Does Ina Garten have kids? This is a question you don’t think about her because she is living a dream life of food, fun, fags, and fanciness. The life of Ina Garten is a life without children.
Reading a recent feature on her in Eater, this realization prickles the neck. It’s freeing. You think, “Huh. Ina did this all without kids? And she’s happy? And no one is leaning on her to know why?” You feel a bit of relief, that Ina owns the very important “parentless” (Or “motherless.”) title to her many titles.
Why is this important? Because we need people like Ina to represent the happy, successful, non-bitter adult (woman) without child. She has transcended into this child-free zone very much akin to that of a gay man or gay woman: she is someone who is not questioned about child rearing because child rearing is not for them. Life is to be for the self, to live the you, to be the be: you have your life to do you. Ina is doing that.
The article also points to where Ina is getting her kid fill: in her cooking. The people who read her books are her kids. She is teaching the world.
After the first book, “mother” is mostly stricken from Ina’s rotation of motifs. Mom is too fraught. Instead, Ina is a stalwart defender of being welcoming. She believes a house should smell good. “When somebody comes home and everything’s there and the kitchen smells like sugar apple pie,” Ina said to me, “you know, it’s nice. It’s really nice, and the pillows are fluffed, and I love it.”
That’s great: the “welcoming” bit is absolutely the quality of the child-less. If there is a word to describe her and Jeffrey, the gay experience, and being staunchly without kids, it is being welcoming. It is to be non-imposing. It is to be truly adult, with a door always open to the childless and child full because you are the constant aunt or uncle or godfather or godmother. You are the host and you have the guests because you, in your without-child state, can welcome.
Better yet, she supports sexual rights. Not just LGBTQ persons but the rights of women, the right to be a mother or not. As it has been widely noted, she is a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood. She is unashamed of her help, too.
Outside of her clean food and bubbly personality, Ina as the non-mother is something to admire. Ina has the life she has because she has led it herself. She hasn’t been career obsessed or icy: she has just done her. She has indulged in the self. She has explored and is exploring every possible outcome for Ina and, no, kids were not included in that image for whatever reason—and that is admirable. This is why we talk about Ina Garten: she has a life to envy—and a big part of that is because she is truly unencumbered.