Ina Garten answered questions about cooking, fame, pop culture, and politics and the upcoming midterm elections during an on-stage interview with The New York Times’ Frank Bruni.
In front of a packed audience at the 92Y in New York City, Bruni told the celebrity chef that they would be talking about politics “in a very neutered, safe way” and asked Garten, who was promoting her new cookbook Cook Like a Pro, if she thought people are eating differently because of the political mood in the country.
Garten’s response: “I think there’s been studies that people who are Republicans eat certain ways and Democrats eat certain ways,” she said. “I think it was something in The Daily, there was a study that said Republicans tend to be more meat and potatoes, and, I mean, obviously it’s not everybody, and Democrats tend to eat more ethnic food… more interested in more challenging things.”
Bruni followed up with a name association game, where he tossed out the name of a prominent politician and asked Garten to suggest a dish she would serve him or her for dinner. “Well, first, I only invite people I love,” joked Garten, before playing along.
First up was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, to which Garten replied: “Something really simple like a pasta. Oh, she’s from Massachusetts so they have lobster, so I’d do lobster mac and cheese.”
Second, Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke: “Hmm, Texas. Love him. Maybe like a slow-roasted pork shoulder, something a little Texas. It’s one of my favorite meals, actually. And maple baked beans, and make it a little modern with a little kale salad and some cornbread,” she answered.
Third, former vice president Joe Biden: “Something fun! Something you need to eat with your hands. I have a big clam bake,” she said. “It’s lobster and clams and shrimp and sausage and potatoes. And I just dump a huge bowl in the middle and everyone just has to roll up their sleeves and just dig in. Wouldn’t Joe Biden like that?”
And, finally, President Donald Trump: “A subpoena,” she quickly answered, as she and the crowd burst into laughter. “Is that political?” Garten asked with a giggle as the audience applauded.
Bruni continued the theme of politics, asking Garten what she plans to eat for dinner on Nov. 6, the night of the midterm elections. “Well it depends on how it’s going,” she said. “It could either be a pint of Haagen Dazs or I don’t know, what’s my favorite dinner? Roast chicken.“