Happy Birthday to Ina Garten and Elaine Stritch
By Max Berlinger
My menagerie of divas is quite diverse, if you ask me, and today two of my idols are toasting to another year of bringing me unmitigated pleasure. First, there's Broadway legend Elaine Stritch—who refuses to let arthritis, memory loss, or the singing voice that only an epileptic toad could love stop her from treading the boards. And if you think that last line was meant as an insult, you'd be oh-so-wrong, friends. I've seen Stritch croak, mug, and, zing her way through many a performance (from A Little Night Music to the ongoing iterations of one-woman show) and she's a one-of-a-kind reminder of Broadway brassy, sassy, and a wee bit trashy Golden Age.
Then there's my delicate blossom Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa). Unlike some of my fancier co-workers who like to whip-up a soufflé, pick sprigs of basil from their garden to flavor their all-natural iced-tea, and check on their apple-raspberry tarts all before heading out the door for the office, I detest cooking unless its being done for me. That being said, whenever Ina comes on the screen, I'm immediately transfixed. I like that she doesn't have any tricks. She's not trying to make it healthy or easy, she just wants it done correctly—with Kosher salt, please. I also like that she cooks all day in her sprawling Hamptons estate while her husband is away at work and just invites her homo-florist friends over for cucumber sandwiches and lobster rolls, or whatever. Her life is the essence of fabulousness.
So, to you m'ladies, I tip my hat and wish you the happiest of days.