A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this lifestyle series revolves around celebrity cookbook author Ina Garten as she prepares recipes and offers tips about entertaining. Aside from some drinking (wine, champagne, cocktails) during meals and at social gatherings, the show’s content is very mild -- though kids who aren't into cooking or entertaining may not be interested. Overall, the series projects an air of sophistication and refinement compared to other popular food shows, but cooking fans of all types will find some interesting recipes here.
What's the story?
Hosted by celebrity chef Ina Garten, each episode of BAREFOOT CONTESSA follows Garten as she prepares stylishly tasty multi-course meals for friends and/or her husband, Jeffrey. In between assembling specialty dishes and delicious desserts, she offers decorating and entertaining tips for creating a sophisticated eating experience.
Is it any good?
The series, which is named after Garten’s former high-end food market in New England, offers viewers a chance to learn how delicious, elegant meals can be created using fresh ingredients and simple techniques. She also demonstrates how complicated dishes -- many of which originate in France -- can be adapted to meet the needs and palates of the people cooking them.
The show’s upscale Hampton, N.Y., setting -- as well as the recipes it showcases -- gives it a somewhat more cultured and refined tone than other Food Network series. Garten’s personality also seems rather reserved when compared to popular TV chefs like Rachael Ray and Paula Deen, which means she may be less of a winner with younger kids. But Garten's frequent references to her happy marriage, as well as the stories she shares about her life and the role that food as has played in it, creates a pleasant viewing experience for cooking fans with a taste for the finer things.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cooking shows. Are they designed to teach people how to cook? Or are they intended to bring attention to the show’s hosts and/or their books? Or is it a mix of both?
If you had a cooking show, what kinds of things would you make? What stories could you tell to your audience about the food you were preparing?
Garten went from working in the White House to becoming a food marketer and well-known cooking expert. How did she do this? Do you think it's possible for anyone to change careers that radically? Why or why not?