Recap courtesy of Vera Charles. Thanks Vera!
This week’s episode, Cowboy Mike, in which Ree’s brother has some awkward interactions with the family and Ree makes three recipes to serve at one meal. Seriously, I took fewer notes this week than in any previous recap, because nothing happened!
We start off in the kitchen at The Lodge, where Ree says she is going to make muffins, since her brother Mike is visiting. She seems to be standing off to a different side of the counter or something, because the room looks different. She is closer to the stove than where she usually stands. We cut out to Ladd and Mike riding in a truck, talking about doing something to, for or with cows. Who knows, Ladd always sounds like his mouth is full of marbles, so I usually can’t make out what he’s saying. Back to Ree, who is making muffin batter with buttermilk. I notice the shaky camera work, which seems to be a new thing they have going on. Several times during this episode, I catch myself moving my head around, trying to follow the shaky camera. Wow, that is really annoying!
Ree is zesting an orange; well, more like she is dabbing at an orange with a rasp turned upside down and telling us that she likes to keep the zest all on top of the rasp. What? In my experience, you get much better results by holding the rasp still and scraping the citrus fruit down it and letting the zest accumulate on the board below. Now I am thinking that maybe Ree doesn’t really have all that much experience with zesting citrus fruit. While all of this is going on, she’s talking about her brother and his visit to the ranch and she says the name “Mike” about a thousand times. OK, we get it, your brother Mike is there.
She prepares a couple of mini-muffin pans by spraying a ton of Pam all over them and the countertop, then we fast-forward through 48 muffins magically appearing in the pans. Thank God, because this is the most boring exercise ever! For the second time, what Ree is doing is shot through a fireplace, so it looks like we are watching her from behind a wall of fire. Weird, somebody must think that is creative or artsy or something. We cut back to some more cow footage, she teases the greasy skillet breakfasts that are coming up, we see that they will all being eating later while wearing cowboy hats in the house, and we cut to commercial.
Back to the white work truck and more cows, then back to Ree and the muffins in the kitchen. She says she’s going to make a glaze, which must be applied to the muffins the second they come out of the oven. So she takes the muffins out of the oven, sits them on the counter to cool, then proceeds to make the glaze. So much for “the second they come out…” Ree makes a glaze that consists of brown sugar, orange juice and nothing else, then we cut to Ladd and Mike, who are going to be “doctoring a sick calf”. Oh, goodie, that’s just what I want to see in a TV cooking show. People giving inoculations to ill livestock. Great!
We see Mike roping the calf and Ladd giving it some medicine, then back to Ree making Mexican hot chocolate. She makes it with whole milk, plus half-and-half, and makes some snide remark about using 2% or even 1%,but she wouldn’t want to do that. She’s using a solid chocolate disk that she calls Mexican hot chocolate tablets, which I have seen in the store but I’ve never bought. A quick google search tells me that they contain ingredients like soy lecithin, palm oil, artificial flavors and polyglycerol polyricinoleate, a thickener made from poisonous castor beans. Yum, tasty!
Anyway, Ree adds some cinnamon sticks and more sugar to the hot milk, the truck arrives, followed by the kids in a jeep. One of the boys is riding sprawled across the hood of the jeep, because it’s always “safety first” at the ranch. Everybody tromps inside The Lodge, they stand awkwardly around the kitchen wearing their hats and dirty boots, all clumped in a bunch. There is much stilted talking, they roast some marshmallows in the fireplace, everybody talks with their mouths full, which we get to see in Technicolor close-up. There is another tease of the greasy breakfast skillets, we see them eating with elbows on the table, then cut to a commercial break.
Back to Mike driving around in the jeep with the kids, then Ree at the freezer. The whacky carnival music is playing! She is rattling a couple of bags of frozen French fries and I notice that the objects on the shelves in the background are colorful, not all white like the last couple of shows. She two large cast iron pans on the stove and she fries a bag of frozen hash browns in one and some steak fries in another. More shots of driving, then back to the kitchen as the hash browns are coming out of the grease. More butter into the pan, followed by onions and chopped peppers, thankfully chopped by someone off camera. Ree scrapes the peppers around in the cast iron pan with a metal spatula, then cuts up some ham cubes with that giant square knife that she uses for everything. She puts some hash browns in several individual sized iron skillets, then adds fried vegetables, ham cubes and shredded cheese. Then she places the steak fries on top of all that and plonks them into the oven. Geez, no wonder they looked greasy! There is a tease of some upcoming fried eggs, then out to commercial.
Back to The Lodge, where we see the kids and Mike arrive outside. One of the boys is rolling around on the ground. Earlier, Ree was talking about how cold it was and now one of them is rolling on the ground? OK, then. Back inside, Ree is scraping some eggs around in a cast iron skillet with a metal spatula, then placing them on top of the greasy skillets. She is calling this dish Eggbert Sunrises and it’s supposed to be something that she had in a diner in her hometown (Bartlesville?), and I’ve lost track of how many times she repeated that name. Ladd arrives and the whole group comes inside for some more stilted conversation. They stand around in their cowboy hats, then start eating, and we’re out. The whole thing was so stilted, so fake, so corny….just another typical day on the ranch.