One Viewer Takes a Bite out of the Food Network
“30 Minute Meals” with Rachael Ray
For a long time, watching Rachael Ray cook delicious and healthy meals in under thirty minutes made me sad. She’d things like, “My niece goes BONKERS over this banana cream pudding!” and, “When I visit my niece, she helps me make this ice cream, so it’s KID-FRIENDLY!” Poor, poor, Rachael, I would think, you’re so busy that you don’t have time for a boyfriend, much less kids. You’re all alone in this world… Then one day she started talking about her “sweetie” and how they’d talk on the phone about this recipe or that. A sweetie? I was sure she’d finally met someone. Later, on a Super Bowl Party Food episode, there was a guest on the show named “Joe” and I’ve never known Rachael to have guests on the show. At first Joe looked nervous to be there and wasn’t building his sandwich fast enough (Tick-tock, Joe. It’s all gotta be ready in under 30 minutes.) but it seemed like he and Rachael had some electricity shooting back and forth between them. I just hope Joe isn’t her brother or something.
“Boy Meets Grill” with Bobby Flay
I used to hate this guy. That orange hair and that fucking slimy New York accent. Whenever the announcer on the TV said “Coming up next… Boy Meets Grill with Bobby Flay”, I would always say “you fuck” afterwards. It bothered me how he grilled everything in sight. Normal stuff such as steak, chicken and burgers are all fair game, but he’d be throwing on lemons, blocks of cheese, fucking everything. The only thing I’ve seen him not grill is rice. But eventually I learned to respect his cooking. The food he prepares always looks really appetizing. And I’m impressed he had the balls to go on Iron Chef.
“Oliver’s Twist”/“The Naked Chef” with Jamie Oliver
Too frantic for me, this guy. And his lips get too juicy while he’s talking, like he might be spitting into your risotto while telling you how ‘gorgeous’ it is. I heard he’s more famous than the Queen over in England.
“The Essence of Emeril” with Emeril Lagasse
Is it wrong that all I want to do with Emeril is cuddle? He’s such a teddy bear! I enjoy “Emeril Live” because he interacts with the audience really well and does the “BAM!” thing for show, but “The Essence of Emeril” teaches you many of the fundamentals of cooking. The thing about Emeril, though, is that it seems like he’s never really sure what he’s going to say next and you get the feeling he’s making the recipes up as he goes along, just cooking things with whatever raw ingredients his staff happened to prepare before the show. On the last episode I saw, he made fricos but I was calling them “Freak-Oh’s” inside my head because that’s how it sounded.
“Tyler’s Ultimate” with Tyler Florence
Tyler’s Ulimate, all right. Tyler’s Ultimate Hot Body. Tyler’s Dashing Good Looks. Tyler’s the Ultimate Guy to Bring Home to Your Mom. On this show, Tyler traipses all over the world, learning differences in the way people cook. Then he returns home to cook is “ultimate” version, taking the best of everything and making an amazing dish. I attempted to make his seafood soup once and spent a small fortune on all the ingredients (lobster, crab, shrimp, sea bass, and saffron to name just a few). It looked nothing like what he made on TV and tasted kind of weird. That’s O.K., though. Tyler’s more than hot enough to make up for it.
“Food 911” with Tyler Florence
Help! I got a fire in my pants and there’s only one man who can put it out! I tried calling 3663-911 a couple months ago but Tyler didn’t answer. I thought that was the number you’re supposed call to get on the show. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t really want to be on this particular show. He comes to your home to help out with a food crisis and my kitchen is really quite pathetic. I remember I got insanely jealous over one episode a while ago. A cute blond elementary school teacher was like “[stupid little-girl voice] Oh, help me Tyler! I need to make cupcakes for a school bake sale but I don’t know how!” Come off it, sister. Children can make cupcakes; it’s not hard. Then as the episode was ending, Tyler gave the woman a little kiss on the cheek. I was so angry I started frothing at the mouth and punched a hole through front of my TV screen. Cheating bastard.
“From Martha’s Kitchen” with Martha Stewart
Poor Martha. I saw an episode she did down in Jamaica and I was sure she was drunk and high the entire time she was on air. Probably trying to forget about her legal woes.
“Semi-Homemade Cooking” with Sandra Lee
There are so many things I can say about this woman and her show (none of which are good). First of all, her motto is something lame like, “The food is semi-homemade but you get 100% of the credit.” [Making jerking-off motion] Whatever. Second, her food isn’t “semi-homemade” at all, unless you count putting a dollop of vanilla Jell-O pudding on a slice of Sara Lee pound cake. Homemade? Bullshit. This is her recipe for semi-homemade Macaroni & Cheese: Make a package of store-bought instant macaroni and cheese, pour into a casserole dish, cover with store-bought breadcrumbs, and bake. Maybe it’s homemade in the sense that you made it at home and not in the middle of the street, but it’s not… it’s just not cooking. It’s not from fresh ingredients and it’s not from the heart. I’m sorry. What she does get creative with are her mixed drinks. She kind of slowed down with the alcohol lately, but when the show first aired, I thought for sure she must have squandered some of her youth as a small-time hooker in Tijuana. All of her drinks were variations on tequila, rum, wine, brandy, and ice. Finally, this chick is emaciated. If her food tastes so shitty that even she can’t stomach it, why would you want to make it?
“Wolfgang Puck’s Cooking Class” with (duh) Wolfgang Puck
This guy is adorable. I love his Austrian accent and he’s probably the best chef out there. I bought a potato ricer after watching his Potatoes Galore!episode. I like the ricer, even though riced potatoes look like a bowl full of maggots until you stir in milk and butter. This show is great because he takes some of the basics of cooking (how to make stock, how to use a wok, etc.) and creates really impressive dishes. He shows you techniques that you can turn around and use at home.
“Molto Mario” with Mario Batali
This guy knows everything about Italy, Italian cooking, and the nuances of cuisine from different Italian regions. Every single episode, I’m floored by how much he knows. BUT… I’ve never replicated any of his dishes at home. I think they look too difficult for me because I don’t have a proper fishmonger or an authentic Italian butcher near me, so I feel like I can’t get any of the really nice ingredients he uses. He was cooking a stuffed rabbit the other day. Rabbit. Where am I going to get a whole, skinned rabbit? One thing I particularly like about his show is that he always has three guests, watching him cook and asking questions. Every now and then an actor from “The Sopranos” will show up and even off the set these dudes still look like scary Mafia men. That guy who plays Chris Moltisanti was on and he was watching Mario (not what Mario was doing with the food) the entire time. I was waiting for him to pull out a gun and start asking where his fucking money was.
“Barefoot Contessa” with Ina Garten
If there is any cook that I wish would invite me over for dinner, it’s this lady. Her food looks fabulous and not too intimidating. Some dishes that other chefs prepare can look hoity-toity, but Ina’s like, “Take this, mix in some of that and that, stir in some cooked shrimp and that’s it. You’re all done.” It looks easy and delicious. She also has the best garden I’ve ever seen. One time she was making a tomato/mozzarella/basil salad and said, “I’m just going to run out for some fresh tomatoes.” Little do you know, she’s going into her backyard to grab a few green zebra heirloom tomatoes. Who the hell grows those? Green zebra? I never even heard of those! When in need of fresh rosemary, she clips a few branches off of a bush the size of a small car. I thought the puny little stem growing on my kitchen windowsill was nice, but apparently not nearly nice enough.
“Paula’s Home Cooking” with Paula Dean
Paula reinforces the stereotype that southern people only cook fried/fatty food. Want mayonnaise-coated chunks of lard deep-fried and tossed with gristle? Cheese-covered butter-soaked marshmallow-stuffed yams? MMmmm MMMmmm. I jest, it’s not that bad and she’s a jolly, colorful character but I haven’t wanted to replicate any of her dishes myself. She tries, though. She says here and there that you can substitute yogurt for the sour cream and regular milk for the heavy cream (even though she never does).
“Everyday Italian” with Giada De Laurentiis
This girl has the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. I think that if I ever saw her in person, I’d want to pop them out and take them home with me. The only problem I have with her, besides the fact that I hate her show and think she copies all of Emeril’s recipes, is that when she smiles, it looks like she’s trying to grind gravel between her teeth. I did make her farfalle with turkey sausage, peas, and mushrooms once. Everyone loved it. (Bitch.)
“East Entertaining” with Michael Chiarello
This guy needs to get out of the Napa Valley. All he does is invite his rich friends over to eat, drink wine, and take hot-air balloon rides. And get this: On his Christmas episode he shows you how to make basil-infused olive oil, to give as gifts. When I told someone at work what a nice idea I thought it was, I was promptly told that one must be careful when infusing oil because the herbs might breed bacteria and then you’d just be giving out bottles of 100% Grade A botulism. Thanks for the warning, Michael. I could have killed all my friends.