Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Semi-Homemade, All-Atrocious

I'm not as worked up as some about the advertorial aspects of Sandra Lee's new magazine, a spinoff of her "Semi-Homemade" show on the Food Network. Back in the day, the Joy of Cooking's Irma Rombauer recommended that housewives use specific brands in her recipes, even gushing about the virtues of canned soup: "Never before has so nutritious a product been available at so low a price!"

What disturbs me is the "recipes"--"Ravioli Lasagna" (which is like saying "viaduct tunnel") with two different types of frozen ravioli; "Cream Cheese Chicken" with two kinds of cream-of soups, an entire package of Italian dressing mix, and a brick of cream cheese; "Artichoke-Garbanzo Dip" with still more Italian seasoning.

Sandra Lee has always seemed--in her sloppy-drunk, desperate-housewife way--less insidious than embodiment-of-pure-evil Rachael Ray. But this magazine, which expands her "70-percent store-bought plus 30 percent fresh" empire into the previously virgin territory of your average grocery store, may have finally pushed me over the edge. So long, Rachael--I think I've met my new nemesis.

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