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Aug 9, 2009 11:06 AM

$10 meals - did I miss anything?

I just realised I forgot to set the dvr to tape this before I went to church... did anyone watch it? Did I miss anything great, or did Melissa bomb?

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  1. There were a couple of stutter steps, but overall, she's a natural. My take-away was the ease of doing a pie/pastry crust. I seen it done a million times, but there was something about her's that seemed simplified......

    1. I watched it and thought Melissa did a good job. She didn't look nervous at all and seemed to know her stuff.

      The potato/bacon/gruyere torte she made sounded and looked good but, once sliced, had a little bit of a soupy consistency that turned me off. Maybe she didn't let it rest long enough (although she said she let it rest for 15 minutes). The other dishes - a salad and an applesauce granita w/ yogurt sauce - didn't do anything for me.

      I don't like the title, reminds me too much of RR's $40 a day. I didn't think Melissa's "culinary point of view" was cooking on a budget - wasn't the working title suggested by Alton Brown something like "Rescue Chef"?

      1. She didn't bomb, but it wasn't great either. Typical food network stuff. I am a little irritated by the $10 meal concept, because if you went out and bought all of the ingredients to make the meal, then it would cost you more than $10. They're assuming you're drawing from your pantry, which I think is disingenuous.

        The food network seems to think we care about people's personal stories. How her relationship is with her mother in law, that her mom taught her to carve her initials into the pie, etc. I don't mean to be callous, but I don't care about that personal information, especially if they are just sharing it for the sake of sharing it, which I think they are. I'd like to know less about you; and more about food. For instance, I liked the story about how she got the salad dressing recipe; I would have liked to know more about that cafe and the inspiration for the meal itself.


        5 Replies
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Dairy Queen, Bob Tuschman won't hire anyone unless they constantly tell stories about their granny and their stupid kids. Any time a NFNS contestant makes such a reference, the camera cuts to Bob, and he just beams. Makes me want to slap him.

          I join those who think the concept/title for the show is pitiful.

          1. re: Remander

            I would like to slap him regardless of whether the camera goes to him or not. He epitomizes what went wrong with FN. I saw the tease for the NFNS with him and decided to never watch the stupid thing.

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Do you mean that they assumed you had a full spice rack and oil/sugar/flour in your pantry? Because almost everyone who cooks does... do does their miraculous pantry already include twenty dollars worth of canned goods waiting to be used for this particular meal?

              In this case I care less about the warm and cosy family stories than I do about the budget...

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                It's just like all of the stupid backstories at the olympics.

                I'm sure they've run the numbers and the storytelling brings in more people vs. the people it scares away. I know w/ the olympics the reason supposedly was to increase female viewership, but I doubt it's the same for TFN

              2. I liked the show. I am going to try the potatoes and the apple stuff - can't remember what it is called. I also think they are assuming that you are not going out to buy all the ingredients - they are breaking down the cost. think about it - don't most of you have most of the ingredients on hand most of the time?

                11 Replies
                1. re: kprange

                  Guyere cheese and bacon and heavy cream are things I don't have in my pantry as a matter of routine and I don't think I could buy all those for $4, which is what she claimed her bacon torte costs. Yes, she only used 4 strips of bacon, but to make this meal, you're going to have to shell out more than $10, plus use potatoes and flour and butter out of your pantry. And now you have bacon in your freezer, something I personally really try to not eat much of.

                  I just went to a local grocery store's website to get prices. Obviously, prices vary and you get what you can on sale, etc, but this is just at my fingertips:

                  Here's 8 oz of Land O Lakes Heavy Whipping Cream for $2.29
                  Guyere for $22/lb (you need 1/4 cup--what's that 3 oz maybe? You'd have to do the math here, but it's at least a couple of bucks. And, if they really meant for you to go out and buy this and really come in at around $10, they would have tipped you, "Oh, when you're at your cheesemonger, tell him you need X ounces, or whatever 1/4 is.).
                  Bacon for $3.89


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I have two grocery stores close to me where I can buy bacon by the slice. I routinely buy three or four slices for cheese stuffed jalapenos on the grill, and it doesn't cost anywhere near $3.89.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      Honestly, I've never bought bacon by the slice, but a pack of bacon is about $4. She didn't advocate buying bacon by the slice, but it would have been a good thing for her to suggest, wouldn't it have been?


                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I don't know how much gruyere is - I don't even know where to buy it! I rarely use cream but I know it's about two bucks for a small carton. I buy a pack of reduced-sodium bacon regularly and use it a few slices at a time all week. The kind I get is about four bucks a pack and four slices would only be about a quarter of that... potatoes are a dollar a pound at the outside. If you used the cheapest bacon you can get it's $2.50 a pound. So say that torte costs five dollars.

                      1. re: Kajikit

                        You can probably use swiss instead.

                        1. re: spellweaver16

                          That is true - I substitute ingredients all the time. I try to look at recipes as techniques that can be modified and changed.

                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I bought some gruyere just a week or two ago. A smallish (maybe a little over half a pound?) chunk of it was almost $8. Well worth it, but wouldn't have left much for those potatoes, etc.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          I'm so glad you bumped this thread. (And, P.S. I love Gruyere!) because I was on the food network's site and have noticed that with the summaries for Melissa's episodes, she now provides a listing of additional suggestions for staying within a a budget for the meal discussed in that episdoe. I don't know if this is a new feature or if it was been there all along, but I think it does add credibility to the "$10 promise" premise.

                          Also, for those looking for the recipe for the applesauce granita (or whatever it was called), it is now posted on the food network site.


                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Lund's and Byerly's are very expensive. You can get a pound of gruyere at Trader Joe's for under $8. If you are trying to cook for 4 for $10 you are not going to be shopping in an area's highest end groceries.

                        3. re: kprange

                          Oh, I think you mean the apple lemon granita.

                          Apple sauce $2.29
                          Lemon $1
                          Yogurt $.89

                          Plus maple syrup and cinnamon out of your pantry. She said the torte was $4, the salad was $3, which leaves you $3 for dessert, which price she exceeded.

                          I just don't like the $10 conceit, I guess. Even if you're not a freakish number adder upper like I am, it doesn't take you long to realize you're going to go over $10 if you really plan to do this meal.

                          I thought the granita sounded interesting too, actually as I'm always looking for healthy desserts and that would certainly do in a pinch. But, she could have just made applesauce out of apples, if the important thing is budget, not speed or ease.


                        4. I fell asleep when she was making the dough! I guess it didn't captivate me enough!

                          Not to mention with the food cost in Bermuda, one can not cook a meal for 4 for $10.00!!!