Part 1 of 2
Sometimes I feel like I beat up a little too much on Sandra Lee. Sometimes it seems like the same thing again and again and again. After all, I actually have a soft spot for Sandra! Sheesh, if that's how I treat my friends.... Perhaps I should write something nice instead. I could compliment Paula on the fine job she's done this season after a rough start. I could wax poetic about the awesome food that Giada cooks up episode after episode. Maybe I should lay off of Sandra Lee.
But then I come across something so mouth-gapingly awesome that I have to share it with my loyal readers.
As you know, there exists a lucrative side business for any celebrity in the form of public speaking. From Bill Clinton to Michael Jordan to ex-Real Worlders, celebrities get paid handsomely to speak at college graduations, conventions, and other events where the organizers need to keep people awake until the big party afterward. The Premiere Speaker's Bureau is one place to find a speaker for your function. They feature such luminaries as Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Zell Miller and Sandra Lee! One of these things is not like the other....
Sandra Lee, "internationally-acclaimed Lifestylist and New York Times bestselling author", charges the modest sum of $35,000 to speak to your group. The Premiere Speaker's Bureau even has a short video of Sandra Lee speaking at St. Anthony's Hospital's Celebrity Chef event in Oklahoma City. "Healthy living" is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Sandra Lee and the meals she prepares, but I played the video with an open mind.
Sandra starts by warming up the crowd.
"My husband had quadruple bypass surgery four years ago."
Hmm. Okay. So we know this isn't a recent video.
"It's a real honor for me to be here, because I've actually lived through a diet change."
"And gone to the grocery store and tried to figure out how to make things that are heart healthy and um, um...."
Overly processed? Packed with sodium? Drenched in ketchup?
Do we really want Ms. Cheez Wiz and Cool Whip and vodka to speak to "Oklahoma's first hospital dedicated to your amazing heart & blood vessels?" I'm just sayin'.
"I try to be conscientious about what I feed my husband. When he makes me mad, I'm not so conscientious." [audience laughter] "No, really, I'm like, here, eat it!"
Sandra goes on to say that each year her husband gets a full physical at the Mayo Clinic. Oh, and her (ex-) husband is 60:
"Now, it was partially because of his diet. It was partially hereditary. And it was mostly because he smoked. So if there are any smokers in here, I beg you to please stop."*
While she's speaking, this guy walks in front of her:
And comes back with a chair.
This dude decided to leave:
"Now, what I'm going to make tonight is a wonderful herb crusted pork roast. I made this whole dish just practice for my husband last Sunday. I made him sit down and eat all of it - it's a lot of food! I'm like, yes, but you're my taster! And he did it, thank you, dear [gesturing to someone behind her]. So, I'm going to make you a pot roast and I'm going to make a wonderful mushroom gravy that's thick and it's rich and it's going to taste like it's from scratch."
Pork roast and gravy! Just the thing for all heart-conscious 60 year old men!
"Now, this is just a pork roast. To this roast, I want to take, where's my other knife [looking around for knife]. I just want this little knife here and we are slitting in this through the fat and down towards the meat...."
The video concludes at this point. I wonder what she would have done with that fatty roast.
Ominously, I do note Campbell's Soup cans on the table:
This recipe for herb pork roast and mushroom gravy was also featured on a "Low Fat" episode of Semi-Homemade Cooking. The recipe reviews indicate that the roast turned out "greasy" and "terribly greasy", while the gravy turned out "greasy" and "bland". Ah, it's good to know some things never change.
I hear that Sandra Lee is involved with lots of charity work and I think that's great. Heck, she may have even forgone the $35k fee and spoken out of sheer respect for the people who saved her husband's life. But I'm also thinking someone on the hospital board owed Sandra's ex-husband a favor. Sandra is a lot of things, but a heart-healthy cook she is not. After all, they could have asked Alton Brown! He could have found a way to integrate medical science and healthy cooking. Or even Jim Coleman, who wrote a book and about heart-healthy recipes and hosts the fantastic radio show "A Chef's Table".
Speaking of Sandra's ex, on Monday we'll examine the former Mr. Sandra Lee, Bruce Karatz. Also: Anthony Bourdain's disdain of Sandra, and a web round-up of Sandra Lee snark!
*You listening, Mom?