When Ina Garten talks about her kitchen, you listen. In fact, you pay such close attention that you give yourself a headache trying to focus and remember what she said. Such was my plight at a breakfast celebrating the first-ever Poilâne cookbook, at New York's La Mercerie. Garten, a lifelong fan of the iconic Parisian bakery, came to support her friend, third-generation baker Apollonia Poilâne. Sitting across from each other, the Barefoot Contessa and I got to talking about freezers.
I learned that there are three things that Garten always has in her freezer, and those three things are: vodka, vanilla ice cream, and bread.
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Vodka, of course, requires no explaining. But how did vanilla ice cream and bread earn their spots as non-negotiable staples? In Garten's view, both bread and ice cream are two of the only foods that hold up spectacularly to freezing, and they are just as good store-bought as they are homemade.
While Garten can make fabulous ice cream and bread, the time and effort of preparing them herself isn't worth the payoff, which is just as good with frozen options. (To freeze a good loaf of bread, Garten cuts it into wedges before wrapping it tightly—the wedges minimize the amount of freezer the bread is exposed to.)
Soup is also a frequent guest in her freezer, as is good French Champagne. In 2018, she told us the contents of her fridge, which we now follow as gospel.
"I always have good butter and eggs," she said. "Urbani makes a wonderful white truffle butter, so if you need to make a fabulous meal, you can add some pasta and have white truffle pasta."
This October, Garten announced that she is writing a memoir, which will hopefully reveal more of her kitchen secrets. As we wait for it, we'll be listening to her Shania Twain-filled cooking playlist and freezing chunks of bread.
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