Monday, January 7, 2008

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Ina Garten

A few weeks ago at work we talked about the answer to the question, "What's your dream job?" I, of course, said that I wanted to fix American health care, probably by being an important advisor to a similarly important person.

"Seriously?" one of my pod-mates asked me. "What do you actually think would be fun?"

"I mean, once I do that, I want to be a Food Network chef."

This sounded a little more reasonable to everyone, especially once we considered how I could go from a cooking show to cookbooks to a travel or entertaining show. Really, the possibilities are endless. But is it really possible to go from policy to cooking shows?

Yes. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ina Garten. She went from writing nuclear energy policy for Ford and Carter to owning a specialty food store in the Hamptons, writing a cookbook, and starring on one of my favorite shows, Barefoot Contessa.

How did she get her start on her second career? Throwing parties in Washington. Granted, she and her husband had a rather swanky place in the Dupont/Kalorama area, but my roommate and I have a fabulous view only about five minutes from the Metro.

And this past weekend we threw a pretty successful Twelfth Night party. One of the signatures of the night was the big pot of wassail, which involved two six-packs of Newcastle, half a dozen apples, more sugar than I care to recall, and my creative interpretation of two different wassail recipes-- which I finally combined in about 20 minutes with my hair still slightly damp and my outfit covered by a Lucy Ricardo-esque, ladybug-print apron. Not to mention the Twelfth Night cake. Seriously, if we could keep 20-some-odd 20-somethings happy on a Saturday night without the benefit of a keg or organized drinking games, then I think I am on my way to fabulous dinner parties.

Lest we forget, I am still basically a college student playing house and dress-up-- though apparently my pretending to be a grown-up is more convincing than I thought. Once the wassail was mixed and the Twelfth Night cake was cut, I got down to one of my pieces of business for the night:

"Hey Strand, come on. Are we shotgunning or not?"

As my friend and I stepped out to the balcony and began carving strategically placed holes in our cans of beer, a party guest turned to my roommate:

"She is the last person I would have expected to go shotgun a beer. She baked, she made wassail, and she's wearing pearls. She's like Martha Stewart."


NB: Beginning this week (meaning yesterday), I am a contributor for an exciting, new blog called Last Stop in the District. I will be writing a weekly column-- published on Mondays--on health, science, and policy, though not always at the same time. Just a heads-up. It's not that I've become completely fluffy, but my writing will be a little compartmentalized from here on out, as the topical stuff moves to LSITD. The hilarity will continue to ensue, and when I get particularly enraged about something health-y, I will let you know in whatever forum I find most appropriate to vent my rage. But please support the new site, and make sure you check out all the other awesome contributors as well!

No comments: