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Monday, July 7, 2008

Discuss: Your favorite TV cooking shows

I am such a Food TV whore. I'll admit it. Well, not quite a whore-- I am a little picky. I grew up on The Frugal Gourmet (Terry loved him too and he still uses a lot of "The Frug's" recipes; I remember a writing assignment I did in the sixth grade that involved an obituary for spoiled tuna salad whose survivor was Jeff Smith. I started really young.) and Julia Child (and, hey, The Swedish Chef. Hurdy, gurdy, gurdy!). I love Top Chef (I'd been rooting for Stephanie all season long, and never missed an episode of the previous seasons), I like Kitchen Nightmares and (to a lesser degree) Hell's Kitchen. Alton Brown's intersection of science and food makes cooking make sense to newer cooks (or those of us who just geek out on vaguely scientific things). I'm looking forward to Ted Allen's new show, "Food Detectives" which is supposed to be Mythbusters for food. Nigella Lawson is essentially who I want to be when I grow up: a great cook, excellent writer, sophisticated, witty, and comfortable with herself. I'm not a fan of Paula Deen or Rachael Ray (though both were much better in their earlier years; now they've become photoshopped caricatures of themselves) and Sandra Lee is everything I hate about "American Cuisine"-- the 1950s, packaged, processed, "better nutrition through science" version.

My favorite personality is Anthony Bourdain, and not just because he pals around with Michael Ruhlman. I read both of his books on airplanes, rushed out to get the Les Halles cookbook, and look forward to Top Chef mostly because I know he'll guest judge at least once, and his blogs are hysterical. My DVR is already set to tape the new season of No Reservations. My favorite episode, by far, is the Paris episode-- it made me want to go back so badly, and really captured the environment. Terry sighed longingly during the footage of a trip to Ireland. We end up wanderlusty and hungry after watching the show-- a bad combination! I haven't been to most of the places he covers, but I always feel like I'm getting a real taste-- not the sanitized, travel-brochure version.

So who's your inspiration? Which TV chef is overrated or annoying?

32 comments:

dave said...

I'm a big fan of both Alton Brown and Anthony Bourdain. I find that Alton is almost universally loved by people that watch any food TV, but with Anthony people seem to love him or hate him.

Julie Niesen said...

I think Anthony can come across as abrasive, which can be pretty off-putting to people who might be used to the saccharine pumped out by a lot of cooking show hosts. I kinda dig abrasive.

Kate The Great said...

He's not a television superstar... but Jacques Pepin is one of my favorite chefs. He lives in my old hometown in Connecticut, and I'd often see him walking along the water. His dishes are fresh, savory and classic. I also love his charming personality, and that he insists on cooking with wine (in a glass to sip on, as opposed to in the pan!).

I think Emeril is overdone. I also detest Sandra Lee and Rachael Ray. Paula, I love her recipes but think she's become a schlocky characature of herself... Especially Paula's Party. That show is awful.

And while it's not a "cooking show" I love Andrew Zimmern's show... it's an "eating show" and that guy eats just about anything...

Julie Niesen said...

I love Jacques Pepin. I have a couple of his books and they're just fantastic.

Some of Paula's recipes are great, some are.. ouch. Terry and I have great fun cackling at Barnes and Noble about her photoshopped magazine covers. Sandra Lee-- I watch just to see how badly she'll butcher things ($25 a pound ahi? Let's marinate it overnight in Wishbone salad dressing!). Rachael's recipes can be pretty good, but she, much like Paula, is a caricature.

I think Anthony's show is more like Andrew Zimmerman's-- about cooking, not eating.

Steve said...

I love Iron Chef on the food network. I'm not very into cooking, which may explain why I like the show that's a lot about competition and ingenuity and partly about cooking.

Julie Niesen said...

Steve, I like the Japanese version of Iron Chef. It's always fun to see what weird item they'll use to make ice cream or gelee.

Dan said...

I loved "The Frugal Gourmet". My Saturday mornings were not of cartoons but "This Old House", "Victory Garden", and "The Frugal Gourmet." I was a geek from way back.

I really love Ina Garten now. Great recipies; Fresh and classic, yet simple. But I like many Food Network people like Tyler Florence and Alton. Despise Rachael and Sandra. And some of my favorite recipies are still Martha's. Martha Stewart that is and I still like her no matter what anyone says about her.

WestEnder said...

Jacques Pepin is the Jedi master of cooking. He knows everything. And he can de-bone a turkey in like 30 seconds.

Japanese Iron Chef: those guys are gonzo. Lot of fun.

One thing that's starting to annoy me about the "reality" cooking shows is the judging part. It's persnickety silliness at best and irrelevant absurdity at worst. Every time I see it I imagine a satirical SNL skit.

Nobody mentioned Everyday Italian Cleavage. She is WAY to uppity but she makes some good grub.

Julie Niesen said...

West Ender-- you're right, the judging is silly. I like watching them, mostly, because I love watching and learning from the challenges. I also like a lot of Ina Garten's recipes-- I have one shrimp salad I do quite often. I also like Giada's recipes, even if watching her annoys me. My favorite chicken recipe is hers, and it's always a hit-- very simple, too, with no mass-produced shortcuts.

Toddy-O said...

My remote stops when Anthony Bourdain, Mark Bittman and America's Test Kitchen are on the telly.

Food Network. I hate the formula of nearly all new cooking shows. (Start recipe, personal story, stir, cut, back to personal story, plate, yummo, bumper to break).

Cooking shows are different beasts to direct. I directed a lot of Marilyn Harris' "Fix This" episodes on Warner and TKR Cable. I prefer "real time" cooking versus heavily edited, with sound enhanced slicing/crunching. Let's see food drop on the floor and god forbid, touching something after handling raw chicken or fish.

Best TV: Alton Brown, early Paula Deen, Jacques Pepin, some Sara Moulton, ATK, Bourdain, Bittman, Mario, the two old bitties (I can't remember their names-loved the smoking), BBC version Kitchen Nightmares (the early episodes) and a show from the first days of Food TV Network: Ready, Steady Cook. Oh...and Diners, Drive-In's and Dives and Ace of Cakes (in moderation). Hall of Fame: Jeff Smith, Justin Wilson and Chef Tell (who taught how to debone a chicken fast and properly).

The Worst: BreastTV (Rachael, Sandra, Giada, the Miami-Cuban showgirl), the Neely's and these remakes of previous Food Network shows (ex: How did this get on my plate vs. Follow That Food) and these endless Challenge marathons.

vudutu said...

We are major league food channel junkies. I loved the Frugal Gourmet, I grew up on him and Jeff Smith, I did not see as much Julia although and I used to get to talk to her on the phone occasionally. I like Alton Brown because of his humor and info and Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern because they are doing what I wish I was, traveling and eating. The SO HATES Anthony and Andrew. I also like the Diners, Drive-In's and Dives punker, she not so much unless he is doing BBQ.

Westender, LOL, Everyday Italian Cleavage, our old tenant used to fill up the TIVO with Giada, have not seen much of her since he moved (pun intended).

Kate the great, Jacques Pepin is fab and Paula and her brood are almost embarrassing. Emeril is OK. I can't take Sandra Lee and Rachael either.

Toddy-O, I like Americas Test Kitchen but that guy is boring, I like their books and use them regularly. I can't stand the "reality" shows.

You guys all missed one of the best on currently, Jamie Oliver, we are addicted to him, record his Jamie at Home series every Sat. morn while at market. Did his BBQ chicken and ribs twice in a week. We love how he gets in elbow deep he is our kind of cook, the SO is now planning her new garden kitchen and oven. We got into Brit chefs a few years ago with Nigel Slater.

Amy in Ohio said...

I watch foodie shows like some people watch porn. I don't do much cooking either, another similarity to porn.

I love love love Top Chef and Tom C. (I won't butcher the spelling of his last name and shame myself).

And the original Iron Chef, more so than the American version. It cracked me up.

But my favorite on Chef on TV is Paula Dean. She sweet, southern voice and fatty foods make me melt.

The Boyfriend said...

Lo-o-o-o-o-o-ove Nigella for all the reasons that Julie mentioned in the post. (Plus, with that killer Brit accent, she's totally hot.)

Julie and I play a drinking game with Sandra Lee: Every time she says "tablescape," "cocktail," or "packet" OR does the Milli Vanilli hands thing, we do tequila shots. (It's amazing what you learn about your floor when you're lying face down on it.)

As for Giada, she's OK, but I don't trust skinny chefs.

I still like Paula Deen, and use several of her recipes. In fact, the first time I ever cooked for Julie, I made Paula's Dixieland Pork Chops over grits. But I agree with Kate and Julie...she has become a walking self-parody.

Toddy-O said...

Does anyone get the feeling that Food Network is/has been trying to make Paula Deen the Justin Wilson of their channel? It will become a definite when she utters "how you all are? I guar-un-tee."

One recipe of hers we make for a huge yearly family reunion - "Not your mama's banana puddin'". It's polished off in record time. (and that's with a tripled recipe!)

Julie Niesen said...

I think that may have been the first dessert Terry made me, Todd! It's almost too sweet, but it's banana pudding: it's supposed to be.

vudutu said...

Julie,
I forgot one of the rarest food channel sightings, a must for any food channel junkie's life list, a BBC spinoff I believe. Keith Floyd, a drunken wanderer with a fondness for badgering and belittling his cameraman. He is a riot, he cruises around in a Jag, sets up in someone's kitchen or on the street and cooks local cuisine. Here are a couple of links. If you happen across one of his episodes do set your recorder to record all of them, they seem to come around eventually.

Here are a couple of links:

http://tinyurl.com/665ekf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/chef_biogs/d.shtml


Also I had to go dig up a guest blog I read last year by Anthony Bourdain on Michael Ruhlman's site. Huge number of comments, this is funny, SERIOUSLY funny stuff, classic Bourdain, here is a link to the blog and some quotes from the comments, A WARNING there is much Rachel and Sandra Lee bashing involved...

http://tinyurl.com/2mv3nh

The intro

" I actually WATCH Food Network now and again, more often than not drawn in by the progressive horrors on screen. I find myself riveted by its awfulness, like watching a multi-car accident in slow motion. Mesmerized at the ascent of the Ready-Made bobblehead personalities, and the not-so-subtle shunting aside of the Old School chefs, I find myself de-constructing the not-terrible shows, imagining behind the scenes struggles and frustrations, and obsessing unhealthily on the Truly Awful ones. Screaming out loud at Sandra Lee in disbelief as she massacres another dish, then sits grinning, her face stretched into a terrifying rictus of faux cheer for the final triumphant presentation. I mourn for Mario..and Alton...Bobby and yes--even Emeril, nobly holding the fort while the TV empire he helped build crumbles like undercooked Bundt cake into a goo of Cheez Wiz around him."

Quotes from the comments...

"Watching Giada cook is like a soft core porno movie with extra close ups of her hands and the soft focus and gentle music."

"Oh, dear God - Poor Mario
"Relegated to the circus of Iron Chef America, where--like a great, toothless lion, fouling his cage, he hangs on . . ."
I now have to clean sprayed cappuccino off my computer screen. "

"I'm always up for some Sandra Lee bashing because I believe there is no greater force for evil in the culinary world. Actually, it's an insult to use the words "culinary" and "Sandra Lee" in the same sentence, so forgive me. I'll go mainline a ranch dressing packet as punishment."

"Watching her show is not entirely unlike sticking one's head into a cotton-candy machine, followed by a quick dip in the Fryolator and having that deep-fried, pastel, sugary head-crust shattered by French kissing a speeding cement-mixer during a gay-pride parade.'

"A woman I know calls Sandra Lee's show, "Semi-Half Assed", which I thought was very fitting."

"Did y'all SEE that "Kwanzaa Cake" that Sandra Lee made one time? It was a storebought angelfood cake frosted with a can of vanilla icing with a couple tablespoons of cocoa stirred in; there was peanut butter involved, and then the center hole was plugged up with apple pie filling and CORN NUTS. I kid you not"

"The only way the Rachael Ray can win any respect from me is if she sliced off a finger in the middle of one of her shows, pulls a Julia Child, duct tapes the wound closed, and continues cooking."


I don't know which is more entertaining, Tony's Blog or the responses.

Julie Niesen said...

Vudutu, first, I got your email. I'll email you back, I promise!

Second, I LOVE it when Ruhlman and Bourdain get together. Hilarity ensues. I remember reading that post-- I need to go back, I'm sure there are more comments-- and remembering it to be hysterical. I'll vote that the comments are better. ;)

Toddy-O said...

Vudutu....I'm about to cry and laugh out loud. The Kwanzaa Cake. Classic!! (Am curious what the tablescape was for that episode!)

vudutu said...

Julie,
Yea, yea, oy vey, they never write they never call!

toddy-o,
This really is hilarious stuff, ya can't make this stuff up, the last time I checked in on the blog it had a couple of hundred comments, now it has to be over 1000, I am going back in sometime when I can't sleep and carve out some more of them. Some I just can't post here, you will have to email me.

You did not by chance work on that Skillet show with Jean Robert did you, I think it was on Sat morning for a while. Mercifully they pulled it at some point, some people just do not come off well on camera.

The Boyfriend said...

Toddy-O, Paula's "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding" is awesome!

And you're right, Julie/Sweetie...it was the first dessert I made for you. And you're right again...banana pudding is supposed to be sweet. (We Southerners understand this about banana pudding AND iced tea.) In fact, one of things I like about this particular recipe, hard to believe as it may be, is that it isn't nearly as sweet as most banana puddings. My mother was fairly well known around potluck circles for her banana pudding (complete with a golden-browned meringue), and I SWEAR she must have used two pounds of sugar in it. I could never eat more than two or three bites of it; it was that rich. In fact, I'm sure the egg yolks went into the filling while she used the whites to make the meringue.

By the way, Toddy-O...did you say "tablescape"? TEQUILA SHOT!

Speaking of Paula Deen and stupidly rich desserts...has anybody tried her Krispy Kreme Doughnut Bread Pudding? It's the only dessert I've ever cooked that I felt myself being overpowered purely from the aroma. I ate, I think, two bites (and had to force the second one in) and swore I'd never make it again.

Beefy Muchacho said...

So yeah... I do love me some Bourdain. He lends this sort of sardonic perspective that I feel only comes from people who literally don't give a shit. I appreciate that. I would like to throw out some props to my ever-hated boy, Bobby Flay. I know he's a douche, but his grilling show really provides a TON of accessible grilled meals that aren't difficult to prepare. My issue with Emeril and the like is that the meals take for-fucking-ever to make sometimes. Flay does a lot with marinades and whatnot, and I appreciate that. Douche or not.

PHSChemGuy said...

I hate that the Frugal Gourmet's final note to us dealt with a lawsuit. I wish my memories of him weren't tainted...

On TV now, I love Alton Brown and America's Test Kitchen...both outstanding...both kinda sciency...both awesome

k said...

i HATE sandra lee. her ridiculous honey-dripping gooey-ness, faux cooking and faux blonde hair remind me of a much despised relative (who i am too much of a wimp to name on the complete longshot she will ever see this). rachael i used to like but now gets on my nerves (for god's sake, we know evoo stands for extra virgin olive oil), paula i like when her sons are on but she says 'y'all' way too much, robin miller is too skinny, giada too pretty. emeril i turn off immediately. tyler florence is ok, but he loses points for his association with applebee's. i love iron chef (both japanese and american), throwdown with bobby flay (cause he usually loses), and alton brown (cause i'm a science nerd). i also *heart* ace of cakes and diners, drive-ins and dives (although guy also loses points for his inane tgifriday's commercials). anthony bourdain i don't catch very often, but but i always enjoy him. he's just cool.

Julie Niesen said...

PHSChemGuy-- I am so with you. I know he settled out of court and the allegations weren't proven, but it's still a taint. What ever happened to Craig?

K-- Totally with you, but I forgive Giada's prettiness because her recipes are to die for.

kmitch218 said...

Just found your blog, I really like it.

Favorites - Ina Garten (although her laugh is a bit overdone.) Her food always looks good and she doesn't make anything that's actually that difficult to recreate. Top Chef on Bravo, the best competition series on tv. Iron Chef America is okay although Bobby is used to often. America's Test Kitchen on PBS is always good. Good Eats has its moments.

Awful - Sandra Lee, Rachael, Paula Deen and her sons (although I always enjoy an appearance by her sea captain husband), and Throwdown (I like Bobby Flay, this show stinks)

Also - try Fine Living, the new home for Emeril and Mario. They're both doing new episodes of their FN shows.

Toddy-O said...

Fine Living, that's right. Also owned by Scripps Howard. I call it FoodTV Classic. Emeril, Mario and other "classic" FoodTV shows air there.

Saw the new "Rescue" show Saturday. Must every "Chef to the rescue" show have a host who has a bad English accent? It reminded me of a poor ripoff of the Discovery Channel/TLC program.

Peter said...

Personally, I'm a fan of Mark Bittman (if only to see him frustrate chefs with his lack of chefitude). Also, Christopher Kimball (from America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Illustrated, etc), becuase his (their) recipes really are easy and turn out well without much effort. Great for a weeknight when you haven't much time, you know?

I'm absolutely with you on the dislike of Sandra Lee. I mean, anybody who thinks that guacamole is taco seasoning mashed into avocados has got something seriously wrong going on in the head (I mean, hell, you'd be closer if you just used chunky jarred salsa with avocados, and it'd be just as freakin' easy!).

Julie said...

Peter-- and chunky salsa and avocados totally tastes better. Bittman has his moments; I like what he does with the NYT, but I find his recipes can be iffy. America's Test Kitchen is fab.

vudutu said...

Mo food channel comments from Bourdain's guest blog, the last one had me howling...

Anthony Bourdain, you are a GOD. Sentiments very similar to this have been screamed at my television late at night when I can't find anything else to watch and am forced to watch one of these pseudo-cooks perform their danse macabre. Sandra Lee should be boiled in E-V-O-O and then garnished with cheese whiz. Bravo, Chef Bourdain!

"Anyone who can eat the ass-end out of a dead wart hog is OK in my book"

you know rachel ray likes to cut corners- i can get down with a woman like that. she's the kind of girl you can hang around with all day in a bathrobe and eat bacon. just bacon. if bourdain can't appreciate that then he's a bastard. a hard bastard whom i grant oceans of respect (he ate a raw seal with little inuit children!)
as for nigella, i only hope she'll one day respond to my numerous letters and grant me my fantasy: which is that she dress up as a strict school marm and paddle me while i recite my multiplication tables.

Anonymous said...

What about the Italian lady on PBS...Lydia? I love her recipies because it is exactly how I was taught. Sandra Lee makes me puke....she has too be intoxicated heavily to believe in what she is doing. My fiance seems to think I like Rachel Ray since he keeps buying the cookbooks, but I have never made one recipe. Giada, depends on the mood....Her over enunciation and constant glazed smile can put me over the edge at times. Paula Deen must have a secret plan to kill us all with stick upon stick of BUTTER!!!!

Julie said...

Anonymous-- Terry and I ate at Lidia's restaurant in Pittsburgh-- it was very good, and apparently very similar to her other restaurants (Terry's eaten at at least one in New York). I like her a lot, too!

EBeth said...

These comments are great. Made me nostalgic for 2 Fat Ladies-wish Food Network would repeat those! Remember Graham Kerr of Galloping Gourmet? Didn't care for his show but what 70s cuisine/culture! Love The Best (British version) and Kylie Kwong shows.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Discuss: Your favorite TV cooking shows

I am such a Food TV whore. I'll admit it. Well, not quite a whore-- I am a little picky. I grew up on The Frugal Gourmet (Terry loved him too and he still uses a lot of "The Frug's" recipes; I remember a writing assignment I did in the sixth grade that involved an obituary for spoiled tuna salad whose survivor was Jeff Smith. I started really young.) and Julia Child (and, hey, The Swedish Chef. Hurdy, gurdy, gurdy!). I love Top Chef (I'd been rooting for Stephanie all season long, and never missed an episode of the previous seasons), I like Kitchen Nightmares and (to a lesser degree) Hell's Kitchen. Alton Brown's intersection of science and food makes cooking make sense to newer cooks (or those of us who just geek out on vaguely scientific things). I'm looking forward to Ted Allen's new show, "Food Detectives" which is supposed to be Mythbusters for food. Nigella Lawson is essentially who I want to be when I grow up: a great cook, excellent writer, sophisticated, witty, and comfortable with herself. I'm not a fan of Paula Deen or Rachael Ray (though both were much better in their earlier years; now they've become photoshopped caricatures of themselves) and Sandra Lee is everything I hate about "American Cuisine"-- the 1950s, packaged, processed, "better nutrition through science" version.

My favorite personality is Anthony Bourdain, and not just because he pals around with Michael Ruhlman. I read both of his books on airplanes, rushed out to get the Les Halles cookbook, and look forward to Top Chef mostly because I know he'll guest judge at least once, and his blogs are hysterical. My DVR is already set to tape the new season of No Reservations. My favorite episode, by far, is the Paris episode-- it made me want to go back so badly, and really captured the environment. Terry sighed longingly during the footage of a trip to Ireland. We end up wanderlusty and hungry after watching the show-- a bad combination! I haven't been to most of the places he covers, but I always feel like I'm getting a real taste-- not the sanitized, travel-brochure version.

So who's your inspiration? Which TV chef is overrated or annoying?

32 comments:

dave said...

I'm a big fan of both Alton Brown and Anthony Bourdain. I find that Alton is almost universally loved by people that watch any food TV, but with Anthony people seem to love him or hate him.

Julie Niesen said...

I think Anthony can come across as abrasive, which can be pretty off-putting to people who might be used to the saccharine pumped out by a lot of cooking show hosts. I kinda dig abrasive.

Kate The Great said...

He's not a television superstar... but Jacques Pepin is one of my favorite chefs. He lives in my old hometown in Connecticut, and I'd often see him walking along the water. His dishes are fresh, savory and classic. I also love his charming personality, and that he insists on cooking with wine (in a glass to sip on, as opposed to in the pan!).

I think Emeril is overdone. I also detest Sandra Lee and Rachael Ray. Paula, I love her recipes but think she's become a schlocky characature of herself... Especially Paula's Party. That show is awful.

And while it's not a "cooking show" I love Andrew Zimmern's show... it's an "eating show" and that guy eats just about anything...

Julie Niesen said...

I love Jacques Pepin. I have a couple of his books and they're just fantastic.

Some of Paula's recipes are great, some are.. ouch. Terry and I have great fun cackling at Barnes and Noble about her photoshopped magazine covers. Sandra Lee-- I watch just to see how badly she'll butcher things ($25 a pound ahi? Let's marinate it overnight in Wishbone salad dressing!). Rachael's recipes can be pretty good, but she, much like Paula, is a caricature.

I think Anthony's show is more like Andrew Zimmerman's-- about cooking, not eating.

Steve said...

I love Iron Chef on the food network. I'm not very into cooking, which may explain why I like the show that's a lot about competition and ingenuity and partly about cooking.

Julie Niesen said...

Steve, I like the Japanese version of Iron Chef. It's always fun to see what weird item they'll use to make ice cream or gelee.

Dan said...

I loved "The Frugal Gourmet". My Saturday mornings were not of cartoons but "This Old House", "Victory Garden", and "The Frugal Gourmet." I was a geek from way back.

I really love Ina Garten now. Great recipies; Fresh and classic, yet simple. But I like many Food Network people like Tyler Florence and Alton. Despise Rachael and Sandra. And some of my favorite recipies are still Martha's. Martha Stewart that is and I still like her no matter what anyone says about her.

WestEnder said...

Jacques Pepin is the Jedi master of cooking. He knows everything. And he can de-bone a turkey in like 30 seconds.

Japanese Iron Chef: those guys are gonzo. Lot of fun.

One thing that's starting to annoy me about the "reality" cooking shows is the judging part. It's persnickety silliness at best and irrelevant absurdity at worst. Every time I see it I imagine a satirical SNL skit.

Nobody mentioned Everyday Italian Cleavage. She is WAY to uppity but she makes some good grub.

Julie Niesen said...

West Ender-- you're right, the judging is silly. I like watching them, mostly, because I love watching and learning from the challenges. I also like a lot of Ina Garten's recipes-- I have one shrimp salad I do quite often. I also like Giada's recipes, even if watching her annoys me. My favorite chicken recipe is hers, and it's always a hit-- very simple, too, with no mass-produced shortcuts.

Toddy-O said...

My remote stops when Anthony Bourdain, Mark Bittman and America's Test Kitchen are on the telly.

Food Network. I hate the formula of nearly all new cooking shows. (Start recipe, personal story, stir, cut, back to personal story, plate, yummo, bumper to break).

Cooking shows are different beasts to direct. I directed a lot of Marilyn Harris' "Fix This" episodes on Warner and TKR Cable. I prefer "real time" cooking versus heavily edited, with sound enhanced slicing/crunching. Let's see food drop on the floor and god forbid, touching something after handling raw chicken or fish.

Best TV: Alton Brown, early Paula Deen, Jacques Pepin, some Sara Moulton, ATK, Bourdain, Bittman, Mario, the two old bitties (I can't remember their names-loved the smoking), BBC version Kitchen Nightmares (the early episodes) and a show from the first days of Food TV Network: Ready, Steady Cook. Oh...and Diners, Drive-In's and Dives and Ace of Cakes (in moderation). Hall of Fame: Jeff Smith, Justin Wilson and Chef Tell (who taught how to debone a chicken fast and properly).

The Worst: BreastTV (Rachael, Sandra, Giada, the Miami-Cuban showgirl), the Neely's and these remakes of previous Food Network shows (ex: How did this get on my plate vs. Follow That Food) and these endless Challenge marathons.

vudutu said...

We are major league food channel junkies. I loved the Frugal Gourmet, I grew up on him and Jeff Smith, I did not see as much Julia although and I used to get to talk to her on the phone occasionally. I like Alton Brown because of his humor and info and Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern because they are doing what I wish I was, traveling and eating. The SO HATES Anthony and Andrew. I also like the Diners, Drive-In's and Dives punker, she not so much unless he is doing BBQ.

Westender, LOL, Everyday Italian Cleavage, our old tenant used to fill up the TIVO with Giada, have not seen much of her since he moved (pun intended).

Kate the great, Jacques Pepin is fab and Paula and her brood are almost embarrassing. Emeril is OK. I can't take Sandra Lee and Rachael either.

Toddy-O, I like Americas Test Kitchen but that guy is boring, I like their books and use them regularly. I can't stand the "reality" shows.

You guys all missed one of the best on currently, Jamie Oliver, we are addicted to him, record his Jamie at Home series every Sat. morn while at market. Did his BBQ chicken and ribs twice in a week. We love how he gets in elbow deep he is our kind of cook, the SO is now planning her new garden kitchen and oven. We got into Brit chefs a few years ago with Nigel Slater.

Amy in Ohio said...

I watch foodie shows like some people watch porn. I don't do much cooking either, another similarity to porn.

I love love love Top Chef and Tom C. (I won't butcher the spelling of his last name and shame myself).

And the original Iron Chef, more so than the American version. It cracked me up.

But my favorite on Chef on TV is Paula Dean. She sweet, southern voice and fatty foods make me melt.

The Boyfriend said...

Lo-o-o-o-o-o-ove Nigella for all the reasons that Julie mentioned in the post. (Plus, with that killer Brit accent, she's totally hot.)

Julie and I play a drinking game with Sandra Lee: Every time she says "tablescape," "cocktail," or "packet" OR does the Milli Vanilli hands thing, we do tequila shots. (It's amazing what you learn about your floor when you're lying face down on it.)

As for Giada, she's OK, but I don't trust skinny chefs.

I still like Paula Deen, and use several of her recipes. In fact, the first time I ever cooked for Julie, I made Paula's Dixieland Pork Chops over grits. But I agree with Kate and Julie...she has become a walking self-parody.

Toddy-O said...

Does anyone get the feeling that Food Network is/has been trying to make Paula Deen the Justin Wilson of their channel? It will become a definite when she utters "how you all are? I guar-un-tee."

One recipe of hers we make for a huge yearly family reunion - "Not your mama's banana puddin'". It's polished off in record time. (and that's with a tripled recipe!)

Julie Niesen said...

I think that may have been the first dessert Terry made me, Todd! It's almost too sweet, but it's banana pudding: it's supposed to be.

vudutu said...

Julie,
I forgot one of the rarest food channel sightings, a must for any food channel junkie's life list, a BBC spinoff I believe. Keith Floyd, a drunken wanderer with a fondness for badgering and belittling his cameraman. He is a riot, he cruises around in a Jag, sets up in someone's kitchen or on the street and cooks local cuisine. Here are a couple of links. If you happen across one of his episodes do set your recorder to record all of them, they seem to come around eventually.

Here are a couple of links:

http://tinyurl.com/665ekf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/chef_biogs/d.shtml


Also I had to go dig up a guest blog I read last year by Anthony Bourdain on Michael Ruhlman's site. Huge number of comments, this is funny, SERIOUSLY funny stuff, classic Bourdain, here is a link to the blog and some quotes from the comments, A WARNING there is much Rachel and Sandra Lee bashing involved...

http://tinyurl.com/2mv3nh

The intro

" I actually WATCH Food Network now and again, more often than not drawn in by the progressive horrors on screen. I find myself riveted by its awfulness, like watching a multi-car accident in slow motion. Mesmerized at the ascent of the Ready-Made bobblehead personalities, and the not-so-subtle shunting aside of the Old School chefs, I find myself de-constructing the not-terrible shows, imagining behind the scenes struggles and frustrations, and obsessing unhealthily on the Truly Awful ones. Screaming out loud at Sandra Lee in disbelief as she massacres another dish, then sits grinning, her face stretched into a terrifying rictus of faux cheer for the final triumphant presentation. I mourn for Mario..and Alton...Bobby and yes--even Emeril, nobly holding the fort while the TV empire he helped build crumbles like undercooked Bundt cake into a goo of Cheez Wiz around him."

Quotes from the comments...

"Watching Giada cook is like a soft core porno movie with extra close ups of her hands and the soft focus and gentle music."

"Oh, dear God - Poor Mario
"Relegated to the circus of Iron Chef America, where--like a great, toothless lion, fouling his cage, he hangs on . . ."
I now have to clean sprayed cappuccino off my computer screen. "

"I'm always up for some Sandra Lee bashing because I believe there is no greater force for evil in the culinary world. Actually, it's an insult to use the words "culinary" and "Sandra Lee" in the same sentence, so forgive me. I'll go mainline a ranch dressing packet as punishment."

"Watching her show is not entirely unlike sticking one's head into a cotton-candy machine, followed by a quick dip in the Fryolator and having that deep-fried, pastel, sugary head-crust shattered by French kissing a speeding cement-mixer during a gay-pride parade.'

"A woman I know calls Sandra Lee's show, "Semi-Half Assed", which I thought was very fitting."

"Did y'all SEE that "Kwanzaa Cake" that Sandra Lee made one time? It was a storebought angelfood cake frosted with a can of vanilla icing with a couple tablespoons of cocoa stirred in; there was peanut butter involved, and then the center hole was plugged up with apple pie filling and CORN NUTS. I kid you not"

"The only way the Rachael Ray can win any respect from me is if she sliced off a finger in the middle of one of her shows, pulls a Julia Child, duct tapes the wound closed, and continues cooking."


I don't know which is more entertaining, Tony's Blog or the responses.

Julie Niesen said...

Vudutu, first, I got your email. I'll email you back, I promise!

Second, I LOVE it when Ruhlman and Bourdain get together. Hilarity ensues. I remember reading that post-- I need to go back, I'm sure there are more comments-- and remembering it to be hysterical. I'll vote that the comments are better. ;)

Toddy-O said...

Vudutu....I'm about to cry and laugh out loud. The Kwanzaa Cake. Classic!! (Am curious what the tablescape was for that episode!)

vudutu said...

Julie,
Yea, yea, oy vey, they never write they never call!

toddy-o,
This really is hilarious stuff, ya can't make this stuff up, the last time I checked in on the blog it had a couple of hundred comments, now it has to be over 1000, I am going back in sometime when I can't sleep and carve out some more of them. Some I just can't post here, you will have to email me.

You did not by chance work on that Skillet show with Jean Robert did you, I think it was on Sat morning for a while. Mercifully they pulled it at some point, some people just do not come off well on camera.

The Boyfriend said...

Toddy-O, Paula's "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding" is awesome!

And you're right, Julie/Sweetie...it was the first dessert I made for you. And you're right again...banana pudding is supposed to be sweet. (We Southerners understand this about banana pudding AND iced tea.) In fact, one of things I like about this particular recipe, hard to believe as it may be, is that it isn't nearly as sweet as most banana puddings. My mother was fairly well known around potluck circles for her banana pudding (complete with a golden-browned meringue), and I SWEAR she must have used two pounds of sugar in it. I could never eat more than two or three bites of it; it was that rich. In fact, I'm sure the egg yolks went into the filling while she used the whites to make the meringue.

By the way, Toddy-O...did you say "tablescape"? TEQUILA SHOT!

Speaking of Paula Deen and stupidly rich desserts...has anybody tried her Krispy Kreme Doughnut Bread Pudding? It's the only dessert I've ever cooked that I felt myself being overpowered purely from the aroma. I ate, I think, two bites (and had to force the second one in) and swore I'd never make it again.

Beefy Muchacho said...

So yeah... I do love me some Bourdain. He lends this sort of sardonic perspective that I feel only comes from people who literally don't give a shit. I appreciate that. I would like to throw out some props to my ever-hated boy, Bobby Flay. I know he's a douche, but his grilling show really provides a TON of accessible grilled meals that aren't difficult to prepare. My issue with Emeril and the like is that the meals take for-fucking-ever to make sometimes. Flay does a lot with marinades and whatnot, and I appreciate that. Douche or not.

PHSChemGuy said...

I hate that the Frugal Gourmet's final note to us dealt with a lawsuit. I wish my memories of him weren't tainted...

On TV now, I love Alton Brown and America's Test Kitchen...both outstanding...both kinda sciency...both awesome

k said...

i HATE sandra lee. her ridiculous honey-dripping gooey-ness, faux cooking and faux blonde hair remind me of a much despised relative (who i am too much of a wimp to name on the complete longshot she will ever see this). rachael i used to like but now gets on my nerves (for god's sake, we know evoo stands for extra virgin olive oil), paula i like when her sons are on but she says 'y'all' way too much, robin miller is too skinny, giada too pretty. emeril i turn off immediately. tyler florence is ok, but he loses points for his association with applebee's. i love iron chef (both japanese and american), throwdown with bobby flay (cause he usually loses), and alton brown (cause i'm a science nerd). i also *heart* ace of cakes and diners, drive-ins and dives (although guy also loses points for his inane tgifriday's commercials). anthony bourdain i don't catch very often, but but i always enjoy him. he's just cool.

Julie Niesen said...

PHSChemGuy-- I am so with you. I know he settled out of court and the allegations weren't proven, but it's still a taint. What ever happened to Craig?

K-- Totally with you, but I forgive Giada's prettiness because her recipes are to die for.

kmitch218 said...

Just found your blog, I really like it.

Favorites - Ina Garten (although her laugh is a bit overdone.) Her food always looks good and she doesn't make anything that's actually that difficult to recreate. Top Chef on Bravo, the best competition series on tv. Iron Chef America is okay although Bobby is used to often. America's Test Kitchen on PBS is always good. Good Eats has its moments.

Awful - Sandra Lee, Rachael, Paula Deen and her sons (although I always enjoy an appearance by her sea captain husband), and Throwdown (I like Bobby Flay, this show stinks)

Also - try Fine Living, the new home for Emeril and Mario. They're both doing new episodes of their FN shows.

Toddy-O said...

Fine Living, that's right. Also owned by Scripps Howard. I call it FoodTV Classic. Emeril, Mario and other "classic" FoodTV shows air there.

Saw the new "Rescue" show Saturday. Must every "Chef to the rescue" show have a host who has a bad English accent? It reminded me of a poor ripoff of the Discovery Channel/TLC program.

Peter said...

Personally, I'm a fan of Mark Bittman (if only to see him frustrate chefs with his lack of chefitude). Also, Christopher Kimball (from America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Illustrated, etc), becuase his (their) recipes really are easy and turn out well without much effort. Great for a weeknight when you haven't much time, you know?

I'm absolutely with you on the dislike of Sandra Lee. I mean, anybody who thinks that guacamole is taco seasoning mashed into avocados has got something seriously wrong going on in the head (I mean, hell, you'd be closer if you just used chunky jarred salsa with avocados, and it'd be just as freakin' easy!).

Julie said...

Peter-- and chunky salsa and avocados totally tastes better. Bittman has his moments; I like what he does with the NYT, but I find his recipes can be iffy. America's Test Kitchen is fab.

vudutu said...

Mo food channel comments from Bourdain's guest blog, the last one had me howling...

Anthony Bourdain, you are a GOD. Sentiments very similar to this have been screamed at my television late at night when I can't find anything else to watch and am forced to watch one of these pseudo-cooks perform their danse macabre. Sandra Lee should be boiled in E-V-O-O and then garnished with cheese whiz. Bravo, Chef Bourdain!

"Anyone who can eat the ass-end out of a dead wart hog is OK in my book"

you know rachel ray likes to cut corners- i can get down with a woman like that. she's the kind of girl you can hang around with all day in a bathrobe and eat bacon. just bacon. if bourdain can't appreciate that then he's a bastard. a hard bastard whom i grant oceans of respect (he ate a raw seal with little inuit children!)
as for nigella, i only hope she'll one day respond to my numerous letters and grant me my fantasy: which is that she dress up as a strict school marm and paddle me while i recite my multiplication tables.

Anonymous said...

What about the Italian lady on PBS...Lydia? I love her recipies because it is exactly how I was taught. Sandra Lee makes me puke....she has too be intoxicated heavily to believe in what she is doing. My fiance seems to think I like Rachel Ray since he keeps buying the cookbooks, but I have never made one recipe. Giada, depends on the mood....Her over enunciation and constant glazed smile can put me over the edge at times. Paula Deen must have a secret plan to kill us all with stick upon stick of BUTTER!!!!

Julie said...

Anonymous-- Terry and I ate at Lidia's restaurant in Pittsburgh-- it was very good, and apparently very similar to her other restaurants (Terry's eaten at at least one in New York). I like her a lot, too!

EBeth said...

These comments are great. Made me nostalgic for 2 Fat Ladies-wish Food Network would repeat those! Remember Graham Kerr of Galloping Gourmet? Didn't care for his show but what 70s cuisine/culture! Love The Best (British version) and Kylie Kwong shows.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Discuss: Your favorite TV cooking shows

I am such a Food TV whore. I'll admit it. Well, not quite a whore-- I am a little picky. I grew up on The Frugal Gourmet (Terry loved him too and he still uses a lot of "The Frug's" recipes; I remember a writing assignment I did in the sixth grade that involved an obituary for spoiled tuna salad whose survivor was Jeff Smith. I started really young.) and Julia Child (and, hey, The Swedish Chef. Hurdy, gurdy, gurdy!). I love Top Chef (I'd been rooting for Stephanie all season long, and never missed an episode of the previous seasons), I like Kitchen Nightmares and (to a lesser degree) Hell's Kitchen. Alton Brown's intersection of science and food makes cooking make sense to newer cooks (or those of us who just geek out on vaguely scientific things). I'm looking forward to Ted Allen's new show, "Food Detectives" which is supposed to be Mythbusters for food. Nigella Lawson is essentially who I want to be when I grow up: a great cook, excellent writer, sophisticated, witty, and comfortable with herself. I'm not a fan of Paula Deen or Rachael Ray (though both were much better in their earlier years; now they've become photoshopped caricatures of themselves) and Sandra Lee is everything I hate about "American Cuisine"-- the 1950s, packaged, processed, "better nutrition through science" version.

My favorite personality is Anthony Bourdain, and not just because he pals around with Michael Ruhlman. I read both of his books on airplanes, rushed out to get the Les Halles cookbook, and look forward to Top Chef mostly because I know he'll guest judge at least once, and his blogs are hysterical. My DVR is already set to tape the new season of No Reservations. My favorite episode, by far, is the Paris episode-- it made me want to go back so badly, and really captured the environment. Terry sighed longingly during the footage of a trip to Ireland. We end up wanderlusty and hungry after watching the show-- a bad combination! I haven't been to most of the places he covers, but I always feel like I'm getting a real taste-- not the sanitized, travel-brochure version.

So who's your inspiration? Which TV chef is overrated or annoying?

32 comments:

dave said...

I'm a big fan of both Alton Brown and Anthony Bourdain. I find that Alton is almost universally loved by people that watch any food TV, but with Anthony people seem to love him or hate him.

Julie Niesen said...

I think Anthony can come across as abrasive, which can be pretty off-putting to people who might be used to the saccharine pumped out by a lot of cooking show hosts. I kinda dig abrasive.

Kate The Great said...

He's not a television superstar... but Jacques Pepin is one of my favorite chefs. He lives in my old hometown in Connecticut, and I'd often see him walking along the water. His dishes are fresh, savory and classic. I also love his charming personality, and that he insists on cooking with wine (in a glass to sip on, as opposed to in the pan!).

I think Emeril is overdone. I also detest Sandra Lee and Rachael Ray. Paula, I love her recipes but think she's become a schlocky characature of herself... Especially Paula's Party. That show is awful.

And while it's not a "cooking show" I love Andrew Zimmern's show... it's an "eating show" and that guy eats just about anything...

Julie Niesen said...

I love Jacques Pepin. I have a couple of his books and they're just fantastic.

Some of Paula's recipes are great, some are.. ouch. Terry and I have great fun cackling at Barnes and Noble about her photoshopped magazine covers. Sandra Lee-- I watch just to see how badly she'll butcher things ($25 a pound ahi? Let's marinate it overnight in Wishbone salad dressing!). Rachael's recipes can be pretty good, but she, much like Paula, is a caricature.

I think Anthony's show is more like Andrew Zimmerman's-- about cooking, not eating.

Steve said...

I love Iron Chef on the food network. I'm not very into cooking, which may explain why I like the show that's a lot about competition and ingenuity and partly about cooking.

Julie Niesen said...

Steve, I like the Japanese version of Iron Chef. It's always fun to see what weird item they'll use to make ice cream or gelee.

Dan said...

I loved "The Frugal Gourmet". My Saturday mornings were not of cartoons but "This Old House", "Victory Garden", and "The Frugal Gourmet." I was a geek from way back.

I really love Ina Garten now. Great recipies; Fresh and classic, yet simple. But I like many Food Network people like Tyler Florence and Alton. Despise Rachael and Sandra. And some of my favorite recipies are still Martha's. Martha Stewart that is and I still like her no matter what anyone says about her.

WestEnder said...

Jacques Pepin is the Jedi master of cooking. He knows everything. And he can de-bone a turkey in like 30 seconds.

Japanese Iron Chef: those guys are gonzo. Lot of fun.

One thing that's starting to annoy me about the "reality" cooking shows is the judging part. It's persnickety silliness at best and irrelevant absurdity at worst. Every time I see it I imagine a satirical SNL skit.

Nobody mentioned Everyday Italian Cleavage. She is WAY to uppity but she makes some good grub.

Julie Niesen said...

West Ender-- you're right, the judging is silly. I like watching them, mostly, because I love watching and learning from the challenges. I also like a lot of Ina Garten's recipes-- I have one shrimp salad I do quite often. I also like Giada's recipes, even if watching her annoys me. My favorite chicken recipe is hers, and it's always a hit-- very simple, too, with no mass-produced shortcuts.

Toddy-O said...

My remote stops when Anthony Bourdain, Mark Bittman and America's Test Kitchen are on the telly.

Food Network. I hate the formula of nearly all new cooking shows. (Start recipe, personal story, stir, cut, back to personal story, plate, yummo, bumper to break).

Cooking shows are different beasts to direct. I directed a lot of Marilyn Harris' "Fix This" episodes on Warner and TKR Cable. I prefer "real time" cooking versus heavily edited, with sound enhanced slicing/crunching. Let's see food drop on the floor and god forbid, touching something after handling raw chicken or fish.

Best TV: Alton Brown, early Paula Deen, Jacques Pepin, some Sara Moulton, ATK, Bourdain, Bittman, Mario, the two old bitties (I can't remember their names-loved the smoking), BBC version Kitchen Nightmares (the early episodes) and a show from the first days of Food TV Network: Ready, Steady Cook. Oh...and Diners, Drive-In's and Dives and Ace of Cakes (in moderation). Hall of Fame: Jeff Smith, Justin Wilson and Chef Tell (who taught how to debone a chicken fast and properly).

The Worst: BreastTV (Rachael, Sandra, Giada, the Miami-Cuban showgirl), the Neely's and these remakes of previous Food Network shows (ex: How did this get on my plate vs. Follow That Food) and these endless Challenge marathons.

vudutu said...

We are major league food channel junkies. I loved the Frugal Gourmet, I grew up on him and Jeff Smith, I did not see as much Julia although and I used to get to talk to her on the phone occasionally. I like Alton Brown because of his humor and info and Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern because they are doing what I wish I was, traveling and eating. The SO HATES Anthony and Andrew. I also like the Diners, Drive-In's and Dives punker, she not so much unless he is doing BBQ.

Westender, LOL, Everyday Italian Cleavage, our old tenant used to fill up the TIVO with Giada, have not seen much of her since he moved (pun intended).

Kate the great, Jacques Pepin is fab and Paula and her brood are almost embarrassing. Emeril is OK. I can't take Sandra Lee and Rachael either.

Toddy-O, I like Americas Test Kitchen but that guy is boring, I like their books and use them regularly. I can't stand the "reality" shows.

You guys all missed one of the best on currently, Jamie Oliver, we are addicted to him, record his Jamie at Home series every Sat. morn while at market. Did his BBQ chicken and ribs twice in a week. We love how he gets in elbow deep he is our kind of cook, the SO is now planning her new garden kitchen and oven. We got into Brit chefs a few years ago with Nigel Slater.

Amy in Ohio said...

I watch foodie shows like some people watch porn. I don't do much cooking either, another similarity to porn.

I love love love Top Chef and Tom C. (I won't butcher the spelling of his last name and shame myself).

And the original Iron Chef, more so than the American version. It cracked me up.

But my favorite on Chef on TV is Paula Dean. She sweet, southern voice and fatty foods make me melt.

The Boyfriend said...

Lo-o-o-o-o-o-ove Nigella for all the reasons that Julie mentioned in the post. (Plus, with that killer Brit accent, she's totally hot.)

Julie and I play a drinking game with Sandra Lee: Every time she says "tablescape," "cocktail," or "packet" OR does the Milli Vanilli hands thing, we do tequila shots. (It's amazing what you learn about your floor when you're lying face down on it.)

As for Giada, she's OK, but I don't trust skinny chefs.

I still like Paula Deen, and use several of her recipes. In fact, the first time I ever cooked for Julie, I made Paula's Dixieland Pork Chops over grits. But I agree with Kate and Julie...she has become a walking self-parody.

Toddy-O said...

Does anyone get the feeling that Food Network is/has been trying to make Paula Deen the Justin Wilson of their channel? It will become a definite when she utters "how you all are? I guar-un-tee."

One recipe of hers we make for a huge yearly family reunion - "Not your mama's banana puddin'". It's polished off in record time. (and that's with a tripled recipe!)

Julie Niesen said...

I think that may have been the first dessert Terry made me, Todd! It's almost too sweet, but it's banana pudding: it's supposed to be.

vudutu said...

Julie,
I forgot one of the rarest food channel sightings, a must for any food channel junkie's life list, a BBC spinoff I believe. Keith Floyd, a drunken wanderer with a fondness for badgering and belittling his cameraman. He is a riot, he cruises around in a Jag, sets up in someone's kitchen or on the street and cooks local cuisine. Here are a couple of links. If you happen across one of his episodes do set your recorder to record all of them, they seem to come around eventually.

Here are a couple of links:

http://tinyurl.com/665ekf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/chef_biogs/d.shtml


Also I had to go dig up a guest blog I read last year by Anthony Bourdain on Michael Ruhlman's site. Huge number of comments, this is funny, SERIOUSLY funny stuff, classic Bourdain, here is a link to the blog and some quotes from the comments, A WARNING there is much Rachel and Sandra Lee bashing involved...

http://tinyurl.com/2mv3nh

The intro

" I actually WATCH Food Network now and again, more often than not drawn in by the progressive horrors on screen. I find myself riveted by its awfulness, like watching a multi-car accident in slow motion. Mesmerized at the ascent of the Ready-Made bobblehead personalities, and the not-so-subtle shunting aside of the Old School chefs, I find myself de-constructing the not-terrible shows, imagining behind the scenes struggles and frustrations, and obsessing unhealthily on the Truly Awful ones. Screaming out loud at Sandra Lee in disbelief as she massacres another dish, then sits grinning, her face stretched into a terrifying rictus of faux cheer for the final triumphant presentation. I mourn for Mario..and Alton...Bobby and yes--even Emeril, nobly holding the fort while the TV empire he helped build crumbles like undercooked Bundt cake into a goo of Cheez Wiz around him."

Quotes from the comments...

"Watching Giada cook is like a soft core porno movie with extra close ups of her hands and the soft focus and gentle music."

"Oh, dear God - Poor Mario
"Relegated to the circus of Iron Chef America, where--like a great, toothless lion, fouling his cage, he hangs on . . ."
I now have to clean sprayed cappuccino off my computer screen. "

"I'm always up for some Sandra Lee bashing because I believe there is no greater force for evil in the culinary world. Actually, it's an insult to use the words "culinary" and "Sandra Lee" in the same sentence, so forgive me. I'll go mainline a ranch dressing packet as punishment."

"Watching her show is not entirely unlike sticking one's head into a cotton-candy machine, followed by a quick dip in the Fryolator and having that deep-fried, pastel, sugary head-crust shattered by French kissing a speeding cement-mixer during a gay-pride parade.'

"A woman I know calls Sandra Lee's show, "Semi-Half Assed", which I thought was very fitting."

"Did y'all SEE that "Kwanzaa Cake" that Sandra Lee made one time? It was a storebought angelfood cake frosted with a can of vanilla icing with a couple tablespoons of cocoa stirred in; there was peanut butter involved, and then the center hole was plugged up with apple pie filling and CORN NUTS. I kid you not"

"The only way the Rachael Ray can win any respect from me is if she sliced off a finger in the middle of one of her shows, pulls a Julia Child, duct tapes the wound closed, and continues cooking."


I don't know which is more entertaining, Tony's Blog or the responses.

Julie Niesen said...

Vudutu, first, I got your email. I'll email you back, I promise!

Second, I LOVE it when Ruhlman and Bourdain get together. Hilarity ensues. I remember reading that post-- I need to go back, I'm sure there are more comments-- and remembering it to be hysterical. I'll vote that the comments are better. ;)

Toddy-O said...

Vudutu....I'm about to cry and laugh out loud. The Kwanzaa Cake. Classic!! (Am curious what the tablescape was for that episode!)

vudutu said...

Julie,
Yea, yea, oy vey, they never write they never call!

toddy-o,
This really is hilarious stuff, ya can't make this stuff up, the last time I checked in on the blog it had a couple of hundred comments, now it has to be over 1000, I am going back in sometime when I can't sleep and carve out some more of them. Some I just can't post here, you will have to email me.

You did not by chance work on that Skillet show with Jean Robert did you, I think it was on Sat morning for a while. Mercifully they pulled it at some point, some people just do not come off well on camera.

The Boyfriend said...

Toddy-O, Paula's "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding" is awesome!

And you're right, Julie/Sweetie...it was the first dessert I made for you. And you're right again...banana pudding is supposed to be sweet. (We Southerners understand this about banana pudding AND iced tea.) In fact, one of things I like about this particular recipe, hard to believe as it may be, is that it isn't nearly as sweet as most banana puddings. My mother was fairly well known around potluck circles for her banana pudding (complete with a golden-browned meringue), and I SWEAR she must have used two pounds of sugar in it. I could never eat more than two or three bites of it; it was that rich. In fact, I'm sure the egg yolks went into the filling while she used the whites to make the meringue.

By the way, Toddy-O...did you say "tablescape"? TEQUILA SHOT!

Speaking of Paula Deen and stupidly rich desserts...has anybody tried her Krispy Kreme Doughnut Bread Pudding? It's the only dessert I've ever cooked that I felt myself being overpowered purely from the aroma. I ate, I think, two bites (and had to force the second one in) and swore I'd never make it again.

Beefy Muchacho said...

So yeah... I do love me some Bourdain. He lends this sort of sardonic perspective that I feel only comes from people who literally don't give a shit. I appreciate that. I would like to throw out some props to my ever-hated boy, Bobby Flay. I know he's a douche, but his grilling show really provides a TON of accessible grilled meals that aren't difficult to prepare. My issue with Emeril and the like is that the meals take for-fucking-ever to make sometimes. Flay does a lot with marinades and whatnot, and I appreciate that. Douche or not.

PHSChemGuy said...

I hate that the Frugal Gourmet's final note to us dealt with a lawsuit. I wish my memories of him weren't tainted...

On TV now, I love Alton Brown and America's Test Kitchen...both outstanding...both kinda sciency...both awesome

k said...

i HATE sandra lee. her ridiculous honey-dripping gooey-ness, faux cooking and faux blonde hair remind me of a much despised relative (who i am too much of a wimp to name on the complete longshot she will ever see this). rachael i used to like but now gets on my nerves (for god's sake, we know evoo stands for extra virgin olive oil), paula i like when her sons are on but she says 'y'all' way too much, robin miller is too skinny, giada too pretty. emeril i turn off immediately. tyler florence is ok, but he loses points for his association with applebee's. i love iron chef (both japanese and american), throwdown with bobby flay (cause he usually loses), and alton brown (cause i'm a science nerd). i also *heart* ace of cakes and diners, drive-ins and dives (although guy also loses points for his inane tgifriday's commercials). anthony bourdain i don't catch very often, but but i always enjoy him. he's just cool.

Julie Niesen said...

PHSChemGuy-- I am so with you. I know he settled out of court and the allegations weren't proven, but it's still a taint. What ever happened to Craig?

K-- Totally with you, but I forgive Giada's prettiness because her recipes are to die for.

kmitch218 said...

Just found your blog, I really like it.

Favorites - Ina Garten (although her laugh is a bit overdone.) Her food always looks good and she doesn't make anything that's actually that difficult to recreate. Top Chef on Bravo, the best competition series on tv. Iron Chef America is okay although Bobby is used to often. America's Test Kitchen on PBS is always good. Good Eats has its moments.

Awful - Sandra Lee, Rachael, Paula Deen and her sons (although I always enjoy an appearance by her sea captain husband), and Throwdown (I like Bobby Flay, this show stinks)

Also - try Fine Living, the new home for Emeril and Mario. They're both doing new episodes of their FN shows.

Toddy-O said...

Fine Living, that's right. Also owned by Scripps Howard. I call it FoodTV Classic. Emeril, Mario and other "classic" FoodTV shows air there.

Saw the new "Rescue" show Saturday. Must every "Chef to the rescue" show have a host who has a bad English accent? It reminded me of a poor ripoff of the Discovery Channel/TLC program.

Peter said...

Personally, I'm a fan of Mark Bittman (if only to see him frustrate chefs with his lack of chefitude). Also, Christopher Kimball (from America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Illustrated, etc), becuase his (their) recipes really are easy and turn out well without much effort. Great for a weeknight when you haven't much time, you know?

I'm absolutely with you on the dislike of Sandra Lee. I mean, anybody who thinks that guacamole is taco seasoning mashed into avocados has got something seriously wrong going on in the head (I mean, hell, you'd be closer if you just used chunky jarred salsa with avocados, and it'd be just as freakin' easy!).

Julie said...

Peter-- and chunky salsa and avocados totally tastes better. Bittman has his moments; I like what he does with the NYT, but I find his recipes can be iffy. America's Test Kitchen is fab.

vudutu said...

Mo food channel comments from Bourdain's guest blog, the last one had me howling...

Anthony Bourdain, you are a GOD. Sentiments very similar to this have been screamed at my television late at night when I can't find anything else to watch and am forced to watch one of these pseudo-cooks perform their danse macabre. Sandra Lee should be boiled in E-V-O-O and then garnished with cheese whiz. Bravo, Chef Bourdain!

"Anyone who can eat the ass-end out of a dead wart hog is OK in my book"

you know rachel ray likes to cut corners- i can get down with a woman like that. she's the kind of girl you can hang around with all day in a bathrobe and eat bacon. just bacon. if bourdain can't appreciate that then he's a bastard. a hard bastard whom i grant oceans of respect (he ate a raw seal with little inuit children!)
as for nigella, i only hope she'll one day respond to my numerous letters and grant me my fantasy: which is that she dress up as a strict school marm and paddle me while i recite my multiplication tables.

Anonymous said...

What about the Italian lady on PBS...Lydia? I love her recipies because it is exactly how I was taught. Sandra Lee makes me puke....she has too be intoxicated heavily to believe in what she is doing. My fiance seems to think I like Rachel Ray since he keeps buying the cookbooks, but I have never made one recipe. Giada, depends on the mood....Her over enunciation and constant glazed smile can put me over the edge at times. Paula Deen must have a secret plan to kill us all with stick upon stick of BUTTER!!!!

Julie said...

Anonymous-- Terry and I ate at Lidia's restaurant in Pittsburgh-- it was very good, and apparently very similar to her other restaurants (Terry's eaten at at least one in New York). I like her a lot, too!

EBeth said...

These comments are great. Made me nostalgic for 2 Fat Ladies-wish Food Network would repeat those! Remember Graham Kerr of Galloping Gourmet? Didn't care for his show but what 70s cuisine/culture! Love The Best (British version) and Kylie Kwong shows.