2.03.2007

In response to a response...

Back on the 4th I posted about how I had fallen out of love with the Food Network and garnered this comment:


Anonymous said...
Why are you guys so mean? I know, maybe Rachel is not the best cook or baker--but neither am I. I want to prepare meals for my family that are quick and enjoyable. What's wrong with that? Yes, the FN should bring back classic cooking shows that really TEACH. I am not confident enough in the kitchen to try new dishes from experts like Rosie. After mastering meals from Rachel, which don't require a lot of thinking, i have some cook notches under my belt. And that's ok for right now. However, once mastered I am looking forward to real-quality shows like Roise once had.

First of all Anonymous, please use a screen name. Nothing irritates me more than people who see fit to parade their opinions in public and use the screen name "Anonymous"... If you take the time to write it, have the balls to stand behind it. It takes two minutes to sign up for a blogger account.

Rachel Ray bugs the hell out of me for a lot of reasons. One, her whole act is so damn saccharine that it makes me gag. "EVOO" and "Sammies". Damn! Sounds like some eight year old invaded the set of a cooking show or something. I am not a kid and I resent being talked to in baby talk. Use big people words, for Pete's sake. Shows like Cook's Illustrated and Jacque Pepin's Fast Food My Way have recipes are just as easy, quick and tasty - and guess what? They speak as though they are talking to intelligent adults! My god! It's so shocking!

The second thing I want to point out is that Rachel Ray does not develop the majority of her recipes. You ever watch "Next Food Network Star"? You ever see those people flitting around the edges of the kitchens in some shots? Those are the people who work hard making mooks like Rachel Ray look good. They are the people who went to culinary school and earned their lumps the hard way. They develop the recipes, write them up and pass them on to an editor who looks them over and THEN your precious Ray-ray gets them. By and large, Rachel has become a figure head for a huge machine. She has no professional experience. If you asked her how to fix a broken holandaise sauce, I am putting money she would have to ask one of the technical advisers for help before answering. (Hey Raspil - how do you salvage it?!! Put that degree to work girl!)

So much of Food Network is about entertainment. It is what makes money. And some ditsy girl spokeswoman is what people want. If consumers really wanted Sara Moulton or Cat Cora, those chefs would still be on the channel. The only reason Good Eats has survived is that Alton Brown put an entertaining spin on his messages. As the seasons go on - there is less and less science in his shows and more and more entertainment. Get the DVD's if you don't believe me...

By the way Anon - you don't mind if I call you that do you? How do you think I learned to cook? Sure I got a little bit from my mom, but mostly I taught myself from books. And not one of those books were endorsed by Rachel Ray or her ilk. If you really care about feeding your family good food, then get down the the local library and check out books by people like Mark Bittman (aka The Minimalist), Jacque Pepin, Marion Cunningham plus lots of others. Read reviews. Sometimes you will look through a whole book and only take one recipe away. And that's ok...becoming your own person is not something that you can buy in a box and just add water too. It requires you to put some effort into it.

If you really love food, you don't need someone dumbing down the recipes. You're a big girl (or boy). You don't need Rachel and her hollow shell of edu-tainment. Enough Pablum. No more milk toast. Cooking is not entertainment. It's not a spectator sport. It requires you to use your brain. It requires skills, intelligence and a willingness to maim yourself in the name of good nutrition. If you are not thinking about the food you cook, then you are doing it all wrong. You know what? I can walk into my kitchen and whip up noodles four different ways in about 30 minutes from just the items in my pantry. Rachel didn't teach me that. I taught me that.

So that is why I am so mean...I demand that credit be given where credit is due. I demand that I be addressed in a mature, adult manner. I demand more substance and less filler. And lastly, I demand that Rachel go on the air and admit she is a big fat figurehead who is pimping it out for the man... Of course, I can demand all I want. And I'm just adult enough to KNOW that none of them are going to happen.

So after all is said and done, Anon, I have one real piece of advice for you: Unhook yourself from Rachel's glass teat and try some solid food...

14 comments:

Raspil said...

first of all, WORD to that.

second... "Cooking is not entertainment. It's not a spectator sport."

unfortunately, because of the FN, it is. it shouldn't be and it sure didn't start out as one, but the "evolution" (and i use that term in a derogatory manner) of cooking due to this network has made the average Joe think it is. i partially blame Iron Chef for this but that show is hot shit on an intense level that no home cook can do. they think they can because of the FN. they think Italian salad dressing on chicken is "Good Eats". I will now shoot myself for that sentence. But the other food competition shows that have developed from Iron Chef have made the FN lame -- their new tagline is "more than cooking"? well, that's wrong. and as bad as Rachael Ray is, her time is coming. no one can be that overexposed without experiencing some negative attention. i mean really. enough already, guys. quit giving that fat, untalented heifer 2-3 hours of airtime a day. but Sandra Lee is the true abomination on that network. aside from the obvious, that she can't cook, her outfits are coordinated with her kitchen decor. her show is for closet drunk housewives with more money and self-hatred than sense and intelligence.

is that their target audience? girl, i'm with you. F that station.

to continue, Emeril's audience of Pavlov's dogs make me sick. now Paula Deen has one. i can't stand Emeril because he's sloppy and egotistical and his Emeril Live is a joke. you can't have a live show when you have most of your mise already done! it's total BS.

there will come a FN expose someday about the load of a network it is. and i hope to GOD Chef Bourdain is throwing down the hammer because i know he will have no mercy.

yeah, i can fix a broken hollandaise. it's still disgusting, though. no one needs that much butter in their lives (unless it's in a French Buttercream. that is the only exception).

Glenna said...

I agree with your comments about FN. I have to say, though, that Rachel doesn't bother me nearly as much as Sandra Lee does. I have never taken anything away from her shows but a loss of self-respect for watching. She annoys the hell out of me the way Rachel Ray annoys other people. I also do agree that there should be more honesty. (This is America--doesn't our culture pretty much revolve around images built on lies?) The real culinary school trained or on the job trained chefs also have food assistants but to me it is completely different than getting up and saying "I...I...I" when we all know it's total b.s. I have more respect for the people who are who they are and don't pretend to be anyone else. For that reason, even though Paula Deen uses Campbell's soup and Velveeta and lots of other ingredients that make me cringe to see them on a network devoted (supposedly) to the best in cooking, she doesn't bother me simply because she is honest. She doesn't portray herself to be anything other than who she is, a very talented, vivacious, and popular home kitchen cook who needed a job to raise to sons on and turned it into a million dollar cottage business. In her case, I say "Rock on!" I'd eat anything she put on the table in front of me and, I know, Campbell's soup or not, her recipes are always the kind of down home food I always get compliments on. Church Basement recipes. She is who she is where Rachel and Sandra, to me, are more like news anchors reading from the teleprompter. I admire their ability to get a job and everyone has the right to work for anyone who will hire them but they're not my heroes.

sher said...

Bravo Rosie. I just gave up coffee and am dragging myself around, barely able to see and your post sure woke me up! The first time I saw Racheal Ray, I immediately thought of the old Saturday Night Live skit where Dan Ackroyd was doing an infomercial for Bassomatic. Her delivery is just like his in that skit, and I discovered that she started off doing exactly that in supermarkets. Her style of presentation grates on my nerves. As for the rest of TFN, I watch it less and less now. Sadly, I think more and more people want the stuff TFN is featuring now.

Jule said...

I couldn't agree with you more! I can't handle more than 3 seconds of Sandra Lee, Emeril or Rachael Ray. I enjoy watching food shows that teach techniques and about food, not just quick little "recipes" that you can throw together to make you feel you are cooking because you added scallions to a boxed corn bread mix. I truly love watching Cook's Illustrated, and reading their magazine, because they not only give you great recipes, but they research and test them many times, and explain why certain steps are important. You can learn more from two pages in that magazine or 2 minutes of watching that show than you could ever learn watching 30 episodes of Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee. It makes me cringe just to type it. Ugh.

Rosie said...

Thanks for your comment ladies...

Raspil - you are right that eventually Rachel will suffer from over exposure and die an ignoble public death. I can only hope it is sonner than later... I do not worry about Sandra Lee. It is pretty obvious to most people that her hubby bought her this show to keep her busy while he spends time in the company of other more interresting women...

Glenna - while Paula makes food that real people would eat, I can't really connect to her on a personal level. She reminds me too much of the church ladies who spend their time coming with ways they are better than you - whether it be their grandkids are cutier than yours or their peanut butter cookie recipe is the best...

Sher - good luck with that...no way I would give up the juice...love Bass-o-matic - I got one for Christmas and you will never go back to the old way of making bass again...

Julie - Nice to meet a fellow cook! While I truely love Cook's Illustrated, the only complaint that I have is that some of their recipes are a little too fussy. I konw I will get the best results, but there are days that if I can get by without having to wash an extra bowl or pan - I might live with less than perfect results...

ejm said...

I'm happy to say I've never heard of Sandra Lee. When Rachel Ray first arrived on the scene, I didn't mind her but now she drives me mad. Her garbage bowl... why on earth doesn't she do something useful by switching to having a compost bowl?! She could pretend that it for the fake compost heap in the fake back garden behind her fake kitchen. If Rachel is on when I turn the food channel on, the TV gets turned off....

As for Emeril, I would LOVE to see his real cooking show - the one without the audience. (Does that version still exist?) Because in spite of the "Bam!" nonsense, the man does know how to cook.

Raspil, I need that much butter... (what could be better than artichokes and hollandaise? - other than spring asparagus and hollandaise?) I confess that I'm not sure how to fix a broken hollandaise - I'd have to ask the resident expert to be sure - but I seem to recall him murmuring something about throwing a little ice water in.

-Elizabeth

P.S. I miss Sara Moulton....

Dave said...

Hey Rosie,

Like your site.

You're spot on with the EVOO and sammies; even Emeril stopped with the "bam!". My 4 yr old daughter is a bit above that (she helps me with all kinds of baked goods).

Rosie said...

Hey Dave!

That "Bam!" thing stopped me from watching Emeril's show after two or three viewings..annoying in the extreme.

So what does your daughter like to bake most? I am betting cookies or bread...

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Hey Rosie,

Frankie likes to cook anything you can pound hard! Focaccias are her forte; simple, flat bread.

If you ever get immensely bored, email me for her loginid/password. She's a hoot.

Rosie said...

Dave -

I bet when she gets done everything is simple and flat!!

I'll email ya later this week...

Glenna said...

Rosie--see? Isn't that funny how everyone perceives everyone else differently? I don't get that church lady vibe off Paula at all, but I'll tell you what. I'd never want to meet her for real. I worked for a cookbook & fiction writer for two years and I worked at a hotel for a decade that a lot of celebs stayed at here in town. What I learned was that if you like the way you see a celeb, don't meet them because they're never in real life what their persona is. Doesn't mean they're bad people or hateful or anything, they're just always different from what I expected them to be, including the writer I worked for so sometimes I'd rather just live in my fantasy perception. Remember that quote from Mark Twain? "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."

Rosie said...

My hubby always says "Never meet your heros. You will always be disappointed." He has met enough "legends of magic" to know what he is talking about. On the other hand - while he may not have a lot of heros left, he does have some GREAT stories. And those stories have garnered him tons of free drinks. So in the end, I think it all works out.

stephanie said...

rosie - thanks for the post. it's so refreshing to see some pushback on the food network's dumbed down content. i'm so sick of ray-ray's b.s. and sandra lee's 70/30 meals. i mean, come on. it's the FOOD network, not the boxed cake mix network. the only chef i have respect for is ina garten. the barefoot contessa seems to be the only one who hasn't sold out, unlike the money-machine rachael ray or the catchphrase-happy emeril. he is so washed up, when will it be cancelled?!?