As much as it pains me to admit, I am an avid Rachel Ray fan. I have my tivo set to record her daily offerings of 30-minute meals, on days when I have projects to work on that require little concentration I can be found tuning into her talk show... I even own several of her cookbooks and have been known to pick up her monthly magazine offering. Now, in my defense, the main reason I keep up with the perpetually perky Ray has less to do with her actual recipes, and far more to do with her laid back cooking style. “Once around the pan” and “just a palmful” are measurements I can get behind. Most of her meals can be guidelines, rather than precise rules. Even my beloved Alton gets too far into grams and ounces for this free-spirited cook to handle on a daily basis. Don't like coconut milk? Use evaporated. No chicken in the fridge? Go ahead and use pork. She understand that circumstances can change in an instant for the home cook, that the contents of our pantry is not always planned to the tiniest details... that in short, cook are usually just people who want to eat. Preferably something tasty and isn't going to entail two trips to the store and a sink full of dishes before all is said and done.
I also have to admire how she has managed to create her own personal empire on little more than a love of food and a determination to reach her goals. We're talking about a women who must have Martha Stewart starting to sweat a bit. Her merchandising juggernaut is fast approaching Stewart's level – running the gamut from books and pans, talkshows, cooking shows, travelogues, and spinoffs, foods and even a new word for the dictionary* - all done with a far friendly manner then Stewart's firm “Do what I say and you too can be almost as perfect as I am” demeanor. She appears to be on a one women mission to take over the world... and frankly there seems to be nothing to stop her.
All that aside though, there is one teeny tiny thing that is beginning to drive me batty. Well, other than her slightly disjointed conversational style... but that could be fixed with the simple act of someone replacing all cups of coffee past her 20th or so with decaf. I have watched her cooking shows for years and always found myself slightly gritting my teeth as she cheerily tossed everything into her handy dandy garbage bowl. While being able to corral all your scraps into once place DOES make a lot of sense, just chucking willy-nilly everything from apple cores to tin cans into one place just seems.... well, wasteful and more than a tad thoughtless. At this point Rachel has a HUGE platform, millions watch her, read her, heck... I know more than a few who try to dress like her. One small extra step and she could have all those faithful viewers being a tad more responsible in their own daily life.
I know, I know. Way to nitpick. She has a million things going on in her life... and I'm focusing such a tiny thing. But... I do have to wonder. How many extra cans would hit the recycling center each year if half of her viewers made the switch? How many acres of land would end up being renewed... if only half the viewership carried their garbage bowls out the compost pile? How many tons of trash would never make it to the landfill if just of quarter of her fans took these steps a few times a week? I think part of my problem is that is IS such a small step. She already has a garbage bowl on the shelves of Target and Wallyworld... spend the extra five cents on a plastic lid and help start a movement towards responsibility. The shear busyness of her life would be the beacon for others to follow. If she can make the switch while running her mega-business, then surely it should be easy enough for others to do the same. Its her very pervasiveness in American's lives that could make such a difference.
So. What to do? I have to admit, I'm gonna do the nerdly thing... there are several e-mails in various stages of polishing that will be sent on their way to the Rachel empire in the hopes someone hears. I don't know if it will do much, but maybe if more of us ask, she might end up seeing her way to joining the cause.
What do you say.... wanna help me tilt at windmills? If you do, there are several options available. If, like me, you still find technology a rather cold way to converse, send her a note by snail mail at :
132 E. 43rd St.
PO Box 543
New York, NY 10017
or if you are more in tune with the Prime Geek's love of all things techno her webmaster's email is
So, if you think there is a good reason to rethink the garbage bowl dump.... do me a favor and let her know.
*I don't care HOW many people voted for the dratted thing. EVOO IS NOT A WORD!