Nothing whets the appetite for a good home-cooked meal like watching livestock being fed. And that’s exactly what we saw on Saturday’s Pioneer Woman show, Feeding Cows, Feeding Cowboys. A re-run from last summer, Ree’s wickedly bad script explored the differences, if not the similarities, between catering to cattle and catering to humans. Recipes and storyline were ripped straight from Pioneer Woman’s blog archives.
The show starts off with early spring footage of Ree’s eldest daughters bottle feeding calves. The editors abruptly cut to Ree scooping overflowing cups of flour into a bowl as the sleeves of her trademark pajama top drag through the ingredients. Has no one ever told Food Network’s cash cow that flour needs to be measured and leveled off when using in a recipe? We hear the same tired, worn tale about Ree’s ninth grade, or was it eighth, French class and how Madame Smith first introduced her to French Breakfast Puffs. This same recipe can be found in Betty Crocker and any number of Bartlesville, OK church cookbooks.
While mixing ingredients, Ree waxes rhapsodic about how attached she’s become to the babies, of the bovine variety, on the ranch. She looks straight into the camera and deadpans, “is that weird?” Well, now that you ask Ree…yes. The tape then cuts to kids feeding baby calves and for me at least, that’s something I always look for in a cooking show. Then it’s back to Ree dragging her pajama sleeves through melted butter as she gives another shout out to Madame Smith.
Next we see Ree walk out the door carrying a basket of uncovered muffins. She says she’s taking them to Cowboy Josh and hops into the Drummond Land & Cattle-owned red pick em’ up truck. No Seran wrap, no foil, nothing covering the food. If this gal suddenly hits the brakes, Cowboy Josh’s treat will be on the windshield.
After a commercial break, we see Cowboy Josh feeding cattle as Little Ree Riding Hood speeds across a pond. While driving, the Pioneer Woman does her very best Barefoot Contessa imitation, talking to the truck cam about how she prepares
to kill her family with a salt lick drippy French dip sandwiches. If my mouth wasn’t already watering, it is when the tape cuts to Ladd hauling bales of hay.
Back to Ree as she pulls out a prime rib roast covered in salt, pepper and assorted herbs. She’s wearing a different pajama top now, one that coordinates with the blue Le Creuset dutch oven in the background. She throws the meat in the oven and says she’s leaving to feed calves and pick up kids. We cut to more ranching scenes that have nothing to do with cooking and over-rehearsed scenes of Ree in the golf cart, kids eating muffins, dogs, cattle and Ree bottle feeding a calf. The Pioneer Woman explains in her now branded TMI manner how ranchers refer to calf slobber as meringue. Oh yum, something tells me I’ll never look at my hazelnut floating islands the same way again.
Afterwards, we see repeat footage of trucks and cattle from earlier in the show. One truck has dried pellets pouring out the side as the cattle run to feed.
Meanwhile, it’s back to the kitchen where Ree’s scheming to raise her family’s blood pressure to critically high levels. After she disposes the meat juices, something any normal cook would retain, we see the Pioneer Woman sautéing onions and garlic over what she says is “cranked up heat.” They’re going to cook for five minutes like this. Well I suppose if you’re into burned garlic, then you’d cook it over high heat for this period of time. Now I understand why poor Vera needed a break. It’s becoming clear all Ree does is pose for the camera as she dumps ingredients, prepped by the producers, into various bowls, pans, etc. and talks out her ass.
Cut to kids, dogs and back to the Pioneer Woman as she salts things up pouring cans of Campbell’s Beef Consommé AND Beef Broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce into the au jus. If that amount of salt isn’t cringeworthy, Ree adds the piece de resistance, a package of Knorr’s French Onion Soup mix. God, I’m getting thirsty just typing this. The Pioneer Woman could have saved herself a lot of steps if she’d just poured in a box of salt and added some water.
After another commercial, the show’s back with the same cow, trucks and kid footage from earlier. Who do these editors think they’re kidding with all this repetitive footage? Of course, they’re banking no one’s bored enough to go back and look at their short cuts. Much like Ree does with cooking, Pacific UK Productions has also discovered ways to dumb it down. I don’t recall seeing these cheap production tricks on Barefoot Contessa or Nigella Lawson.
Back to Ree who’s now making fudge. And isn’t fudge just what this family needs after sugary, buttery muffins and salty sandwiches, now we have a dessert with diabetic proportions of sugar. But first there’s more footage of dogs, kids and bales of hay. Back to Ree finishing what she calls fudge, but really are more like soft brownies. She scoops the mixture into custard cups and sets them into a roasting pan.
At this point, helium-voiced Ree breaks into an explanation about what a “water bath” is. If you remember how she tiptoed around the term “chiffonade” in an earlier show, it’s the same charade as the fake little ol’ ranch wife can’t bring herself to utter the words “bain marie.” According to the culinary-minded Pioneer Woman, a water bath insures the “fudge” will be “oooooey goooooey” on the inside while the outside has a “crispy crust.” Ummmm, pardon me Ree “no bain Marie” Drummond, but a freaking water bath provides even, gentle heat so a custard or mousse won’t curdle. Unlike professional cooks, Ree pours the hot water into the roasting pan while it sits on the counter, then carries it to the oven, as the water sloshes into the fudge. But then, no one associated with this show cares about those type of pesky details. Food Network’s demo could care less about cooking.
After a final commercial break, we’re back to scenes of kids, cattle, bales of hay and Ree, who’s now assembling drip beef sandwiches which, by their very name, are something only the Pioneer Woman would put together ahead of time. Ree drains the au jus stating–I kid you not–she’s straining out the impurities meaning the onions and pieces of bell pepper. Aren’t those the prime flavoring components in addition to the ton of salt she used? But please folks, never, ever use impure ingredients. Next she carves the roast by grabbing it with her hand while slicing it. Does Ree “no bain Marie” Drummond not own a fork to anchor this hunk of meat?
Next, in typical overly-dramatized Pioneer Woman fashion, the family arrives to eat their now soggy French Dip Sandwiches followed by their water bath fudge. As they sit down and spit out their rehearsed script, Ree injects her humorless banter, closing with, “As of right now every living thing on the ranch has been fed today. My work here is done…” I am ROTFLMAO guys. How about you?
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