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Rachel Ray Rant

04-May-2005

I’ve been debating this entry for quite some time.  I know that Rachel Ray can do no wrong with much of the American public and that I stand to alienate some folks with this rant but I can’t hold it in any longer!  Last week I saw a little article in the Seattle P-I about Rachel’s new magazine and I decided it was time to speak up!

Now before I go into the "bad", let me say that I’m sure that Rachel is a nice person.  This isn’t about her, so much, as what she dishes out.  Although, she is just a little too perky (don’t her cheeks hurt by the end of those shows!) for my particular taste.  Makes me think there may be more than just dried herbs going into some of those dishes…

My first encounter with Rachel was on the $40 a Day shows.  Since I love to travel and mostly have a limited budget when I do, I was excited to see how she fared in some of my favorite places.  And, I thought it would be interesting to actually see some new places, too.  Well, the first few shows I found pretty interesting.  Then I started thinking about some of her tips about saving $$ on meals.  Thinking always gets me in trouble. 

I noticed that in order to save money on meals, she was spending more in other ways.  A classic example is when she recommends that you "get out of the downtown area".  True, food will be cheaper, but how much are you going to spend in cab fare to get there?  Or, if you are driving, on gas and parking?  I didn’t see the show she did in Seattle, but one of the places she visits is a place in my neighborhood, Bick’s Broadview Grill.  I love this place and I’m glad she found it.  Since I didn’t see the show I don’t know if she cabbed or drove to Bick’s but I can tell you that a one way cab fare would be well over $20.  That’s one way.  And, although their meals are less expensive than some comparable places downtown, we’re only talking a buck or two, maybe three but no more than that.  If she was driving, parking is free but gas-wise (especially at today’s prices) it would probably be a wash.  So she’s making her $40 a day food budget but overall spending more on her travel budget.  How smart is that? 

Also it seems that most of her "dining" does not include alcoholic beverages, sometimes, but always limited.  Now, not that I need alcohol in my life or massive quantities of it, but for me it’s a pretty basic part of dining – especially when you’re traveling on vacation.  So I don’t think her $40 budgets are realistic. 

Now having said all that I would say that when I travel, I probably mostly spend less than $40 on meals, at least for the overall trip.  In fact, I know that because I’ve done a lot of business travel and had to track my expenses, so I know.  It can be done, especially if you are averaging expenses over a number of days,  it’s just that Rachel’s way doesn’t really make sense to me. 

So now let’s talk about 30 Minute Meals.  Another great concept for millions of people, although one I balk at a little, because for me the preparation isn’t something to "get through" but a big part of the dining process.  However, there are times we all need to be efficient and I recognize that’s the case for many people on a regular basis. 

So who are the people who are most likely to need 30 Minute Meals?  Single parents, dual-income families, single people working more than one job or working while going to school.  For many of these people budget is as important as time. 

So when I see Rachel recommending things like shredded cheese (instead of shredding your own) or packaged greens or cuts of meat that have already had all the "prep" work done I cringe a little.  I don’t know about your grocery store but mine charges a lot more for those items than for the ones you need to prepare on your own. I’d say that cheese costs about 4 times more per pound (maybe more) when you buy it shredded instead of shredding it yourself.  And I question the nutritional value of some of these products, not all, but some.  The other day she was using a single serving package of shredded carrots!  Any fresh fruit or vegetable begins losing nutritional quality as soon as it’s picked and even more when you process it and expose it to air. 

So, while I agree these things all make meal preparation faster, I wish she would talk about some of these trade-offs.  That prepared or partially prepared food will cost more, that you may lose some nutritional value, and that you may have less control over the quality.  And maybe, when you are making these meals, it makes sense for you to adopt some of the ideas but take a little more time on others.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing either way.  Just explain the trade-offs and let the viewers make informed decisions. 

Then her third show was announced, Inside Dish with Rachel Ray.  Again, I thought this sounded like it had potential. I’m not a huge celebrity watcher but it would be interesting to hear how some people incorporate food and dining into their lives.  So I watched the first couple shows.  The people and subjects were interesting but, unfortunately, you didn’t get to hear much about them.  Every time they’d say something Rachel would relate it to some experience or story in her life!  And then the discussion would be all about her.  Sure, something you do when you have a conversation with someone but not something that should be done when the focus should be on the guest.  And since these shows are (presumably) edited, I can only imagine what the actual conversations were like! 

But, what do I know?  The world continues to watch her shows, buy her books and generally love the girl-next-door-ness of her.  So now, we are going to have this magazine, "Everyday with Rachel Ray".  It makes me want to scream.  I know, however, that all I have to do is turn her off, not buy her products.  Which I do or don’t do, as appropriate.  However, she’s also crowding out FoodNetwork shows that I do like, and that’s what really gets me.  People like Sara Moulton are not having shows renewed.  I find Sara to be much more educational than Rachel.  But, you know, her food takes time. 

Phew!  I feel so much better! :-) Thanks for letting me rant. 

 

Update:  My take on $40 a Day

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33 Comments
  1. Sylvie permalink
    04-May-2005 7:19 pm

    Wow! That was a mouthful. I feel your passion. I hope we are not in the minority. It also does irritate me that half the cookbooks on sale at Costco are RRs. I am proud to announce I own none and I don\’t even spend time looking through them on the shelf. However, somebody is. I usually get home from work between 5 and 7. The FoodTV programming use to feature Sara or Tyler. Now it is RR.

  2. Unknown permalink
    04-May-2005 8:23 pm

    Amen. Also, you might notice that on $40 a day, she rarely tips! Or, she might leave an 80 cent tip on a $10 breakfast because it fit into the budget. It\’s hard to turn her off or tune her out because it seems like her giant grinning face is everywhere!!

  3. Culinary permalink
    05-May-2005 6:14 am

    Glad to hear there are others who agree! Sylvie: At least Tyler is still around. Not only are his shows interesting, he\’s pretty cute, too! I\’ve submitted a couple "emergencies" to Food 911 but haven\’t been able to get him in my kitchen yet! :-) I just noticed he has a new cookbook out. I did a quick look through it and it looks pretty good. I\’ll be checking Costco to see if it\’s there, if not Amazon\’s got it listed. Lisa: I\’ve noticed that about the tipping, too. She kind of glosses over that part of it all. And here she has a great chance to advocate for servers all over the world. Sure, in some countries tipping is not expected (and it can scream "tourist" when you do, as happened to me in a couple London pubs before someone was nice enough to tell me….) but, again, let\’s at least address the issue. And especially when she\’s hitting a Happy Hour or some sort of special. Having served lunch and dinner, cocktailed or bartended at various times in my past I\’m always trying to get my friends to up their tips during "specials". (And I have to say that all my friends are generous tippers.) I mean the effort it took to serve that 1/2 price drink is the same as the full price and I try to get people to tip on that amount – you\’d think Rachel could do the same! Thanks for your support! :-) ~ B

  4. Unknown permalink
    06-May-2005 9:53 am

    Ha ha – I hear you! I don\’t actually have that much experience with Rachel, but when my husband and I were on vacation in the States last year, I had my first ever opportunity to watch the Food Network. We got hooked on things like Alton Brown and Emeril, but after a couple of days of watching Rachel blithely informing us that it\’s not as hard as we might think to stick to a food budget while simultaneously taking helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon (how much must *that* cost??), we were ready to physically damage the television. I know I should be too embarassed to admit this, but if it weren\’t for Rachel, I think we would have spent the whole darned vacation glued to the TV.

  5. Unknown permalink
    06-May-2005 10:40 am

    I agree about Rachel Ray. I hate the direction the Food Network is going in. It seems like most of the people they\’re catering too either want Wham, Bam Thank you Maam meals, or are on a fad diet (Low Carb & Loving it?..what the…?!!) Some of us actually like to spend time in the kitchen, that\’s probably why we\’re watching "The Food Network." All of the shows I like are either gone or pushed to a lowsy time slot. Mario Batali, who can cook his ass off, got pushed to who knows what time in place of Everyday Italian, and so on. I hardly ever watch the Food network anymore, and my life is food! I miss the days of Michael Lomanaco, David Rosengarten\’s Taste, Grillin\’ & Chillin\’ (where did Jack McDavid go?) the Old Essence of Emeril, and of course Mario Batali\’s shows.

  6. Culinary permalink
    07-May-2005 6:53 am

    Melissa:I\’m so sorry you had to be exposed to that as part of your US experience! I guess the good thing is she got you out and about! :-) When a friend and I were in Paris we found ourselves glued to the Fashion Channel one afternoon – something we don\’t have here in Seattle. I guess it was part of the experience! :-) Danno:You are so right! It\’s people who LIKE to cook, or want to like to cook, who watch Food Network. But for some reason we\’re not being vocal enough, I guess. I don\’t mind food that is simple – not everything has to be 45 steps with 100s of ingredients – but it shouldn\’t be contrived. In my market Mario and Giada follow each other – which I kind of like you get both "sides" of Italian. But I only can watch the since I\’m not working right now since they are on at 10 am. As for the low-carb guy (and the others like him), if people knew how to cook, they\’d also know how to control their own diets. The more you work with food, the more you know about it. And then they could do their own low-carb or low-fat by modifying (or portion controlling) the things they make. I mean, you and I know when (if we choose) it\’s okay to use low fat milk in place of cream because we\’ve PRACTICED enough to have figured it out. And we can also figure out when maybe, no matter how much we love something, that it would be better just to have a small amount because we chose NOT to replace the cream or whatever. Glad to see there are others who think like me! :-) Maybe I should send a note with a link to this to the Food Network! ~ B

  7. Morgan permalink
    13-Jun-2005 8:59 am

    I don\’t know what the big problem is with Rachel Ray. Most of her ingredients are fresh and she tells you to prepare them ahead of time to save you some time. There\’s nothing wrong with that. I also don\’t know what grocery stores that you are shopping in because I\’ve never seen a packaged bag of lettuce, or anything else, that costs way more than buying all of those ingredients separately! I\’m a 22 year old newly-wed that spends 45 hours a week working and am about to go to grad school and I think that Rachel Ray is a godsend to someone in my situation. I\’m also a diabetic who has to check out all of my food before I eat it, and I assure you that there is nothing wrong with any of it! As far as $40 A Day goes, you don\’t have to go to the exact restaurants she picks or even take her advice, you have to take the concept of the message. She shows you how to save money, she doesn\’t say that you have to drive 20 miles outside of the city, just somewhere on the outskirts where not all of the toursists go. Common sense would tell a person that you don\’t have to go that far to eat a meal. She\’s just showing you possibilities. I love that she is on TV all the time and is getting her own magazine. I can\’t wait to buy it. Not only is she cute and perky, but she has some really great ideas. As far as I\’m concerned, lets turn it into the Rachel Ray network. Sara Moulton is boring and not practical at all! Normal people do not go to the extents that she does to make a meal. I want something that is quick and nutritious, not something that takes most of the day to cook. The only other good people on that channel, who aren\’t boring as hell, are Paula Deen and Giada DeLaurentiis. Maybe they should show more of them as well as Rachel Ray, and less of boring women like Sara Moulton!

  8. Culinary permalink
    13-Jun-2005 1:55 pm

    Hello Morgan, Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I know Rachel has quite an audience and I understand the appeal of her shows. If you look at my original post on the 30 Minute Meals you\’ll see that my only complaint is that she doesn\’t explain the trade-offs of some of her recommendations and although she does recommend preparing some things ahead of time (like herbs and vegetables) she also recommends many packaged and prepared foods. Again, nothing wrong with this but in most cases you are paying more and I think if you look a bit more closely at what you purchase you may be surprised. When I got your note I did a quick online check (so you can look at this if you want). I went to Albertsons.com and looked at spinach – bagged versus buying a "bunch" in the produce aisle. A 6oz bag is $2.99 and a "bunch" (which is normally more than 6 oz but let\’s just say it\’s only 6 oz) is $0.99. That\’s 3 times more. Now, personally, I only buy bagged spinach because I hate cleaning it BUT I understand that I\’m paying 3 times as much and it\’s worth it to me. I\’ve never seen Rachel use anything but bagged – which is great but has she ever explained that cost versus convenience trade-off? I don\’t think so. Next, I went to Safeway.com for another common ingredient she uses – grated cheese. I looked at Tillamook Medium Cheddar, which is a common brand in my area. An 8 oz bag of grated is $2.50 ($5.00/lb). A 2 lb block is $5.99 ($3.00/lb). Again, neither is a "bad" choice as long as you understand that you are getting less for your money to save time and if you believe saving a few minutes by not shredding cheese is worth it, then it\’s a great trade-off. I could go through other examples with some of the cuts of meats she uses, too. But I\’ll spare you! :-) And not everything she uses is prepared – she\’s chopped plenty of onions, garlic, celery, etc. I would just like to see Rachel explain these things as I think many people are short on time because they are working so hard to make ends meet. And if something is saving them time but costing them more maybe it\’s not such a good idea. Maybe taking an additional 15 minutes in prep time would be worth reducing the cost of their meal. I can\’t say – only they can – but Rachel doesn\’t explain this. As for $40 A Day, I stand by my opinion that many of her recommendations for keeping food costs down will raise your overall travel budget. I\’ve been traveling many, many years. If she wants to say – get creative, get off the main streets, look for coupons in those tourist rags, talk to locals – fine. That\’s one show, no need to travel around the world to say the same thing over and over. I understand that Sara doesn\’t appeal to everyone, although I don\’t think she\’s boring. For those of us who want to expand our culinary adventures and do something more challenging her shows have been great options. And once you learn what she teaches you can create many of your own 30 minute meals. I just want to see Food Network leave some shows with good, detailed topics – even if your normal meals need to be slammed together, there\’s a time and place for preparing meals that take a little effort and skill – at least for some of us. ~ B

  9. Morgan permalink
    14-Jun-2005 10:00 am

    I think that you\’re shopping at the wrong places, because where I go, there isn\’t that big of a difference in price. If you go to normal places like wal mart and food lion, a bag of 8 oz grated cheese is about 2 bucks and so is an 8 oz block. The same goes for the spinach. A bag of pre-prepared spinach is around $2.50 and a bundle of spinach is $2.00. A package of mixed greens is about $2.50, and by the time you buy all of the individual greens to make a salad, you\’re spending over $3.00. There really isn\’t that much more of a charge for convenience. Rachel shouldn\’t have to explain these things to us. Any consumer should know that convenience is always going to cost a little more. Still, all of the ingredients that she uses aren\’t that expensive to begin with. Part of her mission is to try to keep the costs down. You don\’t have to buy special or local brands, there are many national brands whose products are just as quality as the other that cost way more.As for $40 a day, you have the right to have your own opinion about the costs. She\’s just giving you general tips on how to do things. If you watch carefully, alot of times she walks to the places that she is going. You don\’t have to go out of your way to save money. She suggests getting coupons to restaurants, that\’s something very helpful. She says to ask the locals, they usually know where the good places to go are. You don\’t have to follow her advice correctly, but you do have to take it in the right context. I am not sure that is being understood here.Sara is too gourmet for most of the people that are watching her shows. People like Rachel and Giada are showing you how to make the recipes without all the extra time, like Sara takes. Also, they show you how to do it without putting all of the extra effort that is not needed. I\’ve already created my own 30-minute meals, and it sure wasn\’t from the help of Sara.

  10. Culinary permalink
    14-Jun-2005 11:48 am

    Well, Morgan, it looks like we will just have to agree to disagree! :-) I think we have several differences which probably influence our viewpoints. But that\’s what makes the world go \’round! I think, though, it\’s too bad that you can\’t see that there could be room for both quick and easy cooking as well as more detailed techniques. I don\’t mind that Rachel has a show – I just don\’t want her having any more, especially if it means I lose some of the people I like. From your comments, you seem to believe there is no value in any way but quick and easy. That\’s probably not true, but that *seems* to be what you are saying. Maybe as you attend grad school, you\’ll have lessons that help you see that having multiple sources/resources with different views is a good thing. When any one viewpoint becomes dominant we lose any chance of objectivity and diminish creativity. Both very bad things, in my opinion. ~ B

  11. Morgan permalink
    16-Jun-2005 10:46 am

    I think that, in this case, there really isn\’t anything we can do but agree to disagree. The comment on no value unless it\’s quick and easy is untrue. I have tried many things that use more skilled techniques and such. I don\’t see any problem with it, but I do think that you can show these techniques without putting your viewers to sleep. Unlike people like Sara Moulton, I believe that people like Rachel Ray and Giada DeLaurentiis could do this. As far as the learning multiple viewpoints in grad school goes, I have many different viewpoints on things. In fact, I\’m the most open-minded person that you will ever know. My comments don\’t mean that I\’m only open to one point of view, they are just made to defend the person that I enjoy. I\’m sure you know the difference, you also defend your favorite personalities. I like several cooks on Food Network. The only one that I can\’t really stand (other than Alton Brown) is Sara. No offense to anyone, I just don\’t like her. For now, we just lay this at rest under "Agree to Disagree" because this is something that I will never agree on with you or anyone else who doesn\’t care for Rachael.

  12. Meade permalink
    16-Jun-2005 12:20 pm

    Rachel Ray is HOT !

  13. Culinary permalink
    16-Jun-2005 4:25 pm

    Meade! According to your website it\’s Nicole Kidman you have a crush on – now which is it? :-) ~ B

  14. Meade permalink
    18-Jun-2005 7:35 pm

    Well, Nicole is my first choice, but Rachel Ray is runner up in the Kentucky Derby of my heart.

  15. Hannah H. permalink
    24-Jun-2005 3:37 pm

    Although I know Rachel can get annoying and has definetly gotten more "animated" since the beginning of her TV career, I do have to stand up for her and answer to your following comments.$40 a day means $40 a day for meals…not cab fare or the air fare she paid to get there. $40. For food. If you need alcohol, then maybe you should raise your budget.30 minute meals means it takes 30 minutes to cook meal. It doesn\’t mean it takes .30 cents so you can save on cheese. She isn\’t saying that you have to set a timer for 30 minutes and if you aren\’t done by the time it goes off then screw you, you have to eat it raw. So buy the block of cheese and grate it yourself.As for Inside Dish, I do admit that she goes over the top. But my advice for you, is if you don\’t like her…don\’t watch her.

  16. Culinary permalink
    24-Jun-2005 4:40 pm

    Dear A Little Annoyed:You actually sound quite annoyed with me! But I can have that affect on people sometimes. :-) And if you had really read my post you would see that I would like to do exactly what you have suggested – not watch her shows, which I don\’t anymore. I don\’t really care if she\’s on – I understand that a lot of people like her, but a lot of us don\’t like her so much. My concern is that FoodNetwork is becoming all Rachel all the time and it\’s getting harder and harder to avoid her. I\’d just like to see a little more variety in the programming. Thanks for stopping by! ~ B

  17. Morgan permalink
    30-Jun-2005 10:39 am

    RACHEL\’S GETTING A NEW SHOW (DAY TO DAY WITH RACHEL RAY) I CAN\’T WAIT!!!! WOO HOO!!! I kinda like the direction that Food Network is going in! :)

  18. Lynn permalink
    21-Jul-2005 1:56 pm

    I absolute LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Rachel Ray! She\’s energetic, positive and a lot of fun to watch. In my humble opinion, each of the featured chefs on Food Network have their own special qualities and they all seem to get their fair share of air time (with the exception of Emeril who appears to always be on). One of the things I like about Rachel (30 Minute Meals) is that she is very organized and CLEAN unlike another famous chef who I won\’t name. I love her references to her family and her Italian pronunciations. As for her show "$40 Dollars A Day," I love to watch the cities she visits but after about 15 minutes of watching the show, I\’m so full, I can\’t stand to see her eat another morsel…LOL! Overall, I think Rachel\’s very charming and I can\’t wait to check out her magazine. As for her cookbooks, I\’m quite an accomplished cook so I tend not to use cookbooks.For those of you who fell you want more technical information on the food and recipe ingredients, watch Alton Brown (now that show actually send me into a perpetual state of YAWN).A also just love Giada De Laurentiis! Her dishes are very interesting and the background music is very relaxing.

  19. Unknown permalink
    23-Jul-2005 2:43 pm

    I say ….get a life. There are many more important things to rant about in life than Rachel Ray. Maybe you should go to the NPR website or turn the t.v. to the news when Rachel gets too much for you. Debate a cause that may truly help someone somewhere. By the way, I was looking for Rachel\’s website to get a recipe that I saw her make, when I came across these rantings and was truly amazed

  20. Culinary permalink
    24-Jul-2005 8:26 am

    Several of you seem to have glossed over some important information in my post. I don\’t want to get rid of Rachel – I can understand her appeal to many – BUT I just don\’t want to see any more programming devoted to her. Many of you have suggested that I just watch other programs which I would like to be able to CONTINUE doing – but that requires that they aren\’t displaced by even more Rachel. I\’m just asking for diversity – a little something for everyone, including those of us who actually enjoy cooking and don\’t see it as a chore that needs to be rushed through as fast as possible. And not that every meal needs to take hours to prepare but the fastest, easiest, tastiest things I\’ve picked up from the food channel are non-Rachel recipes, so if that is what you are interested in it wouldn\’t hurt any of you to check out other programs, as well. As for you Noodles, thank you for your suggestion to get a life, however, I happen to have a very lovely one as is. And, I happen to know that when this post comes up in search engines it clearly says "Rachel Ray Rant", so I have no idea why you\’d even look here to find her site or a recipe.

  21. Unknown permalink
    28-Sep-2005 11:50 am

    Let me start by saying I only read the first intial post in this string of messages. What I would like to do is AGREE almost 100 percent with the original rant.I would also like to add, that although she is not my favortie Chef personality, up until this last year I could stand her and would watch her 30 minute meals show. As of late Rachel is more puff and fluff (or T and A) then she is a chef. I am sick of her eating with the stars and jet setting all over the planet to show us normal folk what we are missing. Her popularity has gone to her head, and the little italian girl with the next door sweetness is gone. She thinks she is a MUCH bigger star then she is. Fact of the matter is she is a chef she cooks for the stars, not hangs out with them. Maybe she should try being a little more grounded, and showing less cleavage, because the fact is for most of the public watching Food Network, we want tecnique not banter with B rated starts.

  22. Culinary permalink
    29-Sep-2005 6:24 am

    Thanks Jacqui!Nice to know there\’s someone who understands! :-) ~ B

  23. Unknown permalink
    05-Nov-2005 8:23 am

    The Culinary Fool Says:"When I got your note I did a quick online check (so you can look at this if you want). I went to Albertsons.com and looked at spinach – bagged versus buying a "bunch" in the produce aisle. A 6oz bag is $2.99 and a "bunch" (which is normally more than 6 oz but let\’s just say it\’s only 6 oz) is $0.99. That\’s 3 times more. Now, personally, I only buy bagged spinach because I hate cleaning it BUT I understand that I\’m paying 3 times as much and it\’s worth it to me. I\’ve never seen Rachel use anything but bagged – which is great but has she ever explained that cost versus convenience trade-off? I don\’t think so. Next, I went to Safeway.com for another common ingredient she uses – grated cheese. I looked at Tillamook Medium Cheddar, which is a common brand in my area. An 8 oz bag of grated is $2.50 ($5.00/lb). A 2 lb block is $5.99 ($3.00/lb). Again, neither is a "bad" choice as long as you understand that you are getting less for your money to save time and if you believe saving a few minutes by not shredding cheese is worth it, then it\’s a great trade-off. I could go through other examples with some of the cuts of meats she uses, too. But I\’ll spare you! :-) And not everything she uses is prepared – she\’s chopped plenty of onions, garlic, celery, etc. I would just like to see Rachel explain these things as I think many people are short on time because they are working so hard to make ends meet. And if something is saving them time but costing them more maybe it\’s not such a good idea. Maybe taking an additional 15 minutes in prep time would be worth reducing the cost of their meal. I can\’t say – only they can – but Rachel doesn\’t explain this."Some cooking shows and books emphasize frugality, others focus on convenience. Ray only has 30 minutes to put out the 30-Minute Meal show, and I don\’t think she\’s obliged to discuss every aspect of every recipe, much less cost. And I think you may be assuming that many of Ray\’s viewers don\’t know how to shop, or don\’t already understand the tradeoffs between bulked foods, fresh foods and packaged or prepared foods. If you get it, maybe some other viewers do too.The cheese issue has been talked to death. But I get 3 and 5 pound bags of shredded when they\’re on sale for less than the price of block. I also find frequent sales on frozen vegetables, butter, cream cheese and lots of other stuff, and that\’s when I buy them. (Fortunately I have a full-size freezer, and I fill it).Many people plan ahead with food prep. I know a few OAMC (Once A Month Cooking) enthusiasts who spend a Saturday doing tons of food prep ahead of time. A little plan-ahead prep could include having some chopped onion on hand for those times when you know you\’ll be pressed for time. So her 30 minutes might take 45 in my kitchen. So what?I really don\’t think that Ray\’s viewers need this explained to them. It\’s a fun show that\’s simple and entertaining. Ray is not my financial advisor. She\’s not my nutritionist. In any event I think you\’re taking this way to literally.I like to cook, watch cooking shows, and read cookbooks. I tuned into 30-Minute Meals expecting it to be trivial and superficial but I was pleasantly surprised. Her style is plain, unpretentious, and she does wonderful things with a handful of ingredients that are the ones that I\’m likely to have in my kitchen on any given day of the week. And she demonstrates things that can be done quickly. That\’s all she advertises that she wiil do.

  24. Culinary permalink
    06-Nov-2005 9:31 am

    Thanks for your comment, Geoff. Of course Rachel is not obligated to discuss anything. It\’s her show. But it\’s pretty common on cooking shows to discuss alternatives. More traditional shows normally give the opposite in terms of "tips". For instance they might show you how to make puff pastry and then mention there are good alternatives in your frozen food case if you feel uncomfortable making your own or want a quick alternative. So it\’s not like I\’m asking for something special from Rachel. I\’m sure that many people do understand the alternatives but I also think there are a good many new cooks out there who are using her shows to learn so talking about trade offs might be beneficial for some. I mean, if she can explain that "EVOO" means "extra-virgin olive oil" several times during her show she certainly has time for more useful chatter! :-) Anyway, as I\’ve stated I realize that Rachel has a huge audience. I\’m not asking Food Network to remove her shows, just not to add more at the expense of losing some of the more traditional or advanced shows that some of us still prefer. Let\’s keep a little diversity in our options! ~ B

  25. Unknown permalink
    11-Nov-2005 3:48 pm

    Culinary Fool says:"But it\’s pretty common on cooking shows to discuss alternatives. More traditional shows normally give the opposite in terms of "tips". For instance they might show you how to make puff pastry and then mention there are good alternatives in your frozen food case if you feel uncomfortable making your own or want a quick alternative."___________________________________________________________________________________________I can\’t imagine watching a cooking show where the host says something like "If you can\’t do this yourself, buy some premade, frozen equivalent and just heat it in your oven at home." Why watch a cooking show?"more traditional shows" … Are you serious? My, aren\’t we snobby …Rachel Ray (on my TV right now) makes stuff that YOU can make YOURSELF. I would think even a sophisticated chef would appreciate simplicity, and fun, once in a while.My favorite recipes are the simplest ones, like Jeff Smith\’s linguini with clam sauce. But I used to watch The Frugal Gourmet cooking with his erstwhile boy-assistant, and it didn\’t resonate with the same way as some chick in an ill-fitting top who looks and talks like she might be from Waterbury, CT or Worcester, MA or, for that matter, Schenectedy, who knows how to throw together some good eats.Also, Culinary Fool, I disagree with your supposition that the people who watch Ray are, quoting the Fool:"… Single parents, dual-income families, single people working more than one job or working while going to school. For many of these people budget is as important as time."C\’mon – these folks crowd the Heat-N-Serve aisles at the supermarket; they don\’t watch cooking shows on TV. Weaver Chicken, anyone?Ray\’s viewers are looking for easy, everyday ideas – the kind of thing that you can put together on short notice for drop-in guests. Viewers can expand on her quickies any way they want, depending on their own insights and capabilities.She demystifies the pots and pans scene. And that\’s what seems to irritate the culinary cognocenti. ;-)Geoff

  26. Culinary permalink
    14-Nov-2005 7:17 am

    Hi Geoff!Actually, it\’s pretty common for a cooking show host to recommend alternatives, especially where something is very time-consuming; requires a pretty high skill level; or you really only need a small amount and making it would yield a large amount. Although puff pastry was only meant as an example it is something that it often given alternatives, although I don\’t believe any host has actually used your wording. And, in fact, your own darling Rachael only uses puff pastry as demonstrated in this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_22776,00.html. I\’m not exactly sure why watching more traditional cooking shows makes me snobby. I happen to enjoy learning the underlying techniques and, like nearly everything else in life, once you know the underlying basics it\’s much easier to customize them or build on them to create your own ideas. I\’m not saying that everyone has to enjoy the shows that demonstrate more traditional techniques. Remember my whole point is to try to leave some diversity in shows – not eliminate any of them. As I\’ve stated before, Rachael shows have many viewers, and I understand her appeal. I just don\’t want my ONLY choice on FoodNetwork to be her style of cooking. It also seems to be that you equate traditional with complicated or complex. This can be true but isn\’t always. Many of the standards are extremely straight-forward and simple in terms of steps and techniques, so it might be worth your while to check them out. As for her audience, I probably did mispeak a bit. I\’m sure she attracts people from all walks of life. And many people find cooking a chore, no matter what their circumstances are. However, you seem to have quite a prejudice or preconception about the groups I mentioned! Yes, I\’m sure you will find some buying Weaver Chicken – at least in the NE since that seems to be the place it\’s available – but there are many others who are trying to create "homemade" meals and I think her concepts would appeal to them so I stand by my comment that it would be nice if Rachael discussed trade-offs. That\’s my opinion and it\’s okay if you don\’t agree with it. As for the culinary cognoscenti, I wouldn\’t presume to speak for them. I know in the food blog community she has supporters, as well as those who don\’t care for her style so I don\’t think blanket statements are warranted either way. She seems to have friends among her fellow TV chefs, and as I originally stated, I think she\’s probably a nice person. I personally don\’t care for her style. I think she oversimplifies in her shows – both cooking, travel and other. My personal belief is that really doesn\’t help anyone and helping is the premise of her shows. ~ B

  27. Unknown permalink
    18-Nov-2005 3:03 pm

    The Culinary Fool writes:As for her audience, I probably did mispeak a bit. I\’m sure she attracts people from all walks of life. And many people find cooking a chore, no matter what their circumstances are. However, you seem to have quite a prejudice or preconception about the groups I mentioned! Yes, I\’m sure you will find some buying Weaver Chicken – at least in the NE since that seems to be the place it\’s available -_______________________________________________________________________________________________Yes, you did mispeak a bit. Hmm … and you seem to have quire a prejudice or preconception about people "in the NE". I think we\’re on the same page here, for the most part. You don\’t need to be defensive. An yes, you are a snob. I think you need to get out more."The groups I mentioned…" ? I think I\’m IN one or more of them.

  28. Culinary permalink
    18-Nov-2005 4:09 pm

    Geoff:I\’m not quite following your train of thought. If you are in one of the groups I first mentioned, why did you write that rather disparaging comment about those groups being found buying Weaver Chicken? I was trying to defend them, not me! I only mentioned the NE as that\’s where Weaver Chicken is distributed. I had to research it since it\’s not sold, at least to my knowledge, in my part of the country. As for me being a snob, you certainly have a right to your opinion. Even if it is wrong! ;-) ~ B

  29. Unknown permalink
    18-Nov-2005 4:42 pm

    The Culinary Fool writes:Geoff:I\’m not quite following your train of thought. If you are in one of the groups I first mentioned, why did you write that rather disparaging comment about those groups being found buying Weaver Chicken? I was trying to defend them, not me! I only mentioned the NE as that\’s where Weaver Chicken is distributed. I had to research it since it\’s not sold, at least to my knowledge, in my part of the country. As for me being a snob, you certainly have a right to your opinion. Even if it is wrong! ;-) ______________________________________________________________________________________________Thank you for caring so much about my demographic. While many "Single parents, dual-income families, single people working more than one job or working while going to school" eat poorly (all I know is what I see in the checkout lane) what is disparaging is the assumption that these groups consist entirely of unsophisticated rubes who tune in to Rachel Ray at the risk of their wallets and their health. My point is that people who do not shop well or wisely are not the people likely to be watching cooking shows, even low-brow (in your apparent opinion) shows like 30-Minute Meals.Now consider these comments:"Although puff pastry was only meant as an example it is something that it often given alternatives, although I don\’t believe any host has actually used your wording. And, in fact, your own darling Rachael only uses puff pastry as demonstrated in this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_22776,00.html."Here\’s where I\’m not following YOUR train of thought: Is Ray neglegent because she fails to offer alternatives like frozen puff pastries, as you seemed to suggest in your earlier post, or is she a hack because she includes them in her published recipes, as you point out in the subsequent post?The expression "your own darling Rachel" is condescending, by the way, and does nothing to dispel the impression that you are, in fact, a snob.And I didn\’t realize that Weaver didn\’t market in Seattle. The brand is owned by Tyson, I think (could be wrong) and I just figured they\’d cover both coasts. But in any event, I would think that there are frozen prepared foods available in the supermarkets there, Weaver Chicken or equivalent. The specific brand isn\’t the salient point.Your swipe at "the NE", again, did little to dispel the impression that you are, in fact, a snob. And maybe that\’s part of your visceral distaste for Ray. I won\’t play armchair psychologist tonight, but there seems to be a general resentment among her most vocal critics that she didn\’t rise to prominence through the usual, accepted, channels. Up here in "the NE" we call that "lacking pedigree".Woof.But, I\’m sure you\’re not a bad person.

  30. Culinary permalink
    19-Nov-2005 10:53 am

    Geoff:Sometimes it can be really hard to understand someone\’s written word when you don\’t actually know them. You can\’t really hear the tone in which something is spoken and that makes it easy to misunderstand or misinterpret some things. I should spend more time making sure my words are as neutral as possible to help avoid those misunderstandings but I haven\’t and that seems to be creating a bigger gap here. Looking back I can see that without understanding the tonesome of my words may take on a new meaning. I apologize for that. Instead of responding directly to your last comment I\’m just going to close with these comments: I don\’t think FoodNetwork should get rid of Rachael\’s shows I just don\’t want them to replace other shows with more of her. I don\’t think that because someone hasn\’t had experience with something that they are a rube. Everyone has things they know and things they need to learn. That transcends all demographics. The groups I first named were those that often (please note I said often, not always) contain people who are just starting to run their own households when information on trade-offs might be useful. I see this in my daily life and I personally don\’t think any less of someone because they are learning or because it\’s never occurred to them or even if they know and don\’t really care. To classify anyone who\’s learning something new as a rube, would be to classify us all as rubes. I don\’t judge people by where they live or what demographic they are in. In fact, I try not to judge people at all. In some way or another I\’ve set foot in about 40 states, and probably know people from those I haven\’t visited. I have always enjoyed traveling because of the interesting people I\’ve met. I have no reason to denigrate any region. I actually find the differences in culture, both across the nation and within each locale, to be interesting and sometimes eye-opening. One of my favorite, in some ways my very favorite, local chef does not have a pedigree and I\’ve always admired that about him. Especially since, some may argue, he is the most successful local chef, too. I can\’t speak for anyone else on this subject, I just know it really doesn\’t matter to me. I\’m glad that you find Rachael\’s programs useful. I know that many people do. I hope you can understand that there are some of us who would like to learn in a different way and, in the case of FoodNetwork, that means keeping enough variety in their programming to address those differences. That\’s really all I\’m asking for and if that makes me a snob, so be it. ~ B

  31. Desiree permalink
    06-Dec-2005 7:29 pm

    To the person who wrote the Rachel Ray Rant…. I have to say… you are kind of showing your pessimistic ways. Ok. So you kind of like her and yet you kind of don\’t… well which is it? The cab ride. I don\’t think Rachel is trying to encompass the entire show on only $40.00 a day for everything. I believe she is showing you how to eat really delicious meals in a pretty cool town on a budget. Which means you don\’t have to eat at the waterfront places in Seattle to have a wonderful meal. You can still find some places off the beaten path and still have a wonderful experience. Also, with the comment on her show. I think Rachels message is… get rid of the nasty pasta in a box. The fifties have been streatched too far. The quick meals have proven to be unhealthy. You want to shred your cheese. Shred it. But that is for a different show. I think Rachel does a great job showing that you can eat delicious meals even if you are part of a busy family, you are on the go, or your cooking experience isn\’t that large. Perhaps instead of bagging Rachels success and her popularity, just adopt part of it and get a life. Why spend so much time commenting on her and her achievements, what do you do? Also, the magazine. Same target audience. I just bought it today. I actually think I may subsrcibe just because there are some great ideas and it is… are you ready… enjoyable. I still enjoy the simplicities in life and Rachel and her team have come up with a great magazine for information and enjoyment. Lighten up. Quit overthinking so much. It takes the joys and splendor out of life. -Seriously its a cooking show. There are tons of other horrible shows on. Why not focus on the positive sides that she is giving to us in a world that sometimes can give you a bad spoonful. Enjoy a half an hour out of your day and try not to criticise someone who is trying to make a change. _Thats all.

  32. Joyce permalink
    03-Mar-2006 12:33 pm

    Three words for you,
     
    GET A LIFE! 
     
    Is a TV show or personality that important whoever they are?  I don\’t think so.  OMG!
     
    J

  33. NELLY permalink
    11-Mar-2006 8:53 am

    you know i think you are just a hater.  live your life and do not watch her shows. 

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