Ina was in town last week. Women (maybe men too?) all over the tri-county area made a night of it. A few crazy, amazing friends (because I don’t have anything but those kinds of friends) made a big night of it. I was coming down with something and skated through the evening, forgetting to get pics. However, I did get the best Sage Old Fashioned at Judy’s on Cherry. Best in Berks. We had drinks and dinner at Judy’s on Cherry. Well, we had laughs, great company, made new friends and ran into the amazing baker Hunter while at Judy’s.
It was nice to see Ina. That giggle is always there….not a giggle for the camera. I’ve heard her story before, the jump from corporate to small business, but is was gratifying to hear about the real life struggles transitioning her to prosperity. Her husband, in an online interview, attributes her success to her passion, risk taking, quality, and authenticity. I like that.
It was interesting, in response to an audience member question inquiring about the role of mentors in her life, she said she did not have a particular mentor. It seems her husband has been her backbone and confidant in not just their marriage but her journey into the food industry.
I almost met Ina but that’s a story for dear friends and over drinks. Being in that position pushed me, at the very least, ask my one question during the open audience Q&A. I wasn’t interested in her back story or where she sources her inspiration for recipes. I wanted to know one thing… has she ever met her recipe nemesis. I know mine, it’s chocolate chip cookies. Maybe I should not have led with my recipe fail because she jumped in with suggestions on how to fix it BUT I am certain she has one and as a guest in her home one would never know what that is.
I was the dweeb taking notes during her conversation with the audience and the moderator that night. Here were the things that stuck with me.
- The better it is, the simpler it is.
- Start small, make small mistakes. Learn by doing. (easier said than done…some folks daydream and glamorize small business ownership. when you “do it” your hands get dirty, you hear “no”, people think you never give them enough, people don’t know reciprocation, you lose sleep, you lose money, you get tired, you sweat and cry. In the end you share your heart, you risk, you are committed and you are thankful for those who help you along the way because you love what you do.)
- She kept her desk in the middle of the Barefoot Contessa store.
- Life changing ricotta is how she describes her recipe for homemade ricotta.
- She values the often underrated ingredient used to give an edge, adding flavor … turnip cooked with french lentils then discarded, lemon with a splash of vinegar, or plums with cassis.
- Brining a turkey is overrated. Instead salt rub and overnight it in the fridge. Rub with evoo on the 2nd day and roast.
- Savory bread pudding is a favorite holiday dish.
- Grilled cheese and soup might be the perfect meal.
- How to be the perfect hostess: Be relaxed. Do as much as possible, in advance so you can enjoy time with guests. Do not get lost in the kitchen. Keep it simple. She suggests the roasted chicken, marinated overnight.
- Roasted Brussles sprouts are a revelation (already knew that but it was nice validation)
(I did not bake these chocolate chip cookies. Mine would look glaringly disastrous. It just seemed like this post should have chocolate chip cookies represented. Holla to the chocolate chip cookies)