When I was an early twenty-something first making it as a full-time working girl, I had a job down in the Financial District. And at this job I had an hourlong lunch break, 30 minutes of which were spent watching Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network with my coworker besties. For the better part of two years–minus holidays, weekends and sick days–Nicole, Kacie and I ate our home-brought lunch (because, entry level salaries) completely enamored of Ina Garten.
Her soothing voice and comforting disposition and delicious food gave us an escape. Never mind the fact that we ate PB&J or leftover meatloaf while she whipped up something mouthwatering like roasted chicken and sautéed veggies. But most of all, we loved her ADORABLE husband, Jeffrey, and the jazzy theme song played at the beginning of each episode. We seriously considered pitching ourselves as her in-house band. It would have been yuge.
Many moons later when my friend Monique asked if I wanted to see her speak at BAM with TINA FEY (!!!) all those lunchtime memories came a-flooding back. Apparently, the whole world loves Ina Garten, including Tina Fey, who claimed she was “more famous than Tom Hanks and Blue Ivy combined.” So there, you can’t argue with Tina.
Just as I hoped, Ina was lovely, gracious and totally sweet IRL. And Tina Fey, who interviewed Ina about her new cookbook, was a riot, obviously. The book’s called Cooking With Jeffrey and it chronicles their decades-long romance and marriage, punctuated by the meals he loves most. Jeffrey’s basically the luckiest man alive.
After the Q&A between Tina and Ina ended, a Q&A between the audience and Ina began. One of the many guys hoping to speak with her, henceforth referred to as The Gays for Ina (more on that later), explained that he had messed up one of her recipes and asked what she did when she, for lack of a better term, fucked up. She elegantly and kindly replied that she “never fucks up.” It was like seeing a sweet nun–or in this case a sweet Jewish girl from Brooklyn–curse.
About The Gays for Ina, I had never thought about who her fans were or why they like her. I like her for all the reasons previously mentioned and because I love food, grew up watching the Food Network, and found watching her show was a good excuse to fend off work requests for 30 minutes each day. As it turns out, she’s a beloved gay icon 1) for being an all-around fabulous cook and 2) for frequently having openly gay friends as guests on her show. It’s really inspiring and makes me admire her even more. You’ve got competition, Cher.
Like all good things, however, her time on stage came to a close, but not before Jeffrey joined her. The whole place swooned because they simply are relationship goals. They’re genuinely kind to one another, encourage one other and are the centers of each other’s worlds. And as Tina pointed out, away from each other 5 days a week ;P Whatever works, amirite?