Friday, June 27
I like rules!
And the apparent lack of any on Mary's show is driving me crazy.
In the ideal Food Network world—one in which everything is easy, accessible, and fast—I'm confused when it comes to rules, because Mary (and lots of other hosts do it too) keeps acting like there aren't any!
On tomatoes: "San Marzano are fabulous. If you can't find those, anything will work!"
On kettle corn: "... for this you can use anything you have. You can buy it in the store, you can pop it in the microwave."
I know the point of all this is to put the viewer at ease and let them know the dish will still be okay with a substitution. But to me, ingredients lose all importance when a host repeatedly tells the viewer that they can be changed, altered, eliminated, or added... repeatedly!
Modification suggestions can be useful, though—when they're unexpected or actually helpful. For example, if Ina uses a certain type of blue cheese (probably Stilton) she might also recommend some other kinds of blue cheese you could use if Stilton wasn't available (maybe Roquefort), but she doesn't get all crazy and say that using cheddar or string cheese would okay, too.
But with Mary Nolan, I imagine her making a lasagna and saying something along the lines of,
"For this, I use lasagna noodles since it's a lasagna, but you can really use whatever kind of noodles you have on hand. Or just leave 'em out completely. Or maybe just use bread if you have a few slices around."
Ummm... that's not a lasagna!
Like I said, Mary Nolan is not the only one guilty of this. I'm sure that while preparing to do her six episodes, suggesting substitutions is right up there on the list of things to talk about while cooking, right below "Who doesn't like [fill in name of ingredient]?!" and "What goes better with [any pastime related or unrelated] than [thing your cooking]?!"
P.S.- I love this post's title because it reminds me of the infamous "Guess what: I like facts!" fight between Rosie and Elisabeth on The View. [2:17-2:24]