Do you enjoy a good story?
You'Re IN the right place!
Each week, I will be sharing the progress of the Ina In A Year project on my blog.
Links to all of the blog posts can be found on this page (in reverse chronological order).
Ina Thank You NOtes
September 24, 2019
When I set out to cook 963 recipes in 365 days, I knew I could not do it alone. On every front, at every turn, I have needed and leaned heavily on a network of support. The exceptional group of individuals listed below represents the beauty of what happens when we work together, bringing our unique strengths to the table to work toward a common goal. My favorite memories from this project were not me in the kitchen cooking. They were of the time spent together with my partners in this project. I am humbled that each of these people chose to bring their talents to this project. I am deeply grateful to each of them.
September 24, 2019
One year ago today, on September 24, 2018 I began a year-long project called Ina In A Year in which I set out to cook all 963 of your published recipes from your eleven cookbooks…in one year.
Ina Week 51
September 16, 2019
This was the last “real” week of the project in regards to the cooking. I hosted the final Ina Lunch at Hurley House, and in a moment of sentimental nostalgia, as I looked around the store and saw every chair filled, I took a panoramic video. It was a weak attempt to capture the energy and electricity filling the space.
Ina Week 50
September 9, 2019
I can feel the end. I can taste it. It’s so close, I think it’s already here. My days feel like I am coasting downhill, gaining momentum. The finish line is in sight, and I know I will get there. The fear of “Will I make it?” has transformed into “I’m going to make it!”. There is a calm surrounding me that feels equally reassuring and unnerving all at the same time.
Ina Week 49
September 2, 2019
With our new horizons fast approaching at Hurley House, my time this week began to center around creating the infrastructure necessary to launch our new social media channel, the Lunch Party, and the Hospitality Hotline. It was a lot of work, with so many details I had to create a chart to keep it all straight.
Ina Week 48
August 26, 2019
This week was a whirlwind, but a welcome whirlwind. After a summer of slow-burning stress and slogging through each week, the activity returned in full force this week to both our family and my business.
Ina Week 47
August 19, 2019
After a wonky summer, I finally found myself getting my children ready for school to start. It felt perfectly right and appropriately timed to be moving forward. Sometimes a break is what you need. And sometimes, the return of routine is beneficial for lots of reasons.
Ina Week 46
August 12, 2019
This week my youngest, Lillian, turned ten. Since Timm was out of town on his birthday, we made it a double birthday celebration with a big family dinner featuring Ina’s Fried Chicken Sandwiches from Cook Like A Pro. They were a hit!
Ina Week 45
August 5, 2019
Timm and Jake returned home, healthy and happy, and only slightly sunburned. They were delighted to be back in the land of hot water and fresh food, and we were all grateful to welcome them back to normal life.
Ina Week 44
July 29, 2019
With the roaches behind us, and the boys still off the grid, not to return for yet another full week, I decided it was time to get to work on our house. It started as a whim of an idea.
Ina Week 43
July 22, 2019
I effort to make these posts honest, but positive. Yes, there have been hard things, but I try not to focus on them. This week, the unimaginable happened, and I cannot tell the story of this summer without divulging the worst nightmare coming true.
Ina Week 42
July 15, 2019
After a week in Africa, my husband and two older children returned. Hurley House reopened after our summer break, and we got the store up and moving again. Then, at the end of the week, my husband and son left for a sixteen-day Boy Scout hiking trip. The massive amounts of travel this summer were something we both signed up for, but the staying home part is hard. The girls and I have fun together, but nothing is quite the same when Timm is gone.
Ina Week 41
July 8, 2019
Every year we shut down Hurley House for the week of July 4th, and it is the highlight of my summer. No work. No agenda. And this year, only two children at home with me. Timm and my older two children left on Monday for Africa, not to return until the following Tuesday. This meant me and the little two had a wide open week before us, and I was determined to stay on track cooking at home.
Ina Week 40
July 1, 2019
This was our last week before closing for the holiday. At the last minute, at the end of last week, I accepted an invitation to do a live presentation on the same day as our third VIP party. The only way I was able to say yes was because of how expert my team has become at rising to the occasion and executing events. I was so grateful to be able to do an off-site event, and then walk into a VIP party that was 100% ready without one ounce of effort from me. These girls are incredible.
Ina Week 39
June 24, 2019
For the first time in this entire year-long project, in the middle of Week 39, I had the quiet thought, “I am going to make it." I have led with confidence this whole time that I would make it, but inside, I’m sincerely not sure. I believe in myself, but there are a lot of things I cannot control. This week, when Treslyn flipped the countdown clipboards, the number of recipes left read 286, and I knew I could do it.
Ina Week 38
June 17, 2019
Good times continued in Week 38. I was continually handing over more and more responsibility to our kitchen manager Rachel, and finding myself able to focus on things that I had neglected for way too long. I loved the feeling of working alongside someone, showing her the ropes, and then stepping away knowing it was taken care of. What a feeling of freedom!
Ina Week 37
June 10, 2019
The rumors are true. Hurley House has hired a kitchen manager! After four months of carrying this responsibility on my own, I now have a comrade who is taking over the management and oversight of all aspects of the kitchen. The burden that has been lifted is significant. This week my steps were lighter and my spirits lifted.
Ina Week 36
June 3, 2019
Guys. What even? Can we just skip right over the embarrassment of Week 36? I feel like I’m walking around in my underwear or something. Can someone hand me a robe or a towel so I can hide the ugly truth? No? Okay, fine. I’ll be brave, truthful, and in my skivvies at the same time.
Ina Week 35
May 27, 2019
I wanted to kick this week’s butt, but instead it kicked mine. I missed the mark and felt disappointed in myself. But then I reminded myself of a few contextual details worth consideration.
Ina Week 34
May 20, 2019
We are officially in the middle. The boring, difficult, non-glamorous, middle. The season where the project is too old to be new, and too new to be old.
Ina Week 33
May 13, 2019
In Week Thirty-Three I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and got back in the ring. After the pathetic week prior, I had motivational quotes on repeat in my head this week. Sayings along the lines of It’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it! and It doesn’t matter if you fail, what matters is that you keep trying! Hokey, sure. But also very helpful and true.
Ina Week 32
May 6, 2019
On Tuesday afternoon of Week Thirty-Two, Rachel arrived for her weekly Hurley House visit with her fifteen-month-old son, Hogan, in a bit of a crisis. On the way over, Hogan had blown out his diaper in the worst possible way. Poop was everywhere. All over the carseat, all over his clothes, and worst of all, all over him. Hair. Face. Clothes. Hands. Everywhere. To make matters worse, Rachel had just the day prior removed the extra outfit she normally keeps in the diaper bag for situations just like the one she found herself in. It was a mess.
Ina Week 31
April 29, 2019
In Week Thirty-One, I was able to begin writing blog posts again, thanks to the magical work of Emily. It is an interesting exercise to learn how to ask for help, and then to figure out what it looks like to actually allow someone to help. I find it equal parts exhilarating and exhausting.
Ina Week 30
April 22, 2019
In Week Thirty, I made a Big Decision. In Week Thirty I hired a personal assistant. Typing that sentence, or even saying it out loud, still brings me a smidge of discomfort because who do I think I am? But also, if you’ve been following along, how could I not ask for help?
Ina Week 29
April 15, 2019
Full disclosure. In Week Twenty-Nine I forgot to take notes about what was happening in my life, so I am working purely from memory on this one. I do remember that it was a busy week at Hurley House due to five private events. This always translates into more hours for me, because most of the cooking and kitchen tasks fall into my lane for special events (on top of all of the normal kitchen duties).
Ina Week 28
April 8, 2019
In Week Twenty-Eight I decided to stop caring about whether or not what I was cooking was appropriate for the time of day or if it went together in a well-constructed menu. I just cooked. On Sunday night I served scallops, oatmeal, biscuits, an omelette, french toast, and fruit salad. It was hilarious, and odd, but memorable.
Ina Week 27
April 1, 2019
In Week Twenty-Seven, I was still struggling to figure out how to get everything done. I began to treat the Ina recipes like a catering order, trying to work it into my daily work flow, tricking myself into making sure it got done…
Ina Week 26
March 25, 2019
In Week Twenty-Six I started to feel sad. The kind of sadness that comes with being overwhelmed and not sure how anything is ever going to get better. The kind of sadness that looks around and hears a tiny voice whisper from the darkness of a fear-filled mind, “How will you ever pull this off?”…
Ina Week 25
March 18, 2019
After the week that almost ended me, I continued on in the same way during Week Twenty-Five. It is interesting me to look back on my notes from this week and see a marked difference in the word count. Up to this point I had poured out any and every thought, feeling, response, description, and possible follow up plan for every recipe I was cooking. This week, my notes were bare-bones, concise, and straight to the point….
Ina Week 24
March 11, 2019
In Week Twenty-Four…well, how do I say this and still remain family-friendly? In Week Twenty-Four, the dirty diaper really hit the fan. Does that get the point across? Week Twenty-Four, and I want to be real careful not to overstate this or exagerate, but Week Twenty-Four almost gutted me emotionally, physically, and mentally….
INA WEEK 23
March 4, 2019
In Week Twenty-Three there were a lot of frustrating cooking experiences. I’m not sure why so many things went poorly, but there were a lot of disappointing moments. I always find it particularly frustrating when things don’t turn out the way I expect.
INA Week 22
February 25, 2019
Week Twenty-Two the details of life fell back into place. Timm arrived home from Africa, the Valentine’s rush was behind us, and I caught my breath. I celebrated by knocking out thirty recipes and feeling pretty good about it….
INA Week 21
February 18, 2019
Week Twenty-One was Valentine’s Day week, and as it goes, the week I reaped the harvest of my emotional crisis from the week prior. When you take a break from everything, things pile up. Even though that break was much-needed, the deluge of tasks waiting for me was almost as brutal.
INA Week 20
February 11, 2019
Week Twenty was the week I wanted to quit. I knew it would hit at some point, and right on time, my desperation set in. I was flooded this week with unmet expectations, jealousy, disappointment, frustration, fatigue, aimlessness, and none of it felt good. It all hit hard and made for a rough week. I stopped posting on social media. I stopped writing. I barely made it through the cooking.
INA Week 19
February 4, 2019
Guess who had a birthday in Week Nineteen? The Barefoot Contessa, that’s who! Ina’s birthday is February 2, and I love pretending like we’re friends, and you know, her birthday is on my calendar because that’s what friends do. In reality, I looked it up at the beginning of the project because it seemed like the kind of date worth noting. Maybe my birthday is on her calendar too?
INA Week 18
January 28, 2019
In Week Eighteen I caught up on all the blog post writing! Hopefully you can’t tell from reading this after the fact, but somewhere around Week Four, I started not being able to keep up with the cooking and the writing and the running of the business and the family and the holidays. So I began keeping notes, made a promise to myself to pick it up in January, and after Christmas came up with a very strict schedule to get it back on track. This week I completed the plan and am now positioned to return to writing these posts in real time. It has been a huge hurdle to churn out all of these posts en masse, but I am committed to telling the story of this project as much as I am committed to actually cooking all of the recipes. Huge victory dance over here this week! Thank you for reading along.
INA Week 17
January 21, 2019
Week Seventeen was a busy week for me personally. Our daughter Annie turned 16, then we celebrated my birthday the next day, and the we hosted a party for Annie for following day. Birthday week is always very full, in the best way possible.
INA Week 16
January 14, 2019
In Week Sixteen, I finally had success with ice cream! If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that my first go at ice cream failed miserably. As this week showed me, sometimes there are bad recipes. It takes getting a good one to be reminded that a good recipe is a required first step.
INA Week 15
January 7, 2019
After a week off for Christmas, I hit the kitchen as hard I could the week of New Year’s. We have standing plans on New Year’s Eve with another family, and we take turns hosting each year. We have been ringing in the new year together for twenty years, and this was our year to host. Knowing that one of our guests is a pescatarian, I took full advantage of the opportunity to prepare on of Ina’s many seafood dishes. This week I also made two cocktails in two days, tasted a dish I’ve never tasted before, and had an onion soup cook-off later in the week. I had a lot of strong feelings about most of what I cooked, and as a result, this post is longer than most. Here we go…
INA Week 14
December 31, 2018
Into every life (and project) a little Christmas must fall. Week Fourteen was spent primarily celebrating Christmas, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Eve Eve with family. It was a whirlwind of wrapping up everything at work (including hundreds of pans of Cinnamon Rolls), traveling, wrapping gifts, traveling, and then collapsing when it was all over.
INA Week 13
December 24, 2018
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through Hurley House, we were losing our minds and working our tails off, trying to get everything done. This is our busiest week of the year, and yet, somehow, I managed to cook.
INA Week 12
December 17, 2018
Twelve weeks in, and I am starting to realize a few things….
INA WEEK 11
December 10, 2018
A funny thing happened at the Week Eleven Ina Lunch, which in hindsight was only funny because I knew the people involved. If they had been strangers, it might have been less funny and more stressful….
INA Week 10
December 3, 2018
In Week Ten we hosted our first Ina Dinner. It was a lot like the Ina Lunch, only twice as many people, and more elegant. I loved it. A dinner party for sixteen people, with amazing food, table settings, and lots of lingering conversations is my dream scenario….
INA Week 9
November 26, 2018
Week Nine was Thanksgiving week, my favorite week of the entire year because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all the holidays. Even though I had a trove of options to pick from, most of what I chose to serve at our family’s table were not Ina recipes….
INA Week 8
November 19, 2018
Week Eight was a great week. I love that I can scroll over the list of recipes I cooked and be reminded of so many sense memories. This food was all delicious. In fact, with the exception of the Rum Raisin Truffles, I don’t think there is a single thing on this list that I wouldn’t make again….
INA Week 7
November 12, 2018
Week Seven could be categorized as the week of unusual ingredients. Cod, truffles, turnips, mussels, and lamb. There was a lot going on. Interesting and unusual, but a lot….
INA Week 6
November 5, 2018
I never get sick. But in Week Six, I got the flu. It hit me on a Thursday morning, and by lunch time I was in bed, as miserable as I can remember being in a long time. Not only was the process of being feverish and achey awful , the recovery period the week after was almost as difficult….
INA Week 5
October 29, 2018
In Week Five, Ina released her eleventh cookbook, Cook Like A Pro. We celebrated by hosting our first VIP party for our sponsors on the book-release date. In my head, this was going to be easy. I would choose party food from the project and then make it, which would both serve food to our guests and cross recipes off the list. What I failed to consider was the increased work that comes with making increased quantities of each recipe….
INA Week 4
October 22, 2018
In Week Four, I felt fairly proud of myself. I was doing it. I was working the plan, cooking almost every day, producing delicious food, and serving it to people I loved. I was full of life and feeling invigorated by the process.
Week Four also happened to be the week where I lost my ability to do it all….
INA Week 3
October 15, 2018
In Week Three, I found my stride in the kitchen. After a thirty-recipe, husband-out-of-town, dinner-party-hosting Week Two, this week felt like a cake walk. My body was feeling less sore, my emotions less erratic, my pacing more predictable. This week I really started having fun!
INA Week 2
October 8, 2018
In Week Two, due to some calendar complications, I was slated to cook thirty recipes. If you’re thinking thirty recipes sounds like a lot for one week, you would be correct. I could have chosen to change it, deleted a few menus, pushed some recipes into another week, but I am really trying to avoid messing with the schedule this early in the process. I powered forward.
INA Week 1
October 1, 2018
Welcome to the first official Ina In A Year weekly update! It has taken me a little while to get my feet underneath me, to learn the rhythm of assimilating all of this cooking into my weekly routine, and to finally figure out what I want to write and share….
INA UPDATE: LAUNCH DAY!!
September 24, 2018
Today is the day! September 24, 2018. I start cooking all of Ina’s recipes today, and I am excited!
Today seems like a good time to share with you some of my goals for this project. So here they are, raw and vulnerable. Some of them are practical and easy to measure, some of them not-so-much, yet equally important to me….
INA UPDATE: ONE WEEK UNTIL LAUNCH!!
September 17, 2018
As I sit here, writing the last post before the project launches next week, I have a confession to make. I’m nervous. The nerves arrived on Friday afternoon. I couldn’t really catch my breath. My heart began pounding, my hands started shaking. It came over me like a cloud, and I couldn’t shake myself free….
Ina Update: Two Weeks Until Launch!
September 10, 2018
Hey guys. It's me. Fourteen days left until I cook all of Ina Garten's recipes in a year. NBD.
As you can imagine, things have escalated quickly over here. For me, the project has officially started because my staff and I have a system of work flows for each week of the project, and that work flow begins two weeks out. Which means we are in motion now….
Ina Update: Three Weeks Until Launch!
September 3, 2018
This is not a drill! Things are getting real over here! It's all happening, and it's happening fast. Let's put on our listening ears and pay full attention because I have some super important pieces of information to throw your way. Here we go...
Ina Update: Four Weeks Until Launch!
August 27, 2018
Four weeks sounds simultaneously like an eternity away and not near enough time for what needs to happen between now and when I start cooking nine hundred recipes. A lot of my feelings are complicated by the fact that my husband leaves for another trip to Africa this weekend, and it is a long two weeks while he is gone. Then he returns. Then we will have one week. Then we will launch.
Ina In A Year Q&A (with Video)
August 24, 2018
Ever since I made the announcement about the Ina In A Year project, I have observed one of two responses from people. Either they get a really big smile on their face and can't wait to follow along, or they get a deer-in-the-headlights look as they scramble to try and figure out what I am talking about.
It has come to my attention that perhaps a brief explanation of a few items might help us all get on the same page about why this project is such a big deal to me. If you have been wondering things like, "Who is Ina?" or "Why do you need sponsors?" this is the video for you....
Ina Update: Five weeks Until Launch!
August 20, 2018
Last week I made the announcement. This week the real fun begins as I start to share the journey. The cooking won't start for five weeks, but we have a lot of ground to cover between now and then! So many things to share and show....
THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
August 13, 2018
I have news. BIG!!!! NEWS!!!!!
Do you know who Ina Garten is? Ina Garten is a beloved cookbook author and television host, commonly referred to as the Barefoot Contessa (which was the name of the specialty food store she owned).
Ina taught me everything I know about cooking. I watched every episode of her show, read her books cover to cover, and have modeled my kitchen and culinary approach after her. Her imprint on my life is profound....