Ina Garten »

Alec Baldwin & Mariska Hargitay On Barefoot Contessa
Posted by Jillian Madison

On this weekend’s asinine new episode of Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten threw a luncheon to benefit a charity run by her “friend” Mariska Hargitay (eat your heart out, Jennifer Garner!) Basically, some rich white dude paid $100,000 at a celebrity auction so a few of his rich white female friends could have the honor of eating a mediocre lunch in Ina Garten’s overly-hyped back yard. How bad could that be! Well, pretty bad, actually.

I love Alec Baldwin, but I just don’t see what the hell he was doing on this show – or why he felt the need to utter every word like he was reciting poetry at a $2 open mic night. He was supposed to be Ina Garten’s “personal shopper” – but basically he just went to a farm and sweat profusely as he plucked herbs from the dirt in his $2,000 shoes. He also spent a few precious moments talking to a jolly man with a white beard. Apparently, Santa has a summer home in the Hamptons. Who knew!

So, what about the menu?

On a scale of 1-10, the effort Ina put into this meal was a -24. She made a cold cucumber soup with shrimp, and a pasta salad with lobster that she didn’t even cook! She grabbed a plastic container, dumped some slimy looking lobster meat out onto her cutting board and muttered, “You could cook your own lobster, but why!” Um, I don’t know, maybe because these people paid ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS TO EAT WITH YOU?

The dessert, called Eton Mess, was the most ridiculous part of the day. Ina just heated some raspberries and whipped up some cream, and made the guests spoon it into glasses by themselves. She didn’t even crumble the meringue cookies! She scoffed, “I’m going to make the guests do it!” Eton Mess? More like HOT MESS. It was a total fail. Alec really struggled with it, the women were rolling their eyes at it, and the whole scene was just awkward to watch. Jesus, couldn’t Ina at least have made them a GOOD apple pie or something? I mean, what else does she have to do with her day?

I really didn’t understand why Ina went with that lame dessert, until the very end of the show when she declared: “Don’t leave yet! I have a present for all of you!” She then opened a bag and handed everyone a copy of her new cookbook. And you’ll never believe what recipe was featured on the cover of that cookbook:

I can just see the pre-production meeting for this episode now: “Yes, Mariska! I will throw a charity luncheon for you, but only if you let me shamelessly and gratuitously plug my book – and let me photograph you holding my cover recipe!”



Other posts on Food Network Humor:

---Barefoot Contessa: Beach Barbecue Photo Recap
---How To Make An Episode Of Barefoot Contessa
---How To Make An Episode Of Barefoot Contessa
---Barefoot Contessa: the Jeffrey Garten Birthday Episode
---Meanwhile… On Barefoot Contessa…

    164 Responses

  1. JOE says:

    How ridiculous was this episode? I lost it when she started crumbling up the meringues and throwing them around like scrap wood shavings in shop class.

    • Carl says:

      My (formerly – due to this episode) big fan wife and daughter remarked that Ina seemed so disinterested that SHE DIDN’T EVEN REMOVE THE MERINGUES FROM THE PLASTIC BAGS when she served them! How tacky is that (in Inaspeak)?

      Also, it looked like if the guests had to use the bathroom, Ina was likely to send them to the service station on the corner.

    • FuryOfFirestorm says:

      Paula Deen’s shameless whoring, Aunt Drunky’s half-assed “cooking skills” and Giada’s bloated sense of self-importance have combined with Ina’s bourgeois ennui to form a giant Voltron of fail!

      • TruFoodie says:

        I agree with everything. This was the iceberg that caused the Titanic (Ina) to sink. In Inaspeak: “How bad can it be?”

        VERY bad.

    • Mikie says:

      This is the first time I ever responded to a blog and your post was AWESOME! The only way I would ever pay 100K for pasta salad is if Big Daddy was servin’ it up and he was having me for dessert.

      • Mish says:

        The plus side of this is, with the way Alec was ogling these women, you know they all got what they REALLY wanted from him, after the show, from Alec int he back of his limo. And it wasn’t “dill”, but something close….. I would have demanded it for that price….

    • cooking mom says:

      yeah when i saw this episode i was shocked she would serve up something my 7 yr old cousin can do as well. sorry but for 100k she should have a french dessert presented at the table not a prettier-looking version of a sundae. sorry lady but tifles are boring, cakes are much more interesting! or atleast a creme brulee which takes very few ingredients “how easy was that” my ass. no effort put in. very dissapointed with her choice of food.

    • NYGIRLY says:

      How cute was that red head next to Alec?

  2. thisboytony says:

    HOLY SHIT THIS WAS FUNNY!!!…”oh this is some bullshit right here!” hahaha….and whats with those hot ass raspberries and cream? blech…

  3. thisboytony says:

    and just for the record mariska hargitay is so hot

  4. FingerFoodie says:

    Seriously, one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on Barefoot Contessa. She has dared to go to the lowest depths of all time. I really feel horrid for those people that paid 100k to have that lunch with her, Alec, and Mariska.

    On a side note, I thought Alec was freaking hilarious. I have heard that he is the world’s most gigantic douchebag (and has proved it on several occasions in phone calls recorded by his daughter). He did sound like an 80 year old woman who smokes 2 packs a day but it was pretty funny watching him pull fresh dill from a field. And I think he even might have used a couple of Ina’s lame catch phrases.

    And that bearded guy – that guy needs more TV gigs. That wide-eyed thing he did when Alec told him he was shopping for Ina was PRICELESS!

    My husband and I were both doubled over at this episode…and my husband will NEVER watch this show. :)

    • lw says:

      I’m confused about what you are horrified by…money was raised for an amazing cause.

      • Kelley says:

        I guess the reason why so many of us are horrified at the events that took place in this episode is simply the fact that if you are doing something for charity you should do it well. If you are donating a lunch for charity you should serve what you normally would at your fancy dinner parties, not scale it down because its for charity! That’s like giving away moldy, rotten pants to the Salvation Army so they can sell them. Would you buy them! Probably not. Would Ina serve that low key lunch to her token gay friends in the Hamptons? Of course not! For a lunch with Miguel (who was taking pictures of her garden) she baked an awesome cake, made a fettucini with lemon sauce (that looked WAY better than the pasta salad) and some balsamic tomatoes. See the difference?

    • ina garten old fan says:

      Well, I love Alec Baldwin! I dont think he should be punished for having been on her show. How did he know he would be pluckin veggies like a hired hand? I agree with the distaste in her menu. Ina has done way more taste appealing meals for her own neighbors let alone a 100k benefit! What was she thinking? Store bought lobster a plus ?

  5. Stephanie says:

    If I had been stupid enough to pay that much money to attend a lunch in the Hamptons and THAT was what I got served, I would’ve left a special little Eton Mess on the middle of that table. Hell, I’ve made more of an effort making food for people I hate! C’mon, Ina…soup, salad, and a freaking parfait? They could’ve gone to Olive Garden and had the same pathetic food and generically-friendly atmosphere.

    • Matt says:

      Well, although they wouldn’t say or show this on TV, I’m about as sure as I can be (without evidence) that the $100,000 auction item was something like “lunch with Alec Baldwin and Mariska Hargitay, cooked and served by Ina Garten at her house and filmed for an episode of Barefoot Contessa.”

      I’d be absolutely shocked if being on BC was not part of the auction item from the start.

    • orchidgal says:

      But at least at Olive Garden they treat you like family. Snark.

    • Azizeh says:

      In all fairness, the money went to a charity for women and kids. Wasn’t as if they were buying time from Ina and Alec.

      I’m sure the buyer also gets a nice little tax deduction to go with their mediocre lunch.

  6. Cameron says:

    Ina’s becoming desperate; Mariska? A “friend” of Ina’s? Lulz!

    And judging by the “cooking,” I’d say she’s taking several pages from Aunt Drunky’s playbook, then adding a zero or three to the price per ingredient.

    And the gift? What a waste of trees. Pfft !

  7. Jenna says:

    I swear, my tolerance for Food Network crap is pretty high, but I can’t even watch Ina anymore. I literally wince every time she says to use a “good” ingredient, and it pisses me me off whenever one of her “recipes” is a plate of cold cuts or prepared foods. I didn’t care enough to tune into this episode on Saturday, and I’m glad I didn’t.

  8. Melissa says:

    Sorry I missed this, but you made it sound hysterical – loved the captions! Will have to keep an eye out for a repeat. Keep up the good mocking!

  9. chris says:

    as a token gay who LOVES ina garten, I was so uncomfortable watching this episode…i just wanted to grab her by the shent and say STOP IT!!! Go get T.R., Frank, and some goddamned orange tulips, good vanilla, and get back to the Barefoot Contessa we knew and loved. I think the problem started when “Barefoot Contessa” became “Barefoot Contessa – Back to Basics” It has turned into such a spectacle. I liked how Ina’s shows used to be almost like a 3 act play and had a purpose and we got things like Beouf Bourginone (I know i spelled that incorrectly but i was aiming for the french) and that awesome Mel Brooks dinner…its so sad…Ina..WE LOVE YOU..AND WE WANT YOU TO COME BACK TO US!!!!!!!!!!

    • thegolli says:

      You may want Ina back, but I don’t. From the first time I saw her pretentious act, I knew her show was not for me. I would be so embarrassed to come up with that menu and so-called present for $100,000. Glad I missed the latest installment of “E. Hampton Phoney.”

    • Your NameCallemlikeIseeem says:

      OMGOSH you are freaking Hilarious. I watched this episode as I made dinner in MY mediocre kitchen. But, I was busy and not paying a whole lot of attention till towards the end of it and I kept thinking “okay maybe it’s just me and the raspberry parfait is better than I think. But, I was a bit dumbfounded and somewhat embarrassed that she called it ‘Eaton Mess” IDK thought it sounded quite unappealing. My husband walked in and asked what’s for dinner and can he change the channel I say no and a few minutes later he asked WTH are you watching? I said IDK anymore, go ahead and change the channel to the news , I mean seriously after watching her show how bad can THAT be?

      • chris says:

        ina WAS the last show on this clown network that i could stomach but after that fiasco i`m sticking with the cooking channel ( at least until that gets lame)
        do the executives at this train wreck ever pay attention to their dramatically declining ratings at all ??

  10. chris says:

    i love ina without a doubt…now and forever. but i have to say, it feels that each episode feels like more of a letdown. when the show first started it was like a breath of fresh air on the food network. now it feels as though she’s becoming of a caricature of herself.

    i think the one thing they left out, is that they probably paid 100k for lunch cooked by ina garten, attended by mariska and alec and to be filmed for the show.

    i do think it was tacky that they said how much the luncheon was worth. i would’ve preferred something not at room temperature and hot out of the oven.

    basically, they got shafted for appearing on her show during her lamest cookbook to date.

  11. Lana says:

    Barefoot Contessa, phonin’ it in. How sad is that?!?

  12. MichelleTraub says:

    I have never been more incensed by an episode of, well anything food related. The sheer laziness and ego of Ina amazed me. She was so proud of herself for donating a luncheon at her house and couldn’t have done less if she had made them Spaghetti-O’s. She didn’t even take the meringues out for the bags or take the whipped cream out of the Kitchenaid bowl. She baked a cake for a dog’s birthday party but couldn’t be bothered to turn on the oven for $100,000!

    • ^^^^^ INCREDIBLY WELL SAID. My thoughts exactly!

    • Jenifefa says:

      I like the way she cut the shrimp in half to make “more shrimp”. You know, to stretch her meager budget.

      “Don’t make the meringues.” OK, Ina, I won’t, but could you make them… on your COOKING show… for the patrons of a great charity? Because they could’ve eaten at your local deli and bakery for less than $100,000. (Not much less, of course, because it’s the Hamptons.) It was good of those people to give that money and I hope the satisfaction of helping others was all they needed in return, because I’m sure they didn’t get what they were expecting from this luncheon.

      And this is off topic, but… How did a dessert that dainty get named after a BOYS school? Do young men in England really sit around crushing up meringues?

      • Justin says:

        Well, you know the worst form of crime there, are the drive by arguments. Crushing meringue cookies sounds right in line :)

      • Justin says:

        I wonder if I could eat sushi off a naked Mariska Hargitay for $100,000…or maybe wings. Boneless buffalo wings! Ah :) I’ll be in my study if anyone needs me.

  13. Minx says:

    I’m confused. I thought Ina turned down Jennfer Garner’s request to be on her show because she supposedly didn’t want “celebrities”, only “friends” to appear. What up, Ina?

  14. Luna Lovegood says:

    Compared to say….watching Debbie Mazur and her Euro trash husband smear avocado all over each other in a bathtub on their new Cooking Channel, show Extra Virgin…..the Ina celeb fest with bad food was not so bad.

  15. jamie.thomas says:

    I love Ina but yeah, I was just as disgusted by this episode as everyone else. Seriously. $100,000.00 and you couldn’t even cook a real dish for them?

    You know Ina, Julia Child would bitch slap you for that.

    • Cameron says:

      Considering that Julia was 6 ft 2, played basketball and was a member of the OSS, I think that bitch slap would end up resembling a beatdown with the shent made into a bodybag afterwards with Martha Stewart’s help… how is easy is that?

  16. Menage a'foie says:

    I may be in the minority, but Ina sucks. I used to like her, when she was fresh, new and different – oh, and when she had class – but she bit it a loooong time ago, just like FN.

  17. FatCat says:

    I cracked up way too many times during this episode . Especially when Alec said something like “what’s wrong? oh you know ina?” Totally hilarious. Really how surprised should we be at her giving out copies of her book? That was just the perfect ending.

  18. Aimee says:

    I have been waiting to read these hilarious comments since I watched the episode yesterday. Even my 12-year-old couldn’t believe that Ina didn’t put forth any effort for that much money. How tacky is that indeed?

    Oh, and Alec Baldwin? Really? Why, God, why?

  19. Kasia says:

    I’m sorry but this excuse for food is not going to win any more charity donations, a chunky gross cold soup and a pasta salad which a babysitter can whip up if she picks up some stale lobster on they way is not impressive, She was so relaxed and easy going that she made boring food even more pretensions than the theme suggested and the amount of times she said “Alec Baldwin” was ridiculous – I always considered him just another human being, good actor yes but what is her creepy obsession all about? What an uncomfortable episode, I cringed a few times, not good Ina, not good…

  20. FML says:

    Ugh…I can’t stomach Baldwin,- and Garten again settles to be less than par, the whole schtick is low rate quid pro quo

  21. PeteC94 says:

    Looks like the only remaining FN show that I care to watch just jumped the shark :(

  22. Mystrich says:

    Considering I know little about cooking, I was thinking watching this “Maybe I just don’t know fine dining, but this seems cheap.” Glad to know I wasn’t wrong.

    Seriously, Ina’s show has always been the expensive side of Food Network, so why would she decide to make her money-saving episode a week after “Money-Saving-Weekend” and for guests who paid 100,000 for the meal.

  23. thatgirlfriday says:

    I knew this episode was going to dive bomb when she said something to the extent of, “these people paid a lot of money for this meal so I started to think about serving caviar. Then I realized that was against my principles (nervous giggle) so I’m going to change it up and make simple food.”

    Her principles? I didn’t realize her principle was serving cheap food to people who paid a lot for it.

    • Jenifefa says:

      I did a spit take at that line! So I can be lazy and rip people off and chalk it up to my “principles”? Does serving store bought food fall under her principles? Because she could’ve served the same exact thing and at least made everything fresh.

  24. Nora says:

    It was seriously the most ridiculous menu, and then when you consider the fact that someone paid 100k for it…. The most basic soup ever, a pasta salad (REALLY? that isn’t a lunch!) and eton mess which she didn’t even put together.

    Sure, whoever bought the lunch probably considers 100k like most people consider 10 bucks, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t pissed with what he got.

  25. [...] at all the actors on the latest episode of The Barefoot Contessa – even though Ina really phoned it in on this episode, it was still perfect for this [...]

  26. M2614 says:

    Wow, this wasn’t a great episode (by far), but really? These are some nasty comments for a woman who served a nice lunch for people who gave $100k to a charity for abuse victims. It wasn’t her greatest menu, but for an afternoon lunch it was appropriate. I agree Ina was much better years ago, but I would still rather sit through this than watch Sandra Lee whip out a bottle of vodka and declare her cocktail to be “brilliant”…

    • K. says:

      I didn’t see the episode but I’m under the impression that Ina didn’t actually donate anything, the lunch attendees did. Ina was just used as an incentive to get people to donate. Correct me if I’m wrong, though

      • M2614 says:

        No, you are correct. The point is that she could have easily declined the request to help. She was doing something nice. Again, the episode was bland, but I was surprised at the comments about her ego and being lazy. At least she’s contributing to a decent cause. Just trying to look at the bright side I suppose.

        • Idc says:

          Yes, she agreed to “help”, but lets consider use of the weird help: she got to boost her ratings by having two popular actors on the show (say what you will about baldwin, 30 rock is immensely popular and people like the guy), and plug her crappy little cookbook. So every snarky comment was well deserved, because her “help” was nothing more than an opportunity for self-promotion.

        • Catherine says:

          I also think it’s great that she contributed (in whatever way) to a worthy cause… however, I’m just entirely boggled by her train of thought. She started the episode by saying, with a glint in her eye, “These people paid $100K for this lunch, and normally that points to caviar and other expensive, decadent ingredients, but I’m just going to whip up some pasta salad — OHOHO aren’t I clever?!” I just don’t freaking get it.

  27. Jane says:

    I will admit that the first thing I said upon seeing the celebrities was, “Jennifer Garner will be pissed!”

  28. Gullwing says:

    Ina’s rapport with Marissa was non-existent- and when she greeted Alec at the door, she didn’t even say Hello. I expect Alec must have gotten stoned out of his gourd to find any of this crap worth laughing about. And does Ina have to put chives and green onions in every goddamn thing she makes. That soup looks repugnant to me. Even the one sided shrimp slices grossed me out. I can’t believe she couldn’t come up with a decent dessert for this lunch. Sweetened whipped cream AND meringue? And sweetened berries- I could vomit just imagining the gritty sugar in that slop once it’s all combined in a parfait glass. I didn’t find any of it in the least bit appetizing.

    • Del says:

      who’s Marrisa???????????

      • Cari Bean says:

        IDK who Marissa is either, but I swear I heard Ina call her Marishka. Way to prove you have no idea who she is, Ina.

        • April says:

          I believe it is pronounced Marishka.

        • GwenEllen says:

          Actually, it IS pronounced MariSHka, and she’s the type of person who is gracious enough to let it slide most of the time, but I’ve heard it mispronounced more often that I’ve heard it correctly.
          As far as the episode goes, I missed it, but anything that brings awareness to the Joyful Heart Foundation is wonderful, in my book. I’d pay 100,000 to eat burnt toast (which I’m allergic to) with Mariska- she’s that much of a hero to me. I can’t wait to get a job, so I can start donating to JHF again!

  29. Gullwing says:

    An d does Ina every wear a dress? I swear if she were invited to walk the red carpet at the Emmy-she’d be wearing a shent. Maybe a floor length number, but still the a shent. She’d have to go to Shent rehab to be able to shed her shent.

  30. J-Man says:

    The worst part is that Mariska is going to start wearing shents on SVU.

  31. Heather says:

    As much as I agree that Ina totally phoned this in, don’t rich assholes do this kind of stuff all the time? Its no different from those several-thousand dollar a head dinners catered by whoever’s willing to work the cheapest.

    I guess when you have that much money, and you’ve ALWAYS had that much money, you appreciate it so little that all you can think to do with it is piss it away (I have no idea what the charity is for, this is mostly referring to the quality of lack thereof of the food and “event” itself).

  32. C.K. says:

    If Ina Garten wants to increase viewership and ratings for FN and her show, she needs to ditch everything in the Hamptons, go to the west coast, and hold a special show – Barefoot Contessa : The San Francisco Spotlight Special. FN will be happy. FNH will be happy. Advertisers will be happy. How easy is that?

  33. Diane says:

    Wow, really? I must admit I am surprised @ Ina. If nothing else, she usually seems to enjoy doing a bang up job of entertaining for people.

    Sounds like she should have just ordered in Chinese and had a few brewskies with her guests.

    Even that lame ass cake with Necco wafers and Jordan almonds would have been better than the berry and cream slop. Sheesh!

    • George Bluth says:

      What’s worse – this meal or those kids staring at that cake, wondering what the fuck to do with the Neccos and the jordan almonds?

      At least the kids didn’t drop $100k for the privilege!

  34. Frances says:

    Ina lost me when, during one of her “Ask Ina” segments, a woman explained that she was too lazy to make tomato sauce, so Ina tells her that she often sautes garlic and onions and then adds a jar of “good” marinara sauce. I was appalled. By the time you saute garlic and onions, most of the work of tomato sauce is done. She could have some tomatoes, even canned tomatoes which are often better than fresh for most of the year, and made a homemade sauce that wasn’t disgusting.

    Then in the episode where she claims to not know how to make omelettes and invites a random guy from the Hamptons over to teach her, she says she tried to read Julia Child’s section on omelettes “because it’s twelve pages long!” She says it in this voice, like nobody would ever consider reading it. First of all, it might be twelve pages but most of the room is taken up by drawings. Second of all, even if it were twelve full pages, it wouldn’t take that long and is worth reading if you care about cooking at all. She could have read it in a fraction of the time it took to find some random Hamptons chef and invite him over.

    I mean, this is her job. Her job is to learn about food and make something anyone would want to eat, and she can’t even do that. She can’t be bothered to open a can of tomatoes and add some salt and pepper, and she can’t be bothered to read a few pages of Julia Child.

    • Diane says:

      Frances, I’m thinking that running all over the Hamptons looking for saffron and dull colored shents takes up a lot of Ina’s time. Reading about how to cook something properly would really cut into her day.

      • Tres says:

        Now, I have something to say about her use of saffron.

        Why does she always just have to throw in that “it’s the stamen of crocuses, which is why it’s expensive.”

        I mean, who the hell brags about how much their seasonings cost?

  35. Rebecca says:

    I can’t stand Alec Baldwin. He’s such a jerk.

    That said, wow. You would think that if people are paying a lot of money to eat your food, you would at least put SOME effort into it!

  36. Dave says:

    This isn’t the first time that Ina has stiffed people who have paid for her hospitality. At least this bunch got three courses. The poor couple in a former series who paid for lunch as part of a ‘save the Hamptons’ gig got palmed off with baked salmon and cake. They even brought the wine!

    Did the producers not tell her that she would come over as a cheapskate?

    • Kelley says:

      I think the baked salmon, asian noodles and the lemon cake the couple from “Save the Hamptons” episode got was a lot better than this episode’s menu. She sure took a lot more time to make this menu (and kept saying: this couple paid a lot of money for this lunch so it better be good!). It had a lot of “good” ingredients and they didn’t have to assemble their dessert themselves (and she actually MADE it. Instead of buying it like she did the merengues! She makes merengues for bake sales and pavlova for Jeffrey’s b-day but couldn’t be bothered for this occasion?!).

      I guess what ticked me off the most was that during this episode it seemed like she wasn’t even trying. She has NEVER bought merengues, she always makes them. She always insists on using pretty silver bowls and “attention to detail” and has never served Jeffrey, or Miguel or TR or anyone on the KitchenAid mixer bowl or on the packaging the food came in. I know the “magic of television bs” you are all talking about (this isn’t real, bla bla bla), but this is what FN intended for us to watch and believe as real. Couldn’t they make a freaking effort? Or is it because it was for charity that it was allowed for it to be crappy?

      If you are going to do something do it right!

  37. Daria says:

    Good job calling this out. Ina seems to have gotten much lazier as of late, like the Gwenyth Paltrow incident (served her some ricotta cheese and a green salad). I don’t know, maybe she has just gotten so full of herself that she doesn’t feel she has to put forth any effort any more. And then to plug her book at the end – by the way read some of the reviews of it on Amazon. They aren’t exactly glowing because she calls for expensive hard to find ingredients. Also when was this filmed? I notice people are wearing short sleeves, so why delay it for so long?

  38. Cheesymice says:

    I have to say that I LOVE Eton Mess, as it is quite yummy, but not something that I’d pay a ton of money to eat, not even for charity. I’d want something that took a lot more effort and skill for that kind of money.

  39. ron says:

    I did work for two rich assholes in Brookville and Locust Valley here on Long Island when I was in my teens, and even the dogs they owned were stuck up! That’s just the way they are.
    Strangely….rich people are enamored with the shits their dogs take too, because whenever their little turd fag dogs took a dump, the silly rich bitches who were married to the henpecked rich assholes would fuckin rave “oh…what a gooood boy” as they gazed upon the load their hounds just deposited (always in the path I had to walk of course).
    I used to take great delight in depositing the shit I was ordered to pick up into the prized rose bushes that the rich bitch loved more than people.
    I realize my post has little to do with the subject, but Ina and her stuck up “friends” always rekindle horrible memories of my indentured servitude to the bastard rich of Long Island!
    Thanks for allowing me to vent….it’s cheaper than therapy.

  40. Peter says:

    I thought this was hysterical. It was like Ina could barely contain her contempt for the guests. It’s pretty bad-ass if you ask me. Why bother to go all out when you can kind of phone it in?

  41. Krista says:

    I love Ina but must say I agree with you 100% on this one. Those people got screwed! They had to sit in the hot sun (did you notice how bad Alec was sweating?) and seemed so uncomfortable which made me uncomfortable watching it. It all felt so forced for the camera. The fake laughs, Alec acting like he was having a good time when in reality he would have rather spent his day with Kim Basinger. The best part of the whole show was the guy with the beard…loved him!!

  42. FNFAN says:

    Nigella has made Eton Mess on her show before, and although it looked messy, it seemed as thought it might be pretty tasty. I’m pissed that I missed this episode, though.

  43. Dania says:

    For those who missed it, it’s on again tonight at 5PM EST…

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/barefoot-contessa/sweet-charity/index.html

  44. dja says:

    I read this and found out that this episode is on in five minutes. I hope it’s as funny as you described it.

  45. Toolshed says:

    I have it on now, for $100K she could at least peel the cucumbers.

  46. KS says:

    Oh my god. I’m watching this episode now (only because I’d already read this post)

    Ina really has just phoned it in.

  47. Jen says:

    Nothing says delicious dessert to me quite like “a recipe from an old English boarding school”. Those places were famous for their delcious cuisine.

  48. cowpoke says:

    I know I am all alone on this one but I didn’t think it was that bad. I’ve seen alot worse on Food Network.

    • thegolli says:

      Is it okay then to charge so much for so little, and boast about it on your show?

      • cowpoke says:

        She didn’t charge anything. She donated a lunch for auction and the people bidding paid what they wanted for a good cause. She boasted about how much they donated for a worthy charity. She served the lunch and I didn’t think it was that bad.It was lunch. It wasn’t her best menu but she didn’t set the price and the people were smiling and talking and having a nice time.They weren’t forced to bid on this lunch and they didn’t seem to mind the food. I’ve been to some very elegant restaurants and the food is never worth what they charge. I’ve been to cheap restaurants where the food is casual and worth every penny. And, put any actor in front of a camera without a script and they are always awkward and out of their element. It’s never good to watch.It wasn’t as bad as other shows I’ve seen on FN. I have seen alot worse.Watching Sandra Lee do anything is more offensive to me. Watching the creepy Neelys talk dirty while they’re cooking is much more offensive.At least when I watch Barefoot Contessa I can get recipes that I can try without being disappointed which is why I watch cooking shows in the first place. She is one of the very, very few on FN who have recipes that are actually good. I’ve never been disappointed.

  49. Azizeh says:

    Considering the great lengths she goes to on Friday nights when Jeffrey comes home, you do kind of expect a little more, yes.

    I don’t think Alec was bad. Honestly, I think he was uncomfortable, wishing he were anywhere else, and was basically making fun of the whole thing with his demeanor. I’m sure he was happy to help out the charity, but the whole song and dance of being on TV afterwards is awkward.

    • AbacoPeach says:

      I like Alec okay, but he always seems so uncomfortable in his own skin which certainly added to the awkwardness of the the show.

      She really out did herself with the “How great, easy, simple, good, etc. ad nauseum… is that?”!

  50. Dania says:

    Okay I just watched this, and it was bad. I don’t think I have reiterate what everyone else said…but what killed me the most is basically she made a lobster roll and added pasta and veggies (I think my 2 year old is capable of making the same dish) The whip cream still in the kitchen aid bowl was priceless and when she said “how about the guests crush their own meringues” with them still in the plastic wrap was just over the top…

    I don’t think those guests paid 100k…I think they’re part of the “abuse” foundation (HELP) and they raised 100k. I bet Ina was one of the donators and just invited the “big wigs” of the charity over (or was forced by FN) then turned it into a train wreck of a show.

  51. Megan R. says:

    Wow!! I actually read these comments before seeing the episode and when I did see it trust me when I say, it did NOT disappoint. Alec was half on fire sitting out there and Mariska was all dolled up to eat pasta salad. LOVED IT!! Makes me thankful I’m not rich because cucumber soup and a dressed up pasta salad just isn’t my thing. The only thing that could have made this better is if everyone cleared their own plates into a big plastic bin.

  52. mom2ladybugs says:

    Not really sure what’s so horrifying. Apparently some folks here don’t get the concept of charity…these people didn’t pay $100K to have lunch with Ina. They DONATED $100K to a wonderful charity and got a perk from it. So what if she didn’t actually cook? Like she has to prove that she can??

    Jeez people. Get over it. It’s a charity event.

    • Kelley says:

      I guess because its a charity event it should be crap. After all, why make an effort? It’s for charity! They should be happy with our scraps, right?

    • thegolli says:

      Does charity automatically mean cheap and egocentric on the part of the host?

      • cowpoke says:

        When did lobster become crappy and cheap? And when did donating a lunch that raised 100k for a worthy cause make Ina egocentric? If she were egocentric she would never have donated the lunch in the first place.

    • Shan says:

      “Jeez people. Get over it. It’s a charity event”

      - It’s a television show on a cooking network. As bad as I think it is that she even did this to people, I think it’s even worse that she was snobby enough to do this in front of a camera for her TV show. Last time I checked, you DO “prove you can cook” as you said because it’s a COOKING SHOW!

  53. Bee says:

    your blog is funny as usual. however your readers need a clue in on the MAGIC OF TV.

    people act as if cameras just followed Alec Baldwin to Ina’s house and it was her first time seeing him. as if she even prepared this meal for these guests and had an actual dinner party that day? its called TELEVISION PRODUCTION. its all a fantasy, theres lights, and producers, and camera people and rep installs… i mean yikes people. are you really that dumb?

    anyways Jillian – love the blog- but i think your commenters bring it down a notch in the smart department.

    • April says:

      Now why would you think that “we” think that?

      • Bee says:

        i spose that was a bit of a callous sweeping generalization.

        i just wanted to remind the people who seem to have taken it personally that she didn’t even cook the lobster for her $100k guests that in all likelihood she didnt even film the cooking portion of the show on the same day.

        i mean the list goes on of “duh” magic of tv comments. here’s hoping people are in charge of their irony and not actually convinced we are getting some non produced but private look into Ina Garten’s actual dinner parties. after i got to the comment where someone’s 12 year old also criticized Ina’s dinner party, that she didn’t inform him that television was not real.. i figured i should say something.

        • Audra says:

          Ok, so here’s the deal, Bee. “We are commenting on what is presented to us, not “Behind the Scenes of a Food Network Show.”
          But thank you so much for enlightening us. I really don’t know what we would do without you.

        • Josephine says:

          I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess she didn’t cook her own lobster (or have her staff cook their own lobster) when she or her staff prepared the pasta salad for the actual event, either. The mocking still applies.

          • Toolshed says:

            Even if she did “cook” the lobster – “throw in pot of boiling water” is barely cooking.

            She did admit to store-bought merengues though.

  54. Jen says:

    Of the few ingredients that she would have actually had to cook – the lobster – she didn’t even do that. And then went on to comment on how you could cook it yourself, but why bother. I mean, I thought this was a COOKING show.

    This episode was uncomfortable, but I have to admit entertaining, in a train wreck sorta way. I don’t think the “guests” said but one word the entire meal.

    • Azizeh says:

      Maybe this was her response to the latest cookbook reviews where everyone said it was insanely complicated and not easy at all.

      I wonder if she made an attempt to show us things we could all make for our own random lunches.

      Truth be told, if she did show us some elaborate caviar-laden feast, it would have been picked apart as well.

      • No one’s picking things apart just for the sake of picking things apart. The show was a joke!

        A casual meal is one thing. Leaving whipped cream in the MIXING BOWL, and not even crumbling the cookies for the dessert is another.

        She tried way too hard to eliminate the pretentiousness, which only made it reek even MORE of pretentiousness (and laziness).

  55. iadoreina says:

    Anyone notice how Ina callled Alec “Alex Baldwin” in the opening credits???? hehehe

  56. Josephine says:

    Eton mess is what you serve on a busy weeknight, or to seven-year-old boys at boarding school. It is not what you serve at a highbrow charity luncheon. If you do serve it, you should at least make your own meringue and assemble it for your guests. At the very least you could take things out of mixing bowls and plastic wrappers.

  57. Plumpy says:

    The very least Alec Baldwin could have done was bring his Schweddy Balls to the party. How that would have been a delicious dish.

  58. Preflyte says:

    This episode was shocking. I’ve always been a fan of Ina and her shents, but I’ve never seen her seem so condescending. It was as if she were being forced to do something she did not want to do, and she was throwing an epic Hamptons tantrum.

    All I know is if I donated $100,000 to a charity for a lunch with a TV chef, I’d want that chef to prepare and serve what they are famous for. How about Ina’s dishes from her old Barefoot Contessa store, some sort of theme, at the very least what she made for the dog’s birthday party, or when her two gay friends returned from vacation and found truffle mac and cheese and lemon mousse in their ‘fridge.

    And why was Mariska the only one who bothered to dress up? She looked so nice, and everyone else looked as if they had been cleaning out their garages.

    I don’t think even TR and Michael, with a thousand orange tulips, could have helped save this one.

  59. Lee says:

    Jillian, you’ve got to make a .gif of that bearded man making that face. It was priceless!

  60. chefjon1039 says:

    I’m a professional caterer, and I have done plenty of charity auction events. Granted, I haven’t had guests like Alec and Mariska, but nevertheless, I always put my best foot forward. One word: Professionalism. Although you can’t put all the blame on Ina, there are probably about a half dozen producers that have to sign off on this crap as well.

  61. Balthazar says:

    Just watched this episode that had been DVR’d. Awesome! People can debate about whether this meal is an indicator of the decline of Ina’s show or not, but you have to admit that this was entertaining.

    Epic wide-eyed beared man = win!
    Mariska Hargitay = super hot, as usual.
    Cold chunky cucumber soup = nasty.

    I found it hilarious that Ina made Alec Baldwin go tromping around in the fields to harvest dill when she has ACRES of herbs that she grows at the Hamptons estate. Was it a different kind of dill? Did she just want Alec to work for his meal?

    And finally, a couple of funny comments by the celebrity guests: Mariska saying, “How easy was that?” after getting her Eton Mess assembled by Ina; and Alec Baldwin’s “Let’s go cook something up!” after being presented with his free cookbook – I think this was in reference to Ina not having cooked ANYTHING for their charity lunch!

  62. drew says:

    I saw this show yesterday when I was at home sick. The first thing I saw was Alec Baldwin on BC. I basically said WTF and could not get my eyes off the show after that. It was startling but got my attention as it did with all the other 100 plus commentors on this site.

  63. Spork-no-more says:

    Can’t get over the KitchenAid mixing bowl for serving the whipped cream and the plastic bag of meringues FOR PRESENTATION at a $100k lunch. Somewhere, please God, in that pantry that’s larger than my whole kitchen, there must be a serving bowl or two….

  64. coffee-n-toast says:

    I saw this episode and still can’t decide what to make of it. I totally understand all the criticism, but here’s why I’m conflicted…

    1) She’s promoting a book called How Easy is That?, so she obviously wants to show easy stuff. Should she have done it during a charity lunch? Probably not.
    2) It looked hot as hell that day, so serving a hot meal wouldn’t have been good. But soup and salad for $100K?? I’d be pissed.
    3) The menu seemed very “Ina” to me with the Hamptons seafood and local veggies. Everything looked very refreshing for a lunch outside on a hot day. The service of the dessert, however was very “un-Ina.” Even when I have my immediate family over for dinner, I always serve them everything. Very strange.

    I guess the problem with the episode was that the purpose was unclear. Did they win A) an Ina-catered lunch or B) the opportunity to be a part of her show?

    If it was A, she fucked up. If it was B, it was fine. But they never made it clear.

  65. Tatiana says:

    Is it just me, or does that bearded guy look like Aarti’s husby in disguise?

  66. randi says:

    This was almost as bad as Alec’s commercials for Wegman’s Grocery store….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBTbEwhC1WI

    • Mish says:

      It’s so funny how this damn good actor just CANNOT be casual. The only time he’s casual is when he does radio interviews and is very relaxed and he is so damn cool then, but he’s so stiff and seems uptight in non acting appearances.

  67. jenny says:

    Did anyone notice how the women squealed when Ina said she’s giving them all her cookbook? Oy.

  68. Caitlin B. says:

    There’s nothing wrong with a good Eton Mess, but for *insert deity here*’s sake, MAKE YOUR OWN MERINGUE. It’s easy!

    There’s a fine line between easy cooking and lazy cooking. This episode definitely crosses over into the latter. For shame, Ina.

  69. Erin says:

    I sensed a lot of passive aggression on Ina’s part.

    “Oh, so a bunch of New York gold digging crotches have 100k to blow, you get the pasta salad, you bleached blonde hussies.”

    I mean, ETON MESS? If that’s not a tongue in cheek stab I don’t know what is.

  70. Erin says:

    I also loved scary farm man! Rather than bowing and scraping, he just rolled with it.

    “Sure Alec, you douche, the herbs are over there. That’ll be $64.50, now where did I put that bong…”

    I bet he charges on a sliding scale.

  71. Tres says:

    Yeah, so this definitely looked like something I could pack in some Tupperware and take to work for lunch…

  72. lajuanap says:

    I did not even see the start of the episode. By the time I did tune in it was like I entered The Twilight Zone or something…I was like…”How weird!!” and when I saw what she made for them and then the desert…OMG…I felt like I was 19 and I was shrooming!! It was so wrong! The only reason I looked this up because I was wondering if Alec and Mariska were dating. I understand this was for charity but DAMN!!!

  73. Moet B. says:

    And Ina had to tell the camera at least 5 times that Alec Baldwin was doing her shopping for her! Oy vey, we GET it! But the absolute best part of the entire stupid episode was at the end of the lunch with her fake phony send -off to the guests: “Come back sooooooooon…”..As if….

  74. pjmodel2 says:

    Hey that weird dude at the market…I think that was Anne Burrell’s dad! Or maybe that guy dresses in drag and hosts “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef” on the Food Network.

  75. Gadget lover says:

    Me and my sister just laughed at that. Aha the lame dessert at the end and how it featured on the front cover of her cook book.

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  80. [...] course, The Contessa has been swamped for ages, what with entertaining celebrity friends like Alec “my daughter is a ‘pig’” Baldwin, writing checks to Obama for America, and hosting Planned Parenthood Benefits at her [...]

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