Don’t call him the barefoot count

I don’t claim to be an economist — a quick look at my checkbook would disabuse you of that notion — but I have been interested in the recent (and, I think, ultimately harmful) trend towards trade protectionism. So when I was scanning the discounted Kindle books for something to read, the book “From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives” caught my eye.

It’s a story of the history of globalization as personalized through the stories of 10 individuals from throughout history — from Genghis Khan to Intel founder Andy Grove.

I’ve bought it, and read the preface, written for the release of the paperback edition, which discusses the ways in which protectionism seems to have accelerated in the months since the book was originally released. and gives the author’s view that the long-term trend is still towards free trade. Just from the preface, I think I’ll enjoy the book.

But I have to admit, as silly as this is going to sound, one of the reasons the book caught my attention was the name of the author: Jeffrey Garten, a former dean of the Yale School of Management, a former managing director of Lehman Brothers, and a former undersecretary of commerce.

Does the name “Jeffrey Garten” ring a bell? It might … if you watch a lot of cooking shows.

Ina Garten is the long-time host of “Barefoot Contessa,” a cooking show named for the catering business she used to run in the Hamptons and, more to the point, the series of cookbooks she published after selling it. The business was actually named by its previous owners after a classic movie starring Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart. (I recommend the movie, by the way; Gardner plays a Spanish woman, of humble origins, who becomes a Hollywood star and is corrupted by it.) Ina Garten inherited the name when she bought the business, but when she published “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook,” people from other parts of the country, who knew nothing about the original business, started assuming that she was the titular Barefoot Contessa, and the name gradually became used to apply to her.

Anyway, the TV show “Barefoot Contessa” is one of those shows that has a sort of made-up story to each episode. Ina isn’t just cooking for a TV show, she’s supposedly making a celebratory meal for her best friend from college, or a fancy lunch to thank her interior decorator for his help on a recent remodeling project, or … she’s making dinner for her husband, Jeffrey. She even has a cookbook named “Cooking For Jeffrey,” and I think one season of the TV show was inspired by that cookbook.

Jeffrey Garten.

Yes, it’s the same Jeffrey Garten.

And here’s a video of Jeffrey talking about the book:

It really does look like an interesting book, but I am just too much of a food television geek not to be amused by the connection.