Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gordon Ramsay Does Larry

There was something slightly discomfiting about the way Gordon Ramsay answered the same question over and over on Larry King last night. After talking about his abusive father, he refused to see to any connection between his early years and his over-the-top anger. Larry was less annoying than usual as he intimated, as did various callers, that what he dishes out in the kitchen mirrors this childhood abuse.

Gordon tried to explain it away by saying that it takes THAT kind of passion when striving for unparalleled excellence. He repeated several times that slinging a burger or making a Caesar salad is one thing, but, what he does, requires an almost inhuman effort.

When asked by Larry if he was still angry at his father, he said he forgave him, but couldn't forget. Then Larry asked him about his own family. "Everything my father did, I'm doing the opposite" a father, even though he described himself as "never (being) a hands-on Daddy." I thought that was rather sad. I'm sure when he's home, he's a wonderful engaging father, but kids actually like to spend time with both parents.

I know his explosive personality is obviously what makes him so compelling to watch. And, obviously, he knows what he's talking about when it has to with food and restaurant kitchens. But I still would have preferred it if he had just come out and said, yes, a bad temper is in his blood...that he saw it modeled by his father for so long, and that's how HE learned to deal with conflict. A little self-knowledge goes a long way and it would probably make us watch him even more, if we knew he struggled to keep certain elements of his personality under control.

I believe you CAN have culinary mastery without fireworks in the kitchen, but of course he wouldn’t be half as much fun to watch and it’s as much about that as it is his cooking (at least in his television career). And he is gloriously unrepentant, which, I guess, we also like.

The cooking segment of the show consisted of Gordon showing Larry how to deal with his schmear, and, no, I’m not talking about what happens in an awkward moment in a doctor’s office. I’m talking about what Larry does to his bagel. AND it just goes to show that Gordon CAN teach in a calm and kind way, even if he did say something rather awful about Larry.

Larry showed Gordon his normal method. He put a tiny amount of cream cheese on an (untoasted) bagel with a little red onion and one slice of smoked salmon. Gordon was appalled that he was so stingy with the cream cheese. Larry tried to explain that's why he was thin. But think about it... Larry is probably 109 years old and they say those calorie restrictive diets can make you live a really long time…not that it would be worth it.

Anyway, Gordon said to Larry, “You’re as tight as a camel’s bottom in a desert storm.” I’m not sure if Larry understood him or even heard him, but it was priceless.

Gordon showed him how to do the proper schmear. And in just this little tiny demonstration, he showed his virtuosity. He spread the cream cheese with the BACK of the spoon (much more effective than the way Larry did it.) He put on just a little tomato, no onions - "bad for the breath". He sprinkled over a bit of DRAINED capers, and then rolled up THREE slices of smoked salmon and arranged them just beautifully on the bagel. It DID look glorious. BUT he didn't have to yell at Larry to accomplish that.

Gordon Ramsay without his temper would be like a volcano without the lava, I know that. I just wish he KNEW where his temper came from, because it seems so obvious to those of us watching from our armchairs.


Jeena said...

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Cynthia said...

I like GR but there are times that I feel his insults are unnecessary.

Bake your cake and eat it too said...

You know I wonder if it's all for show, his anger. I think if he lightened up he wouldn't have so many wrinkles on his face. Plus, when he's nice on the show, it seems really geniune. Or maybe it's just me, all I know is that I wouldn't want to be on his show cause I would break down and cry if he yelled at me. lol

Sue said...

Hi Jeena,


Hi Cyn,


Emilie said...

This Jeena chick is making me mad. I'm going to go leave an angry message on her blog. She posted the EXACT same thing on everyone's blog.

GR scares the crap out of me. There's no way I would ever go on "Hells Kitchen" or any other show with him. I actually like the BBCA's Kitchen Nightmare's more.
Ha ha. Larry King really is 109 years old! I would be living it up if I was him...

Also, I bought some matzos, and I'm going to make that candy pretty soon. Good idea! Thank you so much.

Sue said...


Look at my recipe for chocolate covered matzoh and see if you want to try it. It's very similar to yours, I think.

About Jeena. I’m hoping she’s just a new blogger and doesn’t understand of vagaries of publicizing one’s blog. You’re right, though, it was a bit annoying to see the same comment and with lots of links.

But listen to this and don't hate me if I tell you something.

When I first started blogging, I mean at the VERY VERY VERY beginning (I want to make it clear it was at THE VERY BEGINNING), I didn't know all the blogging etiquette. I found these Barefoot Contessa, Giada and Nigella forum thingies, where they take themselves VERY seriously. I thought that would be perfect for talking about my favorite food network hosts.

Well, in my VERY first post on the forum, I said something like “Hi everybody, if you want to read some interesting stuff about Ina (or Giada or Nigella), stop on by to my blog and say hi.” HONESTLY, I didn’t know you’re not supposed to do something so crass.

WELL!!! I got the nastiest email from them I’ve ever gotten in my entire life, completely in CAPS, about HOW DARE I use their forum to publicize my blog and what an evil person I was and on and on. THEN, when I tried to get on to see the horrible things they were saying about me, this large box came up. YOU HAVE BEEN BANNED FROM THIS SITE! It was quite amazing.

I was so scared by that, that I think it was weeks before I had the courage to comment on anyone’s blog. But what I guess Jeena doesn’t realize is that her name IS a link to her blog, so why the additional links and stop the blatant self promotion. It IS kind of yucky. But I’m hoping Jeena just didn’t know that that’s not the way to make friends in the blogosphere.

I DO go on, sorry, and please don’t hate me for my sins of ignorance. And they can take their forum and…

enjoy themselves.

Oh, ps, yeah, Gordon is scary, but in a crazy, sexy, out of control way, you know?

Kathy said...

I like the kitchen nightmares show (from England) also. He doesn't seem to scream for not reason like in Hell's Kitchen. When I watch Hell's Kitchen it feels like he doesn't know when to stop and he just keeps going with the yelling and the insults even when is pointless.
I do agree he is scary in a very sexy way. I also like when he takes his t'shirt off to put the chef's jacket on.... and on one episode while getting dressed he even took his pants off... thank God for tivo!!!

Emilie said... A little. ;) I think Bourdain is, too. Shhhh- Don't tell anyone.

Well, I actually left her a not-so-nice comment on her blog. This was before I read your comment. It wasn't mean or hateful. I just said she needed to take the time to read my blog before I read hers.

That's crazy that those people banned you from the forum. I don't think that would have bugged me, if I read your message.

I just checked out an Ina book at the library today, and I thought of you! It's Ina at Home, or something like that. There's a creamy beet soup that looks beautiful. Tootles.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I am not a fan of Gordon. People can be brilliant at what they do, but if they have no compassion and seemingly less understanding than that, I have no interest in them.

Anonymous said...

The title of this post kills me. :oD

(Sorry. It's Friday, which means I'm a little more immature than usual.)

Sue said...

Hi Kathy,
Yeah, I think you have to be in a very particular mood to watch Gordon. If one is feeling at all fragile, it's probably not a good idea.
I definitely missed him taking his clothes off. DARN!

Hi Em,
Yes, I am banned. It's hard to believe. I know what you mean about Tony, but actually Gordon is A LOT cuter. Sorry, it IS Friday, which means I'M a little more immature than usual.
I LOVE beets. Adding just one to vichyssoise is heavenly.

Of course, you're right. But Gordon is kind of alluring to watch...kind of like eating all the crispy burned chicken skin off the legs. You know, you shouldn't, but it's so darned good.

WHATEVER do you mean? I meant nothing untoward in the title, but since YOU bring it up, it is kind of sickening to think of...not the Gordon part, the Larry part...