In an effort to keep your voracious appetite for my culinary musings satisfied, I’ve decided to start a new feature on this blog, cleverly titled “Amuse Boosh!“.  It features mini-diatribes which will be published in-between my usual long-ass diatribes.  You’re very welcome.  That’ll be ten bucks.

Aunt Sandy sez: "Look at me: I tablescaped my head!"

Have you ever sat around your home on some random weekday and thought to yourself “Man, I could really use a little more Sandra Lee in my life”?  Well, if so, today’s your lucky day, person who doesn’t exist.  Whenever you get yourself a hankerin’ for a little Aunt Sandy wackiness and existential confusion, just head on over to her website, click on her blog, and read away for the latest in lazy, drunken homemaking!  I did just that, recently, and found her newest entry particularly entertaining.  Parse along with me, won’t you?*

__________________

This past Sunday, September 12, was Grandparents’ Day. It was especially fitting that the newest season of “Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee” premiered on the same day. After fourteen seasons of “Semi-Homemade Cooking,” my Grandma Lorraine is still the main inspiration for Semi-Homemade.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Wait just a second, there, darlin’.  I’m sorry: “Semi-Homemade” has been on television for 14 SEASONS?!?!  Perhaps the scripts for Arrested Development should have consisted of 70% recycled material and 30% original content.  Maybe then it would still be on the air.

She raised me on a very limited budget, but showed me how to make things beautiful while on a budget. Following her around the kitchen, I learned that personal touches and savvy shortcuts can make anything extraordinary.

“I remember one night when we only had three grand to completely transform our kitchen to reflect the meal she was making for dinner.  But, somehow, with a little elbow grease and numerous trips to various housewares stores, we managed to make our kitchen look like the inside of a Lewis Carroll-inspired whore house.”

In a surprise twist for the new season of “Semi-Homemade Cooking,” I’ve

decided to cook stuff that doesn’t look and taste like shit?

adapted my Semi-Homemade philosophy so that I’ll be cooking with 70% in-season, fresh ingredients and only 30% ready-made products.

Oh.  Check out homegirl, flippin’ the script.  Does this mean that we need to change the name?  Should it now be “Semi-Store Bought”?  “Mostly Homemade”?  “Still Fucking Terrible”?  “Why, God, Why?”

I’m excited that I will be able to provide alternatives – whether it’s a healthier option or a more convenient shortcut. To make things even easier for you, I will be updating SandraLee.com every week with each new episode’s recipes and tablescape tips for you.

I’ve got a great tablescape tip for you: instead of taking the time to make idiotic and vomit-inducing tablescapes to creep out your guests, don’t do that.

My  Garden Fresh party’s menu and tablescape is online for you now – it is perfect for putting together a fabulous, floral brunch to savor the last days of summer.

Let’s check it out, shall we?  Well, there’s the centerpiece, there are the accents, the ubiquitous cocktails, there’s the broc-  Oh, sweet mother of Vishnu.  Oh, sweet Colonel Kurtz’s horror.  WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!?!

I... Uh... There's no caption for this**.

According to the recipe, this is boiled broccoli covered with a lattice-work made from some sort of  yogurt, cream cheese, and onion soup mix concoction, and was created in the darker recesses of Edgar Allen Poe’s tortured psyche.  For those of you keeping track of irony, at home, this recipe was featured on the Food Network.

Many amazing episodes are ahead, with guests both old and new. My adorable nephew Bryce is returning. He helps me throw a colorful birthday bash in this Sunday’s episode (check out the pictures – we had a blast). My sister Kimmie will be joining me for four episodes.

Please tell me that Kimmie is a CIA-trained chef.

Of course, there’s my favorite Halloween special this season. I spent this past weekend shooting the Halloween episode at the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park, New York. I can’t reveal  what costumes I’ll be wearing, but I promise it will be

…Cleavage-filled?

truly grand and medieval (hint hint!).

Ding, ding, ding! Slutty medieval wench costume, here we come!

I will be donning five elaborate costumes and whipping up five recipes in 30 minutes. It was loads of fun shooting, and I can’t wait for you to see the episode.

I can.  So, six minutes per recipe?  Yeah, that sounds about right.  I’m super psyched to test your six-minute roast chicken recipe.

This week, I’m in Birmingham, Alabama shooting photos for forthcoming issues of my magazine. Today, I’m headed to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and tomorrow, it’ll be all about “in the kitchen.”

I’m taking that as a threat.

I hope you are enjoying the new SandraLee.com, which is still in its testing stage.

Unlike your recipes, which have obviously been vetted in the most stringent of trial periods.

I would love to hear your feedback on the website or on Facebook, so that I can make it even better to become the go-to online kitchen helper for you, my fellow Semi-Homemakers.  Until next time, remember to keep it simple, keep it smart, keep it sweet, and keep it Semi-Homemade!

Ironically, after reading this, I need a pitcher of some Sandra Lee cocktails.  Seriously, I feel like I’m living in a Kafka novel.  Anyway, until next time, remember to keep it sexy, keep it sleeping with high-priced call girls, keep it sarcastic, and keep it Semi-sober!

______________
*This post was inspired by the brilliance that is Fire Joe Morgan week at Deadspin.  The FJM guys do it way better than I do, but they do it better than everyone, so oh, well.
**Delicious “Broccoli Pie” photo is from foodnetworkhumor.com, always fighting the good fight.

"Lo, and then Drew madeth right in New Orleans what Katrina had wrought. And lo, he then raisethed Carlton Banks from the dead, for he wanted to see the "Carlton Dance.' Then Drew threweth another touchdown, just becauseth he could."

Now that the Saints have won the Super Bowl, thus curing New Orleans of all post-Katrina problems, my folks and I are meeting up in the iconic city to take part in that most joyous of occasions, my birthday.  We’re also celebrating my pops’ birthday, which will hopefully distract him, however briefly, from constantly telling me that “the wrong son died in that river.”  We chose New Orleans to celebrate our days of birth because when my pops was a younger man, he killed his first drifter there, and it’s always held a special place in his heart.  Plus, he really, really likes that song “House of the Rising Sun,” by The Animals.  I’ve never been there before, and I’m really excited to totally ignore all the historical sites, local color, and cultural activities, in favor of stuffing my Creole-hole with all the N’Awlins fare I can get my mitts on.  As such, I’ve been scouring Yelp to suss out all the places to go and get some good grub.  Here are the dishes I’m most excited to eat in Chocolate City.  Oh, and that “beads for boobs” thing better be year-round, or I’m going to be seriously pissed off.

No. 5 – Seafood Gumbo

Peter Venkman, after dealing with nefarious okra.

I love seafood.  I love stuff made with a dark roux.  Throw in some hookers with noticeable bruises, and you’ve got a meal made in my dreams.  There are some things I can cook at home and know they’ll be good*.  There are other things, like gumbo, that no matter how hard I try, I cannot make well.  I’m almost positive that this is due to the inclusion of okra.  Okra scares me more than female bosses and that movie Paranormal Activity, combined, and I peed my pants during that movie.  What the fuck is that shit?  Is it a vegetable?  Is it a pepper of some sort?  Why the fuck is it slimy?  Why does my arm hurt when I raise it above my shoulder?  And, as with all things which are hard to do, I simply do not try to make gumbo, anymore.  I very much look forward to getting a big plate of this stuff, which, ostensibly, will not taste like burnt roux, slime, and failure.

No. 4 – Po’ Boy

A sandwich made with fried stuff is like froie gras made with bacon, or sausage made with truffles, or my penis made with my abs.

I love sandwiches.  I love fried things.  Throw in a dog dressed like Hello Kitty, and you’ve got a meal made in my dreams.  Aside from the fact that you sound like a complete fucking idiot when you have to say “Po’ Boy” while ordering one, I am so excited to chow down on one of these bad boys.  The special Louisiana French bread, the dressing, the fried stuff. . .  whoo, boy.  I’m dead serious when I say that I will almost certainly order a fried oyster po’ boy with a side of fried oysters.  I may even get a fried beer to wash it all down with.  Although, even given the etymology of this sandwich, I’m confident I won’t be able to find one for less than ten bucks.  BUT I’M ACTUALLY POOR!!!

No. 3 – Oysters

YOU'RE BLOCKING THE OYSTER!

God, do I love oysters.  I’m not joking when I say that, if I lived in a place where they were affordable, I would eat them every day.  I am joking when I say, “What’s brown and sticky?  A stick!”  I like to joke.  Seriously, though, outside of uni, no one, single bite in the food world  seems to capture the taste of the ocean like fresh oysters.  That’s why oysters are so phenomenally fucking awesome: they taste like an entire geographic region – the entire, beautiful ocean.  This just doesn’t occur anywhere else in the culinary universe: “Here, taste this cactus – it tastes just like the sand and unrelenting heat of the desert!  Here, taste this mushroom – it tastes just like the trees and serial killer dumping grounds of the forest!”  Not only do oysters pack this amazing flavor-punch, but they also involve eating with your hands, which is the hallmark of most of my favorite foods**.

No. 2 – Muffuletta

"Uh, that's great, but can I get some fried stuff in that?"

If I were to go outside of individual dishes, and judge foods like I judge ethnic groups, sandwiches are Persians – my favorite***.  They’re inherently layered with symbiotic, yet diverse layers of flavors and textures, and – of course – you eat them with your hands.  I’ve made muffulettas before but, I don’t know, they always seem to be lacking.  I don’t know if it was the store-bought giardeniera, the store-bought meat, or the store-bought, processed cheese, but something about them just didn’t seem homemade.  If you don’t know, a muffuletta is not just a word I’m getting tired of typing out, but also a giant sandwich made with a large round of Sicilian bread; giardeniera of olives, vegetables and peppers; Italian meats; and provolone.  Because the muffuletta is so closely associated with New Orleans, I’m truly hoping that two or more locals will get into a fist fight arguing over which muffuletta shop is the best.  I’m also hoping I get to wrastle a gator, but I digress.

No. 1 – Crawfish Boil

Little did they know that when they agreed to seal the detente with a handshake, the armistice would be irrevocably, if ironically, broken before it started.

True story: I have been actively seeking out crawfish for almost two years, so that I can have a crawfish boil at my house.  They’re never, ever available, so I just have to boil dozens of the smallest lobsters I can find, instead.  The reason I’m so hellbent on finding crawfish – and the reason a crawfish boil is number one on my list – is because of the nature of the act of eating them.  You see, I’m not one to sit down to one big plate of food; no matter how good it is, it tends to get a little boring, and I’m always done too quickly.  I immensely enjoy the act of eating, and I like to draw out that act as long as possible.  Take perhaps my favorite meal, crab legs: you have to crack the shell, get a little meat, dip it in butter, then consume.  You repeat this at least 124 times before you’re finished, thus meaning you just spent two hours eating.  Mission: Fucking Accomplished.  The same gastro-math goes with crab boils.  There’s hardly any meat in those little bastards, and you have to work to get at what little delicious morsels there are.  I’m aiming for at least a solid four hours of active eating when I finally get ready to settle into one of these bad boys.  Plus, the crawfish’s motto is “Pinch the tail, suck the head.”  I didn’t even realize that when I chose it as the quote to go along with my senior yearbook photo***.

Hello Kitty Dog sez: "I guess, at some level, I always knew I was different from the other dogs."

_____________________
*Meth
**You should see me eat spaghetti!
***Wait . . . what?
****Now go get out there and watch the draft, if for no other reason than to see the Bengals trade up to get Tim Tebow (Gruden’s take: THIS GUY; now this guy is a leader!).

In an effort to keep your voracious appetite for my culinary musings satisfied, I’ve decided to start a new feature on this blog, cleverly titled “Amuse Boosh!“.  It features mini-diatribes which will be published in-between my usual long-ass diatribes.  You’re very welcome.  That’ll be ten bucks.

Fucking UGH.

At the risk of beating a dead horse with a nail-studded axe handle until its carcass is rendered a bloody, pulverized mess, I’m afraid I have to address the continued ascendancy and asininity of Mr. Guy Fieri.  I have to do this because his increasing ubiquity has forced me to increasingly contemplate why I hate his fucking guts so much.  So, so much.

I mean, it’s pretty irrational that I would devote even a moment of my day to hating on some dude that worked hard and made a fortune for himself.  After all, he found a douche-niche in pop culture, and shoe-horned himself in there.  He has a family which he, presumably, has not Tiger Woods’d, I’m fairly confident he’s never killed a hitchhiker just to because he was bored, and I think it’s safe to assume that he’s neither Heidi nor Spencer.  Indeed, it appears from a recent newspaper article that he’s good to his friends and gives a lot to charity.  So, given all these apparent positive – or, at least, not hate-inducing – characteristics, should I just listen to his fans who invariably say “He’s just a guy who’s doing his job and being himself, who cares?”  Are they right, should I  just let a lucky, motivated guy be, as his followers would advocate?  Or is it still rational to hate him?  I’m going to the judges, and . . . they say “Green light to hate.”  You bet your sweet ass it’s okay to hate.  In fact, after reading that fawning article in the Press Democrat, I started thinking about it, and I realized that it’s not only okay for me to hate Fieri, in particular, but it’s also my duty to expand my hate to include everyone who has participated in the “Fieri Zeitgeist”.

As to Fieri, in particular, I know a lot of guys who are good to their families, who do charity and pro bono work, and who even have friends who like them, much like Fieri.  And, much like Fieri, a lot of those guys are enormous fucking douchebags.  You know them, too – the guy (or gal) who may be an okay person, on paper, but whose company you would spurn if a better option, such as stabbing yourself in the genitals, made itself apparent.  And, indeed, to paraphrase Chris Rock: being a good person to friends, family, and community is what you’re supposed to do!  You shouldn’t get points for doing that shit, especially if everything else about you is so nauseatingly insufferable.  We all know the litany of Fieri’s faults: the backwards sunglasses; the dressing like he’s an early-2000’s frat guy; the blond spikes; the fact that he wears rings while cooking; the fact that he wears rings, in general; and, you know, literally everything else about him.  Seriously, would you ever hang out with a guy at your office if he had the phrase “Aktuary Gangsta” on them?  My point is that even if he wasn’t a celebrity, even if millions of people didn’t think he was a cool guy, even if he was a normal dude in the IT department, I would still turn down any invitation to a guys’ night I knew he would be attending, for fear of having to give courtesy laughs to his idiotic jokes and the possibility of actually having to talk to him for five minutes.

As to the whole “Fieri Zeitgeist,” in general, this is what really bugs me about him.  Or, should I say, about America.  Much like the fact that Paul Haggis’ Crash has a shit-load of fans and a Best Picture Oscar, that those Epic Movie things still get produced, and that that Ke$ha broad is probably a multi-millionaire, their fame makes me simultaneously sad and outraged, not at Crash or Epic Movie or Ke$ha or Fieri, but rather at the people who allowed them get where they are.  It’s the same feeling I get when I contemplate the fact that Sandra Lee is actually on a network dedicated to cooking.  It’s just so fucking depressing.  You can’t even be mad at her – if people refused to watch a woman who made Kwanzaa cake, she wouldn’t be there, after all.  It’s the same thing with Fieri – people in this country are actually so dumb and apathetic as to think Fieri is entertaining.  We have elevated a guy who calls himself a “Kulinary Gangsta” into pop-culture status and a Lamborghini – because of spiked fucking hair andFlavor Town.”  And that’s where the Fieri Fans are correct; we can’t really hate Fieri for all the good fortune that’s been bestowed on him.  We should, instead, hate ourselves.  It’s our fucking fault.  But that, in its own right, doesn’t mean that the man, himself, is not hate-worthy.  He wears earrings, remember.

So, in conclusion: (1) I feel absolutely justified in disliking Fieri as a celebrity, because I’m almost positive that I would hate him if he wasn’t one, and (2) The fact that he is a celebrity makes me hate the American populace, rather than Fieri, himself.  So, as always, The Chef’s Prerogative’s hate: totally justified.  Sorry about the friendly fire, America, but you were askin’ for it.

Well, that’s it.  That should hopefully be the last time we talk about Guy Fieri.  I have exorcised my Kulinary Demonz.

Poltergeist Lady sez: "This house . . . is clean."

Oh, sure, they all look happy now, but wait until they find out that Sarah is dating a black guy.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and welcome to The Chef’s Prerogative’s Holiday Extravaganza.  Come on in, take a load off, and allow me to do all the cooking – after all, no one thought to bring a casserole or anything.  It’s my pleasure to cook for you, the ones I love.  And because no one showed up to culinary school graduation, it will be an opportunity to show everyone what I’ve learned these last four years.  We’re having a beautiful turkey that’s been brined and cooked with an herbed butter;  dressing made from Aunt June’s recipe that for some reason calls for oysters; my own special stuffing for the bird; and, of course, mountains of mashed potatoes and luscious layers of gravy made from the turkey drippings.  Except for cousin Lauren, the vegan, who will be having oats and hay outside.  Just kidding, Lauren.  But seriously, get out.  Wow, this scotch is great – is this 18-year-old?  Today is a very special day.  A day for us to give thanks.  Thanks for family, thanks for friends, thanks for the fact that Uncle Mike could pull enough strings to get those embezzlement charges knocked down to a misdemeanor.  I’d personally like to thank all of you for your unwavering antipathy in regards to the personal journey I’ve been on for the last four years while attending culinary school – Dad’s always told me I was nothing special, and your collective aversion to all things remotely resembling praise or support has really kept me humble.  And with that, I’m going to retire to the kitchen to get a refill and check on the bird.  There’s a cheese plate and some hors d’oeuvres if anyone but Lauren is interested.

I wish that was a real grizzly bear behind her.  Although, she almost had me when I read the sign as "Go Vag for Turkey."  I don't even know what that means, but I'm turned on.

I wish that was a real grizzly bear behind her. Although, she almost had me when I read the sign as "Go Vag for Turkey." I don't even know what that means, but it turned me on.

Thanks for helping out, Dave; I appreciate you tasting everything to make sure it’s palatable.  I’m sure no one will care that you stuck your fingers in the dressing.  No, I don’t think anyone will mind that I’m drinking right from the bottle – plus, then when people ask me how many scotches I’ve had, I can honestly say “two.”  Hey!  You know what we need?  We need some football – someone turn on the Lion’s game – Billy, go turn it to Fox.  No, don’t worry, the Steelers aren’t playing, so your daddy won’t start hitting you or yelling at mommy if they lose.  God, I forgot how good Sauvignon blanc was.  Thanks for asking, Aunt Sue; I actually used a “dry brine,” which allows the osmosis of the juices to osmosisize into the meat of the turkey – osmosis is delicious.  I’m also rubbing butter on the skin, much like Christopher rubs lotion on the skin of ladyboys whenever he visits Thailand.  Oh, what?  It’s not like it was a secret, Chris – I’m just tryin’ to have a little fun.  Oh, man, I almost forgot – Dave, get me that bottle of Wild Turkey.  See?  I’m drinking Wild Turkey while roasting a turkey!  “Bottle” is a weird word, isn’t it?  Bottle.  Booooootle.  Weird.  Dave, who is that redhead in the black top?  Not to be vulgar, or anything, but I wanna stalk her like a big bull cat and fuck her sick.  What?!?!  First or second cousin?  Nevermind, it doesn’t matter.

Cousins just means that you have that much more in common.

Man, can you guys smell that aroma?  No, seriously, can you guys – because I seem to have lost my sense of smell when my face went numb.  Anywho, it’s time to start the stuffing.  Someone get me a loaf of bread and some drinks.  Now that I think about it, the bread should be a few days old, so we’re kind of screwed.  Although, our turkey’s been in the oven for two hours already, so it’s too late to stuff it, anyway.  What do you mean the turkey’s still in the fridge?!?!  Aunt Pat, I told you to put the thing in the oven!  What do you mean you just got here?!?!  Then who did I tell to do that?  Shit.  On the bright side, now we have time to stuff the bird!  I knew I left that thing in the fridge for a reason.  I’m going to take my knife – it’s important that it’s really sharp – and cube the bread.  As you can see, I’ve cut off the tip off my finger, which, in culinary school, is known as the “Belgian method.”  Dave, can you get me a bandage and some rubbing alcohol to drink.  Thanks.  Now that that’s taken care of, we add some sautéed onion, crisped bacon, and chicken stock.  I’m going to need someone to go ahead and saute some onions, crisp some bacon, and make stock.  Where’s everyone going?  You’re going to miss out on some great jokes about the Jews.  Whatever.  Jesus, James, I know you’re hungry, but thanks to Aunt Pat, I’m only just now putting the chicken in the oven.  I haven’t not had too much to drinking.  Maybe you are.  If you had a drinks to loosen up, every once in a while, maybe Mary wouldn’t have slept with that tennis pro that I introduced her to.   Anyway, I’m going to start on the mashed potatoes.  After the potatoes are boiled in boiling water, we put them through this device, which is called a “ricer.”  Don’t tell that to grandpa, though, or he’ll have a Korean War flashback, and start calling Terry’s boyfriend a gook.  It’s bad enough he had to meet Sarah’s new boyfriend, Tyrone.

Curmudgeonly Grandpa passive-aggresively sez: "No dark meat for me, please."

Don’t worry about why I’m on the floor, mom, I was just looking for my contact and decided to take a quick nap while the room was spinning.  But we just had a talk about my drinking last Thanksgiving.  Speaking of which, I should have another tipple.  Mmmm, this hard cider is delicious.  Alright, so we’ve got our potatoes in a bowl, our turkey in an oven I’m just now noticing is not on, and our stuffing is still in its constituent pieces all over the kitchen.  Obviously, someone has steered this meal off course, and I’m not pointing fingers, or anything, but that person is obviously Aunt Pat.  Obviously.  But that’s okay, because my culinary education has taughted me to be improv…  improvishing… improvi-sation-ally inclined.  Someone see if the turkey will fit in the microwave.  Yes, you can, dad – it will be fine.  I don’t need a nap; I took one last night for, like, eight hours.  Does anyone have any model airplane glue on them, by any chance?  Okay, I’ve made an executive decision: we’re having ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner.  Where are you all going?!?!  Listen, just give me four hours to roast this chicken and make the stuffing and potatoes and vegetables and – oh, shit, I forgot to buy the vegetables at the store.  Come on, guys, it will be okay…  alright, fine.  Go to the country club for dinner, see what I care.  I know who my real family is.  I’ll see you for Kwanzaa, Tyrone!

The Duke sez: "Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrims." Get it? Because of the Pilgrims?

Sad cat

If sad cat is anything like me, he cheered himself up with a Pasta Bowl from Domino's and a scotch bowl from The Glenlivet.

“Standing in that inexplicable darkness.  Where there was no sound anywhere save only the wind.  After a while he sat in the road.  He took off his hat and placed it on the tarmac before him and he bowed his head and held his face in his hands and wept.  He sat there for a long time and after a while the east did gray and after a while the right and godmade sun did rise, once again, for all and without distinction [except for football fans from Ohio, because ‘fuck them,’ apparently.]

Southern California 18, Ohio State 15
Broncos 12, Bengals 7

This week’s football-related mood is: Crestfallen

In an effort to keep your voracious appetite for my culinary musings satisfied, I’ve decided to start a new feature on this blog, cleverly titled “Amuse Boosh!“.  It features mini-diatribes which will be published in-between my usual long-ass diatribes.  You’re very welcome.  That’ll be ten bucks.

Food Network moved in when Rahm Emanuel moved to D.C.

Food Network moved in when Rahm Emanuel relocated to D.C.

As you are no doubt unaware, Food Network recently concluded its fifth season of The Next Food Network Star.  And I think I speak for all of us when I say: it’s about time!  America was clamoring for a new culinary master to adopt the mantle of “middling cook who makes food like every other housewife on the planet.”  Think of the things we’ll learn!  The myriad ways to make breaded chicken breast!  How to peel garlic by smashing it with the side of your knife!  How to make Kwanzaa Cake!  In case you never knew this show existed, let’s revisit the past winners and their invaluable contributions to The Network, shall we?

  • Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh.  According to Wikipedia, they still host a show called Party Line with the Hearty Boys, which no one has ever seen.  It airs right after The New Adventures of Old Christine.
  • Guy Fieri.  The poster boy for The Next Food Network Star.  He wears his sunglasses on the back of his head when indoors, and makes his signature cocktail with Axe Body Spray and a garnish of man rings.
  • Amy Finley.  Her show lasted six episodes.  For those of you keeping track, that’s five fewer episodes than the run of Cop Rock.
  • Aaron McCargo, Jr.  Hosts the show Big Daddy’s House when not winning James Beard Awards and assuming his executive chef duties at both Le Bernardin and The French Laundry.  Wears large hoop earrings, and makes Emmit Smith sound erudite.

Pretty stellar list, no?  I’m sorry, let me try that last sentence again: “Pretty stellar list?  No.”  Although, I guess that when you start out with a dozen-or-so contestants whose culinary points of view are some derivation of “I want to make gourmet food accessible,” regardless of the fact that they’ve never cooked gourmet food to begin with, you’re not exactly going to get the next Wylie Dufresne.

And, true to form, the Food Network decided to select yet another housewife to teach us invaluable skills which will allow us to make the same food ten other housewives on the Food Network are making, all in the hopes of getting us to never watch the Food Network again.  Melissa d’Arabian  emerged as the show’s victor, a few months ago, based on her show’s concept, which cast her in the role of the “Rescue Chef.”  Which would have been awesome, had it consisted of her covertly recovering hostages, rather than turning typical pantry ingredients into typical, boring meals.  An interesting thing happened on the way to inevitable first season cancellation, though: instead of Melissa’s original concept of helping out confused home cooks, Food Network was all, “Fuck this cooking shit – people hate to cook!  Let’s give ’em hints on how to cook as little as possible!,” and re-packaged the show as Ten Dollar Dinners.  I’m not sure if she cooks a dinner for ten bucks, or if she cooks ten dinners for a dollar, each, but either way, you can count me the fuck out.  I’m not saying you can’t cook something good for less than a ten-spot, but – and stop me if I’m repeating myself, here – the fact that a network ostensibly based on the glory and beauty of food is hamstringing someone’s ability to cook based on taste, rather than on time or pecuniary concerns, is kind of obscene.  Not “Sasha Grey” obscene, unfortunately, but obscene, nonetheless.

Ten Dollar Dinners: come for the carrots and embroidered tops, stay for the contrivance and banality.

Ten Dollar Dinners: come for the carrots and embroidered tops, stay for the contrivance and banality.

In an effort to keep your voracious appetite for my culinary musings satisfied, I’ve decided to start a new feature on this blog, cleverly titled “Amuse Boosh!“.  It features mini-diatribes which will be published in-between my usual long-ass diatribes.  You’re very welcome.  That’ll be ten bucks.

This is Claire Robinson.  She's evil.

This is Claire Robinson, and she thinks you're an idiot. Apparently, given the fact that she has her own show, she's right.

I was thinking about writing about how to make a good consomme, but then I realized that that would be, like, totally hard, so I just said ‘Fuck it,’ and made some Kraft Mac & Cheese, instead.”
-Auguste Escoffier in Le Guide Culinaire

Oh, Food Network, I honestly thought I’d gotten out all my hatred for you with my last post on the subject.  It was a purging of all the hatred I had for you and your damn cheatin’ ways, and, frankly, it was cathartic.  Even when The Next Food Network Star came on, and you insisted on making the contestants tell me about themselves and their “culinary point-of-view,” I kept my cool and put it in perspective.  But then, Food Network, you invite Claire Robinson, your succubus of a paramour, into my home to assault my ear-holes.  Claire, for those of you readers who are blissfully ignorant of her marginal existence, has a show entitled “Five Ingredient Fix,” in which she, perhaps unsurprisingly, uses only five  ingredients to make her meals.  Why she does this – and more to the point, why Food Network thinks this is appropriate to put on the air – I have not a clue.  Jesus Christ, Food Network, it’s like I just forgave you for cheating on me with my best friend, but instead of walking the line and being a good partner, you go out and murder my parents.  No, Food Network, that’s a totally apt analogy.

You know, I’ve yet to see a Golf Digest article about how to play less holes of golf, or a Cigar Aficionado article about how to smoke less delicious cigars, or a Playboy pictorial featuring fewer glorious boobies.  One would assume that this is due to the fact that these media know that their consumers enjoy the subject matter they write about, and would like to do more, not less, of it.  Food Network, with its stable of shows about cooking less food, in less time, with less ingredients, seems to think that its viewers see the kitchen not as a place where delicious dishes are prepared and lovingly served, but rather, as a torturous room, the entrance to which is necessitated only by a housewife’s need to begrudgingly cook something so she doesn’t look like a terrible mother.  Call me an amazing and sensitive lover, but I’m a pretty big fan of this here cooking thing, and I like to do it a lot.   In fact, I get a little sad when I’m done chopping stuff and searing stuff and remoulading stuff.  Thus, it upsets me that the Food Network would put someone on the air whose claim to fame is taking otherwise fine recipes and excising all the ingredients which cause them to, you know, taste good.  It’s not about convenience or making food accessible, either – it’s simply a shtick that’s going to move cook books.  In other words, it’s complete and total bullshit which denigrates the culinary arts.  Cooking, after all, is about the passion and excitement associated with creating something delicious – that Ms. Robinson would endeavor to do the opposite makes me hate both her, and her network, all the more.  I won’t go so far as to say that I hope they both one day writhe in an eternal dumpster fire on the banks of the river Styx, but, on the other hand, I totally want that [FN1].

Auguste sez: "Don't let ze mustache fool you, I totally want to kill zees bich.  Zoot Alors!"  He also said "I surrender," but mostly because he's French, and I wanted to write an obvious joke about how the French always surrender to stuff.

Auguste sez: "Yeah, zis iz to-tall-y ridic-oo-lous. Zut Alors - mon mustache c'est magnifique!" He also said "I surrender!", but mostly because he's French, and I wanted to write an obvious joke about how the French always surrender to stuff.

_______________________
FN 1.  Holy shit, you should have seen my first draft of this thing.  I couldn’t publish it, not because any of its wonderful hate was unauthentic, but rather because I didn’t want to make my mom weep for the depraved, black-hearted spawn she produced.  Plus, you can only use the term “useless whore-bag shame-fuck” so many times before it starts to lose its impact.  That number of times, it turns out, is seventeen.

Naive Dame sez: "Oh, relax, Charles...  We're perfectly alone.  What do you think there's some gumshoe outside, listening to all our secret plans?"

Naive Dame sez: "Oh, relax, Charles... We're perfectly alone. What, do you think there's some gumshoe outside, listening to all our secret plans? Why, that's patently ridiculous!"

I woke up at my desk to the sound of the world’s most annoying alarm clock: an angry woman.  The dame had marched in from off the street and directly into my frontal lobe.  She demanded that I take her case, without so much as a “How do you do?”.  I don’t cotton to people ordering me around, even if they do have legs that go all the way up, so I took a drag on my cigarette and thought about it for a minute.  Unfortunately, my wallet was as empty as that clip I poured into the last scumbag I ran into, so I didn’t have much choice but to take her on as a client.  So long as she was paying cash and didn’t expect her feminine wiles to get her any discounts.  After all, feminine wiles don’t buy you perfectas at the dog track.  “So what’s the deal, sweetheart; who done ya wrong, and how bad?”  It turned out that some so-and-so had taken all her dough, and I don’t mean the pizza kind.  He had wormed his way into her heart, and then into her purse, just long enough to get his sticky fingers all over her hard-earned cash.  Though, I’m not sure how hard a dame that looked like her had to work for a living.  “This is fucking ridiculous,” she screamed, “it was my life’s savings!”  Tell me about it, doll face – this economy’s been rough on everyone.  In fact, I hoped this perp didn’t have his sights set on going down swinging, because I couldn’t even afford to put bullets on layaway.  “I’ll take the case, Hon, but I can’t promise you’re going to get your money back,” I told her, and deep down I knew that something wasn’t quite on the up-and-up with this broad.  “You better fucking come up with something, and quick, or I’m just going to go to the fucking cops!”  Dames – always with the cops.  I got her to calm down, and finally she was able to speak rationally – as rationally as any broad can speak, that is.  “Look, I just want my money back, no questions asked.  I won’t go to the cops, I just want all of it back.  I don’t care where it went, or why it was taken, I just want my fucking money back.”  I told her I’d try my best to oblige, right before she left my office in huff, just like how all the broads in my life leave me.

After she sulked out of my office, I poured a double of the cheapest whiskey ever made, and thought for a while about my rotten luck.  It had only been two weeks ago that I encountered my own money problems.  The kind of problems that can’t be solved with quick thinking and a loaded .38.  I had stumbled onto an opportunity that was guaranteed to net me a pile of greenbacks, see, and without my having to lift a finger for it.  All I had to do was provide a little help to someone, and the pennies were sure to come raining from heaven.  It was so easy, I almost felt like one of the criminals I have to chase down and beat some justice into.  Almost.  Unfortunately, for a guy trained to pick out and track down bad guys, I fell victim to one of them easier than a greased-up monkey at a pie eating contest.  It looked like my client and I had something in common – besides hating me, that is.  Hers was going to be a tough case to crack, though, and my landlord’s daily eviction notices informed me of the importance of solving it, and lickity split, at that.  You don’t get to be this grizzled by sitting on your ass waiting for things to happen, though, and luckily I knew just where the type of people who steal from an unsuspecting bird generally hung out.

Carpaccio

Vigo The Carpathian's favorite dish is Carpaccio.  Because they sound kind of alike, that's why!

Vigo The Carpathian's favorite dish is Carpaccio. Because they sound kind of alike, that's why!

The deep mahogany walls, zinc bar, and fine crystal of the restaurant I was sitting in were belied by the nefarious and rough-neck clientele seated all around me in their three-piece suits.  I glanced side-to-side, trying to see if anyone reacted to my presence, but the candles seemed to be the only lighting in the place, which made it a perfect hide out.  Or maybe they couldn’t pay their electric bill, either.  I pressed the waiter into service, but the only tip he gave me was in connection to the wine list – a tip I graciously accepted, as it had been almost ten minutes since my last drink.  I ordered the carpaccio, hoping that they’d cut the price since they didn’t have to cook anything – no such luck, the wiry waiter informed me.  I didn’t trust him.  When it arrived, the beef was paper thin and dressed simply with olive oil, capers, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice.  It disappeared down my throat almost as fast as I did out the bathroom window.

Steak Au Poivre

Cow Chart (chart is to scale.)

Cow Chart (chart is to scale.)

Wandering around the city with only a hip flask of hootch and a hair-trigger .45 soon began to take its toll on my stomach, as well as on my psyche.  A little red meat was in order, and the restaurant I was standing in front of looked like just the type of place where a swindler would come to celebrate after fleecing some poor dame, or maybe even a road weary private investigator.  The maitre ‘d handed me a tie upon my entrance, and though I knew he wasn’t the perp I was looking for, his name shot right to the top of my shit list.  As I waited for someone to take my order, I couldn’t help noticing the sideways glances I was getting from the well-heeled assemblage of potential matchstick men seated around me.  I was on the job for my client, but I couldn’t help thinking that one of these fat cats may have been the mug that took me to the cleaners.  Perhaps our perps were one in the same, just like that he/she I met in the park last night, the lying bitch.  After the waiter took my order and promised to keep the martinis coming, I loosened my new tie and surveyed the room for a possible suspect.  It was hard to differentiate between tables, though, and I was as confused as a kitten at a koala bear convention.  Had I been hired to investigate the robbery of a Brooks Brothers, I would have been in business, but these weren’t the types of cats to slum it with some leggy chick with a killer ass just for a couple grand.  Nor, for that matter, a down-on-his-luck private dick with more bills than hollow points in his gun.  When my steak au poivre came, all those thoughts melted away, as the scent of cracked black peppercorns hit me in the face like a drunk guy who thinks you’re flirting with his girl, just because you accidentally bumped into her, then asked if she wanted to go in the bathroom and make an extra buck.  The steak was rare, and the creaminess of the beef was bolstered by the cognac, cream, and butter of the sauce.  Unfortunately, this restaurant’s bathroom was sans window, so I had to do it the old fashioned way: walk slowly out the front door, then run like I stole something.  Because that’s, actually, exactly what I’d just done.  The characters in the restaurant definitely had skeletons in their closets, but swindling my succubus of a client wasn’t one of them.  At least I got a new tie out of it.

Prime Rib

What prime rib is made of.  (Not pictured: puppy dogs kissing kitty cats.)

What prime rib is made of. (Not pictured: puppy dogs kissing kitty cats.)

Finally, I had a lead.  It seems my client and I weren’t the only ones who had been tricked out of their money by some evil genius.  I had been perusing the discount rum section of the liquor store when I heard another patron complaining about being defrauded by a scheme which seemed remarkably familiar.  In fact, I was more and more convinced that if I found the guy who ripped me off, I’d be led to my client’s guy, as well.  It seemed that everyone was getting the old bait and switch, lately.  The word on the street was that the man in question was a bigwig from overseas.  I knew exactly where bigwigs from overseas like to eat, so I tightened my tie and hightailed it over to one of the fanciest restaurants in town.  The Bentleys and Ferraris in the parking lot told me that I was in the right place.  Also, that I had made a lot of wrong decisions in life.  Blending in with my highfalutin counterparts at the bar, I talked about my thousand foot yacht, my rocket powered helicopter, and the media room in my mansion which only showed the movie Major League , on a continuous loop.  I couldn’t tell if they were laughing with me or at me, but I could definitely tell that I was in the right place.  Once seated, I scanned the room for a professional flim-flam man.  I assumed he’d be wearing rings on all his fingers, and maybe have a scepter of some kind.  I don’t know why I thought that.  Unfortunately, the other customers in the giant dining hall were as boring and unadorned as a Coldplay boxed set.  The waiter soon wheeled out a giant metal serving cart, however, full of wonderful cuts of beef to captivate my fevered mind.  I chose the largest one, and he served it on my plate next to mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and whipped horseradish, which I was assured was made out of real horses.  The beef melted in my mouth, and was complimented perfectly by the tartness of the horseradish and the richness of the bread.  It’s too bad my suspect wasn’t here, but my now eaten meal felt as good as having him cornered, on the business end of my partners, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.  When I was ready to head out, I realized that I had left my non-existent wallet in my non-existent car, and asked to take my leave out the front door before running like I was being chased by a pack of rabid piranhas.

Cheesesteak

This must be the human equivilent of having a female presenting to you in the animal kingdom.

This must be the human equivalent of having a female animal present herself to you during mating season.

In the evening, I looked for what I was convinced was our mutual perpetrator high and low, but mostly in the bottom of a fifth of Jim Beam.  After surveying seedy martini bars and even a scotch tasting in the wrong part of town, I needed to bribe my stomach into holding on to its contents by buying it a rich, greasy dinner.  The place on the corner offering “The Best Cheesesteak In Town” sounded like a winner, though recent history had taught me not to believe everything I read.  Especially in unsolicited e-mails.  After I ordered, I closed one eye, steadied myself against the wall, and noted the ingredients.  The sliced rib-eye had been shaved paper thin and quickly cooked on a flattop.  The onions were sweet and transparent and provided a nice counterpoint to the fattiness of the beef.  The key to the whole thing, though, was the fresh Amoroso roll, which made all the difference – though, the Cheese Whiz spread inside didn’t hurt, either.

The thought of being harassed by missed messages, and the clients who left them, at my office forced me to change plans and swing by my apartment for a nap and some bad coffee.  What I arrived to, instead, was an angry client with a stare that sobered me up faster than than getting stabbed by a junky in the alley behind a strip club.  “Did you get my fucking money?”, she asked in the same manner Bo Jackson used to hit waist-high fastballs.  I sat her down on the stoop and explained to her that she wasn’t the only one who had been taken for a ride recently.  My theory of who perpetrated the crimes was laid out, but I could tell she wasn’t looking for explanations; she wanted revenge.  Cold, unfeeling, bitchtastic revenge.  “YOU GAVE MY BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER TO SOME GUY YOU THOUGHT WAS A NIGERIAN PRINCE BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO GIVE MONEY TO YOU ONCE HE MADE IT OUT OF THE COUNTRY?!?!?!?  I THOUGHT YOU JUST STOLE THE MONEY, YOURSELF!!!  ARE YOU FUCKING RETARDED?!?!?  Clearly she didn’t understand the obvious upside to the plan as it was presented to me two weeks ago.  Oh, well.  I told her that her case was probably unsolvable, and that whoever it was on the profiting end of this scheme had probably absconded long ago with all the loot – both hers and mine.  While she was on the phone, consulting with the cops for a second opinion, I took my cue and leisurely sprinted down the street towards the park at breakneck speed.  As my mind raced about being duped so badly – by a prince, no less – I stopped dead in my tracks.  Instantly, all my problems seemed far away, and I saw the rest of my life flash before my eyes – replete with champagne wishes and caviar dreams.  From the instant I saw the sign stapled to the phone poll, I knew what my future held, and that that future was brilliant: I was going to work from home for upwards of two thousand bucks a week.  And I didn’t even need any experience.  As visions of the good life danced in my head, my exuberance was tempered by only one concern: I just hoped they allowed pearl-handled .57 magnums at the Four Seasons.

Hope you like your new throne, ASSHOLE!!!

Hope you like your new throne, ASSHOLE!!!

a

Chris Brown sez: "Food Network was probably askin' for it."

If you happened to catch my previous internet aflame-setting Food Network post (you lucky bastard!), you may have thought to yourself, “If this handsome devil hates the channel so much, why does he continue to watch it?”  Well, to that I say: “None of your fucking business, cabron!”  But, if I were  to entertain such a nefarious and ignorant question, I’m sure I would search the scotch-sodden recesses of my desperate, blackened heart, and come up with the following.  I love food.  I love to cook it, I love to eat it, and I love to smother it on my naked, nubile body in a daily ritual to pacify the culinary Gods.  Cooking has become a passion of mine, even more dearly held than throwing pennies off of tall buildings to see if they’ll actually kill someone.  I cook almost every day, and make weekend meals an event.  Indeed, not counting the times I’m having furry sex, I am most happy when I put on some Paolo Conti, position my huge cutting board on the counter, sharpen my knives, begin to prepare a large meal, cook that meal, set the table, eat the meal, and then contemplate writing a long list of things I just did.  And when I’m not cooking, I am constantly reading cookbooks and cooking magazines, then derisively commenting about their recipes that “I wouldn’t have used that celeriac,” or “This recipe is stupid.  Needs more bacon.”  In conclusion: furry sex, no one likes celeriac, needs more bacon, lists are awesome.

It is with this passion for food and cooking, then, that I approached my last missive about Food Network.  FN remains, after all, the 800-pound stoup-making gorilla in the room when it comes to food programming; which is odd, because many of their shows seem to indicate that Food Network hates food.  For someone like me, who loves and respects ingredients, Sandra Lee’s inclusion in their line-up is an affront to cooking not seen since the last installment of 30 Minute Meals.  And that they insist on putting innumerable “I’m a cook, not a chef” hacks on the air is an affront to good taste, in the opinion of someone who thinks there’s a lot to be learned from real chefs.  And, yes, I did just use “affront” twice in a row, but whatever – did you see that “taste” pun?!?!  Nailed it.  But the fact is, for all their faults, I still like the Food Network.  It is about food, after all, and unless you randomly picked this sentence as a starting point for reading this post, you know that food happens to be something I love.  Unfortunately, though, FN is ruining this ostensibly perfect union by doing the T.V. equivalent of the stereotypical “dude move,” where a relationship is getting bad, but the guy doesn’t have the guts to dump the girl, so he becomes so distant, so non-caring, and so purposefully annoying that the other person is forced to do the breaking up.  But there are still glimmers of hope, though!  There are those moments when it is genuine, and heartfelt, and willing to give me a conciliatory hand job in the back seat of my car.  Naturally, this mostly happens when FN is drunk on cosmos, but I’ll take what I can get.  I don’t regret what I said to the Food Network, last week, and my grievances still stand; but I would be remiss if I didn’t likewise list what I still enjoy about the channel – the better culinary angels of its nature, if you will (and you will.)  So, here you go…

Iron Chef America

a

I, for one, welcome our new pot-burning robot chef overlords.

This show has a lot of detractors, and the accusations and criticisms aimed at it may not be altogether undeserved.  However, I still love sitting down for an hour and watching great chefs do their thing*.  What a breath of fresh air to see chefs using cutting edge techniques like sous-vide, infusions, and not using pre-chopped vegetables.  Scientifically speaking, I could not care less about the arbitrary time limit, or the bullshit judging, or the fact that it’s about as much of a competition as a handsome contest in which I’m “competing”.  What I do care about is Morimoto making some heartbreakingly beautiful sushi rolls, or Batali being fucking awesome, or Bobby Flay being, you know, Bobby Flay.  The bottom line is that they make delicious, exotic dishes which look great on T.V., and isn’t that the whole motherfucking point behind this motherfucking channel?!?!?  Seriously, even Cat Cora’s food looks good, and she’s a lady chef!  Outrageous.

Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives

a

Drive-In Guy sez: "What?!?! No, Pepsi is NOT alright - I ordered Coca Cola, dammit! Do you guys have them Baconators?"

Fuck and yes.  As a kid who would have run over a nun to get at a Moons Over My Hammy, I love this show.  As an adult who realizes that eating the food featured on Triple D makes you fat, and thus less likely to have a dame allow you to put your bad part in her hoo-ha, I hate watching this show.  It makes me “Robert Carlyle in Ravenous ” hungry, which isn’t a good thing to be when you’re trying to maintain a physique like mine, which looks like it’s been chiseled out of marble, iron, and my boners.  As torturous as watching DD&D may be, the food looks great, Guy Fieri comes off as at least somewhat tolerable, and it manages to feature salt-of-the-earth establishments without seeming cloying or sentimental.  From where I stand, it seems like a show dedicated to spotlighting the most glutinous, lipid-laden food this country has to offer.  It’s like a fat-fingered salute to our culinary heritage, and I’m okay with that.  As long as there’s bacon on it.

Good Eats

Why has this majestic dish not been covered, in detail, on Good Eats?  They could do skits of little colestoral models clogging cloth artery analogs.  Or skits involving your fat ass never getting laid.  You know, whichever.

Why has this majestic dish not been covered, in detail, on Good Eats? They could do skits with little cholesterol models clogging cloth artery analogs. Or skits involving a greasy, overweight guy never getting laid. Or maybe even skits of me not being able to come up with a funny caption for this picture.

Holy fucking shit, a cooking show that actually features advice, tips, and practical instruction.  Quelle novelle!  Good Eats does exactly what I want FN to do.  It tells me how to make dishes by highlighting techniques which are not only useful for making the dish at hand, but any range of other dishes that one may think up in the future.  Good Eats is like teaching a man to fish, whereas most other shows on FN simply give the man the fish, but after they do, they kick him in the nuts and run away, having grabbed his girlfriend’s boob on the way out the door.  I don’t know why they do that, either.  Anywho, while AB would be well served by disabusing himself of all the cutesy bullshit, he at least doesn’t dumb down his demonstrations for the audience.  Plus, I made his beef jerky once, and my house smelled like Jack Links for a week.  That’s a good thing.

Honorable Mention

Little known fact: after defeating her enemies, she rips out their defeat-laden hearts and uses them for a delightful ragut.  Another little known fact: check out the rack on this fuckin' broad, right here, eh?

Little known fact: after vanquishing her enemies, Giada rips out their defeat-addled hearts and uses them for a delightful ragu. Another little known fact: check out the rack on this fuckin' broad! Am I right? Eh? Eh?

Everyday Italian:  Ignoring for a moment Giada’s splendid rack and come hither stare, this show is pretty much the real 30 Minute Meals.  All of Giada’s dishes are simple, look great, and come with a side order of cleavage.  Plus, it gives me ample opportunity to say things like “I’ll grate your Parmesan cheese,” and “I’ll roll out your dough.”  ‘Cause I’m classy like that.

The Barefoot Contessa:  It’s hard to relate to Ina Garten sometimes, seeing as how she has celebrities over for dinner, owns a boat, and lives in a town where every single person is gay and owns a flower shop.  Her food looks really good, though, and the name of the show reminds me of how amazing Ava Gardner looked in that movie.  I’m pretty sure Frank Sinatra is going to punch me through the celestial aether just for saying that.

The Cooking Loft:  I love Alex Guarnaschelli and her enthusiasm for food and cooking.  I also like that she’s an actual chef who happens to use actual chefometrics while cooking, rather than frozen vegetables and store-bought dough.  I could do without the sycophantic mongoloid convention gathered around her, though.

Ellie Krieger

I hate you.

I hate you.

You know how you’ll piss off your girlfriend to the point that you’re pretty sure she’s going to break up with you, so you’ll call her up and grovel and beg until she takes you back?  And just when she’s relented, and you’re feeling happy, you say something stupid like “I mean, you can’t be too mad – you’re the one with the hot friend.  What did you think was going to happen when you went away for a week to go to your grandma’s funeral?”  Neither do I, but that’s pretty much what I’m going to do to the Food Network, right now, after having given it all the anterior praise.

Listen, Ellie, I get it that you’re a healthy eater, or whatever the fuck, but I hate you.  I hate everything about your lifestyle and your fake smile and your annoying voice.  If I was given a mandate that I could only eat “x” amount of calories per day, I would rather cut out an entire normal meal every day than have to eat three of yours.  Plus, I don’t fucking think it’s that healthy to begin with!  “Good fats” still make you fucking fat, genius!  If they didn’t, I’d eat a pound of fucking cashews every hour, on the hour.  I’d eat avocados like your mother solicits truckers.  When I went to a bar, my drink of choice would be a fucking Kettle One and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, on the rocks.  Is it so fucking hard to just make normal food, but eat it in moderation?  I mean, seriously, yours is the saddest show on television, and if I had to cook like you, I’d take up fucking stamp collecting, instead.  And I fucking hate stamps.

But worst of all, Ellie – the thing that makes me fucking scream at the T.V. every time I fucking see you – is your Botoxed-to-shit forehead.  I’m a good fifteen years younger than you, yet your taut visage makes me look like Methuselah, in comparison.  And by “Methuselah,” I, of course, mean “age appropriate.”  Where the fuck do you get off trying to portray this happy, healthy lifestyle, then go and inject botulism in your face?  Seriously, you look like fucking Sam Cassel.

In Conclusion To The Longest Post Ever

Baby, please take me back!  It meant nothing to me, I promise!  It's just that she was way hotter than you, that's all.

Baby, please take me back! It meant nothing to me, I promise! It's just that she was way hotter than you, that's all.

Baby, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean that last part, honest.  Oh, don’t be like this!  I need you, honey.  I only get so mad because I love you so much.  Let’s just watch Good Eats and relax a little bit.  Baby, I hate myself for what I did to you, and I promise it won’t happen again.  Unless you air another season of The Next Food Network Star.  Baby, where are you going?  Come back.

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I liked their old slogan better: "Because 'Fuck You;' That's Why!"

I don’t have “appointment TV” viewing, anymore.  Since dedicating myself to the life of a sexy Registered Scientist, registered scientisting equations and experiments for hours on end, I no longer have the energy or wherewithal to dedicate a few hours of my day to viewings of The Shield, Friday Night Lights, and That One Girl on The Hills With The Great Rack.  Instead, I prefer to wait until the DVD comes out, then devote myself to numerous weekend hours of season-long episode watching and red wine drinking.  When I do watch TV, it’s generally as a background accompaniment to whatever sultry activity I’m doing after work (mostly quietly weeping.)  The Golf Channel provides hours of entertainment as I listen while cooking, thinking all the while how I would give a month’s pay to punch Sergio Garcia in his douche hole.  ESPN, too, provides much distraction, as I pretend to like watching college basketball in February, when I really just want the football men to come back.  Mostly, though, Food Network provides the balance of my television viewery.  Ugh, Food Network.  You’d think that a network dedicated to food would have some of the best cooking shows on television.  You’d be wronger than a Sandra Lee dinner, though.  Top Chef, the best cooking show on TV is on the Rainbow and Unicorn Network, and America’s Test Kitchen is relegated to PBS, apparently at a time I’m clinically unable to remember.  The third best cooking show on TV is no longer on TV, as Julia Child is now making demi glace for the angels.

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Julia sez: "I once caught a fish THIS BIG! No seriously, I'm holding it, right now. See?"

Food Network started out promisingly enough, and I still watch it on a daily basis, like a crack fiend who knows what he’s doing is wrong, but still has to give hand jobs to elderly executives in bathroom stalls at Union Station in order to feed his addiction.  Or so I’ve been told.  But what was once a celebration of food has turned into a dastardly, ham-fisted attempt to sell us overpriced knives and the notion that all you need to make a good meal are pre-chopped ingredients, thirty minutes, and giving your dish a stupid-ass name.  Fuck that.  What makes cooking so special, and what will serve to be the thesis of this post, is time to experiment, a passion for matching great ingredients, and a desire to make delicious fare at the cost of your free time, calories, and occasionally giving someone the salmonella.  Those of us who love food know the passion involved in cooking.  We therefore are unmistaken when we encounter the constant bullshittery and mediocrity of Food Network.  Like an average Bengals off-season, Food Network seems to endeavour to disappoint.  What follows is a list of the cavalcade of terribleness that the Food Network seems dedicated to cramming down our throats.  So excuse me as I hitch up my angst pants and delve into this “stoup” of nonsense…

Interchangeable Home Chefs

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This motherfucker made the decision to put those fucking hoops in his ears. Do you think I'm going to trust him for ONE SECOND when it comes to matters of taste?!?! The answer is "no," in case you were wondering.

You know, it’s funny; whenever I turn on Playing Tips From the Pros on the Golf Channel, the golfer giving the lesson is never my friend, Pete, who has a 22 handicap and once threw a 3-wood further than the length of my drive.  Instead, it’s usually a tour pro who knows how to hit a plugged ball out of a greenside bunker, among other difficult feats.  This, of course, makes sense, because the tour pro knows infinitely more about golf than Pete does, and thus can teach me things to improve my game, all based upon his vast, tour-tested knowledge and groupie banging.  Somehow this concept is lost on the Food Network.  I’m not saying that every show on the network has to be hosted by Thomas Keller, Fergus Henderson, and the guy who invented the Baconator, but let’s at least get some semblance of tried-and-true cooking talent in there.  Don’t show me how to “make boring chicken breasts into exotic, family-friendly meals;” instead, show me tricks to make the crust on my fried chicken thick and crispy.  Don’t show me how to make a quick and easy soup; instead, show me how to make restaurant-quality stock or broth.  Don’t “show me to the door” after I’ve had too much to drink and have begun hitting on girls by asking them to show me their boobs; instead, you know, show me your boobs.  Until Food Network gets the memo that the “cook next door” bullshit isn’t helping anyone, I fear we’re going to keep getting dumbed-down food, prepared by cooks who learned everything they know by reading cookbooks written by their next door neighbors.  And, seriously, just show me your boobs and I’ll go away.

Rachel Ray

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I call my reaction to this picture "uncomvomeurystic," because I feel so uncomfortable that I simultaneously vomit and have an aneurysm. Seriously, she looks about as natural in this picture as a girl in my basement who's not tied up. And alive.

The matriarch of the INARCAIPOIM (that’s “I’m not a real chef, and I’m proud of it movement”), Ray-Ray has gone from being a source of my infinite and brutal rage to a mere annoyance, as the public backlash against her has picked up the slack in recent years.  Now, I’ll be honest with you, while I’m not one of those knuckle-dragging fuckwits who think Ray is cute and adorable, I do think she’d probably be moderately sufferable (which I just made up, by the by) once she slithered out of the obvious and oppressive patina of TV fakery she dons for the public.  In fact, I wouldn’t even be averse to grabbing a drink with her and eventually, after several scotches, thinking to myself “You know, TCP, she’s not so bad, after all.  Maybe we should ask her to show us her boobs*.”

My problem with Rachel Ray isn’t even with Rachel Ray, herself.  Rather it’s with the cooking show format she inspired which has become so ubiquitous.  She laid out the groundwork for this landscape of culinary mediocrity, and has instilled in her devotees not the inspiration to love, respect, and experiment with food, but rather a spirit of “It really doesn’t matter how shitty this food is – I’ll feel great knowing that at least it’s not McDonald’s.”  Way to aspire to greatness.

A few notes about the host, herself, though.  As a person who, because of his overwhelming senses of humor and charm would need only himself to stay entertained on a desert island, I, too, am not averse to the ol’ self-inspired chuckle (and run-on sentence.)  Giving yourself an obvious courtesy laugh, however, is never acceptable.  Likewise, using catch-phrases-that-aren’t-really-catch-phrases over and over again are similarly frowned upon by those unaffected by Asperger’s syndrome.  And, finally, one generally uses acronyms and catch phrases for the purpose of brevity, because their meanings are familiar to those they are being conveyed to, thus negating the necessity of having to use the whole phrase or series of words.  One would never say, for example, “I’m going to the ATM – the Automated Teller Machine,” because that would be fucking retarded, of course.  I guess what I’m getting at is this: SAYING FUCKING “EVOO” IS ANNOYING ENOUGH ON IT’S FUCKING OWN – SAYING “EVOO: EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL” IS NOT ONLY ANNOYING BUT SUPERFLUOUS, AND UNNECESSARY, AND CAPRICIOUS, AND ARBITRARY.  SEE HOW ANNOYING THAT WAS?!?!  OH, AND WHILE I’M FUCKING AT IT, “STOUP” SOUNDS ABOUT AS APPETIZING AS I’M SURE IT TASTES.  In closing, please knock it off.

Speaking Of Knock It Off, Knock It Off With The Fucking Cake Nonsense

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This cake should win every cake award ever.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you are no doubt aware that my love of boobs is inversely proportional to my love of sweets.  For those of you who aren’t perfectly bronzed Registered Scientists, that means that I hate sweets.  As such, I’m terribly put off by the plethora of cake shows on a cooking channel.  Baking (what you do with a cake), after all, is much different than cooking (what you do with stuff that actually tastes good.)  If it was just Ace of Cakes, I wouldn’t mind.  But, instead, we have about trelve brillion cake competition shows on, as well, each more boring than the last.  Does anyone really give a shit?  I really could not care less who can make the best Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson, or Emelia Earhart, or whatever, out of flour and icing.  It’s more sculpting** than anything (except boring), and, frankly…  What was I talking about?  Something about boobs?  Oh, right: cake.  I hate cake.  Knock it off with the fucking cake.

Sandra Fucking Lee

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Katherine sez: "The secret is to drink a lot, then buy all the stuff that you cook. They even have pre-chopped vegetables!"

Is there anything to be said about Sandra Lee which hasn’t already been covered in the Book of Revelations?  I mean, seriously, dudes.  Seriously.

Do you have an older, successful husband who caters to your every whim?  Do you enjoy spending numerous hours and hundreds of dollars remodeling your kitchen to match the theme of your meals?  Do those meals suck?  Do you want to have your own cooking show, but don’t want to do things like “cooking” or “having a soul”?  Are you made of robot parts and Zoloft?  If you answered “yes” to the preceding questions, then you, too, can have your own Sandra Lee show on Food Network.

If she didn’t like booze so much, or have such a great rack, I’d almost not watch this show every time it comes on.  Seriously, though, she’s the worst thing ever.

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*If you’re at all curious as to why I refer to myself in the first person plural, the story goes like this: I have no fucking clue.  We need help.
**Seriously, these cakes cannot taste good.  It’s all I-beams and construction paper and fondit.  What the fuck is fondit, by the way?  I’m almost positive that it’s a mix of Silly Putty and Play-Dough.  In other words, I bet it’s delicious!