Posts filed under 'Food Network'

Fall premieres: Things I am watching

Hello, friends. Long time, lots of bad TV. Well, with the exception of What Would Brian Boitano Make? and brand! new! shiny! Project Runway on Lifetime. But starting, erm, last week, the long summer drought has ended, and we’re getting factory-direct new episodes of scripted TV, which is awesome. Herein, a few things I am looking forward to, and a few more I am giving up on.

Because we are so very pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die. Huh? Look at that chiseled jaw!

Because we are so very pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die. Huh? Look at that chiseled jaw!

As you may know, Gossip Girl returns for a third season tonight, with everyone on the show attending NYU because they are too poor/stupid/antisocial for Yale, Brown, and gen pop (Blair and Dan, Serena, and Chuck, respectively). I suppose it doesn’t even matter if I point out yet again that NYU costs more than Yale, and that CCNY would actually be more on these dimwits’ intellectual levels. I don’t think I’ll be following the Gossips too much this year, because everything became both unbelievable and unbelievably boring last year. And although I do enjoy watching boys make out almost as much as Dan (our Dan, not Lonelyboy. Well, I think Lonelyboy likes it too) does, the prospect of Chuck sucking face with this guy isn’t going to bring me back.

A show I will be following, religiously? Castle! Because Nathan Fillion is a very nice man and it’s fantastic to see him finally get a second season of something. The man works hard, selling the hell out of the show via Twitter, and also he sometimes shows up on Craig Ferguson’s show wearing a kilt. Which is the kind of commitment we like to see in our tall, dark, and handsome Canadians. Besides that, the show itself is quality. It was a midseason replacement last year and turned out to be a nice blend of procedural and romantic dramedy, with Fillion providing most of the giggles and the quite lovely Stana Katic playing the straight man. Also, his interaction with his TV daughter is wonderful. Seriously, I may be most excited about the return of Castle, and that’s saying a lot, since back in April I was inappropriately anxious to find out if Amy Brenneman would survive having her belly sliced open by that psychotic woman from Alias and Felicity.

I am also very excited about How I Met Your Mother, and not just because my crush on NPH really doesn’t care that he’s gay (remember what I said about boys making out? Yeah, I could stand to see a little PDA on the Emmy red carpet, is all). I’ve been rewatching the early seasons of HIMYM on DVD, and honestly, I just love that show. It’s so sparkling and delightful, and even SagetTed doesn’t weird me out anymore. I am really in no hurry to find Your Mother, as that might bring the show to an end, and I just love it too much. More Barney! More Marshall! More everyone!

Avec Eric is like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, but with less swearing, fewer snide remarks about my beloved Food Network, and far more inventive use of a toaster oven. Famous, fantastic French chef Eric Ripert travels the world for boar hunts and visits to the greatest restaurants there are, then he whips up something tasty in his palatial home kitchen. And he does it all with the most wonderful accent, a sense of humor, and a deep sense of respect for food, people who grow food, people who kill food, and people who eat food. If you only know him from Top Chef, record the show. There are no commercials! And it’s just incredibly relaxing and beautiful. If Eric Ripert’s accent doesn’t make your ears purr, I will refund your money.

I’ve seen the pilot of Community. It is quite funny, and of course, Joel McHale can do no wrong. I hope it prospers magnificently. I’ve also seen the pilot of Trauma, which is quite unintentionally funny in places, but you know I will watch whatever Peter Berg throws at me. You know who’s interesting on that? Cliff Curtis, who plays a crazy adrenaline junkie helicopter paramedic. He kind of wins the TV Diversity Sweepstakes (at first I thought he was Indian, but he’s actually from New Zealand. And once played Pablo Escobar! Far better than Adrian Grenier did). Speaking of Peter Berg, I have no idea what’s going to happen on Friday Night Lights when it returns to DirecTV, but I will be there. Er, here. In my office, where we have DirecTV. I understand that Riggins will be back (RIGGINS!!) but not Tyra. And Matt Saracen is sticking around Dillon to break our hearts like five thousand more times. Plus, Coach and Mrs. Coach! I almost forgot how deeply I love Friday Night Lights, you all.

And that is kind of it. Yeah, there are other returning shows I’m looking forward to, and I will give a looksee to Flash Forward, The Good Wife, and Modern Family, but with Jay Leno effectively blacking out five hours of primetime a week to me, this appears to be what my DVR will be filled with this fall. And! The Daily Show returns tonight! That is making me very happy. What are y’all looking forward to?

2 comments September 14th, 2009

Sandra Lee video: Try not to swallow your tongue mid-seizure

I’ve always felt that Sandra Lee gets a bad rap.

Sure, she’s a really easy target. First off, she’s a hot blonde and everyone loves to hate a hot blonde. Second, her show Semi-Homemade epitomizes the most common criticism of the Food Network — that it bastardizes cooking into food assembly and using inferior ingredients to create marginal meals.

But I don’t really mind saying that I kind of like her. If I had to choose a Food Network chef to cook for me, she’d probably be the last on the list (even Guy Fieri — so long as I don’t actually have to be around him as he cooks), but she does create easy-to-replicate recipe for the mom on the go. And I think that lack of pretension is something worth admiring, especially when you have insufferable Top Chef judges squirming like infants at a slight miscalculation in seasoning.

Also, she is a totally under appreciated gay icon. Between the platinum blonde hair, the rockin’ bod, the manically chipper demeanor and her trademark pre-meal cocktail, I don’t understand why drag queens aren’t dressing like her already.

On that note, I found this clip of Sandra that might give you a seizure. If you love Sandra, you’ll laugh your ass off. If you hate her, you may just be instantly annoyed. But I thought it was funny — and hypnotic.

2 comments September 1st, 2009

Adventures in Noshing: What Would Brian Boitano Make?

You guys know how I love the Food Network, right? I do. I love it. My weekend rituals involve bagels, coffee, Jamie Oliver, and Nigella Lawson. And now, something else: this wonderful new show, What Would Brian Boitano Make?, in which Olympic figure skating gold medalist Brian Boitano cooks food and is adorable.

That's not juice. It's Brian Orser's tears.

That's not juice. It's Brian Orser's tears.

So I think the Food Network has been on a bit of a downward slope recently, as I haven’t enjoyed their newest crops of chefs, including Aida Mollenkamp, the Neelys, and the various Next Food Network Star winners. I’m also not a fan of Food Network Challenge, in which people attempt to make architecture out of cake. I’m more of a classicist, myself. I like the trinity: Mario, Bobby, Rachael. But if What Would Brian Boitano Make?, or WWBBM, as I’m going to call it from now on, is indicative of the network’s new direction, I whole-heartedly embrace it.

WWBBM is a pretty straightforward cooking show, at least as far as I can tell from the first episode, which aired Sunday. You will be pleased to learn that the theme song is of course the one Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote for South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, which is one of the things that makes BB so awesome. When Trey and Matt write a song about you, or put you on their show, it is best to react with good humor and feel rightly flattered (see also: George Clooney). And Brian is an engaging host with an easy rapport in front of the camera. Unlike Anne Burrell, whose show I like, but who is not the most natural person on-camera, Brian seems perfectly at ease talking to the camera and acting quite ridiculous. He has this splendidly sinister laugh, and I also like that the kitchen he uses does not seem to be designed for TV, and isn’t all Top Chef with the Sub Zeros and gleaming six-burner ranges. It looks like a fairly normal, although large, home kitchen.

So the first episode featured Brian cooking a spread of noshes in order to get his friend Tony laid. No, really. It was funny, with the snide little references to The Bachelor. I don’t know what they have in store for future episodes, but here’s what I’d like to see: guest star Johnny Weir. I mean, I know Johnny doesn’t eat, but how awesome would it be? They could drink sparkly cocktails and talk smack about that bitch Evan Lysacek. Michelle Kwan could come! There would be voodoo dolls of Tara Lipinski and Jeffrey Buttle. It would be the greatest cooking show EVER. Food Network, make this happen.

1 comment August 24th, 2009

I want to hang out with Kathy Griffin and Paula Deen

On Monday’s episode of My Life on the D List, Kathy went to Savannah to hang out with Paula Deen after she failed to win the Grammy for Best Comedy Album. Well…I…had a very boring bus ride back from Virginia on Sunday. I want to go Paula Deen’s house!

Paula gets new diamonds whenever she gets new hair, I think.

Paula gets new diamonds whenever she gets new hair, I think.

During her visit, Kathy hit on Paula’s single son, Bobby (I prefer Jamie, but he’s married), and Team Griffin attempted to cook something. And there was a big, boozy, Walker-style dinner, complete with Kathy commenting that Paula’s gay assistant, Brandon, was turning into a Jacqueline Susann novel. Which was awesome. But my favorite part was when Paula was tasting the monstrosities Team Griffin put together in her palatial kitchen, and confided that she knows “girls that sometimes, they don’t always swallow their food while they’re filming,” but that Paula always swallows her food. And I KNOW she is talking about Giada! That skinny twit does not eat her food. (But I do. It’s pretty good.)

I am loving where Kathy is going with all the splendid divas this season. I hope Cher is next. And here’s a fun piece of trivia for you to impress your friends: Paula Deen and Susan Sarandon are the same age. Susan is actually a few months older. Yep. Also, Amy Adams is older than Ryan Reynolds. I find that surprising.

2 comments June 24th, 2009

Rachel Ray: Perky celebrity chef or militant Islamic extremist

racheljihad.jpg
This is the iced coffee of the revolution.

Thank God we have Michelle Malkin, the same person who wrote a book called “In Defense of Internment” about Japanese Americans in World War Two, to tell us that Rachel Ray is killing America.

Dunkin’ Donuts pulled a television spot featuring talk show host and Food Network personality Rachael Ray this weekend after a Fox news commentator associated it with terrorists.

In the ad, Ray is wearing a scarf that Michelle Malkin said in her nationally syndicated column resembled a kiffiyeh, Middle Eastern garb that is “popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos.”

Dunkin’s Senior Vice President for Communications Margie Myers issued a statement saying the scarf “was selected by a stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended.

“However, as of this past weekend, we are no longer using the online ad because the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee.”

In her column, Malkin also noted that it could appear at times that actor Colin Farrell, rapper Kanye West and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have been photographed in similar scarves that were “distinctive hate couture.”

Dammit, Michelle. Leave the girl alone so she can make a damn 30 Minute Meal, squeak a few laughs, say the word “sammie” a million times and call it a day.

May 29th, 2008

Battle of the Barefoot

As I was searching YouTube for relevant Barefoot Contessa clips (the best I could find was the baby — but it was pretty remarkable in its own way), I stumbled upon this video parody.

It’s not necessarily a timeless masterpiece, but it’s a pretty inspired send-up for a couple of kids who are probably just past Bar/Bat Mitzvah age. The main performers are a fresh-faced junior gay and his sister/BFF from theater class.

While some parts are indulgent, the kids have some pretty impressive comedic instincts.[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/kYqBxIhajPs" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

February 20th, 2008

Barefoot Contessa: Our love affair continues

iiiiiinnnnnnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaaa.jpgJust putting it out there — this is going to be a rambling, pointless post.

I was watching Barefoot Contessa over the weekend and kind of fell in love with Ina Garten again. I really have no idea what her draw is, but Barefoot Contessa is probably Food Network’s single most watchable show.

Part of it is probably envy. The I-really-want-you-to-be-my- friend-ishness of it all. I just want her to center an entire show to her lunchtime date with me and have the whole episode be this labor of love devoted to making it a special affair. Admittedly, Ina always makes her gays work for their keep (they have to bring flowers from their shop or labor in her garden) and although I have no real “skills” to contribute, hopefully poorly-thought-out blog posts will be enough.

This weekend I had one of the gayest moments of my life. I was walking around the city on Saturday with three of my gays, one of whom was carrying a birthday-celebratory banana creme pie he had made from scratch, and I was asked whether I had caught Barefoot Contessa earlier that day. The fact that I was asked this question wasn’t as gay as the fact that I had to respond in the affirmative. The show isn’t a regular talking point amongst my friends, but apparently it is enough of a cultural touchstone amongst my people that it’s a safe bet as to what I did after sleeping in on a Saturday.

And Saturday afternoon/morning’s episode wasn’t necessarily a showstopper, but it was a truly solid effort. Ina was making gazpacho for her friend’s baby shower and the first half of the show consisted of her chopping up a vegetable, pureeing it in the blender and putting it in a bowl. Then chopping up another vegetable and so on and so on. It was hypnotic and, I swear to God, I could’ve watched that shit for HOURS. It was the most relaxing thing I think I could’ve watched.

Who doesn’t love Barefoot Contessa? The answer is no one. Even babies. Babies love Barefoot Contessa. Here’s proof:[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/bEJpdF93EVU" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

In other news, that same morning Giada was making this dessert and now I’m completely obsessed with making it. I’m like a crazy person.

5 comments February 19th, 2008

The More You Know: Neon edition

I like things that are bright.

February 1st, 2008

At least we will never have Rachael Ray in the Oval Office. Probably…

Remember a long time ago when Thailand had that coup? Well, the latest update on that situation is that the country’s parliament has chosen a new prime minister and it’s actually a 72-year-old celebrity chef named Samak Sundaravej. His show is called “Tasting, Grumbling” and he will continue to do the show while in office.

Naturally, one must ask the question: If the U.S. were to have a celebrity chef president, who would be the best choice — Southern diva Paula Deen or exacting homemaker Sandra Lee?

Paula Deen

  • Pros: Lots of boisterous “y’alls” and hysterical laughter during the State of the Union; likely to remove all taxes on butter.
  • Cons: Unpredictable; uncontrollable.

Sandra Lee

  • Pros: Would finally organize the federal government; kick-ass Christmas decorations at the White House.
  • Cons: Likely to bomb countries for minor diplomatic infractions; would mandate governmental office buildings all be based on a theme.
Who would be the better president, Sandra or Paula?
View Results

1 comment January 30th, 2008

The More You Know: Holiday-themed sweater edition

Where can you even buy one of those?

December 14th, 2007

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