The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It


Keepin’ It Real-A Review of The Pioneer Woman’s New Show

Needless to say, I am a little behind. I just now watched the debut episode and second episode of The Pioneer Woman’s new show on the Food Network.

My thoughts? Well, I wanted to like her…

I first heard about Ree Drummond many years ago from a writing teacher friend of mine who followed her then small blog. I started reading, and I liked Ree. I loved her photography tutorials, her cute kid pics, and her simple yet scrumptious recipes. I read her blog very frequently-probably a lot more than my boss would approve of.

Then, I got her cookbook. I was the food nerd who was there when the bookstore opened to buy the first copy. I was the only one there buying the book, but I got the first one! I went home and checked out the table of contents. It was a little disappointing. I mean, who needs a recipe for eggs in a basket with narrative to go with it? Still, I picked out several things and cooked and cooked. I can honestly say that I have made just about everything in the cookbook with great success. Everything is delicious even if some of her recipes are a little simple.

And, I have to give her props here for revolutionizing the whole picture in the recipe as you go format. At the time, it was a wonder to see all those photos for each step. Like, oh that’s what it is supposed to look like! She deserves credit for helping all us mediocre cooks with her helpful photo format that has spread far and wide. So much so, as a matter of fact, that it is now slightly annoying. Seriously, the other day I read on a food blog about making a sundae, and they included five pics for pouring the chocolate.

I loved the cookbook, and I loved the blog, and I loved the Pioneer Woman. I read her blog too much and bought three more cookbooks for Christmas gifts. Then came word of her memoir. Again I was the first and only one at the bookstore to get the second PW book. Somewhere in this, there is a sign.

The memoir stunk. Ree promised it to be full of suspense and drama. “A universal tale of passion, romance, and all-encompasing love.” She sweated in her Vera Wang wedding dress. Her childhood on the golf course was tough. Her fourth generation (fourth! I’m guessing things are paid for around the ranch) cattle ranching husband wanted meat for dinner while she was a vegetarian. She didn’t feel well when pregnant. Boo stinking hoo.

So, here comes the Food Network show, and I am having flashbacks of another beloved cookbook writer who is now at the bottom of my tolerance ladder due to her over-performance on her show, Paula Deen. Not good, Yaaaaaa’ll.

Both episodes were full of cute kids and lots of cute cowboys. She has a lovely family. Her cookware was great. Her home is beautiful. The lodge is unreal, and I do mean unreal. Her clothes were cute.

Unfortunately, none of this taught me how to cook anything.

She made chicken fried steak and gravy. That was fine. I’ve done that before. She made her mashed potatoes. I’ve made them plenty of times. Delish. She made sliders which she put heavy cream in. O-kaaay. Not sure why she did that. She also made sausage sandwiches. None of this was difficult or that original.

Then, her daughter made her chocolate sheet cake with no instructions for us. Whatsoever. She iced it and showed it to us, and that was it.

Ree made pancakes for her son’s birthday breakfast. They were beautiful, but strangely similar to the recipe on the back of my Bisquick box. Hmmm.

In contrast, on the show right after PW’s, Anne Burrell made ratatoulle. Ouch.

PW is now a corporation unto herself just like Paula. I only hope Ree does keep it real. I don’t want to walk into Target someday and see a PW spatula for fifteen dollars.

I’ll keep watching, but the cute kids and cute cowboys will only stay cute for so long. Cook, Ree. Cook.

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