For Sandra Lee Fans Only

As you know, sometimes here at ES, we review various food-related products.  Some are good, and some are, erm, less good.  Occasionally though, something comes along that is almost too ridiculous for words.  Enter Southern Living’s the half-hour hostess.

First of all, what’s up with the title?  If something says it is going to take half-an-hour, I expect to be sipping a cold beverage no more than thirty minutes after I begin, forty-five at the outside because I tend not to read the directions correctly the first time through.  Why then, for the “Rush Hour Shower” party, must I, the day before:

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Feed Us Back: Comments of the Week

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– You eaters love your tweeters, huh? It’s still early in the 4th annual Endless Simmer Eater of the Year voting, but Ruth Bourdain has jumped out to a commanding lead with 50.6 percent of your votes. The Michelin Man is running a distant second with 18.07 percent, although HuffPo reader YankeeCanuck brings up a good point:

Michelin Man has a name — it’s Bibendum.

Did not know that! Thanks, YC. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is running a surprisingly strong third with 13.08 percent, and we’ve seen write-in votes cast for Jamie Oliver, Cooking for Assholes, Gordon Ramsey, Man vs. Food, Hungry Todd Rungy and Lisa Murkowski (spelled correctly).

I’d like to cast a personal write-in vote for an eater whose big move came one day too late to be nominated: Denise Vivaldo, a recipe ghost writer who made the shocking confession this week that she is the person who originally wrote and sold the universally acknowledged worst food crime of all time:  Sandra Lee’s infamous Kwanzaa cake. We’d give Denise a special award, but she’s currently hiding in an undisclosed location. If you haven’t voted yet, don’t forget to cast your ballot for Eater of the Year.

– Elsewhere, Nick (Macheesmo) agrees that gansie’s laborious nacho constructing method is the only way to go:

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I’ve Made Peace with Summer Produce

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“You still have tomatoes?” I whispered to Julia as I scanned what was left at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market.

She knew I wasn’t referring to what produce was available a mere 30 minutes before closing, but rather that tomatoes still graced the market the first Saturday in November. “They’re from the hothouse, I think,” she whispers back, eyes squinting out of secrecy.

“They’ve all been picked at this point,” Julia guesses, as she only works the stand, not farms the land. (Not that selling vegetables—and making change without a calculator!—is easy on a weekend morning.)

I didn’t try one of the last quarts of tiny yellow tomatoes. I’ve made peace with summer produce. I’ve said my goodbyes. I bought the last of my tomatoes two weeks ago, roasting them in a low and slow oven, and letting them linger in my fridge for just a few more weeks.

Using them sparingly at first—a few in an egg scramble, a few right to the mouth, a few on toast—I now must act fast before mold wins them over.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Matilda Cuomo…My New Hero!

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The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Presented without comment, a quote from Matilda Cuomo on the fact that her son’s girlfriend, Sandra Lee, makes lasagna with cottage cheese and canned tomato soup:  “I don’t know that that’s true. You know, maybe she puts cottage cheese because he doesn’t want to put on weight. He’s watching his diet. But that’s not the way you make lasagna.”

– Rachael Ray is the latest celeb on the “our kids are too fat” bandwagon.  I don’t know what they’re talking about.  Mom packed me a lard sandwich every day and I turned out just fine.  (He said, as he reached for his home defibrillator.)

After the jump…wall-to-wall Top Chef.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: The Beet Pancakes are Delightful!

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The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Users of the travel site TripAdvisor aren’t letting the fact that Schrute Farms doesn’t actually exist dissuade them from leaving reviews of Dwight’s North East Pennsylvania bed and breakfast.

Tom Colichio no likey the Grub Street.

After the jump…guess who’s back, Food Network tries to bring a little bit of gourmet to the home cook and tough times in Huntington for Chef Oliver.

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Ombudsman: Degrees of Cheating

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Earlier this week, BS wrote the post, “Classy Cheating Confessions,” about foods that automatically turn an eh dish into an awesome dish. Endless Simmer defines cheating liberally, and allows for multiple variations and degrees of usage. Some of the commenters on that post chimmed in about their “classy cheating confessions,” as prompted by BS:

Have classy cheating confessions of your own? What stand-by ingredients do you rely on to save a dish?

Commenter Tim, however, disagreed with our calling anchovy paste, truffle oil and ajvar cheating ingredients:

I still don’t see eye to eye with you all on this (surprise!). I don’t think of any of these as cheating. They’re just ingredients. Buying pre-made garlic bread in the freezer section, now that’s cheating! Buying pre-made anything in the freezer section – cheating! But truffle oil, anchovy paste, and prepared horseradish are, in my view, legitimate, delicious ingredients. This is all very subjective, but I think you can give yourselves a break!

Tim makes a good point. Utterly fantastic ingredients are just that: utterly fantastic ingredients. But what takes an ingredient into cheating mode?

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