Monday, September 3, 2007

0 It's Smack-Down Time: Nigella Lawson vs. Rachel Ray!

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Now the guys might like to think that I'm talking about something else completely different with a title like that. This is still the Food Network I'm talking about here, so don't get too excited. There will be no mud wrestling face-offs with scantily-clad female chefs. No battles to the death, with chefs armed with nothing more than spatulas and rubber chickens. ;-) (After all, how much could damage could a beating by rubber chicken actually do?!)

But how fun would it be to see Nigella Lawson kick Rachel Ray's behind?! Maybe it's because I really like Nigella, who seems to be genuine person, while I find Rachel Ray to be one of most saccharine, annoying human beings on the planet. Plus, her trashy "marshmellows-and-dorritos-on-a-spit" type of recipes make me want to yak!

Is it just me or does anyone else find many of the TV personalities on the Food TV Network just totally annoying?!

Let's start with the females of the species first, shall we? (After all, it's ladies first! ;-) ):

I find that some of the female hosts suffer from a serious case of the "squeakies" and some seriously plastic over-smiling.

Take note, Giada (De Laurentiis) and Rachel (Ray), high-pitched squeaky voices and permanently plastered-on smiles are just NOT appealing in any form. So just cut it out, you fakers!

The two of them are about as natural as polyester. :-)

When you start modeling your behavior after a Barbie Doll, that's really not a good thing at all. Barbie is inanimate and has a plastic head, which is sometimes gnawed upon by the family dog. Perhaps this lack of regard Fido has for Barbie should be a sign to pick a better role model.

OK, the Barbie-resemblance thing is just really flat out disturbing, not to mention the just-too-darn-perky demeanor. Frankly, it freaks me out. It's just unnatural, I tell you. I bet one of them is secretly on crack cocaine, just like Mr. Rogers! ;-)

I also have a sneaking suspicion that Giada is not as nice as she appears on TV. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something unsettling about her. Now I realize I have absolutely no grounds for saying this, but it's just a hunch I have. Maybe she's secretly been replaced with a Stepford wife and we just don't know it yet. So if her true personality ever had a movie equivalent, how many of you secretly think she'd probably have been cast as one of those snotty cheerleaders from the movie Heathers? ;-)

Atleast Giada's recipes do have some appeal, although she focuses way too much on pastas. Judging from the look of her, I bet she doesn't eat her own high-carb cooking. Or her skinny rear would resemble a giant pumpkin.

Next on the hit-list is Paula Deen. She seems to focus entirely on sweets and very heavy, unhealthy types of food. Not exactly a role model for healthy eating. Not to mention that her voice drives absolutely batty.

I have a fairly neutral opinion of Ina Garten's personality, but again, just like Paula Deen, she certainly uses enough fattening ingredients in her cooking show. I don't know HOW eating so much butter and cream like that on a repeated basis could possibly be good for you. Her poor husband. Although his taste buds might be temporarily thrilled, he's probably in danger of having a major heart attack.

Next up on the chopping block, the guys:

Does anyone really get Emeril Lagasses's off-kilter jokes (which most times aren't really even jokes) and his strange, ill-timed conversational pauses? I've watched that man's show a few times, and while he might truly be a great chef (I have no idea), his manner is really off-putting. I just couldn't keep watching his show. It was truly painful to watch. Like one of those of those TV shows that relies on cringe humor for laughs, except that, in this case, it's all cringe and no humor. ;-)

And did you ever notice how many spaced-out, freaky people are in his audience? It's like he intentionally scouts out the weirdest, most rabid fans out there and bring them into the audience so they nod vigorously in agreement with every strange utterance he says just like robots. Maybe the studio doles out a few rufies to subdue the audience and keep them from leaving.

To be fair, I have tried some of his recipes, but had to modify several of them into healthier versions or change/omit a few ingredients to make them more suited to our own personal taste. They weren't exactly horrible, but I wasn't horribly impressed either.

Dave Lieberman seems like a likable enough guy, but his verbal tics and show's repetitive format made me stop watching. Same goes for Napa Valley chef, Michael Chiarello. Both had decent recipes, but frankly I'd rather just get their recipes from the Food TV Network's website. :)

What I'm getting at here is that many of the aforementioned chefs are just NOT suited for roles as TV personalities, and frankly, would be better off resigning themselves to taking a job as a restaurant chef where their only interactions would be with kitchen staff (!).

And at that, I wouldn't be surprised if the sous-chef aimed a kebab skewer at Rachel Ray's head after the first 15 minutes of working in the kitchen with her.

When your personality is so totally distracting that we can't focus on your cooking techniques and instead want to jump out a window, maybe you should consider that a sign that a TV job is not for you. ;-)

Now before any of you lay into me too heavily for being "all rant and no rave," I will say this about the Food TV Network's chefs: Firstly, I do have many favorites whom I think have great personalities and are also great chefs: Nigella Lawson, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, etc.

And I really like Duff Goldman's show, "Ace of Cakes." I like the dynamic of the people in his show. I think he has a really healthy attitude towards his business (i.e., Charm City Cakes) and towards life. You can tell that, while he gets the job done, that he never takes himself too seriously. I like how he injects a sense of humor into everything he does and is so laid back. (You just know that a man with the same name as Homer Simpon's beer has got to be a casual guy! :-) ) He seems like he'd be a fun/easy person to get along with and work beside. I guess it helps that most of the people he hires are his friends and around the same age as himself. Which makes for an easy and hospitable work environment.

Of course, this is a show about cakes made for special occasions, so I think I can let go of my "death-by-chocolate," soap-box style rant in this particular instance. Yes, I can forgive him for making hip-widening cakes because I like his show so much. ;-) The show's more about the creativity that goes into the cake-creation process, and about the people who make and also buy the cakes.

The funny thing is that I'm considering asking him to do either our wedding cake (which is most likely going to be just a small family wedding), or possibly a different cake for the picnic we're going to throw for our friends who live in the area, in celebration of our wedding. Yes, picture two giant bride and groom penguins... in cake! And when we cut into the cake, the inside of the cake will be red! (Just like the armadillo cake from Steel Magnolias!!!!) HAHAHAHA!"

Well, I guess I'm just another person who doesn't like to take themselves too seriously! ;-)

Keep Cooking!
-C

P.S. I promise that the next post will NOT be a rant. ;-) There might be another zany installment of "what it's like to write a cookbook" coming your way. Who knows what's in store. Not even me. I don't usually know until I start to type! Atleast this way it keeps it exciting for us both! ;-)

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