Sandra Lee of the Food Network’s Semi-Homemade Cooking has been on my mind of late.
To begin with, the Food Network recently aired another spate of its Chefography episodes, in which you get to see how the network’s personalities let go of their mothers’ apron strings in order to man or woman their own stoves. This year, we are treated to a view of Sandra Lee’s very humble beginnings. This seasoning packet–loving, Cool Whip–wielding, pudding cup–dumping doyenne of the packaged-food world started on her path to semi-homemade success by fending for her young siblings armed only with a bicycle and a packet of food stamps. Then she invented an infomercial-pimped curtain treatment. And then she got a cooking show.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still totally repulsed by the “culinary” inventiveness that puts such slop on my television in the form of pasta with Cheez Whiz sauce, gray parboiled ribs, and the ever-so-racially-sensitive Kwanzaa cake that was frosted with chocolate, stuffed with canned apple pie filling, and decorated with corn nuts, but I sort of see where she’s coming from now.
What I still don’t get is how she can tout herself as the patron saint of housewifely frugality when she’s draining her account at those craft stores all in the name of tablescaping. Those inappropriate Buddhas, however faux, don’t come cheap when they’re lumped in with yards of fabric, overly cutesy plates and glasses, chandeliers, topiaries, and bazillions of nutcrackers.
Moving on, Sandy isn’t out there just to make me throw various fruits and vegetables at my television. No, she also has a philanthropic side, which, let’s face it, is probably just as tanorexic as the rest of her. March 31 and April 1, Sandra Lee will be hosting the Bunco World Championship in Las Vegas, where women from all over the country can play for a chance to win $50,000 while also raising money for breast cancer. The major host of this shindig? Prilosec OTC, “the number one selling over-the-counter heartburn medicine.”
Sometimes the joke just writes itself.