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The Barefoot Contessa Shares Her Backyard For History’s Sake

Originally Posted: June 08, 2009

Colin M. Graham

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Despite the slight mist that hung in the air, guests and new members of the East Hampton Historical Society enjoyed their time at Ina Garten’s home thanks to her gracious hosting and to some degree, the radiant heat of the fire pit. Photos by Colin M. Graham

East Hampton - In the evening on Saturday, June 6, The East Hampton Historical Society held its third annual new members cocktail party and fundraiser hosted by Ina Garten at her East Hampton home; a property which incidentally has a fair amount of history behind it.

Throughout the evening Ina Garten played the role of the consummate hostess, warmly chatting with friends and fans of her culinary talents.

"This property used to be part of Mulford Farm so I'm literally the second owner, the Mulfords were the original owners from 1640 until I bought it 15 years ago," Garten recounted during the event. "Historically there used to be a barn here, so when I built the second house two years ago I always knew that it had to be some kind of barn. I actually tried to find the original barn, but they had moved it to Bridgehampton, so by the time I found it - it had fallen down - so that was that."

According to Joseph Aversano, one of the Trustees of the Historical Society and co-chair of the Membership Committee, along with Peggy Sherrill, the event served two purposes that night: to raise funds needed by the Historical Society to maintain the seven historic structures and museums they steward and as a welcome to the society's newest members.

"We've had these parties for three years and we've gone from about 200 members to almost 1,000 members in a very short time," said Aversano. "Twice before we had the party at Grey Gardens before it became hot in the news due to the play and all that stuff, so for a change of venue we called up Ina back in January and asked if she would consider doing a party, and of course back then it was very easy to say yes, and she did - so here we are. After this party we'll pick up about another 156 new members. We were so thrilled when Ina agreed to host this party," he beamed. "This is the first event we've done with her through the Historical Society and I must say she has been very gracious throughout the whole process."

While the event wasn't catered by Garten herself, she brought Brent Newsom on board to handle the food although she admitted that the food "was based on a lot of her recipes."

When Garten was approached by her friend and Historical Society Trustee Frank Newbold and asked if she would be interested in hosting the event, she quickly agreed because of the important work she feels the Historical Society does in preserving the unique history of the town. "My friend Frank Newbold asked if I could do an event for the East Hampton Historical Society and I always say yes to that because I think what separates East Hampton from any other town is the history here," Garten explained.

"When you drive into town and you make the left at the pond, everybody has that first experience and it's just so beautiful and so historic and it's so grounded; it's not just a new town that just sprung up, it's really grounded in history with Mulford Farm on the left and all the other buildings that the Historical Society maintains. I just think it really separates East Hampton from other towns, plus people really have a sense of the history here and it's important so I'm happy to do anything I can to make people aware of it."

While this event might have been the first one that she's hosted, it certainly isn't the first time she's been involved with the Historical Society. "I've been a member from time to time but I don't always have time to come to the meetings but I'm always available to do events for them," said Garten and although she didn't cater the event herself, she was directly involved on a couple of levels. "Brent Newsom did the food but it's based on a lot of my recipes," she admitted modestly.

East Hampton Historical Society Executive Director Richard Barrons with Trustee and Co-Chair of the Membership Committee Joseph Aversano.

Garten's first encounter with the history here in the Hamptons began with a serendipitous encounter with an ad in The New York Times while she was working in Washington, D.C. "I came from Washington. I was working in the White House on Nuclear Energy Policy and I decided I needed to do something fun and I saw an ad for a business for sale in The New York Times and it was a specialty food store in the Hamptons, and my husband Jeffery said 'let's go look at it,' she recalled. "We drove up to Westhampton, I saw the store, it was like 400 square feet, and I thought 'this was what I want to do' so I bought the store and that was the beginning of my food business. The first store I had was in Westhampton in 1978 and I moved it to East Hampton in 1985. The rest is pretty much history."

As for what the future holds in store for Garten, she mentioned a few projects that she'll be working on this summer from a new cookbook to expanding her brand of culinary items. "I'm working on another book called "How Easy Is That," which is something I say in my show. It's going to be about easy recipes and I'm also working on my line of pantry projects and baking mixes with Frank Newbold." On top of that she'll also be enjoying her time out East, although she did say that her passion for her work makes it easy for her to enjoy herself. "And I'll be enjoying the summer of course in between," she smiled, "but I really enjoy what I do so I don't consider it work really."


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Guest (Marilyn grant) from brooklyn ny says::
hi Ina My sister in law loves your cooking .She lives in Sag Harbor and her birthday is in August - the 9th tp be exact.How can I make arrangements for she and her sister to come to your restaurant? She is also recovering from cancer? Please let me know - concerned sister in law. thanks Marilyn Grant
Jul 23, 2012 7:52 pm

Guest (kathy pocius) from mechanicsburg pa says::
I love you and your show. I just returned from a trip from the hamptons today and left one of your books for you to sign. Thanks for all of the wonderful shows and recipes that I have made from your recipes. Kathy
Apr 22, 2012 12:52 am

Dianne Gil...

Dianne Gilmour says::
I think Ina is "FABULOUS" my lifetime dream would be to have lunch with her at her gorgeous place in the "HAMPTONS"
Jul 8, 2011 6:00 pm

Guest (Verlene Butts) from Denver, Colorado says::
I love your show Ina, you are everything I would love to be, when you prepare your meals it's almost as if I were there. Although, I am single, I love to cook, sometimes I cook for my neighbors, they enjoy me cooking for them.....I wonder why? I prepare easy meals. You are fabulous, Thank You for your recipes. :)
May 23, 2011 3:30 pm

Guest (sharon) from aberdeen, scotland says::
i love the show, and seeing life east hampton. ina entertaining her friends is great to see. i have all the books and there great!
Mar 27, 2011 9:01 am


Bestmom from Horsham says::
Oh I was so excited about the possibility of visiting the Hamptons with girlfriends in the fall that I totally forgot to say "The one reason we are traveling to the Hamptons is...we all watch and love your show. I have learned so much from watching (my husband/kids really appreciate all you are teaching me) and between seeing you shop at Citarella's, going to the beach, etc... we wanted to visit your beautiful town." Love the show...it's like having a girlfriend over teaching me to cook. So any help in where to visit in the Hamptons for dinner, shop and relax please let me know!
Jan 14, 2011 5:34 pm


Bestmom from Horsham says::
My girlfriends and I are planning a weekend getaway this fall 2011. We will be heading Northeast and think we will be staying in East Hampton. Any great places to stay, dine and visit as we plan our stay? Best time of the year to catch the prime fall foliage?
Jan 13, 2011 4:03 pm

Guest (Guest) from Keller, TX says::
I would love to see a tour of Ina's home. I have seen the "barn". I loved watching Ina entertain in her warm and friendly house. That would make a good show! It was a great joy to have Ina sign her new cookbook for me. I told her that I could cross her off my "bucket list", now. She got a good chuckle out of that!
Jan 6, 2011 4:41 pm

Guest (Guest) from Florida says::
I love the show and it's been quite educational, but I don't buy into the spontaneity of her relationship with her husband. It appears "staged". She always seems to be the one to fuss over him rather than the other way around. One other thing: I'd love to know who does all the cleaning up after she cooks. I've tried some of her recipes and party ideas. It's a lot of work to clean up after all those utensils, bakeware, and pots are used.
Dec 5, 2010 6:43 am

Guest (Guest) from bolton england says::
of all the cookery shows i watch barefoot contessa inspires me to follow Inas recipes as they are simple to follow and delicious
Nov 21, 2010 6:25 am

Guest (Guest) from Kent, England says::
Hi Ina, I watch you over here in England but will soon be returning to Florida and will look forward to watching your show there. Your show is fabulous and so are you. You are such a genuine person, so warm and inviting. You're the type of person that everyone wants to be friends with! Sometimes they play your show back to back on Foodnetwork and I watch for two hours straight. Where the time goes to I do not know! Before I leave here to move back to the states I'm going to send you a little surprise in the post. A momento to say Cheers for such a fine program. You and Jeffrey are such a lovely couple and the love you share radiates like a dose of sunshine. Best of luck to you with all your endeavors whatever they may be. Would just love to meet you one day!
Oct 27, 2010 1:23 pm

Guest (Guest) from AUSTIN, TEXAS says::
Aug 24, 2010 10:33 am

Guest (Guest) from 'australia' says::
Dear Ina,Really love your show.Love the way you do themes and parties at your home.Hope you come down under sometime.Your show is vastly different to others and you are not overbearing. Thankyou. Helen.
Aug 14, 2010 3:34 am


LoveTheHamptons says::
I just love Ina! She's so pleasant and gracious, and a wonderful genius in the kitchen! Truly an inspiration to those who love to cook and entertain.
Jul 21, 2010 1:57 pm

Guest (Guest) from 'Lehigh Valley PA' says::
I just love Ina. She's so gracious, pleasant, and a genius in the kitchen!
Jul 21, 2010 1:50 pm

Guest (Mi) from Toronto says::
I love Ina's show. It's the best ever and she is such a wonderful and warm hearted person that she makes you feel right a home. Wish her continued success. Love the house too !
Jun 15, 2010 1:08 pm

Guest (April) from Wisconsin says::
I love you show Ina. Your house and gardens are beautiful, your recipes are excellent, needless to say you are a very creative and talented person. Keep inspiring us :-)
Jun 14, 2010 8:22 am

Guest (Mrs Bond) from Surrey, England says::
I have been watching Ina for a number of years now in the U.K. on Food Network. I have always wondered what it would be like to chat and talk about recepies. In the U.K. we use oz or grams for weighing food, We dont use CUP sizes. I Transformed her Chocolate Anniversary Cake into Lemon as i could not get hold of anyone on the Food Network Channel, To ask my question of changing the details to Lemon. I managed very well by myself.
Mar 27, 2010 8:53 am

Guest (cammie) from Fairhope, AL says::
In this era of too-intimate views of brawling spouses, backstabbling "friends" and unruly children, it's wonderful to find Miz Ina and all those really pleasing, friendly people who seem to enjoy each other and what they're doing. The delicious looking food is almost an extra bonus, although I do have some of Mrs. Garten's cookbooks and am gathering courage to try. You're all a real treat, and pull me back to the tv when so much other stuff there leaves a foul taste in my mouth. I don't blame anybody for wanting to be on the Gartens' guest list -- but I suspect it's easier to get invited to the White House. Those who are (in either case) must consider themselves fortunate indeed!
Feb 3, 2010 2:26 pm

Guest (Carolyn Rossiter) from Cork, Ireland says::
Ina, my two young daughter and I love your show. Whenever your show comes on the girls call me and we sit together and watch how you turn simple food into delicious dishes. Oh and sometimes my daughter brings me in a cup to tea during the comercials!!
Jan 19, 2010 4:00 am

Guest (Linda) from Buckingham, UK says::
I have watched Ina's programmes so many times - and enjoyed them over and over again. Ina, and Jeffrey seem to have a genuine, sincere enjoyment of both food and friends.
Jan 12, 2010 10:22 am

Guest (Lyn) from Medway, MA says::
I've been to Buell Lane many times. The house appears very small to me. In one of her cookbooks, she recommends a restaurant named Daria's. It is very small, on a bay, a limited menus, very expensive, but the most delicious food that I have ever had.
Jan 9, 2010 6:23 pm

Guest (Carol) from Plymouth says::
I love you, your show, and your friends Ina. And just love Jeffrey's curly hair. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm... The show with Mel Brooks had me laughing out loud.
Dec 1, 2009 5:26 pm

Guest (Dorothy) from Ontario, Canada says::
I think Ina is the next Julia Child. She is a delight to watch her cook as well as her and Jeffery together. Love you Ina
Nov 24, 2009 4:03 pm

Guest (Judy Fava) from Babylon Village, N.Y. says::
I love watching Ina's show it is one of the most interesting and I have learned alot... It certainly ALWAYS makes me get into my cooking mood... I too also ENJOY cooking VERY MUCH. Which is very important to my family, because they ENJOY GOOD FOOD. Your show is also one that my husband enjoys! He will jokingly walk in the room after a long day at work and say "What is Ina making for Jeffrey today?" Thanks Ina for my early evening entertainment.
Nov 7, 2009 7:17 am

Guest (Janet) from Tracy, California says::
I love her on camera so cool and collected. I read somewhere one recipe she redid 21 times before it was the way she wanted it. I'll be happy with her left-overs.
Oct 20, 2009 1:16 pm

Guest (Sampy) from Illinois says::
Ina, you are simply the best Food Network chef; you are a gifted chef and entertainer. Did you train formally or is your expertise self-taught? I love your sense of style and the way you take ordinary ingredients and turn them into something spectacular. If you're sending them out, I'll take an invite as well. PS-I sent a food question to your e- mail regarding croutons. Thanks alot.
Aug 26, 2009 9:39 pm

Guest (Mark R.) from WI says::
I had the pleasure of meeting Ina at a book signing in Chicago. She was so nice and pleasant and just real and down to earth. I appreciate what she has done for food in the US and although no one could replace Julia Child, I consider her the new Julia Child for the new century. A great teacher, an amazing cook and business woman with a personality to match.
Aug 11, 2009 5:29 pm

Guest (kay) from nj says::
As a party server its such a pleasure to watch Ina..What a nice lady.
Jul 19, 2009 9:51 pm

Guest (Kenta) from Mississippi says::
I'm a southern gal to my heart but I love Ina Garten's show Barefoot Contessa! I would love to visit the hamptons one day and accidentally run into her at a store or restaurant..keep doing what you doing Ina with the historical society.
Jul 17, 2009 12:03 am

Guest (Elena) from London, UK says::
My daughter is currently in New York and I just googled The Hamptons to see if I could maybe meet her there at the end of August. Ina is making a lemon tart on TV as I write, so a bit of a coincidence that I google and get onto this page. I love Ina and I'm sure I'd love the Hamptons. Keep up the good work Ina and the Historical Society.
Jul 13, 2009 8:06 am

Guest (janet) from boston mass says::
ina: just love your show, you make things so simple and delicious...thank you again
Jul 9, 2009 9:03 pm

Guest (Carolyn) from Tennessee says::
I love watching your show. You make entertaining simple and elegant. Not like any other of the Food Network Shows.. You're the best...
Jun 23, 2009 9:57 am

Guest (Nancy) from Rhode Island says::
Does Ina's actual home date back to 1640 or did she build on the property that was part of the Mulford Farm ?
Jun 22, 2009 10:05 am

Guest (Rina) from NJ says::
Love Ina - her show relaxes me after a long day at work and look forward to it daily. hope it continues. thanks for all the great recipes and views of the Hamptons.
Jun 18, 2009 7:20 am

Guest (Penelope) from 71st & 5th ave says::
Ina, Please, how can I get an invite to dinner? I just love you show ...miss the store...and would really have the pleasure of dining with your wonderfully flirty guests!
Jun 17, 2009 3:57 pm

Guest (Dearlizzie) from East Hampton says::
Bobby from Texas -- The House you recall from earlier episodes is in the background of the lead picture, only newly reshingled. The vernacular shingled cottages of Long Island's East End need reshingling every 25-30 years. As they aged, the eastern cedar shingles on older homes here turned dark brown. newer shingles are western cedar so will weather to a silvery grey. Ina's house will never be that lovely cocoa color again. That said, the newer episodes show the Garten's addition to their compound, a large second building on one end of their property with cedar board and stucco exterior. There've been several episodes which feature the new house, such as a supper with Jeffrey on a covered porch.
Jun 16, 2009 10:50 am

Guest (tim lillie) from easthampton says::
ina is a down to earth wonderful person i loved working at her home on the irrigation system you will always be in my memories
Jun 15, 2009 7:42 pm

Guest (Bobbi) from Texas says::
I love her show! But I'm confused...I know this is a different home from the one in her older episodes, so how is it that she says she's owned it for 15 years?
Jun 15, 2009 7:19 pm

Guest (Chappy) from Waiscott says::
Ina is my HERO!
Jun 14, 2009 8:03 am


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