Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An Unlikely Expert

I felt sorry for Ali Velshi last night. His colleagues over at CNBC had the Oracle of Omaha on all morning, chatting about the economy. Ali was hosting Larry King that night. He had a great opportunity to consult with experts and answer viewers’ questions. And guess who Ali was stuck with as his guest on the uber-popular talk show? RACHAEL RAY! Yup, he had RR...looking rather prosperous... educating us on the foibles of today’s economy.

Truthfully, RR did just fine talking about how to stretch one’s food budget to meet leaner times. She told us her audience is comprised of regular people and they love her meals for under 10 dollars. She advised us to go back to the way our grandparents bought food. Buy a whole chicken and use it throughout the week.

Ali certainly showed he was no food expert when he asked if canned or fresh vegetables were the more economical way to go. Her answer? The farmer’s market, whenever possible.

Rachael did give one completely incorrect answer, though, to one of Ali’s labored questions. (I really did feel for him having to prepare for a Rachael Ray interview, instead of his more serious ones.) He asked if it was true that sometimes buying in bulk is actually more expensive than buying smaller individual items…that the unit price of the bigger size can be more. MY answer? YES, Ali, that IS true sometimes and THAT’S the reason you must always check the prices on things, big and small. In an effort to screw the consumer, suddenly the smaller box of cereal will cost less per cup than the larger size. RR just dismissed this out of hand, even after encouraging us to look at the unit prize.

She also should have made the point that it doesn’t always make sense to buy super-sized stuff, if you don’t finish it and it goes to waste. ALSO, if it encourages your family members to eat more unhealthily – a vat of mayonnaise may encourage more liberal use than a small jar – it becomes not worth it.

After Ali mentioned Rachael’s personal fortune, I did love it when she said, “I try to give it away as quick as I make it. I live the same as I did many years ago. I don’t have fun living like THAT.”

Actually, I do find it rude to mention someone’s net (or gross) worth right to his or her face. RR’s claiming not to know how much she makes is fine with me.

However, given the choice between listening to these two gurus, I think I’ll pick Warren.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I was a little shocked to see Rachael Ray on a show about saving money. She needs to practice what she preaches. She doesn't use much in the way of cheap ingredients in her recipes: imported cheeses, boneless skinless chicken tenders, bagged salads... Unfortunately, when you save money, you often sacrifice time.

Sue said...

I was shocked to see her on the television screen after 9pm. Doesn't she hog enough screen time during the day?

You are spot-on about her ingredients. The only thing I can say in her favor is that, even though she only has 3 or 4 basic recipes, she DOES cook real food. Boneless chicken breasts (and tenders, no less) and bagged salad are two of the biggest rip-offs in the universe. BUT, yes, you are so right, they do save time.