Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Dirty Little Secret: Food Crushes

I'm going to admit something to you. One of my dirty little secrets. Over the past several years, I have harbored some rather serious crushes on celebrity chefs.

I first fell for Nigella Lawson, and her cooking show Nigella Bites when I was in graduate school. I would sit and watch Nigella cook when I was supposed to be writing papers, reading books, doing all kinds of important "grad-schooly-stuff." Escaping into her world felt as naughty as her midnight trips to the refrigerator to snack on  the leftovers of whatever she had made on that day's show. I would pine over her cookbook during my escapes from studying into the aisles at Barnes and Noble, a pining made all the keener due to the fact that, as a poor grad student, I couldn't afford it.

As much as I loved Nigella, and the style of her show, I never felt all that connected to her food. It seemed somehow removed from the world in my little apartment. Furthermore, I wanted her pot rack so badly for my own kitchen but I had nowhere to put it. I guess you could say our relationship fell apart because my jealousy got in the way.

From Nigella, I moved onto Martha. My Martha obsession began when I ordered Martha Stewart Living one day out of the blue because I really wanted the little blue and white canvas tote that they were giving away as a a signing bonus. After I got sucked in by the magazine, I ordered every single Martha Stewart cookbook/lifestyle book I could get my hands on. The Best Martha recipes for every year. Martha Stewart Halloween. Martha Gardens. It got completely out of hand. One of those obsessive relationships. You know.
(I love this video of Martha with Seth Meyers. It totally captures her fussiness: "What makes you think you can't look?" LOL.) 

The problem I've found with many of Martha's recipes over the years is that they don't turn out quite right (or maybe I'm just not fussy enough in following all of Martha's rules). Sadly, we fell out of love a few years ago. I could never live up to her expectations, and then she went to jail. I have to say I got a little satisfaction out of her slip-up (at least her cookbooks still look pretty on my bookshelves). 

By far, the Food Network star I fell hardest for over the years is the Barefoot Contessa. First of all, every time I watch her show, I commit a terrible sin, because I covet everything in the damn episode. Her kitchen garden. Her kitchen itself. Her quiet house slathered in white. Her liquor cabinet. All of it. 

Via @DrunkInaGarten
When I turn on Ina's show, I instantly feel calmer and richer. I ride shotgun in her convertible (cause Jeffrey is out of town until Friday; we're scooting around town buying the ingredients for his roasted chicken). We drop by TR's for cocktails. We linger over our prepared sandwiches wrapped in wax paper and some special brownies along the ocean (although Ina doesn't really like the shore because it makes her sweaty in her blue oxford). I haven't fallen out of love with Ina just yet. Her cookbooks haven't let me down. I'm also staying tuned for the day when Jeffrey goes ballistic, throws the chicken out the window, and says, "For f*#%'s sake Ina, can we please just order a goddamn pizza?" Night all. ~Alice

PS For the record, I have never had a food crush on Giada de Laurentiis. I can't stand the way she pronounces Italian words. Also, she gives new meaning to the term boob tube. Step away from the V-necks, Giada.  
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