An article this week in The New York Times makes me understand why I don’t hate Ina Garten, Food Network star and author of the Barefoot Contessa cookbook series.

“Bright-eyed and apple-cheeked,” Garten is enjoying unexpected success in the second half of her life. After 20 years of running a gourmet shop in the Hamptons (named for the Humphrey Bogart/Ava Gardner film The Barefoot Contessa), she sold the store and invested her own money in a cookbook, never expecting it to take off as it has. Now approaching 60, she has five cookbooks, a top-rated show on the Food Network, and a line of prepared foods.

But here’s the great part—Garten has rejected opportunities to expand even more. “She has turned down offers to start magazines or to be host for more TV shows. She has declined to endorse other food products beyond her own line and has rejected opening a chain of food shops.” Garten wants to preserve her quality of life, despite success. “There is a balance between having a life and having a business,” the article quotes her as saying.

Hear that, Rachael Ray?

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