i didn't used to. in fact, i found her annoying at first, with her incessant references to 'extra-virgin olive oil, or evoo, for short,', always accompanied with a tinkling laugh that hit me somewhere deep in my medulla (the vomit center, for those not as up-to-date on their anatomy).
but i've changed my mind. i'm not sure exactly what happened, but one day i found myself watching 30-minute meals, and i thought: i like this woman. i like 30-minute meals. i wish i could invite her to dinner someday. i heart rachael ray.
perhaps there are subliminal messages embedded in the dialogue (evoo backwards is love, you know, if you replace the second 'o' with an 'l'). whatever the mechanism, it worked. anyway, there's a point to all this:
perusing the newspaper (raleigh news & observer), i found an article dissecting the explosive popularity of the food network. i happened to notice that one of my professors from college was quoted, sneering at rachael ray for bringing cooking to the 'lowest common demoninator'. in snotty new-england-college-town fashion, she comments haughtily, "even with this audience, there's so much more that could be done."
well, yes, there is. and there are many cooking shows in which elaborate pastries or french delicacies are concocted. that kind of cooking is ambitious, difficult, and perhaps more artistic than the meals rachael (we're on a first name basis now) throws together in 30 minutes.
but i stand firmly in her defense. the truth is, what she makes is a hell of a lot better than what most americans eat on many nights. it's better than what i eat on most nights, and way better than what all of my patients and their families were eating out in lumberton. she uses attainable ingredients, takes lots of short-cuts, yet still manages to come up with relatively healthy, balanced, and palatable meals. it's true she doesn't sweat and slave away over the stove, but 30 minutes is much more of an effort than swinging through the drive-thru on your way home from work. the results are good. not amazing, not necessarily innovative, but good.
maybe not good enough for some, but good enough for most. definitely good enough for me. and i used to call myself a food snob.
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my iPod works!! i have been diligently loading songs onto it. it's a more arduous process than i anticipated, but it will be worth it. after one squirt of air into the drive, the computer guy 'fixed' my machine. he managed to make me feel like an idiot, too, but i don't care. he can have his fun. i have my iPod.