Category Archives: TV Cooks

Start your 2012 Right! Rachel vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off

Ah New Year’s Day, that wonderful celebration of new beginnings, hangover ministrations, formal apologies, stomach pumps and bail hearings. Following as it does on the heels of what my family fondly calls amateur night, January first is steeped in homespun tradition, most of which centers around stepping over the moaning carcasses of relatives, friends and complete strangers strewn around the living room and desperately trying to warm themselves at the flat screen. But it’s also about disconsolately sipping Alka Seltzer between trips to the powder room and coping with the mortification and shame that accompany each flashback of the night before.


And then, of course, there are resolutions to be contemplated, made and almost immediately abandoned. What’s mine? you ask. Well, in addition to losing those pesky last thirty pounds (plateauing at two is such a bitch) and giving my liver the occasional day off, I’ve vowed to watch each and every episode of Rachel vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. The January first premier is perfect timing; I’ll already be nauseated before it even begins! Read the rest of this entry

Stop! Stop! No really, please make it stop. I’m begging you.


Recently a friend said to me, in a purely constructive way, “Gee, Kitchen Slattern, I think maybe you were a little rough on Nadia G.” As you may recall I described this TV cook as the unholy spawn of an unnatural union between Pee Wee Herman and Snookie, and I’ll admit it’s pretty unvarnished as criticism goes. Upon further consideration, I might more correctly have said she’s like the unholy spawn of an unnatural union between Pee Wee Herman and Snookie with oven mitts. In any case, I took the suggestion in the spirit it was intended – entirely constructive as I said – and had another look at Nadia G., and let me tell you, once my ears stopped bleeding and my appetite returned, I concluded that not only had I been right in the first place, but I don’t think my initial evaluation went far enough, as it did nothing to prevent the creation and marketing of Nadia G’s Christmas video. Honestly, I’ve had acid flashbacks that were more coherent, better choreographed and far less unpleasant than watching this. In hindsight, I do wish I hadn’t shot out the TV, but we all have our Elvis moments, and once you see this video, you’ll know why.

“It’s Christmastime. Stop, stop, rewind.” It’s for charity, so show her “your ding ding ding dong.”

Once you’ve seen and heard this, I defy you to get it out of your head without ECT. You can call me for Dr Feelgood Feldman’s number if need be. I feel your pain.

Pork Chops!

I was recently reminded of the lowly pork chop while watching Rachael Ray perpetrate some sort of atrocity on a pork roast – it involved ginger snaps and red cabbage and was intended to mimic some kind of wurst, though really why anyone would want to cook, let alone eat, German food (or even a reasonable facsimile) is beyond me. I know I should find Rachael endearing – millions do – but the combination of hyperactivity, that voice and the revolting food she puts out is, frankly, more than I can bear. She exhausts me. And for some reason every time I look at her I am inundated with long-repressed, terrifying memories from my childhood. I wonder why?

Moving forward, I think the pork chop is often overlooked these days, probably because so many people, like myself, were subjected to overcooked pork in their youth when the fear of trichinosis was second only to the Red Menace. Since then I have tried, on many occasions, to cook up a chop that is moist and delicious without posing a health hazard, and until recently I have failed consistently and at times rather spectacularly, I don’t mind telling you. What to do? What to do?

Read the rest of this entry

Nigella: You knew it would come to this sooner or later

Love her or hate her, Miss Lawson is for many the original short-cut taking, taste-as-you-go then eat-with-abandon kitchen slattern, and for that alone I will always be a fan. I stumbled upon Nigella Bites in 2001 and loved the show’s clever editing, Nigella’s girlfriend-y chatter and her refreshingly relaxed approach to both cooking and eating.

Over the years, however, as the domestic goddess juggernaut picked up steam, I began to feel a creeping unease, and by the time we got to Nigella Express in 2007, the experience of watching her cook had begun to make me squirm, and not in a good way. With adjectives multiplying like randy bunnies and the chatter taking on a, how shall I say, slightly overheated feel, the experience became more than I could reasonably endure, at least without a partner.

Witness the foreplay for a chocolate raspberry pavlova recipe:

“You just cannot beat a pav in summer, and in particular this dark beauty. The crisp and chewy chocolate meringue base, rich in cocoa and beaded nuggets of chopped plain chocolate, provides a sombre, almost purple-brown layer beneath the fat whiteness of the cream and matt, glowering crimson raspberries on top: it is a killer combination.”

Ooh, sorry. I just slid off the glistening seat of my rigid ebony desk chair, the fat whiteness of my pale, billowing ass tumbling with a surprising, yet somehow satisfying, plop onto the plush, mellow lusciousness of the ruby and citron carpet below.

Oh God, it’s happening again and all I’ve been looking at are YouTube videos.

My recommendation: Like that of the Rolling Stones, Nigella’s early work in both print and video is by far the best. Her cookbooks are worth buying, since most include several very good recipes and some great tips, for instance, when she suggests roasting beets rather than boiling them or serving deep fat fried Mars bars to your girlfriends, and don’t even think of telling me this does not appeal. If it doesn’t, you’re either hanging with the wrong crowd or need to get to Walmart more often, or both.

From Nigella Bites: Gingery-hot duck salad (because I find duck fat repulsive, I peel it off, melt a little in the pan to cook the duck, then chuck it as soon as humanly possible – up to you) and Vietnamese chicken and mint salad are fabulous, as is the recipe for Italian sausages and lentils.

In Forever Summer I like the cold beet soup. The slow cooked lemon garlic chicken is a real winner, too. The method is foolproof for producing meat that slides off the bone, though I usually omit the lemon and brush on barbecue sauce before the final high heat cooking time. Sticky, sweet and salty? You bet. That’s just the way I roll, but you may prefer the original.

Nigella and I part ways on the issue of mixing red and green ingredients in salads — I’m all for it, and I cannot urge you strongly enough to avoid the carrot and peanut salad; I tried it during my early, true-believer phase and it’s as delicious as it sounds. And let’s not even get into the watermelon, olive and feta salad. Even at the height of my fanaticism, I never even considered that one, no matter how convincing her argument in favor. Ugh.

And what is pavolva anyway?

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