Ina Garten Serves Meatballs with Professional Lighting Design on ‘Barefoot Contessa’

On yesterday’s new episode of East Hampton H.B.I.C. Ina Garten’s Food Network show, Barefoot Contessa, she faced a dilemma: cooking for both kids and adults! Ever the problem solver, Garten decided on "nursery food"–popcorn with truffle butter, spaghetti with turkey meatballs, strawberry rhubarb crisp and s’mores–for the event, which was… a dinner party with her friends’ baby grandson. Did I mention that she commissioned the services of a high profile lighting designer to transform her backyard into, I don’t know, whatever is appropriate for your spaghetti and meatballs dinner party with longtime friends and their seven-week-old grandson? Because of course she did. After the jump, my four-minute video recap of the episode.

Did ‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten Film with Special Needs Kids to Offset Make-A-Wish PR Debacle?

A year ago tomorrow, celebrity chef and Barefoot Contessa star Ina Garten became embroiled in a PR nightmare when it was reported she’d rejected a six-year-old cancer patient’s Make-a-Wish Foundation request to cook with her. Garten was later vindicated–it turns out she wasn’t even aware of the boy’s request until his immature, revenge-seeking parents ran to TMZ and set off the firestorm–but many believed the damage to her name had already been done. So, what was Garten to do?

If you guessed, "Air a new episode of her show almost exactly one year after the scandal broke in which she volunteers to teach a group of special needs students at East Hampton High School how to make blueberry muffins and ice banana cake, before using it all–plus brownies she’d made at home–to run a bake sale that will benefit the students’ annual field trip," you’d be correct. Congratulations!

My four-minute video recap of the episode is above.

Morning links: Beyonce & Her Father Split, Mariah Decorates Her “Dembabies” Bump

● Last night’s presidential address concerning Libya was scheduled for a pre-primetime 7:30pm, so as not to get in the way of ABC’s hit Dancing With The Stars. “The White House routinely works with the networks … to find a time that’s respectful of both the networks and their audience,” said the White House. [NYT] ● After a false alarm this weekend, Mariah Carey is back home lending “festiveness” to the waning days of her pregnancy by hand-painting her “dem-babies” bump. We knew she could sing, but an artist, too! [Twitter] ● Shockingly, Italy is none too pleased with out latest export, the Jersey Shore kids. “They embody the worst stereotypes of Italians, multiplied by thousands,” wrote an Italian newspaper columnist. A commenter took it further, asking, “When I see this, I wonder whether [Osama] Bin Laden had a point.” Ouch. [NYP]

● Four Destiny’s Child albums, three solo albums, sixteen Grammys, and two top-grossing movies later, Beyonce has outgrown her father’s management. The successful father-daughter team are amicably parting professional ways. “I’m grateful for everything he’s taught me,” Beyonce said. [ABC] ● After a weekend of Internet harassment, TV-chef Ina Garten feels she has become properly “aware of Enzo’s story” and now “looks forward to inviting him to spend some time with her.” Unfortunately, it seems Enzo, a six-year-old leukemia patient, has already set his sites elsewhere. [TMZ/TMZ] ● Elizabeth Taylor’s last act might entail more math and less glamour than we’ve come to expect of the legend: Apparently, her estate — “baubles” and all — is almost incalculably large, and as long as her perfume sales remain strong, still growing. Luckily for her four children, the recipients of her estate, numbers this big tend to mean no one loses. [PopEater]