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Nov 12, 2009 07:34 AM

Martha's pies

Martha Stewart's guest on Friday the 12th will be Rachael Ray - she will teach RR how to bake a pie, and then on Monday the show will be devoted to pie. I am thinking the order should have been reversed, so the studio could have stockpiled pies for these two philosophical rivals to toss at one another! This year, Martha's special holiday cooking issue covers all sorts of sweet baked goods.

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  1. I'm just waiting for RR to perk up with, "but why make a crust when you can just buy one? they're so easy and....(wait for it)...YUM-O!"

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChristinaMason

      I tell ya it's neck in neck in the race between Martha and Rachel. "Yum-O" or "It's soooooooooo
      oooooooooooooo delicious". I had to force myself to watch Martha interrupt Jim Lahey on her program a week ago while he was attempting to make what looked like a great carrot bread. I kept yelling at the TV "Shut up! Let him explain! We're missing the recipe while you're blathering!"

      1. re: oakjoan

        She irritates me with the interrupting, as well. She was actually a lot worse when the show first came out -- I seem to remember that she even read some viewer feedback on the show that suggested she stop interrupting. She scaled back a bit after that, but I think she's so high on her own importance, she can't help herself.

    2. Wait, you mean tomorrow, Friday the 13th?

      6 Replies
      1. re: NYCkaren

        Oh, my bad. Yes, Friday the 13th - somebody in production has a sense of humor! "2013", the movie about the end of the world as predicted in the Mayan calendar, opens tomorrow as well - but could be that happens if these two create a nuclear reaction by sharing the same stage.....the Mayans never figured on Good Thing vs. Yummo.

        1. re: greygarious

          No, that movie is "2012." And from the trailers it looks awful. How were Martha and Rachael?

          1. re: NYCkaren

            Jeez, I mixed up the 2 and 3 AGAIN! At least that equals things out....

            Both were on their best behavior, with R very deferential to M's superior skills. Wish I had known that M was on R's show yesterday - a clip was shown. High hypocrisy quotient as M professed herself to be a fan of rap music and her disappointment that Eminem has declined invitations to appear on her show. Somehow that doesn't pass the sniff test.

            M showed R how to roll out a crust, telling her to roll in one direction only - then both proceeded to roll back and forth. Because she is short, R seemed to be having trouble with leverage and was leaning on the rolling pin. It took a while for M to notice and correct her. Then she had R use cookie cutters to make leaves of dough (which R referred to as little dudes) which were overlapped to cover the apple/blackberry filling. This did make a gorgeous pie, and much easier than folding over and crimping to join a standard double-crust pie.

            R is making the rounds to plug her new cookbook, which was given to each audience member. M presented R with a copy of HER baking handbook.

            1. re: greygarious

              Oh, I present to you one of the reasons the internet exists.


              That would be Martha and Snoop Dogg making mashed potatoes. (I'm team Snoop most of the time. Guess I make 'hood taters.)

              1. re: shanagain

                Oh, I know she has had rappers as guests - among a wide variety of people with whom she probably has no common interests. That's show biz. I just think it's "camera-derie", not real camaraderie.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with you.

                  Just sharing an entertaining clip.

      2. Report on the Pie Show today: There were around 160 pies submitted by audience members. A team of expert tasters divvied up the task of rating them on a numerical scale, after which Martha tasted their favorites and chose the winner. It was an English Toffee Pecan Pie from Minnesotan Marjorie Johnson. Here's the problem: Johnson is a cookbook author who has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including regular appearances on Jay Leno and Rosie (the latter Martha's staunch friend and supporter). For all I know, any number of the contestants may have been professionals - I recognized Mrs. Johnson. But absent any caveats to the contrary, I think the expectation was that these pies were made by home cooks, not professional bakers or cookbook authors. On Tuesday's show, Mrs. Johnson will appear and bake the pie with Martha. This also makes me suspect that the fix was in - I can imagine a disastrous segment if the winning baker was an everyday homemaker who might be inarticulate and/or stricken with stagefright.

        11 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          Marjorie's caused a little controversy in MN, even, over whether she is an "amateur" or a "professional" for purposes of being allowed to compete in the State Fair. This year, apparently, her participation in the Fair was "severely limited" according to Andrew Zimmern.

          As far as I know, Johnson hasn't made any money off of baking aside from the token prizes she wins at country fairs, the state fair, and other baking contests. And then, after a bazillion years of competing, she wrote a book about it. And then she appeared on a couple of TV shows to promote her book. People invite her to speak, I think, because she's a character, not because she's a brilliant culinary mind.

          I suppose I don't know the whole picture, but I don't agree with the State Fair officials that she's a professional. I don't understand how competing in amateur events, and then writing a book about it, makes you a professional. It's not as if she owns a pie shop in downtown Minneapolis or sells her pies through restaurants or mail order or any other venue (as far as I know.) She's an old woman of at least retirement age. She's hardly making a living baking cookies.

          As far as Martha Stewart dumping on RR, well, I didn't see the interview; I only know what I read in the link provided below. Maybe she was backed into a corner and was forced to say something about RR, but, seriously, this is her first interview since being released from prison and she felt the need to take shots at Rachel Ray? If the most compelling thing you have to say in an interview is criticizing "lesser" TV personalities, perhaps you shouldn't give interviews at all.

          Not everyone, even all cooking professionals, can bake, and that doesn't make them all inferior to Martha. Bobby Flay doesn't bake. Is Martha better than him, too?

          I disagree with her that a cookbook needs to be a "unique and lasting thing" in someone's library. It simply has to fulfill a need, in a new or interesting way. Books aren't museum pieces. If someone finds Rachel Ray's recipes interesting and useful enough to buy her books, more power to 'em. I haven't cooked from any of her recipes, but I've flipped through her books and they don't seem that awful to me. She calls for canned beans and canned tomatoes here and there, but, for the most part, she's cooking with real food. If her books inspire someone with little kitchen experience to cook rather than buy takeout or serve their families Kraft Mac and Cheese or frozen pizza, I think that's great. I think RR has one huge advantage over Martha and that is that she seems accessible and approachable. I think espousing the idea that regular people can cook, and perfection in the kitchen isn't necessary, is very valuable.

          Finally, Martha Stewart is almost 70 and RR is about 40. At some point, Martha (and, frankly, RR,) will just no longer appeal to young women. Maybe the young generation of women just doesn't buy into the superwoman notion that you have to do it all, and you have to do it all perfectly. She will have to yield the throne eventually.


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Dairy Queen, I can hear Martha now: "Off with her head," as she whacks a hedgehog with a flamingo in your general direction.

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              "Not everyone, even all cooking professionals, can bake, and that doesn't make them all inferior to Martha. Bobby Flay doesn't bake. Is Martha better than him, too? "

              She may not be better then Flay but she's no worse. He is a one trick pony and that trick is getting pretty old to me.

              1. re: KTinNYC

                You may not like Bobby but he certainly can bake. He does it all the time in his "Throwdown" shows. And Rachael doesn't have to bake if she doesn't want to but I find it hard to watch someone who is constantly announcing that she never bakes as if it's a badge of pride.

                1. re: NYCkaren

                  Actually, Bobby Flay says all the time that he "can't bake." He may be able to bake better than the average person, but it does appear to be an arena he feels less comfortable in.

                  I just saw him say that he wasn't a baker in an old 2006 episode of Paul Deen's Party (I think that's the name of the show) called "Black and White" or something like that. I was flipping channels while I was paying bills. She was making a coconut layer cake that sounded interesting, so I stopped the channel.

                  There was also a cake on throwdown awhile back (I can't remember exactly what it was) where again, he confessed to being not much of a baker.

                  To KTinNYC's point. I think Flay's really tried to branch out with the "throwdowns" (and he does have the whole grilling thing going on) but, when he's on Iron Chef, he always seems to come back to that Southwest style. I hope he can find something else because I, too, grimace when I see him get out the green and red squeeze bottles. On the other hand, I really, really enjoyed my one meal at Mesa. Fantastic food, fantastic service.

                  Anyway, my primary point in bringing up Bobby Flay is that Martha thinks she's better than RR because RR doesn't bake. I'm just trying to make the point that there are lots of accomplished chefs (as Flay certainly is, even if you think he's getting tired) who aren't accomplished bakers and I just don't think Martha's better than all of them.

                  But, yeah, off with my head, as claudette says. :).


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I agree with you when you say Flay is not a baker. He may be able to follow a recipe on his throw downs but so can many people. I think his test kitchen comes up with a recipe with his input and then he follows the recipe. There is nothing wrong with this btw. But I really don't think he comes up with the ratios on his own.

                    My issue with Flay is that his style is the more is more variety. 14 spiced chicken is twice as good as 7 spiced chicken and make sure to add some fruit glaze or fruit salsa! Spicey with sweer! Yawn, I'm so over this. I mean even the Chilli's and Applebee's has caught on to this style.

                    1. re: KTinNYC

                      While all of that may be true, the dinner we had at Mesa was so delicious that it beat out, surprisingly to us, all of our other Las Vegas dinners (at Mario's, Colicchio's, and even Keller's restos).

                      1. re: Claudette

                        I really like Mesa, and the only celebrity restaurant I like better is Frontera.

                        1. re: Claudette

                          OMG, but the breakfast at Bouchon is amazing. Did you have breakfast there? Amazing!

                          But, yeah, I was impressed by Mesa, too. I've been waiting for the Mesa cookbook to come down to a reasonable price, even used, so I can justify buying it. But, I may just have to breakdown and buy it; pay Flay the good money he deserves for it.

                          KT, you make me laugh, because I know what you're saying, and know that at least part of what you're saying is true. And yet, I resist.


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            More power to the the Flay fans but his style isn't for me. Sometimes I would like a scallop to taste like to taste like a great scallop not an ancho rub. Enhance the scallop not overwhelm it.

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Dairy Queen - Bouchon's breakfast was indeed amazing! I ate there twice in two days. Still, everyone in our party was blown away by the inventiveness, variety, and deliciousness at Mesa.

                              Jeanmarieok - I had a shrimp dish at Tampolobampo that made me want to lick my plate and then run into the kitchen and lick Rick Bayless! One of the most memorable dishes I'd ever had. Ironically, nothing I ever ate at French Laundry, Alinea, nor Chez Panisse even came close...

              2. Martha slams RR in Us magazine:


                To her credit, Rachel took it in stride, but really classless on Martha's part.

                8 Replies
                1. re: JohnE O

                  I totally agree with Martha about Rachael. Why would I, who love nothing better than baking, want to watch someone who announces constantly that she doesn't bake? What would I learn from her? Whereas I find Martha off-putting sometimes but I learn from her. On the other hand, Martha recycles her recipes too.

                  1. re: NYCkaren

                    Yes, Martha does recycle her recipes. If I'm not mistaken, she featured that very cookie-cutter-leaf pie edging that greygarious mentioned her making with RR on one of her own Thanksgiving Day specials a few years back.

                    Those comments were particularly graceless on MS's part. I'm not anti-Martha at all, but aside from the lack of tact, I would expect her to be more media-savvy than to publicly insult RR.

                    RR does fulfill a need out there. Not everybody is as devoted to cooking or to food as others are, and even among those who would love to immerse themselves in cooking, not everyone has the time. I honestly don't know how a woman who has children plus a full-time job outside the home would find the time I find to experiment and learn-by-doing. Time is a luxury for so many women (men, too, but cooking and childcare still seem to be the primary provinces of women). RR uses fresh ingredients and her menus provide plenty of vegetables, healthy grains and variety in a time-format that makes sense for so many families today, especially on weekdays. I've never seen the woman open a box of Hamburger Helper yet.

                    So perhaps there might be *something* Martha could also learn from Rachel, as well. Not to denigrate what MS has accomplished, but I'm of the firm belief that every cook has at least *one thing* he/she can learn from every other cook. Look at all we absorb from one another here, and yet if you look at us as individuals, our interests, methods, ingredients and traditions are diverse.

                    Martha's at a level where she could well afford to be more generous of heart and diplomatic about Rachel Ray. I think MS is often unfairly slammed, but she made the misstep this time, IMO.

                    1. re: Normandie

                      The leaf cut-outs on the RR pie covered the entire top surface, in place of a traditional one-piece rolled crust. IIRC, the earlier MS version had them just around the edge. I suspect that MS and other cookbook authors regard changing an ingredient or prep method constitutes a "new" recipe. Personally, I think that's bull. In this case, RR culled favorite recipes from her previous books/shows, and identified them as such. This is no different from the Cook's Illustrated "Best" compilations. I dislike RR's shtick but admire her candor and graciousness in dealing with the MS furor.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        <<In this case, RR culled favorite recipes from her previous books/shows, and identified them as such.>>

                        So what was the problem? Was MS insulted that she didn't get an exclusive on one or some "new"RR recipes? That seems unlikely, given that it doesn't sound as though RR is an important cook in MS' eyes.

                        When you get right down to it, I don't think there are any *new* recipes in the world. I mean, an apple pie is an apple pie, no matter what you call it or no matter where in the world it's made, when you get down to the essential ingredients.

                        If I see you make a chocolate cake, think it's fundmentally a good recipe, but build upon it by adding a hazelnut creme in the center, adding 2 tablespoons of Curacao to the batter, and shaving white chocolate curls between layers and on its top, it's still a chocolate cake. It's not like I discovered or created a new food product.

                      2. re: Normandie

                        With a few exceptions, Martha is condescending to everyone - she never lets her guests finish their sentences, and just butts in with her gab. Jeremy Fox was on last week, and every time she asked him a question, she interrupted him midway through. I can't stand her, but I do like her guests.

                        1. re: Claudette

                          I have noticed that in the past, Claudette, but I don't get to see MS much anymore, due to schedules. I'm interested in what she does, however, and would probably watch her more if it were more convenient. However, she may encounter some backlash from this incident. It's sort of like Scarlett O'Hara picking on Shirley Temple.

                          1. re: Normandie

                            "like Scarlett O'Hara picking on Shirley Temple." - LOL!!! I love that visual!

                            1. re: Claudette

                              WhatEVER. Surely I'm not the only one that has ever wanted to slap the curls right off of that Temple twerp. ;)

                              I'm an unabashed Martha fan. For exactly the reasons RR details in that quote (plus the interrupting...I love it when a host clearly wants to slap a guest for not I would do the same if anybody were fool enough to let me have a show.) She doesn't put something out there unless she's sure it's a winner - something people will do more than once. I'm okay with repeating winning recipes, as long as they're good ones. And, as Rachel herself says, she does things better - hell, she has the time and staff to MAKE it better, so shouldn't we all be mad if she didn't? ESPECIALLY baking. I learned baking (technique, NOT recipes) from my mother and grandmother. Not everyone is so lucky. RR's fans will buy her book...MS's fans won't. Anything less than a proper smackdown would've been a disappointment to both, methinks.