The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Sandra Lee writes a book

I wonder if Sandra Lee's autobiography is 70 percent someone else's work and 30 percent her own, just like those awful meals she serves up. The book's called "Made From Scratch," which I'm pretty sure is a phrase not found in her vocabulary.
I watch "Semi Homemade Meals" to mock her prepackaged sauce mixes (chock full of chemicals and sodium), limeade and lemonade concentrates as marinades (hello, high fructose corn syrup), fruity cocktails with every meal (what, are we on a cruise ship?) and those tablescapes (because everyone spends $50 to update their decor for each meal; spend the money on the food instead of distracting them with smoke and mirrors).
Her cooking philosophy is: I'm going to take the lazy route, then put all my energy into making a cocktail so everyone will forget how awful my food is.
Seriously, this is one of her recipes:
Spaghetti with meat sauce
No. 1: She uses jarred sauce.
No. 2: The recipe calls for 4 tablespoons each of olive oil and butter. (Are you kidding me? Who needs that much fat!?)
No. 3: The photo includes garlic bread that I'm pretty sure is from a box.
No. 4: That sounds like something I made when I was 7. We all use canned/boxed/premade ingredients from time to time. But she takes it to the next level.
I get it. She wants it to be simple, easy and affordable. I've seen her Chefography on Food Network. I respect her for all her hard work. And I understand: She was poor as a child and had to make due. (get it: "Made From Scratch." Nope, title still doesn't work for me.) I respect that she raised her sisters and helped stretch their food budget. But psst... you're rich now. You can either hire someone to cook for you or buy/cook better food.
The easy-food genre has many stars (
Robin Miller, Rachael Ray, and others) who are far more talented than Ms. Lee. And they don't rush through the cooking to spend 10 minutes decorating the table! If I want decorating tips, I'll watch HGTV!!!
Her Web site says:

She creates the foundation and supplies the information that allows anyone
and everyone (from students to parents to working professionals) to take 100% of
the credit for something that looks, feels or tastes as if it were made
completely from scratch.

Made from scratch? Really? Do you honestly think that a chicken-lemon soup made from condensed soup tastes homemade? Not in my home, it doesn't!
Me-ow. This is catty. But seriously. I'm all for taking short-cuts, but she's downright lazy!

(And did anyone else notice that she redecorates her kitchen every episode?!)

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at 12:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are right on with this comment! Sandra Lee is absolutely terrible, and the Food Network shouldn't be wasting its time and money on such trash. Great post!

at 1:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sandy sucks. We know. Not exactly a news flash here. Sorta like shooting fish in a barrel. Yawn. I grow tired of this topic.

at 2:54 PM Blogger Schottzie03 said...

If you watch her chefography on the Food Network, you'll find that she invented the concept of putting bacon on cheeseburgers.

Robin Miller frightens me just as much, although she has a great theme song.

at 4:07 PM Anonymous Erin said...

Anonymous - if you're going to criticize our dear Steph, atleast have the guts to put your name on your comment. The post was very timely, as Sandra Lee has just written a book.

Thanks for posting this Steph, I couldn't have said it better myself.

at 4:20 PM Anonymous nicejewishgirl said...

Makes me glad that I don't have cable really. Is Nigella still on though? I love Nigella. It's basically food porn, but what's wrong with that?

at 4:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sandra is really no different than Ray-tard just a different gimick.
Neither are chefs, both are clueless as far as any knife skills or true training when it comes to food. Both serve foods they try to claim as healthy, but are in fact full of fat, sodium and calories most of the time. I try to avoid watching either of them to be honest...which is worse...EVOO the whole episode ( why say it if you have to EXPLAIN what it is every time) or tablescapes....pick your poison people.

at 4:36 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

NJG: I love Nigella. She's so bad... :) Especially with her late-night snacks. I'm not a midnight snack kind of girl, but I love watching her raid the fridge at the end of every show. Nigella Express is on Food Network Sunday at 10:30 a.m. I'm thinking about starting a "Cook with Nigella" club... More info here http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_ex/0,3175,FOOD_30357,00.html

at 8:02 PM Anonymous FoodieToo said...

Speaking of food porn... I think the music that plays during Giada's Everyday Italian sounds like it came right out of a 70's adult video.

at 9:57 AM Anonymous cincycub said...

That might be the most bitter post I've read all year.

But you're totally right! She drives me insane for all the reasons you mentioned.

Yet... somehow... like a trainwreck... if she's on... I can't help but watch.

at 11:00 AM Blogger Stepf said...

Aw, thanks, Erin! Really? Sandra invented bacon on cheeseburgers? Wow! I bet she also invented the apple-tini.

at 11:24 AM Blogger WestEnder said...

I think one can expand this post to the entire Food Network. The most ironic thing about it is that the best cooking shows are on PBS.

Every Food Network show is annoying in some way. How many times can you hear Emeril say "Oh yeah, babe... oh yeah, babe" without wanting to smack him?

How many times can you watch Everyday Italian Cleavage without smirking?

Or the Sesame Streetish buffoonery on Good Eats?

Or Paula's over-the-top southern accent?

Or Rachel Ray's "I drink a case of Red Bull before each taping" frenzied nonstop talking?

Or the absurdly overdramatic ponderous music on Iron Chef?

Yeah, there are a lot of annoying things on the Food Network. But what can we do? We likes our food.

at 12:18 PM Blogger Schottzie03 said...

Seriously, one of Sandra's college friends was talking about what a genius she is and how she would cook for everyone at school.

I think the quote was along the lines of, "Who had ever heard of putting bacon on cheeseburgers..."

I like the theory that she makes the cocktail at the end to make everyone forget that the meal was bad.

There are annoying parts of many of the shows...but I would specifically like to beat up:

Guy whatshisface with his bowling shirts and sunglasses on the back of his head and his wristbands and his man-jewelery.

Paula Deen's halfwit kids.

And Bobby Flay.

at 12:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure Sandra is heartbroken you think she is an idiot...she is thinking about this as she counts all her money in her big fat bank account...

at 1:30 PM Anonymous Stace said...

First time commenting. Steph I complete agree with your comments on Sandra and most of Food Network in general. However, I do like Robert Irvine and Dinner Impossible. What do you all think of that show?

at 1:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree -- Sandra Lee has no skills. To the reader who puts her in the same category as Rachael Ray -- not quite. While RR can be annoying, she does seem to have more talent than Sandra Lee, the yuckiest person on the Food Network.

at 3:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What "talent" does ray-tard have except for selling her gimick better than most? She is the same as SL just a different flavor of the wanna be chefs.....

at 3:59 PM Anonymous Julie said...

Somewhere floating around the internet is a Sandra Lee drinking game. Appropriate, but I'm sure you'd be under the table in no time.

And yay for Nigella! I'm so glad she has a new book out. Her food is simple, but delicious.

at 6:38 PM Anonymous nicejewishgirl said...

Nigella has a new book out? What's the title? I thought I had all of them. Nici--I would be interested in joining a Nigella food group. I just love the fact that she enjoys eating so much and it shows on her program. I have an older, British edition of Nigella Bites and Nigella was a bit younger and downright too skinny. I love the fact that she's slightly zaftig, but could care less and has no interest in being a size 4. (I am a size 4, but it comes naturally and I love to eat every bit as much as Nigella does.)

at 11:38 AM Blogger Stepf said...

I think "Dinner Impossible" is funny and a bit over the top, but it does its job of entertaining. Welcome to the blog, Stace!
I love "Good Eats," even though it's a bit over the top. Alton Brown teaches why food reacts the way it does. Love it! It's very good for learning everything you'd want to know about something basic.

at 9:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't stand Sandra Lee or Rachel Ray.I also don't like Emeril, Guy Fiori and Bobby Flay. When they come on the channel gets changed. I do love to watch How to Boil Water. This is a great show for beginner cooks. Is it still on? Yes, I have this thing for Tyler Florence. Nice to look at and not annoying.

at 7:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow you guys are seriouslly ridiculous. how lame could you guys be to just criticize these people. if you really dont like her or the show then dont watch it. and the person who wrote this main article and says that she is rich now why doesnt she make better food well dont you think she is trying to create recipes for people who dont have all kinds of money or people who want simple recipes. seriously you guys are pathetic. grow up

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