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Great comments by Bourdain on various TV food shows

saeyedoc Mar 11, 2009 10:31 AM

check this out:

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    AMFM RE: saeyedoc Mar 11, 2009 10:34 AM

    i just came on to post the same thing. very interesting. i liked it.

    1. Davwud RE: saeyedoc Mar 11, 2009 10:45 AM

      He must have just taken his meds. He seemed much more courteous than I had thought he would be.

      Another Sandra Lee reference to the Kwanza cake. Yikes!!! The stuff of FTV legend.


      27 Replies
      1. re: Davwud
        pisang goreng RE: Davwud Mar 11, 2009 02:52 PM

        Another Sandra Lee reference to the Kwanza cake. Yikes!!! The stuff of FTV legend.

        Yep, and the video is still on their Web site. with this line underneath it: “Semi-Homemade makes a most amazingly beautiful cake for Kwanza.“ Proof Food Network has no shame showing the rape of a perfectly innocent angel food cake like that.

        1. re: pisang goreng
          AMFM RE: pisang goreng Mar 11, 2009 03:24 PM

          okay. i've never seen this one so i guess i will have to look... she creeps me out though. :)

          1. re: AMFM
            Davwud RE: AMFM Mar 11, 2009 05:40 PM

            I read a great blog about it. It points out all the things wrong with the cake. Also the Star of David cake. The star of David on the Star of David cake has 7 points. It's unbelievable.


            1. re: Davwud
              rockycat RE: Davwud Mar 12, 2009 07:42 AM

              I don't have cable, never seen most of these shows, but I just HAD to check out that Kwanzaa cake after reading these comment. OMG, words simply do not suffice. Why on earth does this woman hate food so? And why would a network give her any exposure whatsoever? Holy truffled foie gras, Batman! This is unreal!

              Davwud, what is your blog? I'd love to read what you had to say. Oh, and btw, marshmallows in a Jewish holiday cake? Marshmallows are one of those food items that are almost always not available in a kosher version (except around Passover or in Israel). WTF?

              1. re: rockycat
                Davwud RE: rockycat Mar 12, 2009 08:38 AM

                My blog is davwudsfoodcourt.blogspot.com

                I didn't write about it. I read someone elses blog.


          2. re: pisang goreng
            Mothership RE: pisang goreng Mar 11, 2009 03:49 PM

            Sooo. Much like passing a car wreck, I had to go look, it is just in my nature. Now I have lost my appetite for dinner. The Kwanzaa Cake video is the saddest, lowest, most pathetic piece of video I think I have ever seen. It was just so very sad to watch, on so many levels. (Question...Aren't her "acorns" actually Cornnuts? I haven't seen those for years - or maybe I just haven't looked for them.)

            The Bourdain comments, however, were on the mark and as usual, quite humorous. He is such my favorite. And yes, the prozac seems to be kicking in... he was quite generous with the kind words. I'm actually a fan when he is at his very snarkiest best...

            1. re: pisang goreng
              KenWritez RE: pisang goreng Mar 12, 2009 09:26 AM

              AUGGGHHH! I just saw the video for the first time!


              This recipe is not "semi-homemade", it's complete crap! Awfulness on every level! Store-bought frosting, store-bought pie filling? Was the cake store-bought as well? The cake looks like elephant dung! And what's up with those 6" Halloween-colored tapers? And that random collection of choclate chips and nuts that look like road gravel? There's no art, no attractive proportion to any of this at all!

              Now I want to heal the wound in my soul by curling up with Nigella Lawson on a sunny beach.

              Come to think of it, I want to curl up with Nigella Lawson anyway.

              1. re: KenWritez
                Phaedrus RE: KenWritez Mar 12, 2009 09:54 AM

                Stand in line pal!

                1. re: Phaedrus
                  bkhuna RE: Phaedrus Mar 12, 2009 12:24 PM

                  English Muffin indubitably !

                2. re: KenWritez
                  LindaWhit RE: KenWritez Mar 12, 2009 10:00 AM

                  LOL! Ahhhh, I always get a kick out of people getting their first glimpse of the infamous Kwanzaa Cake!

                  The horror expressed by everyone brings me back to the not-so-long-ago time when I first viewed the monstrosity that Dr. Shamdra begat. Memmm-ries, and good times.......

                  I'm really surprised that villagers haven't stormed the Food Network Castle to drag the hideous blue mutant from its lair to light those inch-wide tapers to bring the misbegotten beast to a melted, destroyed mess...ANYTHING to put us all out of our misery and prevent Dr. Shamdra from ever subjecting us to such deformed grotesqueness!

                  1. re: LindaWhit
                    roxlet RE: LindaWhit Mar 12, 2009 02:18 PM

                    OMG, I've never seen that before. The horror! The horror! That hideous pie filling, the corn-nuts, the phallic candle display. Where to begin? This woman should be shot for perpetrating this nausea-fest on the American pubic. For shame!!!

                    1. re: roxlet
                      Davwud RE: roxlet Mar 12, 2009 02:30 PM

                      So you're saying you didn't like it??


                    2. re: LindaWhit
                      KenWritez RE: LindaWhit Mar 12, 2009 02:32 PM

                      If Sandra Lee's mission is to show the harried home cook shortcuts to providing good food for her family in a short time, I have no problem with that. Lots of FN cooks do that. But the Kwanzaa cake isn't good food, it's a candle-lit turd on a cake plate, looking like it was thrown together at the last second.

                      "Sandra, thirty seconds until tape rolls!"
                      "Omigod, I've timed the rundown, we're four minutes short!"
                      "Sh*t! I'll tell her. Sandra, we're four minutes short, can you whip up something holiday-related to fill time?"
                      "You guys are killing me! Yeah, I'll do a Kwanzaa cake or something. Tell Sanjay to prep an angel food cake, I need some canned frosting and pie filling, and I need Kwanzaa colored candles."

                      There is nothing good about that cake, other than it is edible. I think even she realizes what a POS it is, as her manner during the prep is grim and terse. (For her, anyway.) So why does she let FN offer the recipe and video? Or does she have no say in that?

                      1. re: KenWritez
                        Davwud RE: KenWritez Mar 12, 2009 02:58 PM

                        Based on reviews I've read, it's not edible either.


                        1. re: Davwud
                          Lizard RE: Davwud Mar 13, 2009 12:36 AM

                          Not surprising. There's not one thing on that plate that's edible. Well, except for maybe the store bought angel cake (prior to violation) followed by the candles. And then the 'acorns' (what is with her calling corn nuts 'acorns'?).

                          Moreover, that doesn't even fit the fantasy of 'semi' homemade. The only thing 'homey' about that is the vengeful nature in which it had to have been imagined, Only a grudge (or complete madness) could influence those choices.

                          Also, I agree with Ken about shortcuts, but where are the shortcuts in buying crap and mixing it with other crap? I mean, frosting alone can be the easiest thing if one likes buttercream. But now I'm looking for realism and sensibility in these choices, when I've just seen what she does. Next think you know, I'll be fact-checking Heroes.

                          1. re: Lizard
                            Davwud RE: Lizard Mar 13, 2009 04:03 AM

                            I showed it to Mrs. Sippi last night and she got a kick out of it. We then went to You Tube and looked up a bunch of stuff. It's brutal. Creamy Roquefort potato chips were dreadful and her Christmas tree with the wine glasses and stuff hanging from it.
                            Some one added comments like on Pop Up Video that were really good.

                            We didn't watch it but there was one entitled "Sandra Lee Annihilates Asian Food" and another "Sandra Lee Rapes Thanksgiving."

                            We were almost in tears.


                            1. re: Davwud
                              billieboy RE: Davwud Mar 13, 2009 08:06 AM

                              I like the one where she cooks on the beach. Best cleavage I've seen in awhile.

                              1. re: billieboy
                                Davwud RE: billieboy Mar 13, 2009 08:09 AM

                                I'll have to look that one up.


                      2. re: LindaWhit
                        Glencora RE: LindaWhit Mar 12, 2009 08:14 PM

                        I just watched the video. Didn't think it could be as bad as everyone's saying, but it was. I've never seen her before. She is soooo blond and pretty skinny and very suburban. And that kitchen! She obviously doesn't like food and is only pretending that the cake tastes good. She probably doesn't like Kwanzaa. For all I know she doesn't like black people or any people. Did you see the way she stuck the knife into the cake before stabbing in the candles? She seemed positively hostile. Wow.

                        1. re: LindaWhit
                          momjamin RE: LindaWhit Mar 19, 2009 04:10 AM

                          Oh, but the best part is reading the comments of people who actually *made* the thing!

                          1. re: momjamin
                            LindaWhit RE: momjamin Mar 19, 2009 06:19 AM

                            Which stuns me worse than a stun gun ever could. That people actually attempted to MAKE this horrific mess just boggles the mind!

                      3. re: pisang goreng
                        mcsheridan RE: pisang goreng Mar 17, 2009 08:02 AM

                        AB is correct; that cake is a war crime on TV. Disgusting, ugly *and* inappropriate; a triple threat.

                      4. re: Davwud
                        KayceeK RE: Davwud Mar 12, 2009 08:03 AM

                        I thought the same thing about his courtesy; he almost seemed unable to say something negative, at least without backing it up with a positive spin.

                        1. re: Davwud
                          LJBTampa RE: Davwud Mar 12, 2009 10:37 AM

                          Oh the horror! I just watched the Kwanzaa cake video. That's just gross. What does any of it have to do with Kwanzaa.

                          Did anyone else notice she's not speaking in her usual weird sing-song voice in this video? That usually turns me off as much as her cooking.

                          1. re: LJBTampa
                            PattiCakes RE: LJBTampa Mar 12, 2009 11:13 AM

                            I am not familiar with the correct symbolism for Kwanza, but that cake looks like a large turd with peanuts. The official description of the episode on the web page is: "Semi-Homemade makes a most amazingly beautiful cake for Kwanza."

                            However, it's a cult favorite. It's our version of Rocky Horror Picture Show, and everyone gets to come as their favorite TABLE SCAPE.

                            1. re: LJBTampa
                              EWSflash RE: LJBTampa Mar 12, 2009 07:41 PM

                              Thank you for pointing out the delivery!

                              Nnext, I'm going to show you MY llllllucious lllllllatest cocktail- you're going to llllllove it."

                              Sounds like a singsongy bossy schoolteacher crossed with somebody of my acquaintance that I simply cannot stand, maybe that's part of the aversion. I was also taught by nuns.

                            2. re: Davwud
                              alwayscooking RE: Davwud Mar 12, 2009 03:50 PM

                              I . . . JUST . . .SAW . . .IT . . .

                              I am speechless

                            3. l
                              Lenox637 RE: saeyedoc Mar 11, 2009 11:49 AM

                              AB is my favorite tv food personality. It's his opinion and if you don't like it.... tough tiddly winks. I respect a guy that started his culinary career scrubbing pots.

                              1. s
                                spicychow RE: saeyedoc Mar 11, 2009 01:38 PM

                                I thought it was hilarious. Tony is so on point. And he always balances his wit with genuine respect for his fellow chefs.

                                1. PattiCakes RE: saeyedoc Mar 11, 2009 03:56 PM

                                  Loved the comment about Toby Young. And no one, I mean NO ONE says "snarky" like AB.

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: PattiCakes
                                    LindaWhit RE: PattiCakes Mar 12, 2009 06:36 AM

                                    And the one about Mark Bittman for "Spain: On the Road Again"???

                                    "And Mark Bittman, I don't think he adds value to anyone's TV show. He doesn't come off well on TV. Let's put it that way. I saw him make paella once on a TV show; he's been dead to me ever since. "


                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                      hudsonvalleyfoodblog RE: LindaWhit Mar 12, 2009 11:58 AM

                                      I had the same reaction to Spain: On the Road Again as AB. I wanted to love this show and it just fell flat. I also couldn't stand Bittman. He's like that annoying friend that you feel obligated to invite to parties.

                                      1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog
                                        LindaWhit RE: hudsonvalleyfoodblog Mar 12, 2009 12:02 PM

                                        Same here re: the show. I tried three episodes, I think, and nothing was overly good about it. Gwynnie could have been left out, as could have Bittman. As could have the loudly dubbed driving music.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                          poptart RE: LindaWhit Mar 13, 2009 12:22 PM

                                          Yes, the show was a real bore, and the soundtrack incredibly annoying.

                                          Also annoying: Michael Stipe from REM is on one episode, they are in a restaurant trying dishes which the owner is explaining, and Michael Stipe sits there texting on his cell phone while on camera.

                                          1. re: poptart
                                            paulj RE: poptart Mar 13, 2009 01:20 PM

                                            Funny, I didn't notice Stipe texting. I must have been paying more attention to the food. For example, I got the idea of drizzling molasses over pineapple from that episode.

                                            While a lot of people have complained about that show, focusing on the music, the personalities, the talking, and pacing, I have found it to be one of the more useful show when it comes to cooking ideas and inspirations.

                                            Tony, while interesting, has rarely inspired me to cook or try some new ingredient or recipe. For example, the only segment that I recall clearly from Tony's last Spain episode, involved melting chocolate ballons in the sun.

                                            For all it's faults, I picked up as much of a sense of what it is like to travel and eat in Spain from 'On the Road Again', as I have from Rick Steves' programs. In fact the two often complement each other.

                                            1. re: paulj
                                              poptart RE: paulj Mar 13, 2009 01:34 PM

                                              Things I did like about the show: being able to see the places in Spain they visited, and Mario's very contagious enthusiasm about everything and explanations. In one episodeI saw, they visit an older couple's home and watch the woman make a (chicken?) dish, translating her explanations on how she cooked it before and after having a modern kitchen.

                                              THat said, I do wish the music wasn't constantly running( and the same songs over and over...). It just isn't necessary, plus I enjoy hearing the environmental sounds of the places they visit as every city has its own "sound". Plus, I didn't get that much out of the hosts other than Mario. Nothing against them, I just felt that Batali offered the most content and asked good questions wherever they were eating. Much like Rick Steves does on his shows :-).

                                            2. re: poptart
                                              paulj RE: poptart Mar 16, 2009 07:18 PM

                                              I saw part of this episode today (on CreateTV), and saw Stipe using his phone. I didn't have sound on, so can't say for sure what he said afterwards. I suspect he was doing a web search, because I recall someone mentioning that Bittman has just published a review of the restaurant they were at.

                                              Bittman on Inopia

                                              1. re: paulj
                                                poptart RE: paulj Mar 16, 2009 10:03 PM

                                                Well, if doing a web search then that's more relevant. I must have missed that and am so used to seeing people at a cafe sitting across from each other while texting OTHERs, I just assumed he was doing the same !
                                                Thanks for the clarification. :-)

                                        2. re: LindaWhit
                                          paulj RE: LindaWhit Mar 12, 2009 02:44 PM

                                          Tony's just jealous that Mark didn't include him in his 'Takes on the Greatest Chefs' series. I suspect that is where Tony saw Mark make paella - when he took on Jose Andres.

                                          Don't judge Bittman by just his Road Again performance.

                                          1. re: paulj
                                            ferret RE: paulj Mar 12, 2009 09:45 PM

                                            If anything, Bittman's more tolerable on the Spain series, which is to say he's insufferably irritating on every other show I've seen him on.

                                            1. re: ferret
                                              paulj RE: ferret Mar 12, 2009 09:58 PM

                                              Wonder why he doesn't irritate me.

                                              1. re: paulj
                                                ferret RE: paulj Mar 13, 2009 02:41 PM

                                                He's like an unfunny Larry David.

                                              2. re: ferret
                                                roxlet RE: ferret Mar 13, 2009 05:08 AM

                                                I didn't mind him on The Best Recipes in the World series -- what few of those I caught. But his manner does tend to grate, and the 5 minutes I saw of the Spain series were enough to turn me off watching him. Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

                                        3. Midlife RE: saeyedoc Mar 11, 2009 04:57 PM

                                          I may be off my meds but all I get at that link is a picture of Bourdain and a short article talking about an MSN interview, but no interview. HELP!!!!!!!!!!! I need to see this.

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: Midlife
                                            Phaedrus RE: Midlife Mar 11, 2009 05:18 PM

                                            Go to the next picture and then read the comments to the right of the pictures. I had the same problem.

                                            He was definitely on his best behaviour, he may have just put his daughter down for a nap when the interview happened.

                                            The comments on Sandra Lee was dead on. I think he was too nice to RR. I am kind of surprised that he liked Gordon Ramsey so much, and Colicchio. Comments on TY was dead on too.

                                            1. re: Phaedrus
                                              Midlife RE: Phaedrus Mar 11, 2009 05:43 PM

                                              I don't know why but all I get when I go to the next photo is Rocco DiSpirito and still no link to the Bourdain article. I did my own search and found it here, should anyone else be as lame as I seem to be:

                                              1. re: Midlife
                                                sugarsnapp RE: Midlife Mar 11, 2009 09:10 PM

                                                " I think even Rachael Ray -- I hate to say this -- probably, on balance, makes the world a better place. Maybe not much."

                                                that was the LEAST he could say after Rachael was unnecessarily gracious towards him on nightline

                                                everyone's a critic...

                                                1. re: Midlife
                                                  Lizard RE: Midlife Mar 12, 2009 03:36 AM

                                                  It's not an article you're looking for, but a slide show with commentary on the side. You need to click on 'more' each time to see AB's comments.

                                                  I find this kind of media presentation really annoying. If they feel compelled to offer a slide show, it needs to be formatted differently. And they should always offer a full text version (the link you provide, Midlife, does not appear to be the commentary discussed in this thread).

                                                  1. re: Lizard
                                                    Midlife RE: Lizard Mar 12, 2009 11:22 AM

                                                    I get it now. Unless you expand each piece of commentary you can't see Bourdain's quote. Pretty odd way to present a piece of material. The article I linked to is by the same writer and some of the comments are similar, but I found it through a different route.

                                                    After reading them..............the Bourdain comments in the OP's link are, I'd agree, a lot more calm and rational than I would have expected from much of the way Bourdain is usually quoted. It's almost like he's finally getting used to the not-so-blurry line between serious, instructional cooking and lowest-common-denominator entertainment programming. At least he seems, in these comments, able to allow for a variety of style with the proviso that the underlying methodology and presentation has merit.

                                                    He also holds people he REALLY respects to a higher standard. I personally enjoy On the road Again, but I watch it as entertainment/travel/'gotta-try-that, not as serious food information. It's revealing that Bourdain sees the show as a waste of Mario's talent not as Mario giving credibility to the advancement of travel and cilinary curiosity. My guess is Bourdain doesn't think a true professional should waste time on the beyond-help masses. I'd counter that the show is on PBS, where the presumption would be a higher audience intelligience level.

                                                    1. re: Lizard
                                                      hudsonvalleyfoodblog RE: Lizard Mar 12, 2009 12:00 PM

                                                      Online Publishers love the slide show because it increases their page views.

                                                      1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog
                                                        Midlife RE: hudsonvalleyfoodblog Mar 12, 2009 12:26 PM

                                                        Shhhhhhh! Don't tell them I read all those pages and ignored EVERY ad. Couldn't tell you they were even there if you paid me.

                                                        1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog
                                                          Lizard RE: hudsonvalleyfoodblog Mar 13, 2009 12:42 AM

                                                          Interesting. Does that mean they can inflate the number of 'hits' (for whomever counts it?) or sell more advertising space?

                                                          Still, I find it a poor design/layout. I've enjoyed slideshows that have the text readily available. If I have to search for that 'more' link every time, that's all the less time for me to glance at ads and information-- they miss the opportunity for other click throughs. The more work someone makes for a page, the less time a visitor will spend there before getting out.

                                                      2. re: Midlife
                                                        EWSflash RE: Midlife Mar 12, 2009 08:17 PM

                                                        Thanks for that link, that one worked.
                                                        He's sure changed his tune about Emeril, who, like it or not, is one of the biggies when it comes to people learning about food. I'm not a huge, huge fan of Emeril, but I think he's been much maligned by the "bad boy chefs", who are now having their own demons and foibles pointed out to them.

                                                        I don't think i'll ever forget the time I saw Batali on Emeril Live. They both appeared to be alittle stiff, it was hard to see any cameraderie between them, but then they were both running around like madmen. Batali was doing his education-as-he-prepares, and was talking about adding salt and pepper, and suddenly Emeril yells "WAIT!" ran off for a second, and reappeared with one of those three-foor-high pepper mills, with a look on his face of anxiety, hoping he was worthy. Batali burst out laughing, it appeared to be pure improvisation. Hilarity ensued.

                                                        1. re: EWSflash
                                                          Midlife RE: EWSflash Mar 12, 2009 11:12 PM

                                                          Actually turns out THAT's not the right article (see Lizard post above and the 3 that follow it). You need to go to the OP's link, click NEXT and then click on 'more' in each successive picture. The commentary, including Bourdain's remarks are to the right of each photo, in the expanded text. .

                                                      3. re: Phaedrus
                                                        Caitlin McGrath RE: Phaedrus Mar 12, 2009 01:13 PM

                                                        "I think he was too nice to RR."

                                                        I dunno about that. There was a definite contrast (contradiction?) between "I think even Rachael Ray -- I hate to say this -- probably, on balance, makes the world a better place. Maybe not much."


                                                        "I think people respond to her because of her personality and not her cooking, which is pretty damned awful. ... She's big now, like Oprah big; the sooner she stops cooking, the happier we'll both be."

                                                        So, he thinks she's probably nice, but he sure doesn't think she can cook.

                                                      4. re: Midlife
                                                        OCAnn RE: Midlife Mar 18, 2009 10:25 AM

                                                        You weren't the only one. I had the same problem & didn't quite get it. I'm a dunce. Thanks all for pointing the way to reading AB's comments.

                                                      5. g
                                                        gastrotect RE: saeyedoc Mar 12, 2009 09:43 AM

                                                        I am glad he likes Alton Brown. And I agree with him. Of everything Food Network offers up, only Alton Brown is really worth a damn (actual chef/cook or not. I know the whole actor turned cook story, don't yell at me, it's been done already). I was a bit surprised at the respect he gave Martha, but maybe I shouldn't be. And maybe I should watch the Chopping Block. I trust his opinions and if he thinks Marco is a badass , then he must be. (And I love how he described him as Michael Corleone. Could be a really interesting antithesis to Gordon.)

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: gastrotect
                                                          AMFM RE: gastrotect Mar 12, 2009 11:45 AM

                                                          i thought it was interesting to see who he respected. agreed. and now i too will get sucked into the chopping block show. like i needed something else... :)

                                                          1. re: gastrotect
                                                            hudsonvalleyfoodblog RE: gastrotect Mar 12, 2009 12:00 PM

                                                            I like Good Eats as well I just wish he could eliminate the cheesy skits.

                                                            1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog
                                                              paulj RE: hudsonvalleyfoodblog Mar 12, 2009 02:46 PM

                                                              The skits are an integral part of the show, not just some silly add on.

                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                Davwud RE: paulj Mar 12, 2009 02:59 PM

                                                                Actually, they're both. But they're supposed to be silly. Cheese/camp is okay as long as that's what you're going for.


                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                  EWSflash RE: paulj Mar 12, 2009 08:19 PM


                                                            2. phee RE: saeyedoc Mar 12, 2009 01:00 PM

                                                              Loved, loved, loved his commentary. But then again, I adore AB. Loved what he wrote about Man vs. Food. I have a tough time watching that but I do like Adam. I was kind of surprised he thought so highly of Duff, and what he said about Rocco pretty much echoed what he'd said on his Bravo blog for Top Chef. Oh, but the kwanzaa cake - that was like bringing up a bad lunch! Heartburn and pain all over again! I've been trying to forget that since I first witnessed that abomination. Didn't you love his "All you have to do is waddle into the kitchen, open a can of crap and spread it on some other crap that you bought at the supermarket. And then you've done something really special"?

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: phee
                                                                paulj RE: phee Mar 12, 2009 02:50 PM

                                                                Given how often people say they can't stand 'semi-homemade', is it surprising how familiar they are with kwanzaa cake. Do they watch the show just to be disgusted? I've only seen a few minutes here and there of that show. I don't have time to watch a half hour of something that isn't interesting or is disgusting.

                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                  Davwud RE: paulj Mar 12, 2009 03:00 PM

                                                                  I've never watched the show. I heard about the Kwanza cake and googled it. I suspect that's how most people on here have seen it.


                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                    KenWritez RE: paulj Mar 12, 2009 03:53 PM

                                                                    I've watched chunks of 2 or 3 episodes just to see what all the angst was about. Speaking just for me, her show neither thrilled nor offended me, it was a show I didn't care for and would never watch again.

                                                                    My non-foodie wife likes the show so I asked her why. "She helps busy moms put together a fast, easy meal for their family" she said. I think she even likes the tablescapes, but I was too frightened to ask: Some things mortal husbands ought not to know.

                                                                    If you take a "food as merely nutrients and calories," then her show is acceptable, I suppose. If you take the view of "food as art" or "food as more than the sum of its parts," then the distaste people on CHOW feel for the show is understandable.

                                                                    1. re: KenWritez
                                                                      chowser RE: KenWritez Mar 12, 2009 05:50 PM

                                                                      I don't think she's geared towards busy moms as much as she appeals to people who find the appearance more important than the food, eg stepford wives. I've met far too many moms who use boxed foods but spend huge amounts of time with decorations, eg. turning marshmallows into snowmen on boxed cupcakes. They worship SL more than they do Martha Stewart.

                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                        alwayscooking RE: chowser Mar 12, 2009 05:58 PM

                                                                        Really? Really? Really? Please tell me that they only watch to get the same thrill as they would from COPS or a road accident . . . I brought an episode up (and just saw that indescribable cake) and have no grounding for the waste [trying to thing of an appropriate word] she is 'creating'. Should I laugh or cry?!!!

                                                                        1. re: alwayscooking
                                                                          chowser RE: alwayscooking Mar 13, 2009 04:14 AM

                                                                          LOL, when I'm channel surfing, I always have to stop to see what she's doing, just like watching a road accident. I was at a lunch the other day and the other women were talking about how wonderful she is. Really. I thought they were being sarcastic at first but they were serious. I think it's for the Martha wannabe crowd who can't be bothered to put in the work that MS does. They spend their time on making processed food look good. And it's a lot of time. I mean, changing your tablescape to suit the food is time consuming. My friend's husband said at least there's no surprise what kind of food you're having when you come home from work, just look at the decoration.

                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                            pamf RE: chowser Mar 16, 2009 09:14 PM

                                                                            OMG, you actually know of someone who changes the decor for at home, family meals. SL really must be stopped.

                                                                            1. re: pamf
                                                                              billieboy RE: pamf Mar 18, 2009 12:01 PM

                                                                              I read somewhere that she has a number of different KitchenAid Stand mixers in different colours to match the set that day. Whew..pretentious or what?

                                                                              1. re: billieboy
                                                                                paulj RE: billieboy Mar 18, 2009 02:51 PM

                                                                                Would the manager of the props department at Food Network, or any other major studio, theater, or opera company consider that pretentious?

                                                                    2. re: paulj
                                                                      chowser RE: paulj Mar 12, 2009 05:47 PM

                                                                      I think the kwanzaa cake has become part of pop culture. I wonder if the crew decided to play a joke on Sandra Lee and put together something as atrocious as they could and see how she'd respond. Then, they decided just to go with it and see what would happen. In the clip posted above she seems to be kind of hesitant. Could anyone seriously put together angel food cake, cocoa and cinnamon in canned frosting, canned apples and corn nuts with large candelabra candles? They never even matched a tablescape to it.

                                                                  2. alwayscooking RE: saeyedoc Mar 12, 2009 03:53 PM

                                                                    Bourdain was spot on in his critiques (only because I agree with him)! His lack of love for the FN devolution is perfect.

                                                                    1. EWSflash RE: saeyedoc Mar 12, 2009 07:16 PM

                                                                      I'm unable to see any of the comments he made. It's just a portrait (a good one) and a short blurb, with no link to anything more.

                                                                      Is there another link to an article?

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: EWSflash
                                                                        EWSflash RE: EWSflash Mar 12, 2009 08:21 PM

                                                                        Never mind, somebody already posted a more direct link.

                                                                      2. a
                                                                        AngelSanctuary RE: saeyedoc Mar 13, 2009 12:32 AM

                                                                        Yay! I'm glad Bourdain likes AB! I love them both. But overall, yea he did soften up, more subtle. Like the Rachel Ray one, he never even said that he thinks she's a nice person, it's more like he thinks she's PROBABLY a nice person.

                                                                        I'm really surprised about the Ace of Cakes one though since I absolutely hate that show and about Top Chef. I really do not like Tom Collichio, especially after this season.

                                                                        1. chicaraleigh RE: saeyedoc Mar 13, 2009 03:06 PM

                                                                          I just had an opportunity to see him speak live - he echoed a lot of his sentiments in his lecture. He is a funny funny guy and I love the fact that he doesn't really pull any punches!

                                                                          1. j
                                                                            jhopp217 RE: saeyedoc Mar 14, 2009 01:49 AM

                                                                            Wow has Ab mellowed. I think after the episode of No reservations when he went to New Orleans and sat down with Emeril, he realized that the man lives for cooking and making people happy (and employed). I think Bourdain secretely still think's he's a hairy little hobbit, or whatever he called him, but he respects that Emeril respects the same things he does.

                                                                            I was surprised he softened his view on Rachel Ray. Glad to see he is still bashing Sandra Lee. Although I did hear him once say, she probably (along with Ray) get more people to try cooking than any other personalities on the food network...and he stated "that is a good thing."

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jhopp217
                                                                              KTinNYC RE: jhopp217 Mar 14, 2009 07:10 AM

                                                                              Bourdain called Emeril "Ewok-like".

                                                                              1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                jhopp217 RE: KTinNYC Mar 14, 2009 12:46 PM

                                                                                hahaha, thanks, I needed that!

                                                                              2. re: jhopp217
                                                                                OCAnn RE: jhopp217 Mar 18, 2009 10:27 AM

                                                                                Marriage usually mellows people.

                                                                                1. re: OCAnn
                                                                                  Phaedrus RE: OCAnn Mar 18, 2009 12:13 PM

                                                                                  No doubt marriage does, but I think being daddy to a little girl does more to mellow you out.

                                                                              3. duckdown RE: saeyedoc Mar 14, 2009 02:48 PM

                                                                                Doesn't even seem like Bourdain...

                                                                                Can't believe he was so positive about Rachel Ray... She is the worst, IMO

                                                                                19 Replies
                                                                                1. re: duckdown
                                                                                  KenWritez RE: duckdown Mar 14, 2009 11:13 PM

                                                                                  IMHO RR is not the Axis of Culinary Evil. She has never claimed to be a chef and her schtick has been those 30 minute meals--something every frazzled working mom and dad would love to do so as to feed their families good food on on a budget and in a short time.

                                                                                  The temptation for such a parent to say, "Forget all this cooking crap, I'll just boil a bag of Bertolli's / open a can of ravioli / nuke a Hot Pockets" is huge. One drawback to showing no one but high-end chefs cooking is the intimidatiom virgin cooks feel when they see Bobby Flay or Martha or Gordon Ramsay quickly and effortlessly chop garlic, make a roux or saute fish. "I can't do that!" is what too many of these noob cooks will say to themselves, not realizing none of those chefs will be judging the food prep, and these skills are easy to acquire ***because no one is there to tell them and, more importantly, show them.***

                                                                                  RR's onscreen demeanor drives me nuts and I can't watch her show, but I can appreciate what she does. She is the stepping stone that leads to Ina Garten or Paula Deen. From these two the student graduates to Nigella, Bobby Flay, Mario or AB , finally culminating at someone like Morimoto or Julia Child. (Ming Tsai is definitely post-grad!)

                                                                                  Entry level currcula is always lowest common denominator--it has to be. So, RR serves that need and IMHO serves it well. Her recipes are easy enough to attract the noob cook and offer that person a reasonable chance of success. Once that cook starts successfully making chili or chicken parmesan or stuffed pork chops, then their confidence will build, allowing them to range more widely across the culinary savannah, to really stretch a metaphor.

                                                                                  1. re: KenWritez
                                                                                    AMFM RE: KenWritez Mar 15, 2009 08:06 AM

                                                                                    i agree. and i think it is good that there are different people at different levels so that you can find someone who appeals to you. i don't like RR but can see her appeal. different from sandra lee who uses fake food. it's not that i never use fake food but i certainly wouldn't laud it. she to me is worthy of no praise. i dislike paula for her schtick but like ina. but could see someone else liking the other. so...
                                                                                    well summed up.

                                                                                    1. re: AMFM
                                                                                      KenWritez RE: AMFM Mar 15, 2009 09:53 AM

                                                                                      Yeah, Sandra Lee's food bothers me, too. It's not that it's quick, or uses store-bought items (I heard a caterer say that Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup saved him multiple times when his own sauce didn't turn out or it had to be stretched at the last minute) but that she seems to promote it as of higher quality than it is.

                                                                                      1. re: KenWritez
                                                                                        EWSflash RE: KenWritez Mar 15, 2009 10:11 AM

                                                                                        Everybody takes a short-cut once in a while, if you say you never do I will suspect you of lying.
                                                                                        But SL gives the concept of "partly homemade" a bad name with her over the top bastardizations of real food.

                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash
                                                                                          thew RE: EWSflash Mar 15, 2009 11:03 AM

                                                                                          while i'm not crazy about either of them, the problem is more that these shows replaced, rather than supplanted shows that catered to a more informed food fan. I do not blame FN for the changes they made from the early days - a bigger share is a bigger share.. but i miss the FN of old

                                                                                          1. re: EWSflash
                                                                                            jhopp217 RE: EWSflash Mar 16, 2009 08:49 PM

                                                                                            My only defense is that she states right off the top that it is 70% premade food. She also explains on her website that this "cooking" style came out of necessity to feed her family (she was the oldest sibling) buying stuff with food stamps and welfare checks.

                                                                                            While her cooking style isn't as impressive as the Bobby Flay or Mario Batali's, she, as Rachel Ray, probably connects to more beginner cooks and especially working parents, because her meals are simple and cost effective. She is also one of those people who donates lots of time and money to charities, so she should be commended on giving back to those who are less fortunate, like she once was.

                                                                                            Also, how can you completely knock someone who adds an alcoholic drink to every show!

                                                                                            1. re: jhopp217
                                                                                              LindaWhit RE: jhopp217 Mar 17, 2009 05:57 AM

                                                                                              Also, how can you completely knock someone who adds an alcoholic drink to every show!
                                                                                              The Kwanzaa cake and tablescapes are two reasons. <vbg>

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                Phaedrus RE: LindaWhit Mar 17, 2009 07:11 AM

                                                                                                Of course, the alcohol is the sole reason for the existence for the abominations known as the Kwanzaa cake and tablescapes.

                                                                                                In addition, no one is saying that Sandra Lee is a horrible person, she is just a horrible excuse for a TV food show host.

                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                  PattiCakes RE: Phaedrus Mar 17, 2009 07:32 AM

                                                                                                  Everybody on TV has a "schtick". For SL, tablescapes are part of hers. Heck, I never even heard of the term "tablescape" until I saw one of her shows. She fits a niche. Might not be MY niche, or YOUR niche, but there is an audience out there for what she does. She's actually a pretty amazing individual, considering where she came from & what she's done in her life. I should have such drive & determination! (but not Kwanza Cake).

                                                                                                  1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                    Phaedrus RE: PattiCakes Mar 17, 2009 07:39 AM

                                                                                                    Like I said, this has nothing to do with her as a human being.

                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                      chowser RE: Phaedrus Mar 17, 2009 12:12 PM

                                                                                                      Exactly. Criticizing her show is not a reflection on her as a person, just as a cook.

                                                                                              2. re: jhopp217
                                                                                                chowser RE: jhopp217 Mar 17, 2009 12:06 PM

                                                                                                "Also, how can you completely knock someone who adds an alcoholic drink to every show!"

                                                                                                Given that her mother was an alcoholic and she supposedly had to raise her family as a result, you'd think she'd be more wary of that.

                                                                                                In the beginning of the show, she says she used to make it all from scratch but found that it was just as good to do do these short cuts. Buying processed food costs more than doing it from scratch so I can't imagine she fed a family with food stamps and welfare checks doing what she's doing on the show. What I've seen would end up costing a lot. I mean, the Kwanzaa cake alone must be well over $10. She's successful and she fills a market. She's laughing all the way to the bank.

                                                                                        2. re: KenWritez
                                                                                          jhopp217 RE: KenWritez Mar 15, 2009 09:04 AM

                                                                                          KenWritez, I don't think that could have been said any better. I got into the Food Network a few years ago watching Iron Chef, but then I found Jamie Oliver. He made food I liked, and made it look so easy. He showed a joy for cooking that my mother had and I wanted to replicate those meals. So I bought his cookbook (HE had one at the time). I wanted to start easy so I tried a burger recipe, one of his steak rubs, and a celeriac gratin. Well after spending about $60 on herbs, and another $40 on the proteins, I went to work. Everything came out perfect and I learned two valuable lessons. I need my own herb garden and I don't like celeriac. The cost is what people forget when buying these celebrity chef cookbooks. The top end proteins, the fresh herbs. These things cost a fortune. I have one of Bobby Flay's books, and wanted to make something. While pricing it out in the supermarket, I realized, to make his dish the way he says to make it, it would have cost me almost $80 to make dinner for two. A little pricey for a weeknight meal.

                                                                                          1. re: jhopp217
                                                                                            EWSflash RE: jhopp217 Mar 15, 2009 10:12 AM

                                                                                            So- what's in your herb garden?

                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash
                                                                                              jhopp217 RE: EWSflash Mar 16, 2009 08:42 PM

                                                                                              Unfortunately I don't have one. Live in an apt with one window that doesn't get enough sun to even have a window box.

                                                                                          2. re: KenWritez
                                                                                            Midlife RE: KenWritez Mar 15, 2009 10:51 AM

                                                                                            Of course, you're absolutely correct. If everyone went by that philosophy this particular board would be about half the size it is. :o)

                                                                                            It's just that sometimes lowest common denominators can grate like fingernails on a blackboard. For me, there are many Food Network Shows I can't watch, but Sandra Lee is really the only one I feel is too far below the bar to defend. I won't trash her but I won't defend her.

                                                                                            1. re: Midlife
                                                                                              sugarsnapp RE: Midlife Mar 16, 2009 09:01 PM

                                                                                              it was not "comments" it was criticism

                                                                                              calling emeril an "ewok" is just rude

                                                                                              and his criticism of rachael and even sandra lee just plain isnt necessary

                                                                                              i am sure this will get clipped here but

                                                                                              grow up already bourdain!

                                                                                              1. re: sugarsnapp
                                                                                                KTinNYC RE: sugarsnapp Mar 16, 2009 09:11 PM

                                                                                                Did you actually read the comments he made about RR and Sandra Lee? They were beyond mild and didn't call Emeril "ewok like" in this interview it was years ago when he wrote Kitchen Confidential so you've gotten your wish, Bourdain has grown up.

                                                                                                1. re: sugarsnapp
                                                                                                  Midlife RE: sugarsnapp Mar 16, 2009 11:32 PM

                                                                                                  sugarsnapp, which post(s) and poster(s) were you quoting and responding to? You're nested right below mine but I thought I was pretty much in the 'live and let live' camp.

                                                                                          3. FoodChic RE: saeyedoc Aug 15, 2009 09:18 AM

                                                                                            Great stuff!

                                                                                            That Sandra Lee Kwanza cake really should have brought out the NAACP lawyers, as it was nothing short of a hate crime!

                                                                                            Thanks for posting.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: FoodChic
                                                                                              Phaedrus RE: FoodChic Aug 17, 2009 06:10 AM

                                                                                              ROFLMAO. Ok, I never thought of it that way.

                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                Davwud RE: Phaedrus Aug 17, 2009 06:29 AM

                                                                                                Check this site out.



                                                                                            2. K K RE: saeyedoc Aug 17, 2009 04:22 PM

                                                                                              "I'll be leaking like the Exxon Valdez!" - Tony in Shanghai, about to finish his spicy beef vermicelli Sichuan style noodle bowl from a street vendor.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: K K
                                                                                                Davwud RE: K K Aug 17, 2009 06:28 PM

                                                                                                Oddly enough it doesn't have to be from a "Spicy beef vermicelli Sichuan style noodle bowl from a street vendor."


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