Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Plot Thins

Yesterday, I wondered whether Cleopatra Sandy was meant to be Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, or even possibly Cher. Well, now I’m down to only two possibilities, because I know it couldn’t have been Cher. Sandy played Cher on today’s episode, and you know Sandy wouldn’t be caught dead playing the same celebrity twice.

I have to say that I think Sandy looks totally hot here. Someone did a really good job on her makeup, and the black hair looks great on her. She should definitely keep that hair. And her Cher wasn’t bad, either. Nice job, Sandy.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Today, in honor of Halloween, the Food Network aired a very special episode of Semi-Homemade, which featured the many faces of Sandra Lee.

First up is Marilyn Sandy, and she’s brought her giant clock with her (look closely--it's there behind her left elbow).

Next, there’s Scarlett Sandy. This is my favorite Sandy, because I know it was meant just for me. Remember when I suggested that Sandy use parasols to make her window treatment? Well, this is the same as that. Just backwards. And with a dress instead of parasols. But the garment-curtain connection is clearly there, and I know this outfit was meant to make amends. Thank you, Sandy. Welcome back.

Here’s a Sandy that I’m not quite able to identify. It looks like Cleopatra, so I was thinking maybe Elizabeth Taylor. But Sandy never says Elizabeth Taylor, so then I thought maybe it’s Vivien Leigh again, who played Scarlett O’Hara and Cleopatra. But, you know, the more I look at this, the more I’m convinced that it must be Cher.

And finally it’s tablescape time, and who better to present it than Audrey Hepburn.

It’s all there: the chargers, the silk flowers . . . the excess. Well done, Sandy.

Barefoot Contessa had a Halloween special of her own today and, I could be reading too much into this, but I think that Ina is trying to reach out to Sandra Lee. The title of Ina’s show is “Halloween for Grownups,” and I think there are a couple lessons here for Sandy.

Lesson #1: This is an espresso martini. A good one that uses real espresso. And that is not pronounced with an “x”. And is not served in a mug.

Lesson #2: Even Halloween decorations should be, in the words of Ina, “very elegant.”

You (Sandy) can, for instance, use real flowers as opposed to silk, and you (Sandy) can also try eating in a dining room, instead of a dungeon basement.

And, the most important tip of all, the simpler you keep things, the fewer times you have to change your outfit. Remember: Keep it simple, keep it smart, and always keep it semi-homemade.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Expresso" Martini

Dear Aunt Sandy,

It's espresso.

Vicarious Foodie

P.S. And that is no martini.

Nachos for Dinner

Nachos and margaritas make, in my opinion, a perfect Friday night dinner. Last night I made Emeril’s shredded chicken nachos.

This was, without a doubt, the most effort I’ve ever put into making nachos. By far. The chicken alone required an hour and a half to prepare. I almost skipped Emeril’s recommended method and just roasted it in the oven for 45 minutes, Ina Garten style, but at the last minute I decided to stick to Emeril’s recipe. I’m glad I did. The smell of the chicken cooking with the chili powder, onions, and garlic was wonderful. The chicken became so moist and tender that shredding it wasn’t nearly the ordeal I feared it would be.

In short, these were pretty good nachos. The cheese sauce was great. Instead of Emeril’s pico de gallo, I served mine with sour cream and whipped avocado, which was just an avocado whipped with a bit of lime juice, salt, and pepper. Next time I make these, I think I’ll try them with beef instead or chicken, or maybe beans. Maybe both.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Dear Aunt Sandy,

Why are you doing this, Sandy? Are you angry with me? Is it because I said Ingrid’s tablescape was more tasteful than yours? Is that why you had to prove to me that you, too, can make a sophisticated-and-elegant-scape, regardless of whether it fits the theme of your show? Don’t you know, as much as I may mock you and call you stupid and laugh at you every time you say “expresso,” that deep down I love you?

You didn’t have to take it this far. Just one week after I declared to the world that you never disappoint me, you have gone and disappointed me. Can you even begin to imagine, when I looked at the weekend line-up and saw that you were doing “Soul Food,” how excited I was? Have you any idea the sheer exuberance I felt at imagining the gems that would bedazzle your upcoming down-home-cooking-southern-style-scape? I awaited this day. I counted down to this day. And what did you give me? Oh, Sandy. Sandy, you gave me this:

What is this? I will tell you what this is, Sandy. This is a failure-scape. That’s right—you have failed us. What does this have to do with the South? How dare you refer to Grandma Dicey as if that, alone, will convince us that you are a southerner? I know you know that, in order to convince people that pre-packaged food is authentic food, you and your table must both dress the part. So where is your cotillion dress, Sandy of the Southern Belles? Do you really expect me to take you seriously in jeans? And what is that hanging from your window?

I really think a much more appropriate choice would have consisted of ruffles and frills from each of your parasols, collaged together to create the perfect window treatment. Instead, you have inexplicably settled on calla lilies. Calla lilies? Did the craft store not carry silk magnolias or cotton blossoms? Did you have a complete breakdown because never before had Jo-Ann Fabrics so cruelly turned its back to you, or were you simply overcome by the vapors? At the very least, take that peach rum punch away and give a girl a mint julep. Really, Sandy. Come back. We miss you.