Monday, September 05, 2005

 

A Farewell to Rachael Ray

I wanted to like Rachael Ray, I really did. On paper, she has it all: a brunette Meg Ryan who can cook. What’s not to like?

Alas, the food.

We’ve been burned before. Last year I bought one of her 30 minute cookbooks, hoping to find something I could actually make that would expand my (admittedly basic) repertoire. The Wife and I each tried a couple of recipes, and came away wondering what the fuss was about. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t anything either of us felt any need to have again.

For her birthday, The Wife received a second RR cookbook (not from me). Last night we tried two recipes: an entree and a dessert. The entree wasn’t awful, but was certainly boring, and I’ve done far better with less effort. The dessert, well, sucked. The concept was good – fluffernutter brownies (or, as The Boy calls them, fluffernutting brownies). Take brownies, put peanut butter chips in them, and melt marshmallows on top. Fire up the insulin, I’m goin’ in!

Sadly, RR apparently has no concept of the laws of physics and chemistry, as they apply to baking. The brownie package said to bake them for 55 minutes; RR said 20. What the hell, she’s the cook, so we did 20. Then 20 more, then 20 more.

At the end, they mostly just tasted burnt. A terrible waste of wonderful ingredients. Even The Boy didn’t like them, and he’s usually pretty tolerant of anything with way too much sugar in it.

Sorry, Rachael. I can only have my heart broken so many times. When your entree pales in comparison to barely-passable-even-by-bachelor-standards moi, it’s time to move on.

Comments:
I will strongly suggest Mark Bittner's How to Cook Everything (or perhaps HTCE: Basics, which I admit I have not read), which has (a) meals at all levels, with good detail on the tricky ones, but heavy into simple but good meals and (b) suggeestions for how to change them.
 
Oh Lord...you got sucked in by the cute smile and hair tossing. RR sucks!! Here,at the Jerkwater residence we particularly hate how she says "EVOO". She is so annoying. We really like the "Best Recipe" books, they have made all the mistakes for you and send along the very best..um..recipe.
 
Oh Lord...you got sucked in by the cute smile and hair tossing. RR sucks!! Here,at the Jerkwater residence we particularly hate how she says "EVOO". She is so annoying. We really like the "Best Recipe" books, they have made all the mistakes for you and send along the very best..um..recipe.

4:48 AM
 
Ok, Rachel Ray is HORRIBLE. That said, I like to watch her show because it inspires me to cook something much more delicious than she will ever cook in 30-45 minutes. And I second the How to Cook Everything book. It teaches you enough that you become confident with playing around in the kitchen. Also, the meatloaf recipe is Out Of This World (and I never though I liked meat loaf).
 
I'm partial to another Food Network host, Alton Brown of "Good Eats." He explains the science behind the food. Knowing why stuff does what it does is a big help. Unfortunately, he does tend to get a bit over-the-top in his quest for good food. The Food Network website has his recipes on it.

And like my wife said, the Cook's Illustrated books ("The Best Recipe," etc.) and magazines are the best. They explain everything, they apply experimentation rather that just repeat old recipes, and they usually try to avoid over-complicating everything.

Their big volume "Baking Illustrated" should contain many things to please The Boy.
 
I recommend Marian Burros's "Keep It Simple". The book gives you 30 minute scratch menus, complete with shopping lists. Most are for 4 people, and some are for just two.
 
I also detest RR. For someone who supposedly comes from a restaurant family (although I've now heard she was doing food demos somewhere), she seems very ignorant of the food industry. I've spent a good portion of my life either working in restaurants or hanging out with restaurant folk. Anthony Bourdain's view is pretty accurate.

i've seen her $40 a day, where she seems clueless about restaurants and suggests a 15% tip before tax in major cities -- a HUGE mistake. I've also seen her cook, and she is useless. This comes from a person who can cook a 3-4 course dinner for 8 and get the timing perfect (if usually a bit behind schedule overall). Gaarh, she is an idiot.

But Alton Brown is brilliant, and Jamie Oliver's recipes are dead easy and fantastic. Amazingly, Gordon Ramsay, the Scottish footballer-turned-foulmouthed-and-frightening-Michelin-starred-celebrity-chef writes cookbooks that are easy to follow, even when the recipes themselves are pretty complex.
 
You can always go with a classic (although, in our house Bittman's How to Cook Everything is otherwise known as The Bible) and seek out recipes on Epicurious.com. Say you've got pasta, eggplant, a frozen porkchop, some raisins, and a carrot. And you crave Middle Eastern food. Enhanced Search and the right recipe shall be yours! And the "fork system" of rating ensures you'll never cook anything that flops. I never cook below 3 forks myself and I'm rarely disappointed.
 
"Crazy Plates" - quick, healthy, family friendly and goofy (yet informative) sidebars too! L:)
 
A second on Alton Brown: fun to watch and read, technically sound, and damn tasty eats. If you like AB's science geekery, check out his occasional costar Shirley Corriher's Foodwise: she's a chemist by training, and it shows.

Other faves:

Martin Yan for speed Chinese (OK, the guy's goofy, but the recipes do work).

Rick Bayless when I have the time. His recipes are time-consuming and somewhat fussy, but when done well they taste so good you lose color vision. If you die without tasting his seared skirt steak with guajillo sauce, you will not die happy.

Paul Prudhomme. His Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen, a collection of recipes from his large Cajun family, is one of my staple cookbooks. Contains the best pork roast and baked rice recipes on the planet.

Anything from the Culinary Institute of America. Favorites are the American Bounty Cookbook and The New Professional Chef, which is the textbook that incoming students learn from. Everything from boning techniques to food safety to sauce making, plus a huge section of recipes.
 
Maybe if you would ponder upon the reasons why people enjoy Rachael Ray...maybe because her enthusiastic spirit? She is out there to relate to many people that are simply down to earth and normal. She creates all of her recipes to be easily made and enjoyed by people on the go, busy parents, and simply people that aren't able to stir up a meal if it wasn't for her quick and easy recipes. You really need to get your head out of the books Mr. Dean, and realize that your making a mockery about a woman who brings joy to people's lives by just being herself. Obviously we are not saying "farewell to Rachael Ray" because her showS AND magazine have sky rocketed across this country.
 
Mr that was very mean of u because Rachael try her best to make ya happy if ya want to cook it than thats on ya but u don't need to blame it on her i tryed one of her dinners before and it was good you just have problems following directions so u need to shut the fuck up u bitch.
 
There is nothing 'cute' about Rachael Ray. Can't you see beyond your anatomy or pre-programmed responses and see what she is really like? She is utterly patronizing in the way she talks. She is utterly annoying; so annoying, that when you thought that surely no one could even come close the annoying Kelly Ripa, Rachael Ray proved that it could be done. I have already told my wife that if RR and KR have a baby, I will officially move to another planet. Horrible, horrible personality. If you can't see that, than what CAN you see? All I see written all over her face is money-greed, completely lost to the senses, manipulative toward people with artifical perkiness and loud obnoxious 'variation' for the chronically bored. I could go on for hours. She is a complete assault on all true human qualities like peace, love, compassion, wisdom, elegance, beauty, reverence, you name it. Feel any of those things and then watch Rachael Ray. You will know what I mean.
 
Look at this:

http://galleryoftheabsurd.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/05/28/terroist.jpg

Or what about "Rachael Ray: Perky Demented Food Chipmunk"?

http://galleryoftheabsurd.typepad.com/14/rachael_ray/index.html

I truly am a loving person, but I detest fake, horrible, obnoxious, loud and cheap. Love also means protection, and people and behaviors like that betray humanity, and I don't want my children to grow up with some foaming at the mouth loud irreverent person yanking their emotions and hearts. Be true or get your face out of the public eye. And then there are these people defending all this. What is your problem, seriously? Can you not see how horrible she is? And if you want to talk about cooking, you really must be kidding me. She is an amateur, plain and simple. Not only are her recipes just cheap rip offs most of the time, at other times they are plain horrible and nasty. It's all just one big hot air balloon and you are just too lazy to create your own kitchen and rather sit on the couch and be 'entertained'. By what? Imagine your daughter growing up to be like her! If you still don't get it, you deserve it. That's all I have to say on the matter.
 
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