Does Rachel Ray distort the value of food in our society? Or, is she merely a harmless t.v. host who’s main goal isn’t just economic, but also to help people with their ever more busy lives. It’s really hard to say. This past week though, in class I was thinking of the difference between Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart. To me, they are really quite opposing forces in the world of “homemaking”, “cooking” et al. My case is for Martha as the supreme winner of this battle, and here is why.
Yes Martha is in business, and the ideal of business is to make money, but it is the way in which she acts that is so appealing. I never feel like her true personality is compromised for her audience. She doesn’t dumb things down (quite the opposite if you’ve seen some of her very elongated recipes) and she seems to seek out the best of each product, learning about its history, origin, and correct ways to utilize it. Sure she has the occassional quick meal idea, but that just goes along with the territory.
Rachel on the other hand always appears to be presenting something that isn’t her true self, but instead the idea of herself as the audience, network or her sponsors want her to be. This to me is a bit of a deception. Do you really think she goes home to cook Thai salad with a jar of peanut butter? Her show has given her the financial ability to really, engage food in a way that her audience does not. Whereas I feel that Martha is the type of host who not only eats what she makes on her show, but I feel that perhaps her cooking at home actually influences her show topics, recipes etc.
All of this being said, as I study Slow Food, neither of them are particularly along the lines of the “good, clean, fair” mantra, but ideally, they both could be given a bit of pushing. Rachel will continue to cook up her quick, taste, “spice is nice” meals, Martha will continue to be the uber-homemaker, with from scratch crusts and all, and both will continue with their businesses. But beware, because one is a platform for easy, and the other for complicated. Business first, food second.
This weeks wine recommendation is Moscato. Many have had the classic and everpresent Moscato d’Asti, but I would encourage you to broaden your horizon and attempt a new one, perhaps a passito, which is a sweet desert wine normally made from the Moscato grape.