Due to the overwhelming response to the recent Food Network posts, it has finally freed me to truly let my freak flag fly. Yes, my name is EdHill, and I am a Food Network junkie. I watch it all, from Michael Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not gay, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just from Napa ValleyÃ¢â‚¬? Chiarello and his amazing lisp (I watch every week hoping heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll say Ã¢â‚¬Å“caramelizedÃ¢â‚¬?), to Rachael RayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fragile psyche, to Paula Deen’s fragile heart valves. I love it all. Who among us hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t TiVoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d Everyday Italian just to see how tight fitting GiadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s blouse will be, or hoping we will get a close-up of her massaging a meat product? I am the only person I know of that actually considered ordering the Good Eats DVDÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. So imagine my amazement when they took the top 7 Ã¢â‚¬Å“celebrity chefsÃ¢â‚¬? and put them all in a room together to cook a Thanksgiving meal. It’s the Food Network’s All Star Thanksgiving. GiadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s giant head and hand gestures next to Rachael RayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s manic insanity? Sign me up. The concept is simple. We spend about 10 minutes with each of them making a side dish, give one of them the turkey and then watch them come together and eat and pretend they arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t all annoyed with each other.
The lineup is as follows;
Emeril Lagasse. The worst of the bunch. His food sucks, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s smarmy, and he spices his dishes based upon how much an audience claps. The only worthwhile thing he ever did was his sadly short lived sitcom Emeril. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also fun to watch him slowly get fatter and fatter every year. If you catch a first season episode of Emeril Live, you will be shocked.
Paula Deen. The queen of fat. We watch just to see how many different dishes she can add an entire stick of butter to.
Giada DeLaurentiis. If Paula Deen stops your heart with a cholesterol level of 456, Giada does it with her beauty. The Food Network hottie, and my future second wife. Who isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t charmed when she sits at her couch with her legs curled up, with that beaming smile and oversized noggin? And her Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mmmm” face is to die for.
Rachael Ray. The reigning queen of Food TV. One of my personal favorites. Watching her talk to herself like a crazy person on 30 Minute Meals is always a treat. The ill-fitting outfits, her weird laughing at her own jokes. Then thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s $40 Dollars a Day, where Rachael wanders America tipping at 5%. And last but not least Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels where she is forced to spend time with sane people and we watch the horror on their faces as they realize the woman is certifiable.
Tyler Florence. The Brad Pitt/Ty Pennington of Food TV. He is the anchor of Food 911, where he travels to homes with people who donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how to cook, and instead of teaching them basic cooking skills, walks them through an elaborate gourmet meal that they will never make again for the rest of their lives.
Sara Moulton. She bakes. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bake and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t eat sweets so sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kind of an X factor for me.
And finally, my hero, Alton Brown. Yes, he is weird, and yes his anal retentiveness borders on mental illness sometimes (his 5 minute explanation on how to pack a cooler actually frightened me), but I love him. His show Good Eats has achieved “Save until I delete” status on my TiVo. Truly rarified air. The man teaches you about the process of cooking so you learn, as opposed to just rattling off ingredients and measurements. Did you know the five government classifications of tomatoes? No? Well I do, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thanks to Mr. Brown.
So without further ado, here is a brief glimpse of the Food Network All Star Thanksgiving.
We start with a forced goofy opening where they all pick whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cooking what and then they make their own favorite bruschetta. This results in one of the most disgustingly erotic moments of the show.
Mmmm. So succulent…
And we also get a flurry of Giada hand gestures.
4 gestures in 4 seconds. A new record.
First up is Rachael RayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dish. The name? Ã¢â‚¬Å“Orange You Glad It’s Thanksgiving Soup.Ã¢â‚¬? That pretty much sets the tone. Rachael is wearing one of her ill-fitting tops that accentuate her “chunky ten year old boyÃ¢â‚¬? physique. Being Rachael Ray, her main ingredient is frozen purÃƒÂ©ed butternut squash from the frozen food section. Thank god they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give her the turkey or theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be eating a frozen turkey loaf.
From one extreme to the other we then go to Tyler Florence. And nothing says Thanksgiving to Tyler more than a…. Roman artichoke dish. Okayyy…
And is it me or is Tyler sporting the barest hint of a mullet?
Sing Jessie’s Girl!
Next up is the woman, the legend, Paula Deen. What is she in charge of for Thanksgiving? Well she was given stuffing, but she also decided to add something else of her own to the party. What is it, you ask? This is Paula Deen so we all know whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coming: GRAVY. And not just any gravy. Giblet gravy! Paula today is wearing an outfit that can be best described as a mix between Nouveau Southern and Han Solo.
After that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Giada DeLaurentiis. To get an idea of what itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like when I watch her show it goes a little something like this:
Giada: Ã¢â‚¬Å“And now IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to salt my water.Ã¢â‚¬?
Me: Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll salt your water.Ã¢â‚¬?
Giada: “WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to shock the green beans in ice water.Ã¢â‚¬?
Me: Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll shock your green beans.Ã¢â‚¬?
Yeah, its about as creepy as you think.
She only gets to do some green beans and parmesan crisps so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a quick segment. Her blouse is a solid 8, with nice revealing black bra straps. But she has her hair up which just accentuates the giant head so the whole look averages out to about a 7.5
And we also get a glimpse of the fantastic DeLaurentiis sisters.
Next up it’s Emeril. He is doing skillet cornbread and since it’s Emeril he adds garlic and jalapenos. And since heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doing this for the Thanksgiving special there is no audience in the studio. So it’s funny to have him add garlic to his cornbread and no one cheers. Also, the 8 orgasmic Ã¢â‚¬Å“oh yeah!Ã¢â‚¬?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s are off-putting.
Sara Moulton bakes something. B-o-ring. NextÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Onto the main dish. Mr. Brown is in charge of the turkey. And Alton does what Alton does best. He brines it in a homemade briner, and cooks it with a homemade heat shield. He is the MacGyver of the cooking world. Since he is a little pressed for time he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get to give us a ten minute explanation of what chemicals are altered in the process of brining, but you know he really, really wants to.
He also adds some garlic mashed potatoes. He Deens it up with a quart of heavy cream and 6 ounces of parmesan cheese. And from the look of Alton’s expanding waistline, it seems that he is doing this more frequently.
Now onto the main event. What we’ve all been waiting for. Getting these people in a room together. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about as awkward as you might expect. Everyone is talking over themselves. They all try to act like they like RachaelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s made from frozen concentrate soup. I think the best they come up with is Ã¢â‚¬Å“ooh, nice color.Ã¢â‚¬? ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like looking at a picture of a coworkerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s girlfriend and saying Ã¢â‚¬Å“nice frame.Ã¢â‚¬? Then everyone pretends that TylerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Roman artichoke side isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t at all out of place on the Thanksgiving table.
And then there is Alton, spreading his mashed potatoes out with a Ziploc bag with a hole cut in the side. He also decides to grab his camcorder and stick it right in everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face. Not only is this really annoying, but when Emeril hands out his vodka slushies, we get the best screenshot of the day.
He follows that up with carving the turkey and handing Giada an entire turkey breast because they all think she’s too skinny. This leaves a befuddled Rachael sitting there wondering why no one makes a joke about her being too skinny…
Finally Giada and Emeril get to pull the wishbone. When Giada wins and coyly doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say what she wished for, she gives a look that sets my imagination reeling…
I can’t wait for the Christmas special. And next time they better get them drunk.