Each episode starts with Ina briefly describing an occasion for which she will cook some food. Frequently, this will involve catering for friends at her home, though she has also done episodes serving special meals for one particular person. Typically she will then explain how to do three different recipes suitable for that occasion. At the end of the show, the occasion is shown, with invariably complimentary comments.
Ina frequently experiments with variations on familiar recipes.
During the show, there is usually an "Ask Ina" section, where viewers submit questions on the same theme as the rest of the show.
If you don't have your own tropes, store bought is fine:
- Bourgeois Bohemian: Ina and Jeffrey. Most of their guests seem to be this as well (well they do live in the Hamptons, after all).
- Fag Hag: Food Network's most famous example. Her parties are attended and helped out by her massive army of gay friends, to the point where it sometimes seems as if she has the entire gay population of Long Island at her beck and call.
- Gratuitous French: Ina is probably the most notorious offender for this on Food Network, as even the Francophilic Melissa D'Arabian doesn't name-drop French terms nearly as often as Ina. Ina seems determined to use French to describe anything she can. It gets especially ridiculous (and somewhat amusing) when she repeatedly uses Creme Anglais, prompting many to wonder: if it's English creme, then why not just say English creme... in English?
- Happily Married: Ina and Jeffrey, married since 1968.
- Once an Episode: See the Drinking Game tab for a comprehensive list, but some of the most common are Ina telling the audience to make sure to use the "good" ingredients (the good vanilla, the good wine, etc.) and repeating the same fun fact about saffron (that it comes from the stamens of crocuses) every time it's an ingredient.
- Wine Is Classy: Nearly every recipe on the show calls for alcohol somewhere in its preparation. Just make sure it's the good wine.