Thursday, March 22, 2012

Paula And A New York Legend

Part Two - Exciting Paula

Paula's Best Dishes with Paula Deen

Taste Of Class with Liza Minnelli

We find out that Liza records Paula’s show and wanted to be on it. Paula is thrilled and is making one of Liza’s favorites - German Chocolate Cake. THAT sounds good.

Do you see what’s already happening here? Paula TRIED to present healthy food last week and it was dullsville. HERE she’s making an appallingly (and appealingly) high fat, red meat based, simple carb menu and I want to watch it. NOT cook it or EAT it, but WATCH it. She can’t win.

Liza and Paula meet up in the dressing room with great fanfare. Liza says she loves watching someone making other people happy. Liza looks great, by the way. Paula tells us that she was so excited that it took her a few minutes to settle down.

They go into the kitchen and Liza is completely thrilled to be actually standing in the space that she’s seen so much on TV.

(Who do you think is older? Paula is acting so mother-like, but is there really that much difference in age? LISTEN TO THIS. If online sources can be believed, Paula was born in 1947, Liza in 1946!!! INTERESTING! Again, Liza looks amazing. And can some math whiz please tell me how old that makes them?)

It’s funny that Paula says “we’re like sisters almost.” Liza concurs. They ARE.

Paula gets Liza started on the custard filling for the cake. She mixes sugar with milk and brings it to a simmer, while Paula separates eggs.

Paula remarks (to us) that sometimes you meet people you admire and they fall a little short, BUT NOT WITH LIZA. Liza was everything that Paula had hoped for…and more.

Paula adds egg yolks into the mixture and Liza cooks it, stirring all the time.

Paula tells Liza all about her chicken coop. Paula wanted to raise them in the yard and husband, Michael, said NOPE. So she came up with the revolutionary idea of housing them in a coop! (Cuckoo, cuckoo.)

Paula says that her chickens love to be rocked and have their ears scratched. Does a chicken’s ear wax have diseases in it? Does a chicken even HAVE EAR WAX? I’d proceed carefully with the whole thing. Paula says she sings them to sleep. Oh boy, do I hear a song coming? Paula says she bets Liza could “sing them slap into a coma.” What are we in for? Paula tells us she has no males, just females, “cause roosters are mean”.

Before they actually go out to the coop, they get back to the cake. Paula adds 6 tablespoons of butter to the custard with some coconut and A LOT of nuts. (I would toast them first.) Liza tastes the filling and goes, “Oh, Mommy!” which prompts Paula to ask if her mother was a good cook. Liza says she was a short order cook. (Did the brat pack need some fried food to sop up all that alcohol?) Liza says her mother “could cook anything really well”, but that HER job was always cleanup. Wow, I wish I could have trained my kids like that.

Paula says her mother was a great cook too, but she lost her so young. Liza says she was 22 when her mother died. Paula was 23! Paula is amazed by how much they have in common.

They fill the already baked layers of chocolate cake and Paula puts it in the freezer to set for an hour. Oh good, that will give them plenty of time to contemplate the age old question “Do chickens have lips?”

Liza is super-impressed by Paula’s refrigerator and freezer drawers.

We come back from commercial to Liza singing, “He’s a tramp” to Paula. Paula is enchanted.

Next Paula makes creamy lobster rounds. Liza chops up scallions, and Paula chops red peppers. Paula heats 6 (or 8, who’s counting?) tablespoons of butter in a pan to cook the lobster tails. Meanwhile, Liza is telling a story about cooking an unsuccessful dish for her husband, but she doesn’t say which husband. This one, maybe? There are so many to choose from.

Liza says she decided to learn how to cook and then talks about how everyone needs his or her privacy. Huh? What does privacy have to do with cooking? I get not wanting every dish one cooks be public knowledge, but I have no idea if that’s what she means.

Back to the lobster…Paula throws in a cake of cream cheese. Let’s compare this recipe with this one. Which one would you rather watch being made, even if it’s obvious which one will keep you alive longer?

Paula wants Liza to help her top the toast rounds with the lobster mixture, but Liza (rightly) wants to taste it first. Paula loves that and Liza loves the lobster. This is just an old-fashioned love-in between the two of them.

They toast each other with the lobster-topped toast rounds - “To my new friend Liza, who I feel as if I’ve known forever.” Sweet. And from Liza, “That’s stupid, it’s so good.” (I guess that’s how they tawk in New Yawk.)

They make this beef dish and then finish the cake. But the main event is Liza singing to the chickens. Oh wait, before that though, is kind of an icky moment…literally.

After they ice this fabulous cake, Paula cuts wedges and they eat them out of their HANDS. That’s no way to really enjoy cake. I certainly don’t mind fried chicken or asparagus or even a slice of pizza topped with a huge salad eaten with hands, but German Chocolate Cake? Actually, her cake has so much ganache and nuts and sticky filling, that it’s all holding together quite well.

Then Paula tells Liza it’s time to see the chickens. Finally!

Paula announces, “Hey girls, it’s LIZA!” Has that EVER been said to a house full of chickens before?

Paula says the chickens love her cakes. WHAT?!!! Doesn’t that make their eggs particularly high in cholesterol? Also, isn’t there a bit of a moral issue with having chickens eat something that has EGGS in it? Oh gosh, once animal rightists (I include myself) get a hold of this, Paula could have even more PR troubles.

Liza says the chickens look so happy. We see them eating Paula’s cake (if only they knew). Paula gives Liza a chicken to hold and sing to.

Liza says if she could describe the whole day in one word it would be “Luscious.” The first word I think of is “strange”, but then, by the end of the episode, I would say affectionate, complimentary and enthusiastic to describe their newfound relationship and the bond between them.

So what have we learned from these two Paula shows?

Conventional nonstick pans kill birds. (Well, that wasn’t from Paula, actually…)
Healthy food CAN be dull. If the host had been half as enthused about the food, as she was about the body of her guest, the show would have been fine.
Liza is a gal’s gal and doesn’t mind eating food from her hands.
And, most importantly, chickens like to be sung to. Who knew?


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I wouldn't worry about chicken cannibalism. I was reading an interesting bit by a woman who keeps chickens who said chicken are naturally cannibalistic. They hang around when one gest slaughtered scrounging for scaps. When there is a fox kill, the other chickens will gather around their dead former flockmate for whatever the fox leaves behind. Aren't you glad you know that? ;-)

Ages are 65 and 66 - all you need is a calculator. They could be younger if they haven't had their birthdays yet. Which one has had more plastic sugery?

Liza and Paula are such an odd combination. I would assume Liza would not sing a round of "City Lights" in front of Paula.

Sue said...

I did NOT know that about chickens, and I'm kinda sorry that I do now.

A calculator?!! How about half a brain?

I would say that Liza has had more plastic surgery, and that Paula has more original body parts.

Emily said...

I thought Paula would be much older for some reason. Maybe it's her hair?

I like Liza. Have you watched her in episodes of Arrested Development?

Eating cake with your hands is undignified! But I guess it's more interesting than them using forks.

Abandoned By Wolves said...

I agree that Paula seems to have backed herself into a corner. Maybe she should just rebrand her style of recipe as something you do for special times or when you just want to cut loose.

OTOH, she raises her own chickens? Even given that someone probably does most of the grunt work for her, that means her chicken dishes are going to be better for you that the grocery store chicken equivalent just by least up until the 2nd pound of butter is applied.

I can usually do without the celebrity love-ins like this, but I have a soft spot for Liza - her looks remind me of an ex-fiance, and she can be incredibly funny.

Sue said...

Yeah, I definitely think it’s Paula’s hair color that ages her. Didn’t Oprah once say that hair color was the greatest invention of the 20th century? (And I’m sure she knew about ancient folk using henna or clay to color their hair. She meant professional hair color and I’m with her!)

Liza was hilarious in Arrested Development.

I just think eating cake with your hands is a waste. It’s much easier to get every last crumb off a fork than it is under your fingernails.

Hiya James,
I don’t know what Paula should do about her image. Let’s just forget what we know and enjoy her like we always did…not thinking of the consequences of what she’s cooking – for US or for her!

About the chicikens – she’s not EATING them, I don’t think. I think she treats them like pets and just uses the eggs.

But let’s to get the important stuff…Ex-fiancĂ©?!! That sounds so glamorous. I’ve had ex-bosses, ex-neighbors, even ex-friends, but never an ex-fiancĂ©. I gotta get me one of those.

Reeni said...

I missed this episode! Can't wait to see it on reruns! Thanks for your sweet comment!

Andi Clare said...

Hmm. The Liza and Paula show made me really uncomfortable, but I couldn't articulate why. I was so embarrassed that I actually covered my eyes at one point.

But I love Liza, and I don't care much about the Paula diabetes controversy. My main issues with PD have to do with her on-air persona. She's getting into self-caricature territory. But I watched an older Paula's Home Cooking the other day (probably from 5+ years ago)and really enjoyed it.

Sue said...

Thanks, Reeni!

Those two together were a little weird...and so fun to watch! I don't mind Paula being over the top. I just wish I could get the image of her shooting up with diabetic drugs out of my mind as she's eating mouthfuls of her (wonderful) super sweet food.