I’m not a Rachael Ray fan, but I don’t like the way everyone beats up on her. I think what she’s trying to do is to give people the confidence to get back into the kitchen and that gets lost in all the fuss about her goofy cheerleader-like demeanor and her growing empire. Her recipes are okay. Mostly she uses fresh ingredients, though sometimes pre-sliced or pre-washed ingredients take a starring role. Her recipes are nothing spectacular, but they aren’t horrible either. For that, we have the satanic Sandra Lee and her Semi-Homemade madness.

Sandra Lee might be trying to get people back in the kitchen but if it’s with fake processed scary awful-tasting pseudo-food then what’s the point? Also she seems to care more about how to make food look good than actually taste good. So where do the Fix-it and Forget-it books that so routinely top the New York Times Bestseller lists fall? Are they more Rachael Ray or more Sandra Lee?

The latest book in the series, Fix-It and Forget-It 5-Ingredient Favorites: Comforting Slow-Cooker Recipes is clearly in the Sandra Lee camp. It demonstrates that clearly, much of America believes the only way to get something tasty on the table, with ease, is to rely on lots of processed, packaged low or no-nutrition foods. I mean things like canned soup, processed cheese, spaghetti sauce mix, frozen hash browns, grape jelly, soft drinks, canned mushrooms and chicken nuggets. These all rank high among the so-called “Five Ingredients” that legions of contributors use in recipes which are to be found in the book.

I have no burgeoning empire like Rachael Ray, but I too want people to go back in the kitchen. I want them to love cooking and eating as much as I do. I don’t want them to be intimidated. I want them to be inspired. And there is nothing in Fix-it and Forget-it to inspire, but plenty to make anyone who cares about good food sad.

Fix-it and Forget-it? 21 February,2007Amy Sherman

  • Michael Procopio

    OMG. What is WRONG with Sandra Lee’s face? She has the surprised-yet-totally-vacant countenance of a botox junkie. I’m not saying, I’m just saying…


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.

Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.

Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.

She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.

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