I’m not sophisticated enough

The Webmaster came home one day shortly before my birthday and told me that he had gotten a magazine subscription for me as one of my birthday gifts. He’d bought it from a co-worker’s daughter, who was fundraising for her school. “I just couldn’t say no to a little Asian girl on crutches!” he cried.

He had signed me up for the brand-new magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray. For those of you who don’t know, Rachael Ray is a TV chef (30-Minute Meals) and host ($40 A Day, Inside Dish, Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels) on the Food Network. My youngest sister and I like watching her on $40 A Day, where she visits one place and eats the local fare while trying to stay under her budget of $40. Once we were watching an episode we’d both seen before – Rachael was visiting Portland, Oregon. “Oh, I like this one!” my sister said. “She has a beer sampler as a snack. She’s so funny when she’s drunk.”

She didn’t get drunk, she was just a bit more… exuberant.

Anyway, the premiere issue of this magazine showed up in the mail yesterday. It is full of recipes, shopping tips, what every cook must have in their kitchen hints, promotions for her companion website to the magazine, articles about different restaurants in big cities, and party tips.

Reading it left me with only one conclusion: I am not sophisticated enough for this magazine.

Rachael freely admits in the magazine that she’s not much of a baker. Unfortunately, that happens to be one of my stronger suits. The magazine is all about making easy, classy main dishes (and complimentary sides, with some desserts in there, too). But I’ll never be able to make many, if any, of these, for one simple reason – most of them contain alcohol in the ingredients list.

I can’t stand alcohol in large quantities in cooking. As noted on the previous blog, I don’t drink, and the main reason for that is to how badly I react when there is alcohol in food. It makes me dizzy and gives me a rotten headache. As the Webmaster has pointed out, time and again, I have no tolerance for it. I don’t care if he drinks it, but I don’t want it. The other major problem is that even if I could stand the alcohol, I can’t serve any dish with it in it to the Munchkin. I have enough problems with her eating habits – the last thing I need to add to it is red wine in a sauce or something like that.

So, out the window goes the linguine with red clam sauce recipe, the Corona-steamed shrimp kebabs, the stuffed zucchini, and the cranberry chocolate cake with rummy whipped cream.

Then there is the simple fact that we have a food budget in this house. I might splurge on an ingredient every now and them to make a special dish, but I buy what’s on sale, stock up, and then use what I’ve got. Rachael Ray says that she can’t live without these items in her kitchen: canned baby clams, anchovies, fresh flat-leaf parsley, lemons, and red wine.

I’m developing an inferiority complex as I type.

One of the editors keeps a cheese journal. Yes, you heard me. He keeps a small notebook with the labels from the cheese that he’s bought and sampled, so he knows what he’s tried and should try next.

I have medium cheddar and mozzarella string cheese in my fridge. Parmesan in the freezer. Occasionally, I get Swiss cheese as a treat (or if a recipe calls for it), and a boursin if we’re having company.

I’m definitely more the Taste of Home magazine type. The kind of magazine that will have ground hamburger in a recipe.

So far, no one has complained about my cooking. I can’t deny that I’d like to add some new favorites to my repetoire. But I don’t think I’m going to find them with Rachael Ray. Friend, you are welcome to read it anytime you like.

I think I will try the blueberry cobbler recipe, though.

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