Our lives seem like they are changing at a more rapid pace than ever. Our brand-new iPhones seem outdated before they've even been charged for the first time, and scrolling through Instagram is just one endless reminder that you're already too old to be an influencer. That's why there's something so comforting about Ina Garten.
The Barefoot Contessa has remained a steady constant for the past decade and a half, and listening to her calmly describe making something like a summer pudding with brioche and fresh berries feels like a long-overdue exhale. (And watching her plan a stress-free dinner party is the only time I've ever believed that I might actually be capable of a stress-free ANYTHING).
But the surest sign that spring might actually be here — despite what the local forecast currently looks like — is that Garten has just released a "foolproof" menu for this season's dinner parties. And, just like so many of her menus, it looks both perfect and possible— even for those of us who can freak out over trying to fill a salad spinner.
"Sometimes the hardest thing about a throwing a party is just planning the menu," she writes, because she's just like us! "You want delicious dishes that you can prepare without a total kitchen meltdown (we've all had them!) but still wow your guests. This time of year, I start with a list of spring ingredients that are popping up in stores everywhere – little radishes, baby lettuces, asparagus, and rhubarb."
Her seasonal table starts with a salad with warm goat cheese, eases into a roasted chicken with radishes, and then finishes with a strawberry rhubarb crisp. The chicken's sidekicks are garlic mashed potatoes and Parmesan roasted asparagus and, best of all, all three of those recipes are recommended for beginners.
Garten says that the key to pulling this off without dripping sweat on the place settings is that some of the recipes can be assembled in advance, while others are divided between the stovetop and the oven.
"I hope you love it!" she says of the menu. Yassss queen, we do. (That's how you say yasss, right? Gah, we're still dying to be an influencer.)