Monday, November 19, 2007

A Matter of Taste

Tonight, we had dinner compliments of Rachael Ray and dessert by Martha Stewart. I am a bit of a cookbook glutton and I confess that at least half of my formidable collection was authored by People On TV. I've had a few bad experiences (that Paul Newman cookbook really didn't do much for me but at least the purchase price went to charity) but, all in all, most of the recipes I've tried have worked out.

I am aware that many, many people feel strongly about Rachael Ray. I watched her 30 minute meals and her travel show and I could see why she might rub someone the wrong way but, whatever. That's what I thought. I asked for a couple of her cookbooks and I use the newest addition (365 No Repeats - what a thrilling title - but who cares) all the time. Her meals are tasty and the recipes work and they don't take three hours to make.

Martha's recipes, on the other hand, are temperamental. They are always detailed and specific but sometimes they don't come out as well as promised. On the plus side, I love that her latest books include photos of all the finished products. I need visual aids.

I used to watch Martha Stewart and while she's interesting, she wasn't must-see TV for me. I think it had something to do with the episode where she pointed out that she only allows her black horses outside for an hour or so of daylight each day because their coats might fade and that wouldn't be aesthetically pleasing. However, I've had good luck with her hors d'oeuvres. But I do understand why the Martha haters exist, though they seem to like her more now that she has a record.

I was never too clear on the vitriol directed toward Rachel, though. Until I happened upon a rerun of her 'new' TV show which is apparently now being broadcast on British satellite TV, lucky me. I tuned in during an innocuous cooking segment, which was fine, there she was with her junk bowl and yumm-o, and turquoise refrigerator just like I remembered. But then, after the commercial break, she started talking with a mother and a daughter who needed help from her in-house Life Coach. And there was cackling and forced humor and hunched shoulders and I started to understand.

So I turned the channel because I really love her Pasta with Chicken Bel Aria and I need to continue using her cookbook without disturbing flashbacks.



Barbetti said...

I haven't watched Rachael's tv show, yet, but I catch her 30 minute meals show every now and again. I've never had a problem with her, though at times she does seem awkward (but so am I! So I sympathize!). Shane says her voice is scary, but Shane's best friend says she is "HOT".

I agree though, her meals are creative and easy - so I continue to make her meals. But if I had to choose a Food Network TV chef, it would definitely be Giada. (The again, I relate to the whole "must put olive oil in EVERYTHING" cooking approach.)

Rebecca said...

I'm surprised Paul Newman's cookbook didn't work. What went wrong with it?

As you know, we're fans of Nigella, Ina and Paula. My mom has Giada's Everyday Italian. She's had success with just about every recipe she's made from it, especially the Lemon Spaghetti.

Blythe said...

I haven't laid my hands on a Giada cookbook yet, but she is on my list. I think the Paul Newman recipes were a little too complicated. Most were (supposedly) submitted by his celebrity friends and it wouldn't surprise me if they were never tested by anyone besides celebrity chefs.

I still love me some Butch Cassidy, though.

Nicole said...

For me, the Rachel Ray dislike can be summed up in four easy letters: E.V.O.O.

What the hell is so time-consuming about saying olive oil? I mean, really.

skiplovey said...

I can see how Rachel might bug a lot of people. She can be a little much sometimes but her recipes are very straight forward, easy to make and pretty tasty looking. I agree on the Rachel/Martha divide. Much as love the Martha photos, the food is darn complicated to make.