Monday, April 8, 2013

Ina Dips her Barefoot into Local Waters

Honey vanilla pound cake with fabulous local honey from the farmers market, mâche with atlantic mist cheese and apples from Mecox Dairy, garlic and lemon oil, and basil mayonnaise.  Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, always presents her recipes with the utmost elegance.  Her Food Network show along with her line of cookbooks has also been one to shed light on local food, and producers who make it.  In one episode called "Going Local", Ina challenges herself to make a full meal of local Hamptons Ingredients, while another titled "Local Food Heroes" highlighting some great local food artisans.

In the specific episode I watched called "Market Day", Ina creates a menu that is inspired by the local food producers of East Hampton, NY where she resides.  Ina does a great job marketing and romanticizing the local foods as special and exquisite.  She emphasizes the freshness and the color of the ingredients, and the loveliness of knowing where she got it.  To many people, Ina provides a elegant and exciting way to connect with local producers.

While I personally am highly attracted to the Barefoot Contessa meals, and the elegant edge of the show, I believe it could potentially do the opposite to promote the values of the local food movement.  The local food movement has had its critiques of being an elitist practice.  From my experience as a college student, I understand it is not as accessible to all as it should be.  The Barefoot Contessa's elegant and gourmet appearance does not do much to counter this argument.

As a pioneer in local food on television, I believe Ina does a wonderful job creating a vicarious warm feeling of utilizing local food and attending the local farmers market.  Though, if local food is going to be portrayed as a trend for the privileged of the world, I am not sure I can be on board.   I believe local food should be accessible to all.  There are ways to support local without getting the finest artisanal cheeses and honeys.  In fact, there are ways to grow your own local produce, or pay very little by participating in a community garden.

A fine example of the elegant life of Ina

NP 4/9

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