Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Food Network Liveblog Marathon, Part 1 - 9:30am to 2:00pm

Hi, everybody, and welcome to the Food Network Liveblog Marathon! We had such a ball doing the Biggest Loser finale last week, I figured a 19-hour running diary of Food Network's entire broadcast day would be nice way to extend the good times.

Most of this is just for fun, and to see how many ¾-sleeve sweaters I can spot, but I’ll also be keeping a close eye on how Food Network addresses the issues of health and frugality throughout the course of its normal schedule. This will involve a few holiday-oriented shows and possible multiple viewings of Paula’s Cookie Party, so don’t forget to cut ‘em some slack.

Feel free to chime in, too! I’ll be checking comments constantly, and highlighting my favorites as we go along. Criticism is good as long as it's not personal or too mean. Funny is encouraged.

P.S. As with the BL Liveblog, this will go backwards, with the most recent commentary appearing up top.

On to Part II - 2:01pm to 7:00pm!

End of show.
FRUGALITY QUOTIENT: er ... pretty low
HEALTH QUOTIENT: um ... also low
VERDICT: 10/10. It's Ina, and dissent will not be tolerated.

Jeffrey is playing a trick on Ina, to make her think he ate all the food. This is cruel and unnecessary. Also, I don't know how to spell "unnecessary."

The lobster pies were just dubbed "rustic." In cooking, is "rustic" a synonym for "messy"? If so, my apartment is very rustic.

Ina wants us to place pastry dough in the fridge for 30 minutes "to chill and relax." Unmentioned: "to light up some doobage and listen to Steve Miller albums on shuffle."

She is now making lobster pot pies. I was taught to appreciate fresh-from-the-animal lobster meat from a very young age, and always hesitate to use it in any recipe. I mean, what if I mess it up? And why would I want to dilute lobster flavor? But I'm going with this, Ina. I trust you. Be careful with my heart.

Ina is visiting her fishmonger. I like to picture her being personal friends with her various mongers, and at the end of every year, they all have a giant monger party. Where they mong out, presumably.

Ina is wearing a black button-down instead of her usual denim one. If you're not a regular viewer, this means nothing to you, but if you are, it's a plot twist on par with The Sixth Sense.

Husband-Elect, are you reading this? If so, can we go to Ina's kitchen for our honeymoon? I will let you have the Gandalf ice carving if you say yes.

She's making chocolate gelato. For Jeffrey, of course. CURSE YOU, JEFFREY!

THE SHOW: Barefoot Contessa! WOOOO!
THE HOST: the lovely Ina Garten
THE CONCEPT: incredible food served by a woman you want to hang out with ALL THE TIME

End of show.
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: 0, though the sleeves of her regular sweater were rolled up
HEALTH QUOTIENT: negative numbers
VERDICT: 7/10, for too many "yummos'

On a related note, do you ever wonder if RR narrates her everyday movements when she's at home? "Well, I'm goin' to pick up my toothpaste like this. Awesome! Then I'm going to grab my toothbrush like this. Yummo! Now I'm gonna bring it up to my mouth, and run it back and forth across my teeth. All right! And we end by spitting the froth into the sink. Big finish!"

Toffee Hot Cocoa was just described as "SUPER delicious." Just once, I want a TV chef to say, "You know what? It's a broccoli recipe. It tastes slightly better than burlap, but if we don't get some veggies in our diets, we'll die."

Rachael is excellent at remaining upbeat. When you're makin' TV, it's really, really tough to turn on the cheer when you're not feeling it. But she manages. I dig that.

A haiku for Rachael:
You carry so much
but is that nutmeg ever
a burden too heavy?

We're having "ahh-some wanh-ffles" here everybody, but not before we eyeball the molasses.
Whenever RR asks us to "eyeball" something, I picture pouring the item (fennel, cloves, oil, etc.) on our actual eyeballs. This is not the intended meaning, I understand, but ... need more coffee.

Rachael is making sausage, and her accent ("sah-sidge") is making me miss my friends in Rochester and Buffalo. (*sniff*) You guys, lean ground chicken breast reminds me of you.

THE SHOW: 30-Minute Meals
THE HOST: Rachael Ray
THE CONCEPT: A nice woman from Western New York makes a meal in an unmentioned allotment of time.

End of show.
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: 1 (You can always count on Giada.)
FRUGALITY QUOTIENT: medium; risotto is cheaper than you think
VERDICT: 10/10, for much-appreciated gratuitous use of champagne

For dessert, it's Raspberry Limoncello Champagne and an Espresso Panna Cotta. Forget plain ol' pregnancy. These will get you a Duggar-style reality show on TLC.

I love that PR folks think well enough of CHG to send us offers, but ... uh ... my name is Kristen. Not Christine. And I don't have kids. And I hate mayonnaise. Just sayin'.

Champagne Risotto with Asparagus is G's next date night recipe. (P.S. The theme of this show is "Date Night." Now you know.) Served with Chiarello's Peppermint Chocolate Tiramisu and Nigella's Espresso Martini, there is a 100% chance you will be pregnant by the end of the night.

This is the 37 millionth time the Le Cordon Bleu commercial is airing, and it's only 12:46. If I hear, "Get your career cooking ... LITERALLY!" one more time, I will literally jump through the TV and broil that guy.

Giada's "this is so good" claw: check.
Giada's tasting O-face: check.
Still waiting for first pronunciation of "pan-CHET-tha."

Giada is frying some oysters. When she's done, they will be "sweet and tender, which is how your date will act after he eats them." I assume this means my date will also be breaded and covered in marinara sauce.

My Ma is as Irishiest of Irish ladies, but insists on pronouncing Latin and Italian foods as they would be in the native language. This means "mozzarella" is "mooz-a-dell" and "parmesan" is "parrrr-mi-jhan." Giada also does this. Giada is my Ma.

Giada starts out with panna cotta, or translated, "there's a cot in my pan."

THE SHOW: Everyday Italian
THE HOST: Giada DeLaurentiis
THE CONCEPT: Hot, talented chef makes authentic Italian dishes and funny tasting faces.

End of show.
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: 0, though her blouse has shorter sleeves, y'all
HEALTH QUOTIENT: super, super low, y'all
VERDICT: 9/10, for gentility, y'all

Gingerbread Michael (Paula's husband) has white chest hair, a mohawk, and appears to be wearing a diaper. How does Real Michael feel about this?

Edit - Paula is making gingerbread men AND women. Later, they will create gingerbread babies together, unless they use gingerbread prophylactics.

Paula's making Gingerbread Men, and "when we come back, I'm gonna show you how we bring these little [guys] to life." This is going to involve lightning and tiny brain transplants, isn't it?

Analogy time!
Paula Deen is to Fantasy Grandma as George Clooney is to _______.
A) Fantasy Boyfriend
B) Fantasy Shortstop
C) Fantasy Island

How you can tell this is an early episode: wrinkles, natural lighting, no cackling, zero appearances by Bobby and Jamie. I miss the cackling, y'all.

Butter count: 1 stick so far.

THE SHOW: Paula's Home Cooking
THE HOST: Paula Deen, y'all!
THE CONCEPT: Today, it's cookies. But most days, it's butter. Just butter.

End of show.
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: 0 (it was full-length)
FRUGALITY QUOTIENT: high - nothing was outrageous
HEALTH QUOTIENT: very low - I question serving some of these to kids as dinner
VERDICT: 6/10, for questionable usage of vessels

Robin blended strawberries and yogurt, and I thought for sure it was going to be a smoothie. But she poured it in a bowl, so now it's a soup. If she poured it in a votive glass, would it be a candle?

Chopping montage! In general, wouldn't cooking would be much more awesome if all our chopping was set to Michael Jackson? Here, try it.

Good tip from Robin: make vinaigrettes and dressings in the bottom of the salad bowl, then toss everything afterward.

Once and for all: is cumin pronounced "keeyou-min" or "coo-min"?

We've moved on to Mexican fondue, meaning cheese, spinach, artichokes, and salsa melted together. I'm still deciding how I feel about this. Also: "take it to a whole new level" should be retired permanently, as should "outside the box."

Robin is having a tough time lifting her skillet. I can relate, having the upper body strength of a fetal chihuahua.

Robin is searing some scallops, and she just poured a dang gallon of olive oil into a large skillet. Look, I know olive oil is one of the healthier cooking fats, but 1/4 cup per serving doesn't do anyone any good. (Now getting off my high horse before I hurt myself.)

THE SHOW: Quick Fix Meals
THE HOST: Robin Miller
THE CONCEPT: Week-long dinners for busy families, with Oprah-esque theme song.

End of show. How you know: the wine comes out, and Mike changes into a red t-shirt under a charcoal grey blazer. Very Napa.
VERDICT: 8/10, for Peppermint Chocolate Tiramisu and general attractiveness

Why don't the Food Network hosts ever wash their own pots and pans? They should have a show made up entirely of Ina Garten and Bobby Flay doing dishes. I guarantee it would be a ratings winner.

He just poured about a cup of red wine into risotto, making it look like brains. Delicious, delicious brains. Again, the ugly/tasty paradox has been proven.

While I like Michael Chiarello, he suffers a bit from John Kerry Syndrome: you know he's totally great at what he does, but you don't necessarily want to have a beer with him.

Food Network Drinking Game, Rule #5739: Drink whenever a host claims he/she is "going somewhere," "checking the market out," or "has some errands to run" during the commercial break. We know you need more than four minutes to hit up the orchard, Chiarello.

Up next: a Peppermint Chocolate Tiramisu. I have never heard a finer collection of words. (P.S. Did you know "tiramisu" means "pick me up"? Me neither. Thanks, Mike!)

Currently, he's adding a TON of ground fennel to already fennel-heavy roast. Moderate amounts of fennel are always appreciated, but this looks like it's going to taste like a bag of black licorice exploded in your mouth.

Chiarello isn't wearing a 3/4-sleeve sweater, but his pullover sleeves are rolled up to just under the elbow. Does that count?

Coffee procured! Urge to kill ... fading.

So far, this is an onion- and beet-heavy show. Not kid food, apparently. In first grade, either of those words would have thrown me into total gag reflex failure.

THE SHOW: Easy Entertaining
THE HOST: Michael Chiarello
THE CONCEPT: "Formal fare in your formalwear." Clever boy.

End of show.
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: a shocking 0
FRUGALITY QUOTIENT: good - salad and tamales are pretty cheap
HEALTH QUOTIENT: nada, though points for trying with the salad
VERDICT: 7/10, for gratuitous shots of blending.

Emeril's jacket has remained perfectly clean through the entire show, despite making salad, mac and cheese, tamales con queso, and cheesecake. No mess at all. I would look like Pizza the Hut after a day like that.

Have you seen the ice cream sandwich bench? It's $950, though if Trading Spaces has taught me anything, you can make it at home with $15.62 and a bedsheet.

Can I tell you how much I love it when Emeril adds alcohol to recipes? Everyone in the audience cheers like crazy, as if to say, "WOO! This flan is gonna get us totally sploshed!"

Holly from Ohio is the next winner of Emeril's Say Cheese contest, and she has a very, very red kitchen. Like, all her appliances and countertops are a fiery crimson. Wouldn't that make you angry when you're cooking? Like you're in Hell's Kitchen? "Don't TALK TO ME when I'm making CHEESECAKE, DAMMIT!"

Time for a multiple choice question! What kind of degree does Doc Gibbs have?
A) Funkiness MD
B) A PhD in smoothosity
C) A doctorate in jazz hands
D) Gastroenterology

As Emeril rolls his second tamale, I find my mind wandering to faraway places. Like Morocco. Were fez hats just decorative, or did they have a purpose? They don't shade the eyes or protect the head very well, so I'm figuring they were invented for aesthetic purposes. In a related story, I think it's time for some coffee.

Another ugly-but-delicious food: refried beans. We can all agree it looks like baby puke, right?

Emeril is making tamales con queso, and keeps asking for "lahwd." I wondered why he would be using the lord in his cooking, until it occurred to me that he's saying "lard."

Food Network Drinking Game, Rule #437: take a shot every time you wonder how a food show can pay for a full band. You'll be sploshed inside an hour.

Re: Emeril's accent. He's from Boston, right? Because it sounds so Brooklyn sometimes, I imagine him selling me knockoff sunglasses on the corner by the Halal Chinese Food place.

Emeril is stirring white-gray crabmeat into a yellow-gray macaroni and cheese mixture. You know that scene in Empire Strikes Back, when Han makes Luke a bed out of TonTon intestines? It looks like that. Which is okay, because sometimes ugly food is the best food. (See: eggplant.)

Bathroom dilemma, solved. Thank god for commercials. Did you guys need to know that? Also of note: my computer is resting on a hummus tub so the bottom won't overheat. In Brooklyn, we work with what we have, folks.

Augh! The vertical rotisserie ad is back so "Dad" can school us some more. I think I've found my nemesis for the day.

Emeril is both a "spoon guy" and a "whisk fan." Can you be both? Is that like rooting for the Yankees and the Mets?

Emeril is running a "Say Cheese" recipe contest. Pam from Maryland is a winner, and she reminds me of every nurse or teacher's assistant I've ever met. Pam is using crab in her macaroni and cheese, which "kicks [it] up to notches unknown." NOTCHES UNKNOWN.

Speaking of golf, what happens now that Tiger is in the permanent doghouse? I imagine curling will finally have its day as THE sport for people who don't like sudden movements.

We're watching a split screen of the blonde mom and Emeril blending a dressing. It's still more interesting than golf.

First tip, from an at-home video segment with a blonde mom: "Never walk away from your pine nuts." Truer words, never spoken. How many times have I set them to toast and sniffed the air three minutes later all like, "What's burning?"

The theme of the show is cheese. I can get behind this.

THE SHOW: Emeril Live!
THE HOST: Emeril Lagasse
THE CONCEPT: The godfather of TV cheffery hosts a cooking show in front of a live audience, says "BAM" a lot. There's a band, too.

Nigella ends the show scarfing potatoes on a crimson couch by a roaring fire, while angels play smooth jazz in the background. This is a Luther Vandross video.
FRUGALITY QUOTIENT: nothing too expensive here
HEALTH QUOTIENT: We'll let it slide. It's a Christmas show.
VERDICT: 10/10, for sexiness

We're up to fully loaded baked potatoes. Cooked by candlelight, naturally. I've never been attracted to a potato before today, but somehow, Nigella is making them look sexy. Maybe because she just "splodged" them with sour cream, and now - I swear to god - is "forking them together."

It's not even time for Price is Right, and Nigella's guests are eating Christmas tree cakes and getting sploshed on espresso martinis. I want to go to there.

Her strata is (direct quote): "Like a toasted cheese sandwich, but a celestial one, as if eaten by angels." If heaven is filled with grilled cheese sandwiches, I will feel a lot better about death.

Unconsidered when planning 19-hour blogging marathon: when do I go to the bathroom?

Nigella's cake batter is "perfectly plain, but anything but austere." Husband-Elect just kissed me goodbye and went to work. Are these related somehow?

A Nigella haiku:
Oh, metric system
You make baking funny with
your grams and liters

"Let Dad school you with a vertical rotisserie." is a sentence I never hoped to hear, in a commercial or otherwise.

This entire show is candlelit and set to saxophone jazz. I think Food Network is trying to seduce me.

Nigella's casual vocabulary is my favorite. She's making jam, and has described it as "fiery crimson" and "volcanically boiling." This is the stuff that goes with peanut butter, right?

Nigella is sploshing cider vinegar into sugar. I enjoy sploshing. Someday, I hope to splosh my way into college.

THE SHOW: Nigella's Christmas Kitchen
THE HOST: British cook/woman I'd date if I went that way, Nigella Lawson
THE CONCEPT: homemade Christmas gifts

T-minus 24 minutes…

Design by Free Wordpress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Templates