If you love Ina Garten as much as we do, you already know how much the celeb chef adores her nickname, the “Barefoot Contessa.” After all, she’s made it the title of her website, TV show, and cookbook, and it’s now basically her second name. But have you ever wondered how Ina became the “Barefoot Contessa” in the first place?
We luckily don’t need to wonder anymore because the Contessa herself just shed light on the meaning behind her nickname in a short-but-sweet blog post. “So many people ask, ‘What does Barefoot Contessa mean?'” Ina wrote. “It was the original name of my specialty food store, after a movie with Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart.” We had no idea! Did you?
Ava and Humphrey in The Barefoot Contessa.
What is _ The Barefoot Contessa_ about?
The Barefoot Contessa was actually quite a sad film — a sharp contrast to Ina’s ever-cheerful demeanor. Starring Ava and Humphrey, the 1954 movie followed a washed-up film director who spotted a gorgeous peasant woman dancing at a club in Spain and convinced her to star in a movie. But the new “star” soon became overwhelmed by the glamorous acting world and tried to escape, only to ultimately succumb to tragedy in the end.
A New York Times movie reviewer once wrote, “But through all this dazzling upward spiral, we are told she stays a simple, barefoot girl, odd in her choice of amorous partners but forever spiritually pure.” Considering the original movie’s drama and tragedy, we’re now even more impressed that Ina reinvented the term “Barefoot Contessa.”
The term retains only the most positive elements from the film — actress downfall not included. If anyone can do that successfully, it’s Ina! But Ina’s explanation of where her nickname came from doesn’t stop at the classic film. In her blog post, Ina revealed that the name “Barefoot Contessa” carries a much more personal meaning to it, too. “But for me, it means being both elegant and earthy,” she wrote.
Then, mid-sentence, she made a sudden transition back to food. “Which is exactly what I love about these smoked salmon deviled eggs,” she wrote. Isn’t that the most Ina Garten-esque explanation you’ve ever heard? We can’t think of a better way to describe her than “both elegant and earthy.” And of course, we wouldn’t dream of getting up close and personal with the beloved chef without her somehow coming back to food — a scrumptious-looking brunch recipe, in this case.
This post was written by Jaclyn Anglis. It originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.