Monday, September 05, 2005
A Farewell to Rachael Ray
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.
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'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.
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.
Or what about "Rachael Ray: Perky Demented Food Chipmunk"?
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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