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Food Network's Sandra Lee ... contrarian? Sandra Lee says "NO WAY!" to generics.

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  1. ...wow, I knew I didn't really like her.

    I mean, a can of generic soup vs a can of Campbell's is one thing (I can't say I'd eat either), but... a can of supermarket carrots or, god forbid, a bag of frozen supermarket veggies or fish or something isn't going to taste any different from the national brands.

    *rolls eyes*

    I'd rather save money buying generic mushrooms, cream and spices than buying an icky premade can of mushroom soup.

    2 Replies
    1. re: HJSoulma

      I'm not going to watch it, specifically because it's *her*. But a can of generic supermarket brand soup *is* often the exact same thing as a can of a name brand - they're often made for that chain in the same place and by the same company that cans/packages the national brand.


      " Store Brands Are a Matter of Taste

      In the "Tightwad Gazette" books Amy has an article about store brands vs. name brands. Somtimes they honestly just use different packaging for the same product. (Afterall, the stores have to get thier products from some manufacturer already in business)."

      And who are you going to believe - Shamdra or Consumer Reports on whether generic tastes better than national name brands?


      "If concern about taste has kept you from trying store-brand foods, hesitate no more. In blind tests, our trained tasters compared a big national brand with a store brand in 29 food categories. Store and national brands tasted about equally good 19 times. Four times, the store brand won; six times, the national brand won. "

      1. re: LindaWhit

        I really like Shop Rite supermarket brand products. Better than name brands at 2/3 price. Everything from Nutella like chocolate hazelnut spread to Oreo cookie like chocolate cream sandwich cookies to European style baked crackers.

    2. Wow. What she said was irritating on so many levels. That 70/30 thing just blew my mind: 70 percent of the stuff in the store is package goods, so according to her that means that's the percentage of packaged goods we should buy!? As opposed to 30 percent meat, dairy and produce!!!!!!!? Wouldn't every other sane person -- including every home economist/nutritionist who says "shop the perimeter of the store" -- say it would be the other way around?

      But let's be real: she doesn't like generics because they don't sponsor her show and her other endeavours.

      1. "But let's not be unpleasant because it's time for ... COCKTAILS!"

        1. Crazy old drunk. So now she considers herself a chef?

          Doesn't she have an endorsement deal with Smirnoff?

          1. Out magazine did a feature on Sandy and "her gays" a couple of months ago that was kind of funny:


            4 Replies
            1. re: deibu

              Sandra and Pat Robertson... think of what the babies would be like...

                1. re: pamf

                  Yeah... she talked about that in regards to her no bigotry stance in the OUT article. All seems duplicitous to me...

              1. re: deibu

                I love this: “She seems to suggest that you can make good food easily, in minutes, using Cheez Whiz and chopped-up Pringles and packaged chili mix,” sniffed the celebrated chef and food writer Anthony Bourdain.

                Sniffed. Hah!

              2. "Go to the grocery store and pick up a generic branded can of cream of mushroom or cream of broccoli soup and then put that next to a can of a national name brand soup and just LOOK at the difference. There's NO WAY you would use a generic brand. There is no way. After you take it out and look at it. Not gonna happen."

                Um. They both look gray and goopy. Yuk.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jen76

                  The difference being that she's got a big endorsement deal's worth or reasons to decide to see the Campbell's soup as better.

                2. Nothing to be surprised about when you consider the source.

                  I'm pretty sure it's well established that this woman has zero cooking talent. I find the stuff she creates is nothing short of offensive. The bigger insult comes from FN for trying to pass off this talentless hack as an expert in anything!

                  Anyone that reads a Betty Crocker cookbook has more knowlege on food than this woman. I think one of the most memorable events came from an episode years ago when she seeded a chipotle in adobo sauce. I knew at that moment that she had no idea about a food, and absolutely no knowledge of cooking.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FoodChic

                    And yet somehow she continues to have a show on TFN, and continues to sell "cookbooks". So someone is buying her pap.

                    It boggles the mind.

                  2. Well, if you browse through her cookbooks (I wouldn't recommend actually buying them), you'll see that every ingredient called for in her recipes is associated with a brand name. Every single ingredient.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: choctastic

                      I want to know how this woman can get in front of a camera and spout this garbage. I don't care how much money she's making, she should have some integrity. Passing off prepackaged food that is full of high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artifical flavoring as healthy foods is not only insulting, but it's downright fraud.

                      I guess when you're shacking up with the executive producer of the network those things don't matter.

                      1. re: FoodChic

                        What's funny is that she passes off all that stuff as "good" food but then looks down at store brands. All she is doing is reprocessing processed foods.

                        1. re: FoodChic

                          That's old news, lately she's been shacking up with the New York State Attorney General.

                          Who has aspirations to be governor and perhaps one day POTUS.


                          1. re: FoodChic

                            (Note: this is in response to chowser)

                            Well, that's the point...the irony of it, I mean. She's concerned enough about quality that she would never recommend generics, and yet on her new show she habitually recommends fattier cuts of meat because they cost less. (Although, ultimately, they really don't, when you factor in all the cardiovascular specialists' bills due to the saturated fat content of her recommendations.) The way I try to approach it generally is to buy smaller amounts of leaner meats and augment them with veggies and grains. I still save money, and I'm not premeditatedly killing my family. But back to the subject of generics. I've had occasion twice in the past two weeks to cook a national brand of chicken, whose name everybody knows. I bought it because it was on a three-for-one sale. After having it again, I'm reminded why I stopped buying it several years ago, in favor of the storebrand chicken. The national brand has, like, NO taste! The cheaper storebrand has tons of flavor and is meatier and plumper, too.

                            On the other hand, there are some things in which I have a preference for a specific name brand, and in those instances, the generic (and even other name brands) just don't cut it. So people really need to be willing to at least try different brands, including generics, once and then figure out which one they prefer.

                        2. At least one of her fundamental premises is flawed. She says that because 70% of the store shelf space consists of the inner aisles with packaged products and 30% of the outer rim with fresh goods, that means that the same ratio holds for home pantries.

                          Not true. The inner shelves takes up more spaces because there are more brands and also there are aisles of things like dog food, toilet paper and window cleaner. A typical grocery store has an entire side of one aisle just for dry cereal and probably a fifth or less of that for meat. That's because there are a multitude of choices, varieties and brands of dry cereal and it's not the same for meat. Also, cereal can stay on the shelf for a long time and the packaging takes up a lot of space.

                          It does not mean that people have five times as much cereal at home as they have meat. Not when measured by mass, or by cost. The only possibly way is if it's measured by volume and that would mostly be the empty air in the cereal boxes and only for people that eat a whole lot of cereal.

                          I know the ground rules for this site say less bashing of TV show hosts, but this is a really ignorant statement from her.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: taos

                            It might be bashing but her logic doesn't stand. There's some irony in someone who produces the Kwanzaa cake and then turns her nose up at generics.

                            1. re: chowser

                              OMG....The KWANZAA CAKE!!!

                              Here is a video of her making the cake...Yes, those are corn nuts! Nothing but class for Sandra!!


                            2. re: taos

                              A typical grocery store has an entire side of one aisle just for dry cereal and probably a fifth or less of that for meat.
                              I'll have to disagree on that. Almost all supermarkets in my area have 3/4 of the back of the store devoted to meat and seafood, and the rest of that space is a combination of dairy and juices. A good bit more space than the cereal aisle.

                              But either way - just the whole idea of Sandra Lee's reason for being on television is flawed, and I really cannot believe she actually sells advertising dollars and/or her cookbooks. It still boggles the mind.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                You know, though, she's laughing all the way to the bank.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Which disgusts me even more. P.T. Barnum comes to mind........

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Yeah. Although, I have to say I was impressed the other day when I was flipping through the TV and saw her spatchcock a chicken. Good for her for teaching her viewers to use a whole chicken. I don't know what she did with it, though.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      Probably covered it with corn nuts. :-P

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        The editing is amazing. You watch her screw something up, different camera cut and then it's perfect

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          Last time I saw SL handle raw meat of the show she used the tips her figers as if she was disgusted by the whole process. It really stuck with me.

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      LindaWhit - I was comparing meat and packaged cereal, not meat, seafood, poultry, sushi, the deli counter, and whatever else is back there to cereal. Just meat.

                                      Your grocery store may differ but if so, it's not typical.

                                      1. re: taos

                                        Your grocery store may differ but if so, it's not typical.
                                        I think "typical" might be dependent on where you live, taos. ALL supermarkets, where I've lived (Northern NJ, central PA, and in the Boston area) have a meat area much bigger than the cereal aisle. And all I've seen when I've traveled (Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Richmond, Charlotte, and probably a few others) are the same way.

                                  2. Last night on HGTV, she made everything special..

                                    Tablescapes in green green green green - green glitter on lime-green acrylic plants - did I mention green? - of course you can get EVERYTHING at the FABRIC store/

                                    Hors-d'oeuvres - everyone loves meatball subs - so why don't we make mini-meatball & swiss cheese crostinis. Merry Christmas!

                                    Cocktail -- take one part apple cider (non-alcoholic kind), one part of random whiskey... Frozen cranberries make cute "ice cubes" for this drink. I was thinking - okay but not too bad, Aunt Sandy . But then she added a massive splash of cheap champagne on top. Can you imagine the hangover from that?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: deibu

                                      She is a cheerleader for people to buy 70% can already made... and 30% produce... hahaha....

                                      If you eat you are a foodie? hahaha

                                      I wonder what kind of pork and beans can she buys hahaha....


                                      i work in a bookstore and have never seen anyone buying any of her books. we even had them in 40% discount I didnt see any of those book move at all.

                                      1. re: helenahimm

                                        Her comment "If you eat, you are a foodie" really got to me. I've seen an episode of Star Trek... does that make me a Trekkie? No. You need to foster at least a mild obsession and intense love of Star Trek to be a Trekkie, and the same is true for foodies. Sure, my non-foodie friends enjoy food, but there's a world of difference between them and my foodie friends: we read menus online in their entirety before going to restaurants, we research restaurants exhaustively, we adore cooking, and we believe in investing great amounts of effort in the pursuit of good food. My non-foodie friends appreciate good food, but the difference between them and us is that they wouldn't feel compelled to spend an hour talking about a meal after having enjoyed it. It is almost very much one of the few black-and-white distinctions I'm able to make in classifying my loved ones.

                                    2. It is threads like this one that keep me coming back to Chowhound. The snide comments and snob level is great entertainment.

                                      I for one always have at least one can of cream of mushroom soup in my pantry right beside the cream of chicken, and the cream of celery. I think as for condensed soups she is right on the money. The name brand is sooo much better than the generic, which I made the mistake of purchasing only one time. There are some generics as good as the name brands, but soup is not one of them. Then again I really do not understand how others ever make funeral food without condenses soups.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: swamp

                                        You mean the snob level that name brand cream soups are better than generics?;-p