Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rachael Ray: "Hello Mr. President"

I caught a 3 minute snippet of Rachael Ray's show this morning and I was thinking that my opinion of her was really right on the money. I can't stand her food, it's all a lot of the same thing, just using different combinations of ground meat and as much cheese as necessary to camouflage the lack of inventiveness.

Oh wait, she did REINVENT a Caesar Salad the other day, by making a substitution for the croutons. You know what she put in instead? FRIED CHEESE RAVIOLI! That's as awful an idea as I've ever heard. Why didn't she just add Fritos and dispense with the frying?

BUT that's my opinion of her cooking. My opinion of her daytime talk show hosting abilities is quite different. I think she's a very solid, stalwart, capable leader of her own show. I just wish she would get a real chef (I know, I know she never calls herself a chef) to do the cooking segments.

Anyway, this part that I saw today was entertaining, although the pay-off was a bit lame. She had 3 television judges - I only recognized the older guy with the moustache - (I can't be watching the Food Network and all these judge shows too) and they were there to judge between a New York pizza and Chicago pizza. That's funny, right?

It turned out the the whole thing was just a giant commercial for Delta, who just started a many flights daily New York-Chicago service. (Half the audience was flown in from Chicago along with the Chicago pizza-meisters.)

But still it was a cute premise to have judges judging the pizza contest, except one of them - the guy that was familiar to me - couldn't make up his mind and he deferred to the other two. How exactly would that work in a courtroom? Oh wait, that HAS happened before...The New York pizza won...natch. Chicago pizza is ok, but it's more like a BREAD product than a thin crispy DOUGH item.

ANYWAY...after RR was in my radar this morning, I see a story (look at it quick, those folks start charging for their articles before you've even gotten to the last section) in this morning's New York Times food section. Former President Bill Clinton is going to be on with her tomorrow, talking about his crusade against childhood obesity. The show has been taped already and, apparently, she had the grace to be nervous and he put her at ease (I wish he'd come to my kitchen and put me at ease) and it all went very well.

The other noteworthy part of the show is that she's announcing (probably Rachael Ray fans already knew about it, but I didn't) the launch of her Yum-O Foundation, which will give away culinary scholarships and educate the public on healthy eating. They can start by staying away from her recipes.

I like that she's using her immense influence and power for good. But did she really have to give her foundation such a stupid name? After a quick perusal of her website, I learned that's what she calls her brand of extra virgin olive oil, but please...How would you feel if you were totally excited about earning a scholarship to culinary school and you were being interviewed by the local paper and they asked you all about it and you had to say, "Yes, I received it from the YUM-O Foundation." That's pretty lame. I wouldn't even have minded if she'd self-named it.

But money is money and good works are good works, so I'll give her credit for taking some positive action and trying to make the world a better place. Who knows, maybe she'll even overhaul her own recipes in the process...

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