends. They are so refined and classy—just the opposite of me!  Bonaparte would fit right in—but I’m afraid I’m too loud and boisterous to be invited to one of her cocktail parties or dinners. Then again, opposites attract—Bonaparte and I are a perfect example! I’m sure Ina and I would make the perfect pair of best friends!

Regardless, I know that if I made  chicken with morels and chanterelles, that Ina would ask me to be a guest cook on her show!

I would carefully make the sauce first. Then I would cook the chicken and  she would love the finished dish! I know this because…


Ina loves Morels and has her very own Chicken With Morels recipe!

Sometimes while cooking, I’ll find myself asking to Chippy “how good is THAT”—Chippy doesn’t answer. He’ll just try to get crumbs off the counter!

Chippy on counter

Any crumb or morsel is a GOOD one for Chippy!

And despite Bonaparte’s pleas, I’m packing my selfie stick and I’ll carry it in my purse while covering the streets of Paris. Just in case.

I will also make a stop at E. DDehillerin. Just in case.

Paris. E. Dehillerin!

Too bad the last time I was here I didn’t run into Ina. Maybe next time! Can you imagine? I know hope she would not run away from me!

But for now, I’ll spend the rest of this afternoon, looking through Barefoot Contessa cookbooks for recipes I haven’t yet tried. I know they will be excellent.

And I’ll wait impatiently for October 25th—that’s when her new cookbook “Cooking For Jeffrey” hits the shelves.  I can have fun with her recipes and do more “Cooking For Bonaparte”!


This book to me, is the equivalent of the latest Harry Potter book to adoring fans. This fan girl cannot wait to get this book!

 I know this is terribly off-topic but, Ina’s name reminds me of the German word “Eine”. And “Eine” reminds me of the Rutles song “Eine Kleina Middle Klasse Musik”. FYI. The Rutles is a group featuring Eric Idle that was a parody of the Beatles.  Here’s the song I’m talking about! I think Ina would get a good laugh from this song!



About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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26 Responses to Ina Kinda Fangirl! My Search For The Barefoot Contessa Will Never End!

  1. Lori says:

    So many food pics, I’m dying! And I literally laughed out loud because I can now understand ‘B speak’ without you translating! I do hope you to get meet Ina, so cool to meet people you look up to.
    Side note…I started a new blog. Blogger wasn’t working for me anymore, so I switched to WordPress. Just started and still learning my way around using it. I think that’s correct. Let me know what you think as I get a few more posts up. Xoxo

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lori! Ohhhhhhhh..I’m gonna check out the blog now! LOL–in a way I DID get to meet her–she signed my book but I was whisked away so quickly. On the other hand, I did befriend a midget who was almost kicked off the long line!! I love my little peeps!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    With all due respect to Ina and her wonderful recipes, if I were choosing one of you to be my best friend, you would win hands down!

  3. Rhonda says:

    Seriously–is it just me, or does anyone else notice the resemblance between Bonaparte and Jeffrey?🙊 I think you and Ina are twin daughters of different mothers!

  4. calensariel says:

    Great post! I think I might have to check that Foolproof cookbook out. Lordy! I need all the help I can get!!! 😀

  5. LA CONTESSA says:

    I love her books too…….even BANKSY likes them he found when TEETHING as I keep them under the coffee table in the kitchen.CLOSE!I agree I haven’t made ONE BAD RECIPE from her BOOKS!I will try that BEEF ONE NEXT!
    My neighbor was behind them in PARIS one night…..walking along the SEINE!She was in a FULL LENGTH coat and ANLI recognized her VOICE!!!!!!!
    I have to say I was terribly disappointed with her when another woman in my BLOG circles wrote her a snail mail about having an ALS AMERICAN gal over with her FRENCH HUBBY around THANKS GIVING!SHE NEVER RESPONDED………..BOTH were in PARIS at that TIME!Let’s hope the letter NEVER found her way to her desk and THAT GAL that had ALS……..well her funeral was TODAY!

  6. LA CONTESSA says:

    ELLIE LOVED INA TOO!!!!!!!!!

  7. Margaret says:

    I like Ina’s recipes also because nothing is too complicated and everything is party-worthy. Your soufflé looks higher than hers, and your other food pics look great. Maybe she could learn a thing or two from you!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Margaret! I’ll take your compliments any time!! But it’s true–her recipes are never complicated and ALL are definitely party worthy!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  8. Bernadette says:

    Now I am completely in awe of you – you can make a soufflé and get to spend Thanksgiving at St. Germaine des Pre😘

  9. doodletllc says:

    Catherine – this is just the cutest post ever…I laughed out loud on your table decor and that wonderful dog and of course your obsession…are the recipes really this simple and easy?? Such a fun post…my obsession?…the royal family…I know…goofy…oh and I would pick you for a friend…your souffles look smashing. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Jeannne. YES. Her recipes ARE that simple and easy. Your daughters would love her Outrageous Brownie recipe–in fact, they could make them!! Ohhh..thank’s for picking me for a friend–I want to make a souffle for you!! XOXOXO!! My Royal Family obsession is Kate Middleton!

  10. doodletllc says:


  11. Yvonne says:

    Another fabulous post and I had no idea of the Barefoot Contessa but must look for the books next time I am in a proper bookstore . I too love baking and I adore my kitchen aid. I have a french blue coloured machine which I left behind in Sydney. Your madeleines look fantastic and i love Kir Royale and would only have Kir with champagne. There is a very famous Australian cook/chef who has cult status amongst my friends. Not only is she a brilliant cook but her writing is superb. Though typical of the food scene in Australia, which around 20-30 years ago was dominated by French cooking, Stephanie’s food has now evolved into a fusion Asian cuisine. This of course suits the Australian climate, lifestyle and embraces our close neighbours and our wonderful large and diverse Asian communities. I have never heard of the Rutles which is so unusual because Monty Python is iconic/quoted/lauded in Aus. and must show the husband. We saw Peter Frampton (acoustic concert) on Sunday evening and thought of you because he worked with George Harrison as a guitarist when he was only 21. The acoustics in the Kennedy Centre are the best I have ever heard. Concert was great but just missing that illusive middle note. However took nothing away from our admiration of his guitar playing. I wore my long boots with a midi dress (very 70’s) and was hot all night.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Yvonne. You knowwwwwww–the best Asian food I’ve ever had was in Sydney! Far better than any I’ve had in NYC. I’ll have to look for this Stephanie woman.
      Oh. The Rutles are the best thing Eric IIdle has done since Python. If you get the chance look for the CD or DVD (I’m going to head over to Amazon). I have their “first” CD and it’s a riot! My kids all took German throughout their school years and the song “Eine Kliene Middle Klassa Musik” became an in house joke of sorts! I miss Frampton’s long hair. He and Robert Plant were of the same hair goodness!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Yvonne says:

        Oops her name is Stephanie Alexander and her definitive book is The Cooks Companion. Chinese and South East Asian food in Sydney is outstanding and cheap and most restaurants let you bring your own wine. I have had some good Vietnamese and Thai food here.

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