Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Rechelle Malin, the exceptionally gifted architect of the Pie Near Woman site. After catching up for a bit, she mentioned how much she enjoys Vera Charles’ Pioneer Woman recaps. For those unfamiliar, each Saturday Vera takes one for the team and actually watches Food Network’s appalling, dreadfully produced Pioneer Woman show.
Within hours, Vera posts her unique, side-splitting account of Drummond’s failed efforts at chef pretense. Traffic to our site actually spikes on Saturdays when Vera’s wildly popular summaries are posted. Our emails too have been overwhelmingly positive about Vera.
Starting today, Saturdays won’t be the same here at The Marlboro Woman. Going forward, we’re featuring Vera’s Pioneer Woman recaps as a separate post. Instead of getting buried deep within the comments, Vera’s dispatches will have their own permalink and can be searched and followed via RSS.
So here goes, the first of what we hope will be many Saturday moments of hilarity. Thank you, thank you Vera!
Today’s episode = Cowboy Cowgirl Lunch.
I thought Ree did an episode with this theme a while ago, but that was a dissertation on the differences between what men and women like to eat. This show is a huge, heavy lunch prepared by Ree for Josh and Alex. Ree is wearing a red top that at least has some sewn-down pleats on the front, so it kind of fits rather than flowing away and making her look even bigger than she is. But red is definitely not her color. And her hair just looks droopy and sad. Maybe she needs some layers cut into it?
We open with footage of Alex attempting to rope some cows and basically whipping them with the rope because she kept missing. Many shots of horses, dogs, farm work, trucks driving around…why is this show on FN? Cut to Ree in the kitchen at The Lodge, where she makes graham cracker pie crust (just like anyone would, since there is only one way to make graham cracker pie crust) and French silk pie filling. I am not a fan of French silk pie, as I do not eat raw eggs, so the idea of her making a pie filling with five raw eggs really made me want to throw up. I did question why she was using the whisk attachment on the KitchenAid mixer, rather than the paddle. Whatever, we cut to more shots of farm work, people feeding cows and driving around. Back to Ree to finish adding the fifth egg, then plop the pie into the refrigerator. And we cut to commercial.
Back for more farm work, then Ree makes whipped cream, dumps it on top of the pie and tosses it back in the refrigerator. Seriously, she really plonks it in, like she’s mad at it or something. Cut to more cow work, featuring more ropes and much talk of antibiotics in the feed and in syringes, which we will see more of later. Back to Ree, making salad dressing in the blender with ball-SAMMMM-ic vinegar and parmesan powder in the green plastic can. There is also oil and mayonnaise and some other stuff, but it ends up looking kind of like green vomit in the blender. She cuts some unwashed lettuce – iceberg and romaine – puts it in a bowl with some onions and green peppers and shiny black olives out of a can. We cut to more ropes being tossed at cows and more talk of antibiotics, complete with Alex giving inoculations to cattle with a giant syringe. Yuck! There is a tease for some fried burgers, and we cut to another commercial.
Back to Ree in the kitchen, where she plops a pound of ground beef and a pound of Italian sausage into a bowl, sprinkles on about a quarter of a teaspoon of Italian seasoning, mixes it up with her hands and divides it into three burgers. What? I actually rewound and watched again because I couldn’t believe each burger was 2/3 of a pound. But they were. Closeups of Ree washing her hands, then cut to her frying the burgers in a cast iron skillet and getting toppings out of the refrigerator. She says she’s using provolone cheese because it’s round. Isn’t that how we all choose what to cook and what items to cook together? By shape? Yes, I thought so. She adds a huge pile of toppings to two of the burgers – cheese, pepperoni, huge slices of green pepper, black olives, marinara sauce, maybe some other stuff I’ve forgotten. And the third burger got two slices of cheese and nothing else, since Alex likes cheese pizza (?). The buns go onto a buttered griddle, which Ree butters by unwrapping an entire fresh stick of butter and rubbing it on the hot griddle. Does Land O’ Lakes make deliveries to her house by the truckload? She puts the nasty green dressing on the salad, dumps on more green-can parm, then we cut to more farm work, and we’re out to commercial.
Back to more cow footage, then to Ree smearing the buttered buns with marinara, adding yet more green-can parm, then putting the burgers together. I now realize that salad dressing and the burgers contain many of the same ingredients, which I find weird within the same meal, especially when those are the only two dishes. How about a little variety? Josh and Alex drive up in a truck and walk into the back of the kitchen. They are wearing their grubby field clothes and dirty boots and Josh never takes his hat off. At least they do wash their hands and are shown using soap. Maybe someone is listening to our complaints? Ree, Josh and Alex eat and talk about roping. We can’t really see Josh’s face because he is still wearing that hat. Ree gives them a dessert of fruit pops, then pulls the pie out of the refrigerator and gives it to Josh to take back to the field with him (?). Then we see how she made the fruit pops in an awkward flashback with about a minute and a half left in the show. Cut to the credits with Josh and Alex getting back into the truck and talking about the pie.
The ending seemed very choppy and awkward, like they forgot to do something, then tried to fix it in editing. And my grandmother, who was born and lived her entire life on an actual farm, would have smacked anyone who came into her kitchen wearing a hat and dirty boots. Seriously, how about some standards, people? All the talk about antibiotics and the close-ups of the shots really turned my stomach. Plus the whole raw egg thing… If she’s trying to turn people off of eating meat (or just eating in general!), she’s doing a bang-up job.