I wish I had been around when Julia Child was in her heyday. But when she was introducing Americans to French cuisine, I really wasn’t interested. Now we have cooking shows on 24-7 and I’ve probably seen most of them. Two that I’ve watched often are Barefoot Contessa starring Ina Garten and Everyday Italian with Giada DeLaurentis. And of course you can’t escape Rachael Ray.
Let’s start with Ina. I really like her cookbooks and own several of them. But I’ve noticed a flaw when she’s putting a dish together: Ina can’t measure. Watch the show and she’ll tell you to start a recipe with a 2 tablespoons of butter while she calmly puts half a stick into the pan. A “splash” of cream is easily a half cup. A drizzle of honey is several spoonfuls. It’s no wonder that she’s a plus-sized woman, but at least you can be sure that she actually eats what she cooks.
I’m not sure the same can be said of Giada. She’s a teeny little stick figure who, if you believe the propaganda, spends her days cooking and eating pasta and pizza and gelato and biscotti. All delicious, I’m sure. But I just have the feeling that she has a spit bucket by her feet where every half-chewed bite ends up. And while she seems nice and personable, there’s just something about her ever-present grin that creeps me out a little. It’s like she’s been told that her show will be canceled if she’s not insanely grinning for 30 minutes straight.
And 30 mintues of course brings us to Rachael Ray who is famous for her 30 minute meals. In Rachael’s world, all the ingredients needed to complete a dish come out of the refrigerator already washed, peeled, sliced and diced. I’ve put hundreds of carrots in my fridge over the years and not one single time have I taken one out that had magically peeled itself. Rachael advocates doing all the food prep as soon as you buy your ingredients, but that would require organizational skills way beyone my limited capabilities. But Rachael is cute and perky and you could forgive her for almost anything except her irritating habit of calling sandwiches “sammys.”
Just a little food for thought the next time you’re watching one of these shows.