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Semi Homemade Cooking 3

post #1 of 15
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Review of Semi Homemade Cooking 3 by Sandra Lee


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post #2 of 15
That was surprisingly positive.

I've only seen her show once. I thought it was awful and that she really had no idea about flavor or prep. My reaction was very much a "Pinky and The Brain" response of, "I'm going to have to hurt you."

I recognized a lot of Costco products, some of which I use too.

I agree, it's good to have some shortcut recipes in your repertoire as a home cook. But not that many.

Phil
post #3 of 15
I saw her biography on FTV and was quite impressed. She had a really tough childhood, and her program is one of the top-viewed on FTV. She also makes really impressive charitable efforts and contributions.

Not going to buy her cookbooks, though.

Mike :beer:
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #4 of 15
Funny how things go, Mike. I'm familiar with her background, and reached an opposte conclusion. I'm not the least bit impressed.

What I see is somebody who filled a spot at Le Cordon Bleu that could have been taken by somebody with ambitions to do something meaningful in the culinary world. Instead, she tossed that training out the window, deciding that real cooking was a waste of time when there were all these convenience products and processed foods on the market.

What a waste!

Her show leaves me cold as well. For starters, it's another instance where FN goes for the host's looks rather than her talent. I guarantee you, all else being equal, that if Sandra was flat chested and ugly she'd have never gotten that show. And just once I'd like to see her in a sweater that isn't two sizes too small.

And, frankly, I don't think the things she does with preprocessed foods is particularly noteworthy or creative. Rachael Ray does a much better job in that regard.

And then there's her signature style of remaking the kitchen every episode to match the food. Uh, huh! I reckon I could do that too if I had a staff of 23 people to do the actual work.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 15
caught an episode the other day - just the finger riding on the back of the knife blade made me shudder.
kathee
post #6 of 15
She's just too 'unnaturally cheerful' for me. I get the feeling that as soon as they turn the camera off, she goes "I'm so glad that's over...my face hurts from smiling so much". All that 'artificial sweetness' leaves an aftertaste for me.

I did win one of her books in the ChefTalk cookbook give-away, and am looking forward to getting it, but I still won't watch her show much.

But, hey...I change my window valance for each season. Right now I have a lovely fall print that goes with my fall print placemats and the towels I hang 'just for show'.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #7 of 15
When I'm researching a recipe I'll sometimes go to foodnetwork.com. I've noticed over time that most of her recipes do not have good ratings on the website. Check it out.

I can't speak against her as a person, but her style of cooking is something that we should try to get away from, not something that should be promoted. I understand the busy Mom thing but Italian dressing can be made so easily and affordably than getting it out of a bottle or an envelope seasoning mix. Most of the time I don't see the affordability in the show. The tablescapes seem so over the top to me and the daily color themes are unecessary.... that's what I have HGTV for!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #8 of 15
While I really can't stand her, her show, or the kind of "food" she creates, I do think she gets more heat than sometimes deserved. Sandra Lee is a symptom of our poor food system in this country, not a cause. Here, on this site, we tend to spend a lot of time bashing convience foods, and pre made products, but let's face facts, many, if not most Americans rely heavily on these products. There are many reasons, laziness, less time to spend at home, both parents working, and the most insidious reason of all-because these items are so much cheaper than preparing food from scratch. It is well documented that poor and lower middle class families often rely on convience foods because they are significantly cheaper. Boxed Mac & Cheese, canned tuna, frozen burritos, Kool-aid, Hamburger Helper, Ramen noodles; all these (and hundreds more) are so much cheaper than trying to buy food to prepare "from scratch" meals. I am in no way condoning this or Sandra Lee, but let's face it, what she is pushing sells (the tight sweaters probably also help). Until the whole system changes there will always be a place for the Sandra Lees of the world to teach us how to turn hamburger and a bag of Doritos into a lovely Enchilada Pie and how to create a sublime mousse from Coolwhip and Jello.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #9 of 15
Now that I have received her book, which I won in the September cookbook giveaway here at ChefTalk, and have read through it, I have this to say:

The gal is a very skilled at short-cut cooking. This is her 'thing'. It's the basis for her books and for her shows. People love her for it...finally, someone gives us permission to choose the easy way. She takes time-honored recipes, that typically would require hours to prepare, and demonstrates how to do them with less time and less effort (however, not necessarily less expense...but that's the trade-off). All of the recipes in the book that I have can also be done the 'long way', should one wish. There is no rule that says you have to use refrigerator pasta, or frozen mashed potatoes, for instance, if you prefer to cook them yoursef. All of her recipes are based on substitution...sooo....just substitue the original, made from scratch items back into them.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #10 of 15
Thank you, Pete. Well said -- an extremely important point!

I spend my summers (I'm an academic, so I'm off for the summer) in northeastern Vermont, near the NH border. Folks there are mostly very poor, ill-educated, and struggling. A disturbing proportion of them are morbidly obese. And when I shop in the local grocery store (Shaw's, and now a Wal-Mart), I always see them buying stacks and stacks of premade foods. This in the summertime in an agricultural region.

So I started doing some basic comparison shopping. After three years of compiling irregular data, I found that the cost of buying premade meals is almost identical to buying decent-quality fresh ingredients. The saving on time and utilities is not to be sneered at, especially with gas prices where they are. You can, however, buy in the middle: crappy fresh ingredients or partly-premade. The crappy fresh stuff is rarely much cheaper than the good stuff, albeit you don't have to drive from market to market. But the partly-premade is indeed cheaper. Thus the cheapest option, barring growing your own (not an option in the winter), is semi-premade, what Sandra Lee calls semi-homemade.

I can't stand her show, I can't stand her manner or her style. But she is encouraging people to make mediocre rather than bad meals the cheapest way possible under the current food distribution system.
post #11 of 15
Unless she's part of the solution she's part of the problem. In this case I think she embodies and promotes the problem quite substantially.

I think she is a savvy and smart businesswoman. Definitely not a chef though.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #12 of 15
>Definitely not a chef though. <

To me, that's the real sin of it. She was trained to be a chef, not a 50's housewife.

My sister cooks exactly the way Sandra does. Only she does a better job of it, producing meals that are good on the eye and in the mouth. How come she doesn't have a show? Maybe the fact she's 45 pounds overweight, and has a personality like a toad, has something to do with it.

Its not just a matter of using convenince foods. Pete is right on the money about that. But look at the other celebrities who go that route, in all or in part: Racheal Ray, Nigella Lawson, Martha Stewart. The list is long. Yet, far as I'm concerned, every one of them does a better job that Ms Lee.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #13 of 15
Robin Miller does a much better job along similar lines, plus she shows how to plan meals for the week, how to buy ingredients that can be used for several meals ... Robin uses more fresh foods, higher quality prepared ingredients, and teaches some basic food preparation techniques, thereby helping people get more value for their food dollar.

I don't believe Ms. Lee is encouraging people to prepare meals the cheapest way possible - Robin Miller and even Ellie Krieger do a better job in that department. They seem to prepare healthier meals as well.
post #14 of 15
I've not watched FN for quite some time. Saw Nigella a couple of times - really did not like the show or her. RR doesn't push any buttons for me - been almost a year - eight months certainly - that I've seen her show. Martha Stewart .... yawn!

So, just curious, in what way do these celeb cooks do a better job than Ms. Lee?
post #15 of 15
I am not holding Sandra Lee blameless by a long shot, I just think she is an easy scapegoat for deeper, unlying issues that plague our society. And yes, I agree, the few times I caught her show I thought most of what she made seemed nasty.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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