I've often thought that Ina Garten could read the phone book and I would think it was fascinating, and this week she proved this with a fun new Instagram video in which she literally just shows people how to put food in bowls. That's it! No cutting, no stirring. She just puts some store-bought snacks in bowls, and suddenly it looks like a nice cocktail party.
"Once in a while, I make something simple to serve with drinks, like figs wrapped in prosciutto," she writes in her latest Instagram video. "But mostly, I like to find delicious little appetizers that need no cooking at all."
"When I have friends for dinner, the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time making fussy hors d'oeuvres. So I choose simple, no-cook things that I can serve with drinks," she explains.
The first hors d'oeuvre is potato chips. She didn't make them — it's just a bag of potato chips she bought at the store, and that's just fine.
"I present them in a really pretty silver bowl so they look special," Ina explains. And then she put the potato chips in a bowl, and that was it.
If it were anyone but Ina, I might look askance at a cooking video whose content was "Buy potato chips and put them in a bowl." But Ina makes everything look good. And Ina can cook like a pro, but one of her greatest gifts is showing how to cook like a totally normal person, and then make it just a little bit nicer.
The second hors d'oeuvre is salted cashews out of a plastic container, which she puts into another silver bowl and sprinkles with a little bit of extra sea salt, because she says a bit of sea salt makes everything taste better. And the last one is some heirloom cherry tomatoes. Really, just pick out anything that looks tasty, put it in a bowl, and you're finished.
"Choose delicious things that you can serve as is, present them in really pretty silver bowls, and everyone is going to have a really good time, including you," Ina says.
It's a simple "tip," but Ina's main goal is making sure the host is as relaxed as the guests, and that everyone is having fun. Sometimes that means putting nuts in a bowl and calling it a day. And that tip about sprinkling sea salt on already-salted cashews? Groundbreaking.
"Look at Ina just putting a bunch of stuff in BOWLS and killing it," one commenter crows.
Ina's bowls are by Hôtel Silver, which can be purchased at Bergdorf Goodman or from Cassandra's Kitchen, and they are quite fancy. But really, any pretty bowl is fine. And so are store-bought potato chips — because Ina says so.