Manifesto of a Grudging Rachael Ray Fan

I struggled a bit with whether or not to post a link to this Salon article by Mary Elizabeth Williams. While I found the article funny, I also found it somewhat prurient. I decided to link to it despite its "shock jock" approach because, like the author, many people love Rachael's recipes, but dislike her personality (to put it mildly).

Since it's my blog and I can, I will skip past the harshest criticism and highlight a point that I think is essential to understanding why Rachael Ray is such a polarizing figure:

There are those who leap out of bed smiling and eager to start the day, the kind who come up with team-building exercises for their departments, who stay out late into the evening line dancing because it's just so darn fun, and who wake up again the next morning still smiling and eager to start the day. These are the kind of people who sell T-shirts on their Web sites that say "Yum-O." Then there are the rest of us, the ones who see people like that and want to barf-o.

Now, I do not bound out of bed, but the rest of it can probably apply to me. And I would wear a Yum-O t-shirt. For sure.

Williams moves on to succinctly state why Rachael Ray has legions of fans (and why she is a fan):

I prefer to believe she's made it despite the relentless ebullience, that she connects because she understands that for a whole lot of people, getting dinner on the table is a major accomplishment. You work late, you take care of your kids, you have no time to shop. You contemplate choking down a solitary Luna Bar or picking up a supersize bucket of trans fats at the drive-through. Rachael Ray says there's another option, and with her chipper, can-do attitude, she demystifies cooking. If she weren't sugarcoated to the gills, her message would be almost too tough to take. Suck it up, she's saying. If I can do it, you can to it. Take one lousy half-hour and get a hot meal together, for yourself and for your family. A real meal, preferably the kind with some lean meat and fresh vegetables. No expensive equipment or specialty store ingredients; no fancy French terms or techniques. No excuses.

What a wonderful way to put it. Williams is able to push through her dislike (again, to put it mildly) of Rachael's constantly perky attitude and recognize that what Rachael Ray is selling has a place in today's non-stop and frenetic world and in her own life.

Rachael's demystification of meal preparation is exactly what helped me try cooking that very first time. Without Rachael Ray's can-do attitude and relaxed approach, I probably would have done what I did at the end of every other Food Network show: put down the remote, got in my car and hit the Golden Arches.

When you have the time, I highly recommend reading the whole article. Just make sure your kids aren't reading over your shoulder.

6 comments:

  1. I do bounce out of bed each morning, with a smile on my face, and people ask me if I'm ever in a bad mood. (yes, but not very often) I love my work and try to enjoy each person I meet during my day. I think some people are grumpy because they are "mad at the world". RR is my "perky" counterpart, she is the girl-friend (not girlfriend) that I would love to have living next door.
    Uncle Stephen

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  2. I wish the bouncing out of bed thing was a family trait, because I am not a morning person. Must have gotten that from my Mom!

    I agree that some people like to be angry just for the sake of being angry. They are missing out on all the positive things life has to offer.

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  3. I remember those naughty naughty FHM pictures. I was shocked! LOL!

    Anyhow...why is our world so cynical? I don't understand that. So someone smiles a lot, why do people have to be grinches about it? Typically speaking, I'm a pretty cheerful person (even when things are going to heck) and I am met with scowls and unhappy looks.

    Someone begrudges her because she's "perky"? Give me a break. There are bigger things in this world to worry about. Yes, she can be annoying, and I admit it...but hey- if you can look at a complete stranger and smile, it may make their day (I know whenever someone randomly smiles at me it makes me have hope for this weary world!).

    Sorry to have written a blog in your blog! That's a pet peeve of mine (complaining about "perky" people).

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  4. I have to admit. First time I saw her, I wanted to smack her. But she's like cigarettes, the first few time not so fun. Then you get used to it and enjoy it.
    (I don't smoke, but you get my point.)
    Now I enjoy watching her.
    Wierd.
    Can't wait to see ya' at the potluck!

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  5. Garrett - you should win a prize for being the first person to compare Rachael Ray to cigarettes.

    Looking forward to seeing you, too! But worried about what to bring!

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  6. Jennifer - couldn't agree with you more. It is certainly a pet peeve of mine and always gets me jazzed up. But, sadly, like my Uncle Stephen said, some people are just that way. Let's just be happy that we are in our crowd and not the other.

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