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Rachael Ray: 30 Minute Meals and $40 a Day


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#31

kimmako

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 11:20 AM

The measurement thing has been discussed - maybe in the old catch all thread. You do that so you don't forget any of your ingredients - it's called mise en place? I think. You don't have to use little bowls, you can do it on a plate. Most professionals do this, not just RayRay, and not just tv people.

I had a friend who forgot to put flour in her chocolate chip cookies once. It happens to all of us once in a while.
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#32

Elphaba

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 11:27 AM

I understand why people do it. I was stating why I think Rachael doesn't. The message seems to be, "See, you can come home, start pulling stuff off your shelves and make this meal in 30 minutes." Unspoken part: "If you chop like a demon and have a great energy level."

It's not a criticism of chefs who pre-chop and -measure. The format of their shows and the foods they prepare dictate this. Just as the format of Rachael's show and food she prepares means that she "shops" her shelves.

I asked for and received a good knife for Christmas because of Rachael Ray. I chop much faster and better having watched her. Actually, the rebirth of my love for cooking is due to her. I've picked up some fantastic tips and even when I'm not making anything she did, I really enjoy the process of just being in the kitchen and preparing something.
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#33

TexasTallGal

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 11:42 AM

One way to avoid forgetting to put an ingredient in is to get everything out before hand and then put it away or set it aside as you use it. You don't have to premeasure but you also don't forget anything, either.

I think I'll make pasta puttanesca for dinner tonight.
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#34

Elphaba

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 11:48 AM

Texas Tall Gal, I do that. I get everything out but don't premeasure. I have a designated place on my counter for ingredients. What's cool (or I think is cool) is that my house is old and the original owners did the bare minimum upgrades, so I've got old metal cabinets. Not only do they look interesting, but I can get a magnet and stick the recipe at eye level above my workspace.

I may have to try the puttnesca myself. I love the salad she made in that same episode.
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#35

xii

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 11:56 AM

I understand about mise en place, and why it's important for professional chefs, etc. But it bugs me on other shows, when the cook goes on about how easy it is to throw together this or that dish at home. Virtually any dish looks simple when all you are doing is throwing together a bunch of pre-measured and pre-chopped stuff. That's where most of the time is spent. What I like about 30 Minute Meals is that she pretty much does it all on camera.

Semi OT: Anyone notice how Sara Moulton is always saying how easy her dishes are to make at home, but then she'll invariable say at some point, "Of course, at home, you'll take the time to mix this properly," or something similar. I know it's a necessary TV thing, but it can also be a bit deceptive sometimes.
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#36

DeepRed

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 12:05 PM

Anyone notice how Sara Moulton is always saying how easy her dishes are to make at home...


And then she'll say she's making a 5-ingredient kielbasa casserole, and my ears perk up because I love kielbasa. And 5-ingredient dishes. But one of the ingredients turns out to be mashed potatoes, with the usual butter, cream and seasonings. I call that a sub-dish, not an ingredient. 5 ingredients? I think not, you lying liar!

So I do give RR props for doing it all, start to finish, in 30 minutes. But I still can't stand her personally, so I'm firmly on the dark side.
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#37

Maybelline

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 12:09 PM

xii, I have noticed that about Sara Moulton. It's like the producers of the show want her to tell us how quick and easy the recipe is, but she feels guilty and has to insert that disclaimer. At least she owns up to it.

I think the thing that keeps the recipes on most cooking shows from being "quick and easy" is the ingredients used. Who has time or energy to write down copious lists of obscure ingredients, then search for them in the grocery store aisles? That's one thing about RayRay: she uses common ingredients, ones that we all have heard of, and when she uses something a little more exotic, like pancetta, she'll offer a substitute for those who don't have access to it, like bacon. RayRay also tends to use a core group of ingredients over and over again, like EVOO, pasta, canned beans, chicken breasts, cumin, etc., so that if you just stock your kitchen with these items, you can make lots of dishes with them.

As annoying as she is, she really does do some things right. (I think my mind started to change on RayRay when Sandra Lee appeared, and I saw what RayRay is not).
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#38

xii

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 12:35 PM

I think the thing that keeps the recipes on most cooking shows from being "quick and easy" is the ingredients used.


Word, Maybelline. The other day I was watching Martha Stewart, and she was doing this quick-cook recipe that called for some kind of green peppercorns canned in liquid brine (not capers, she used those as well) from France. I said to my sister, it's not quick-cook if I have to go all over town to find the ingredients. Maybe my grocery store has canned green peppercorns and I just haven't noticed.
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#39

DeepRed

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 12:38 PM

(I think my mind started to change on RayRay when Sandra Lee appeared, and I saw what RayRay is not).


I hear you. Sandra Lee is Sauron's hellspawn, so freakishly evil that Ray Ray seems like a genius by comparison. Sandra Lee has become the Mordor-dark standard by which So Many Will Be Measured.

Edited by DeepRed, Jan 8, 2004 @ 12:39 PM.

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#40

NJDesigner

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 12:42 PM

I think what Sandra Lee and that new Family Circle quick meals show have done is convince me that even if I can't stand all of the quirky things that RR does, she still can cook those quick meals well.

And it don't look like she is faking it either...
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#41

CydW

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 12:55 PM

A big part of the reason I watch Ray Ray despite the fingernails-on-a-blackboard mannerisms is that I really am fascinated by her efficiency and coordination. I'd never be able to make most of her meals in 30 minutes just because I'd have to keep stopping to grab first-aid supplies.

gyc, I think you found my recipe! Oddly, it doesn't seem that that episode aired during the time I'm thinking. I wonder if she really did make passing reference to it while making puttanesca (which continues to sound better and better, BTW).
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#42

KateQD

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 1:00 PM

Yeah, but, for me at least, when Sandra comes on, I love to watch, her snark value is immeasurable which make the show enjoyable. When Ray Ray comes on I cant hit the channel up button fast enough. Her schtick hasnt been original since her first shows, so the snark value is gone, now its just about how annoying she is.

She is only one level above Sandra for me, which in the grand scheme of tv cooks, still isnt that great.
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#43

jellywager

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 5:11 PM

Speaking of product placement... doesn't all of the labels on RR food look fake? Are they real brands? I just imagine someone making labels on a computer and relabeling all of her ingredients. And the bags for her pre-washed produce looks nothing like the pre-washed produce I've seen.
I bought some Lite and Lively yogurt and there is a blue drawing of RR on the back of the tub. Weird. Of course the picture was of her smiling.

Edited by jellywager, Jan 8, 2004 @ 5:12 PM.

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#44

truffles17

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 5:29 PM

doesn't all of the labels on RR food look fake?


I was thinking this exact same thing yesterday. Her can of chicken stock had the weirdest looking label on it. I, too, thought of some production assistant in a back room whipping up fake labels on the computer!
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#45

Jank

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 5:44 PM

I, too, thought of some production assistant in a back room whipping up fake labels on the computer!


That would be the best job ever.
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#46

Cynthia187

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 6:35 PM

doesn't all of the labels on RR food look fake? 


Yeah...I'm guessing that TFN doesn't want to give any of the food companies free advertising.
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#47

keckler

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 6:43 PM

I've been thinking the same thing about the labels, which makes it even weirder that she'll say, "And I've got this GREAT chicken stock here, that I just LOVE," and the camera trains in for a close-up. Why the close-up if it's fake? And if it's not fake, why does it look like it is?

#48

techgirl

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 7:42 PM

Also, who wastes cupboard space storing a million tiny bowls? What other use would they have?


*meekly* ... I do. I like to measure everything out in advance when I cook so I'm not caught off guard trying to hunt down something in the middle of the cooking process.

I guess I'm weird.
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#49

keckler

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 9:02 PM

You're not weird, techgirl, I do the same thing for the exact same reason. Also, the tiny bowls (of which I have eight) don't waste cupboard space since I just stack and nest them in bigger soup or cereal bowls. I also second the notion of using ramekins for the same purpose.

Edited by keckler, Jan 8, 2004 @ 9:26 PM.


#50

jazmyne

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 9:12 PM

I also have little ramekins that can be used for that purpose. They also are ideal for holding egg wash, dipping sauces, and once the beads from my necklace, which broke while I was in the kitchen. Along with the ramekins, we have some little bowls from the Asian market that we got for holding dipping sauces when mrjaz makes Thai food.
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#51

biakbiak

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 9:15 PM

I do the same thing as well but for a different reason, I find that if you have a limited amount of workspace using those little bowls and ramekins allows you to do your prep work in stages and put nearly everything away before you actually start cooking, so you have more space and also a cleaner kitchen when you are ready to serve. Also, it makes me feel like I have my own cooking show.
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#52

KUchick

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 11:36 PM

Also, it makes me feel like I have my own cooking show.


Big ol' hee to biakbiak! That is hilarious.

I seem to recall an article about the fake labels that said that since RR needs to start from scratch by opening all the packages and chopping everything herself, they need to show her opening the "salad in a sack" or whatever. But they don't want to deal with the big companies who make the brand name stuff.

I must put in a plug here for sets of glass bowls like the one you can get at Crate & Barrel. I got one for my wedding and I never thought I would use all of them, especially the tiny ones, but I do! You'll find all sorts of uses, whether you want to use them during cooking or just in prep and serving like me. Or to put on your own cooking show.
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#53

kimmako

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Posted Jan 9, 2004 @ 8:30 AM

I've noticed the labels too and am pretty sure that they are fake. Word to whoever said making those labels would be a dream job!
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#54

lotusbear

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Posted Jan 9, 2004 @ 10:46 AM

At one point I realized that I have a butt-load of tiny bowls/ramekins and stuff, mainly because I'm greedy and I like little one-person desserts. But they do double very well as mis en place containers. Which is convenient when you're making a multi-part recipe that calls for different spices/herbs/veggies at different times during the cooking process.

If I were the PA working on RR's fake can labels I would go completely apeshit and label everything incorrectly to see if folks would notice (like chicken stack, or canned pees). Or I'd write stupid things like, "your mom said take TWO trips".
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#55

VaVaVoom

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Posted Jan 9, 2004 @ 11:34 AM

Oh shit, lotusbear! That would be hilarious! I think her label for the chicken stock is the fakest looking one.
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#56

nolita

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Posted Jan 9, 2004 @ 11:55 AM

I would LOVE that, lotusbear. Can I suggest some labels?

"Take two trips, bitch. Love, Mom"
"Everything EVOO"
"DeLISH DeLISH Relish"

I'm bored today.
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#57

TheRealJanBrady

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Posted Jan 9, 2004 @ 7:32 PM

Or how about:

"I-Can't-Bake-But-My-Sister-Can Chocolate Sauce"

Or on the fake bottle of nutmeg:

"Makes-You-Go-Hmm" (though she only uses fresh nutmeg, right? I watch too much Food TV--I covet real nutmeg and one of those little graters)
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#58

Jank

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Posted Jan 9, 2004 @ 7:44 PM

"Mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm- mustard."
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#59

Annakie

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Posted Jan 9, 2004 @ 9:20 PM

"Eeee Veee Oh Oh Extra Virgin Olive Oil"

About that FHM spread linked waaaaaaay back on page 5. That fourth image? Where she's sitting on the counter with the (presumably freshly washed) colander? There's something dripping down her thigh and on her chin. Yeah, it's supposed to be dishwashing foam or whatever. Nevertheless, EWWWWW!!! And what a thing to imply happened where you prepare food. So unsanitary.

Ray Ray is totally Dr. Hibbert with her inappropriate laughter.
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#60

jellywager

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Posted Jan 9, 2004 @ 10:14 PM

I covet real nutmeg and one of those little graters

I know I went out and bought both. I even got that microplane grater she uses to zest lemons. I feel pathetic, but my next step is her knife.
I watch too much FNTV too.
How about "YUM-O YAMS" HUH? HUH? Good fake label?
Or how about "I Don't Bake Ginger Snaps"?

Edited by jellywager, Jan 10, 2004 @ 12:50 AM.

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