Thank you Vera! From the archives, Vera originally recapped this in Oct. 2013. We added photos to update.
This week’s episode: Make Ahead Marvels. This title might lead you to believe that there would be some rhyme or reason to the recipes chosen, some kind of “stock the freezer, refrigerator or pantry” plan, or some logic to what would be considered a Make Ahead Marvel. I don’t know, something that might store well or be improved by reheating? Maybe they had some kind of plan like that, but apparently it got tossed out the window somewhere. This episode felt like a bunch of random recipes, maybe stuff that didn’t make the cut for another episode, that was edited together to make this show. Maybe during the rush to get new episodes cut together during the panic that ensued when Ree’s second Saturday timeslot was supposed to go to Trisha Yearwood or Amy Thielen or however that whole scheduling snafu went down? Anyway, it looks like they cobbled a bunch of random segments together and the result was Make Ahead Marvels.
We begin in the kitchen at The Lodge, where Ree is cutting kernels off some ears of corn that have been grilled. She says she is making dip for Alex to take to her friend Megan’s house. Ree is wearing some kind of light blue patterned wrap top, which I find distracting, because it looks suspiciously like a really ugly bathrobe my mother had in the 70’s that my sister and I made fierce fun of.
Anyway, Ree has a bunch of chopped onions, garlic, peppers, etc., that she tosses into a pan, then she starts talking about Alex’s friend. The plot thickens when she reveals that this Megan is actually Hyacinth’s daughter. OK, I was wondering how Alex would have a friend from outside the family/ranch circle and now I know. Back to the corn, Ree is rambling about how, if you don’t have ears of corn, you can use frozen corn, or if you have the ears and don’t want to grill it, you can just cut it off and use it raw. What? Wouldn’t that affect the finished product? She dumps mayo, sour cream, cream cheese, grated Monterrey jack cheese, canned chilies, some other crap into a pan. She points out that she’s using an 8×8 baking dish. But, of course, rather than use a plain old Pyrex dish that anyone might have sitting around the kitchen, she uses a Le Creuset ceramic dish that retails between $37 and $45. She really does take advantage of that deal she has with Le Creuset! The pan is covered with foil, then she says she has to pick up Alex. Pick her up where? Oh, I get it, Ree’s at The Lodge, so she has to drive a truck to her other house to get Alex. Such a bother, having all those houses!
She finds Alex sitting outside, then they drive to Hy’s. Along the way, there is mention that some boy whose name I didn’t catch would be there with his guitar. Cut to Hy’s house, there are actually two boys there with Megan, Ree leaves and Hy and the kids eat the corn dip. The two boys are total Eddie Haskell types. (“Yes, Mrs. Kane, No, Mrs. Kane, what a lovely blouse, Mrs. Kane” Gag.) Hy is wearing a low cut top and leans over the kids and I have to look away because her cleavage is almost in the one kid’s face. Then we cut to the four kids sitting on lounge chairs by a pool and one of the way-too-preppy boys is strumming a guitar, and they are all singing some church song that I forgot to write down. It may have been Amazing Grace, I don’t think it was Kumbaya, whatever, it just struck me as really, really odd. As we left for the commercial break, I was thinking how the whole scenario was like a long-ago episode of Dallas, where Lucy had some supposedly good kids over to SouthFork and they all ended up smoking pot or having an orgy or something. Whatever, we are out for commercial, thank goodness.
Back to The Lodge, where Ree is frying a huge amount of ground beef in a dutch oven. She’s says she’s making meat sauce and started with five pounds of hamburger and sausage. Well, OK, that won’t be greasy at all. She takes the meat out of the pan and we get a closeup of all the grease in the bottom. She adds olive oil, onion and green pepper. Then she pours in some white wine! Whoa, wait a minute, just last week she had to substitute chicken broth in pizza sauce because of her family’s intense sensitivity to wine! What is going on? There is also whacky carnival music playing in the background, so the weirdness just continues. She adds several cans of tomato sauce and paste, pronouncing it toe-mah-TUHS more than once. Maybe she does think mispronouncing words is cute? I have no other explanation. Then she adds the secret ingredient – a jar of spaghetti sauce! This is also something she has done before. If this isn’t actual recycled footage, it is certainly a recycled recipe. The jar label is hidden but it looks suspiciously like Rao’s, which retails for almost $10 a jar. If I was going to use Rao’s I would just use it straight up. If it isn’t good enough to eat right out of the jar, I wouldn’t pay $10 for it.
She adds some dusty looking powdered spices and a handful of sugar (Just a pinch! Not quite.) Then she dumps the meat back in and makes a comment about the pan maybe not being big enough to hold all the meat and sauce. Just barely and no room left to stir, so the bottom will burn while the rest is hardly cooked? Yuck. Now she shows us that she has used a huge spaghetti pot with draining insert to cook one portion of spaghetti. This is her snack? So she says. She manages to find some actual parmesan to grate onto it. What happened to her favorite green can parm? She takes the plate outside to eat in the ever-present windstorm and voiceovers a bunch of random clips from other shows. These are other recipes that use the meat sauce and it’s a favorite trick of the production team. Ina does it all the time and it’s annoying on her show, too. Either demo the recipe or don’t but quit with the voiceovers and re-edits. Ree teases a beef sandwich that’s in the next segment, and we cut to commercial.
Back to Ree driving a red pickup truck with her two sons in the back seat. She intros a flashback, then we see her make the beef that will be the sandwich filling. Apparently this is one of Hyacinth’s recipes that Ree has “improved” and she proceeds to dis Hy’s recipe. The original had dried Italian seasoning and Ree uses fresh rosemary instead because she just thinks it tastes so much better. OK, switching out a spice blend and replacing it with one spice, I’m not sure how that’s an improvement. She also dumps in an entire jar of pepperoncini and its juice. I cannot even imagine what that would taste like cooked and I don’t think I want to find out. She’s says she is going to stir the pan, she pokes at the meat a little bit, cut back to her talking while driving the truck, then cut to commercial.
Now she’s back in the kitchen, making sandwiches out of the reheated beef that she pulled from the refrigerator. She is wearing some kind of horizontal striped muu-muu thing that kind of looks like a bedspread. I just now realize she has had different clothes on in each segment, which adds to my suspicion that this is really a clip show, disguised as a new episode.
She shows how she took the layer of congealed fat off the top of the pan before she reheated it. We also get to see a closeup of how she took about half of the gelled beef broth and threw it away with the fat. What a waste. The meat gets reheated, she cuts the tops off of some hoagie rolls, she dips the beef onto the rolls and sticks the tops back on.
No cheese, no condiments, no side dishes, not even a little bag of potato chips? All they get for lunch is a sandwich? The kids take the sandwiches off camera somewhere and Ree looks at the camera and sighs about how these sandwiches are “a lifesaver on days like this”. Days like what? When you have to drive two kids around on random errands between your multiple ranch houses and you feel obligated to stop and feed them a sandwich? What??? Anyway, we are out and another bizarre episode of Ree-on-the-ranch is in the can.
At some point in the first segment, Ree points out again how Ladd and Hyacinth’s families have been friends for 5 generations or something. This makes my mind wander: were Ladd and Hyacinth supposed to end up together? Did they have some kind of arranged relationship and Ree was the interloper? Do “society” families still push for “arranged marriages” where kids from various wealthy families end up married to each other? That would certainly keep the money closely guarded and not dilute the fortunes too much. And who were those two boys? Were they hired from central casting or were they actually scions of other wealthy families who Ree and Hy think would make appropriate sons-in-law? The whole first segment was just so weird. Even weirder than usual, and that’s really saying something.
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