Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Food Network Liveblog Marathon, Part 2 – 2:01pm to 7:00pm

Welcome to the Food Network Liveblog/Running Diary, Part II.  (Part I over here.) There are 4-1/2 hours down, with 14-1/2 to go. Just a fun reminder: I’m checking comments constantly, and will highlight favorites as we go along. So chime in! Can’t wait to read.

RSS subscribers, a quick note: these posts are being updated every few minutes, and subsequently, won't appear on the feed in full. They are on the homesite, though, if you'd like to peruse.

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

Halfway done! Part 3 up next!

End of show
VERDICT: 7/10, for being easily distracted by BigTop Cupcake

Rachael makes a good point: always pull the bay leaves out of your food. Who among has not forgotten, and ended up with a mouthful of pointy leaf? (Uh ... anyone?)

I stand corrected. Micro S'mores is the dumbest thing I've ever seen.

Finally, something I can criticize without feeling terrible: Big Top Cupcake is the dumbest thing I've ever seen. IT'S A POINTY CAKE PAN, EVERYBODY.

Fun fact: food commercials use women in their 20s to play the mothers of tweens and teenagers. While this is totally possible, it makes it seem like real-life mothers should look much younger than they actually are. Which isn't cool.

Rachael's making gorgonzola-stuffed meatballs. If there were more recipes based on meat stuffed with cheese, we'd have world peace, a public health option, and money leftover for universal foot massages.

How you can tell this is late-period Rachael: much more eye makeup, shorter hair, increased fresh foods, better knife skills, a voice that's clinging to audibility, motions exaggerated to the Nth power.

THE SHOW: 30-Minute Meals
THE HOST: Rachael Ray
THE CONCEPT: Dunno. Never heard of it.

End of show.
HEALTH QUOTIENT: infinitesimal
VERDICT: 8/10, for the face. I aspire to make that face someday.

Paula says the cobbler requires some "one on one personal time." Between her, Nigella, and Giada, this is the sexiest day of food programming in history.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler is distinctly American in a great way. Eating it with Swiss steak and macaroni and cheese is distinctly American a not-so-great way.

Limerick time!
There once was a lady named Paula,
"More buttah, y'all!" she would holla,
Her restaurant took off-o
And her show was so boff-o
She earned a million and one dolla.

The show has stopped while feeds the mac and cheese to the camera. I LOVE THIS WOMAN.

Paula melted half a stick of butter with several cups of grated cheddar cheese, dumped them into the crockpot, and spooned through it wearing an expression I can only describe as total human contentment. She is simultaneously delighting and scaring the crud out of me.

As a New Yorker, I have never had chicken fried steak. But I've also never had malaria. Is it worth it?

BEAR WITNESS! Paula is chopping a vegetable, y'all! I'm already in contact with Washington and lobbying for a national holiday.

THE SHOW: Paula's Home Cooking
THE HOST: Paula Deen, y'all
THE CONCEPT: This episode, it's slow cooking.

End of show.
HEALTH QUOTIENT: barely visible from space
VERDICT: 4/10, for Pat's brother and his ponytail.

Gina's making margaritas. She's into the tequila. We're about to enter migraine territory.

Liveblogging health update: nine hours in, my back is starting to get a little twingey. I call it Futon Spine.

Brother Neely is making pulled pork, a secret diet food. By that, I mean: if you're on a diet and find yourself at a barbecue joint, go for the pulled pork. It's usually the lightest of all the meat choices, and you can customize the flavor with various sauces.
You know what? Maybe I'm looking at Down Home the wrong way. When I cook, it's usually alone, and it's usually quiet and methodical and relaxing. Others are more gregarious and make it more of a group activity. If that's what the show is aiming for, it's doing okay.

An analogy!
The Neelys are to total deafness as Kate Hudson romantic comedies are to _____.
A) brain damage
B) drooling
C) incontinence
D) all of the above

They're smoking pork butts in the kitchen. We used to smoke butts in the kitchen in college. Then we smoked too many butts and had to quit. Smoking butts, I mean.

There's a guest! A brother of Pat's! And I like him! He's speaking with his inside voice, is why.

THE SHOW: Down Home with the Neelys
THE HOST: Gina and Pat Neely
THE CONCEPT: A couple you might otherwise like is forced to yell as loudly as possible while making soul food.

End of show.
HEALTH QUOTIENT: umm ... look over there! A shiny thing!
VERDICT: 10/10, for the appearance of the StandMixer. If Barefoot Contessa is Cheers, the StandMixer is Norm.

First the onions made Ina cry. Now she's grilling on the beach, where it's clearly windy and freezing. If she's attacked by one of those labradoodles, I'm boycotting the Earth.

Joe Lieberman is a terrible, terrible person. Just sayin'.

Did you know Ina used to work on U.S. nuclear policy in Washington? I think that's why her recipes don't bomb. (HAHAHAHAHA ... sorry.)

The more I watch this show, the more I think Ina looks like my mom. Maybe this is why I like her so much, and why I keep asking her for money.

A chocolate sheetcake is in the process of being baked. Normally, this would sound awesome. But I don't know if it's good to combine dogs and chocolate in a party setting. Y'know? The pugs have one drink too many, then they start teasing the Boston terrier, and before you know it, all the shih-tzus have poisoned themselves. Party over.

Ina has chopped at least three large onions, and is visibly tearing up. That's no good. I will kill the onion that makes Ina cry. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED, ONIONS.

Remember, like, four hours ago? When Sandra Lee made potato salad using potato salad? Ina don't play that way. She's got her Adidas and Kangol on, she has her ghetto blaster turned to 11, and she's cooking those dope spuds from scratch. Word.

Food Network Drinking Game, Rule #83892: chug every time a TV chef adds nebulous "flavor," without describing the qualities of said flavor. Ex: "This cupcake could use more flavor." "Potatoes are great when they have flavor." "My socks have a flavor."

THE SHOW: Barefoot Contessa
THE HOST: Ina Garten
THE CONCEPT: For this episode, it's treats for people and their dogs.

End of show.
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: 1! Finally! I thought I was taking crazy pills.
FRUGALITY QUOTIENT: high - baking is cheap
HEALTH QUOTIENT: low - it's a cookie show, man
VERDICT: 8/10 - for having biscotti that looks like it might actually be very good

Giada is hosting a cookie tasting party, and her friends and family are all abnormally hot. This is probably because they usually have asparagus tasting parties.

Giada is rolling out dough, and trying to fill the time with words. "I'm rolling out the dough. Rolling. Rolling. Uh ... more rolling. Hm. Nice day today, right? How 'bout them Mets? More rolling."

We live down the block from a pizza place that sells single slices in individual boxes. Our front stoop has become the garbage pail for the neighborhood kids, all of whom buy one on the way from school to the subway. Short of water guns, how do I solve this problem?

A Giada haiku:
Little big head chef
makes cookie log so pretty
we forget claw hand

Didn't this woman just have a baby? How does she still look like a tiny Italian hourglass? (*curses the heavens*)

Giada just described a "decadent and deliciously adult cookie," meaning the next half hour will see her either making Florentines or directing a porno.

THE SHOW: Everyday Italian
THE HOST: Giada DeLaurentiis
THE CONCEPT: This episode, Giads makes easy Italian-style cookies.

End of show.
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: nada - cute short-sleeved pink top
HEALTH QUOTIENT: very low - flautas were deep fried
VERDICT: 7.5/10, for the fact that I want Mexican food now

She's making Mexican soda! The bodegas in my neighborhood have these, and the colors are insane. They're like drinking a B-52s album.

Sunny is a very sunny person, yes? If she was named Frowny, this would be an entirely different show.

19 hours of straight blogging, and there will be no Ace of Cakes. The lack of Duffness depresses and frightens me. So I will look at this dog making cookies to cheer me up.

Heh. It's 4:20.

The last three - possibly four - shows have involved tempering/whisking eggs into a hot mixture. Is that intentional? Does Food Network pick really specific themes like that? Today, it's tempering eggs. Tomorrow, it's grinding coriander. The day after that, it's sectioning a lemon on a snowy day if you live in a state ending with the letter "O."

Fill in the blank time!
"Flauta" is the Spanish word for ______:
A) flute
B) to flout or express disdain
C) flatulence
D) ex-Bills quarterback Doug Flutie

Sunny's telling us about her tattoo. True story: in college, I was out with a friend, and came fairly close to getting the Chinese symbol for moon tattooed on my lower back. I decided not to, went home and told my dad about it. His response: "So, let me get this straight. You were about to get a MOON tattoo two inches above your ass?" I have never been tempted by tattoos again.

THE SHOW: Cooking for Real
THE HOST: Sunny Anderson
THE CONCEPT: Cooking, really. For real. With realness.

End of show
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: 0 - rolled up sleeves again.
VERDICT: 7/10 - it's been over for a minute, and I barely remember it. There was a rubber chicken, right? (Is that mean? I don't want to be mean. I actually like Tyler a lot.)

"Boom!" is another one he's uttered about 70 different times. Methinks Tyler Florence is actually Guy Fieri, and Guy Fieri was replaced with a lookalike English teacher. Up is down, left is right, people!

Also of note: Tyler hits food a lot, as in, "We're gonna hit this with Cognac." and "I'm gonna hit this with Herbs de Provence." No lie, he just said it like, six times. Food abuse!

Tyler is making Coq au Vin, and his lapel mic is picking up the sound of sizzling every time he gets near his Dutch oven. You can hardly hear him above the noise, and it's kind of hilarious.

"What would life be without bacon?" Tyler asks. A futile existence, my friend. A futile existence indeed.

Ack. He just called all-purpose flour "A.P." (Or, "apey.") How you know when acronyms don't work: when they sound like another, more disgusting word.

Tyler is kicking the show off by berating a rubber chicken. This is gonna be good.

THE SHOW: Tyler's Ultimate
THE HOST: Tyler Florence
THE CONCEPT: Tyler shows us how to make a classic dish in the best possible way.

End of show.
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: 0 - again, the rolled-up sleeve dominates
FRUGALITY QUOTIENT: medium-high, dude
HEALTH QUOTIENT: medium, bro
VERDICT: 9/10, for being unexpectedly pretty great, dudebro

There is no elegant way to talk, whisk furiously, and sound composed at the same time. Everyone's voice rattles like they're riding a vacuum cleaner.

Guy's dolmas are "doing time" in the oven. 15 to 20 for assault and grand theft auto, to be specific. Maybe they ARE bad boys.

Return of the rotisserie ad dad! He reminds me of Prince Humperdinck from Princess Bride. Somewhere (Gilder), a village is missing its cowardly noble.

I'm calling it: TV chefs calling pieces of food "bad boys" is officially over. Stuffed grape leaves are delicious, not delinquent.

He's explaining why he didn't salt Kalamata Couscous ahead of time: "because I wasn't sure what the olives would bring to it." This is the kind of information I want from a cooking show. From Guy Fieri. Who knew? (Also, it helps that he's making dolma [stuffed grape leaves], one of my all-time favorite foods.)

Props to Guy: he doesn't settle for saying an ingredient "will make this taste great!" He explains why you add certain seasonings and why you cook food a specific way. And he uses way less "Dude! This onion is radical awesome gnarly, bro!" than I thought he would.

The More You Know: I'm wearing no makeup, ill-fitting jeans and my beloved hooded sweatshirt, Big Green. If anyone saw me right now, they'd immediately turn to stone.

THE SHOW: Guy's Big Bite
THE HOST: Guy Fieri (pronounced "Bob Jones-Smith")
THE CONCEPT: Huge freaking food for giant freaking guys.

End of show
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: 0, though Bobby's sleeves were rolled up.
FRUGALITY QUOTIENT: medium-low; steak is pricey, yo
HEALTH QUOTIENT: medium; points for lots of fresh produce
VERDICT: 8/10, for the creative use of fruit and being able to smell the grill smoke all the way in my apartment.

Random people show up on Bobby's rooftop to eat. If only such deliciousness was waiting at the top of every NYC fire escape, instead of the tar paper and Wire-style Mexican standoffs that are usually there.

Bobby is now mixing figs and red peppers in a delectable-sounding marinade. However, it looks like Buffalo Bill's bathtub in Silence of the Lambs. "It puts the marinade on the skin or it gets the hose again."

Chickpea Polenta, which Mr. Flay is making, is something I would like to eat right now. In my mouth. With my teeth and gums.

If Bobby wasn't a cook, he'd be a ballplayer - probably a journeyman outfielder with a .270 average and 15 or 20 home runs a year. Fans would like him because he shows up early to practice, and managers respect him for his knowledge of the game. Three years after retiring, he'd take a job managing Double A, where he'd stay until the majors call him up in his mid-50s. After a few years as a hitting coach, he'd get the full-time manager's job and win the World Series within three years. He'd always have a secret love of mango salsa, but would't know why.

Unexpected, terrifying glitch with Blogger, seemingly overcome for now. If it craps out 10 hours into the marathon, I will go on a killing spree.

Bobby's background music sounds like the chillout room at a '90s rave. We have fallen into a K-hole of flavor, everyone.

THE SHOW: Boy Meets Grill
THE HOST: Bobby Flay
THE CONCEPT: Bobby Flay and a grill in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

End of show
3/4-SLEEVE SWEATERS: 0. It was a lavender blouse.
VERDICT: 5/10, for unexpected attention paid to health and frugality, but also making a potato salad out of a potato salad.

Multiple choice question time! Sandra is currently:
A) Showing us a tablescape with a three-foot, 30+ pound vase of flowers at the center.
B) Showing us ANOTHER new plate of those apricot cream desserts.
C) Showing us the molecular representation of sodium chloride.

Sandra is spooning hot apricots on to a delicate cream. You can see the cream itself dissolving as this happens. It looks like, in the following shot, the desserts have been replaced with new ones. I can't say for sure this happened, but I think it happened.

On microwaving the potatoes: "You didn't have to do any of that peeling, any of that monkey business." I think she just compared potato peeling to sex. I guess both are dirty? And can take a few minutes? And at the end, you get delicious fries?

"I want to talk to you about making great potato salad without all the work." She is starting with pre-cooked potatoes already seasoned with rosemary and garlic. This is like saying, "The first step is making an awesome cake is to buy an awesome cake."

Aunt Sandy's hair is styled very Farrah Fawcettly. Which brings another question to mind: when I don't wear my hair back when I cook, it gets in the food. (Mmm ... hair chili.) Is this a concern of TV chefs?

The theme is wisteria. So naturally, the first dish is a Fig and Goat Cheese Quesadilla. Leave your logic at the door, ladies and germs.

THE SHOW: Semi-Homemade ... you knew it was coming.
THE HOST: Sandra Lee
THE CONCEPT: 70% store-bought ingredients, 30% fresh ingredients, 100% yarg.

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