By Sandra Lee, Hyperion Books
Governor Cuomo, Now before you go get your tablescape into a tizzy, let's be clear: Sandra Lee's new show isn't all about green markets and seasonal vegetables. She's not Alice Waters with a pushup bra. That would be crazy. But I do think Sandra must have seen a small beam of culinary light recently, as the "semi-homemade" style of cooking is not the #1 priority in Money Saving Meals. Now, Aunt Sandy's goal is to save us time and money.
Don't worry, though -- the Queen of Qocktails hasn't lost all of her campy charm. She does use the Vidalia Chop Wizard to chop her onion, saying it's something "no one has ever seen before." That's at least chuckle-worthy.
While Semi-Homemade was known for its intricate decorations, kitchen decor and tablescapes that often matched everything from Sandra's outfit to the napkin rings, MSM has stripped that all away. Sandra's now in an almost all-white, suburban looking kitchen with nary a napkin ring or handwritten place card in sight. While Semi-Homemade was sometimes mocked for those colorful details, I'm kind of misty about not seeing them anymore. Sandra Lee=tablescapes! I realize she's got her magazine now, where she's over-indulging the decorating side of Aunt Sandy, but still. Give us a little bit!
As for Sandra's ability to show viewers how to save money, there does appear to be a fair amount of research (down to the penny!) when it comes to choosing ingredients and offering suggestions. And like a few other hosts (Robin Miller still out there), Sandra will use the same ingredients from one dish to make a different recipe. There are also some web-only recipes at foodnetwork.com/round2recipes.
But the problem is a lot of Sandra's money-saving secrets aren't really secrets at all. Like her suggestion to use store brand refrigerated biscuits instead of a fancy name brand can of Pillsbury. "Oh, so by using items that cost less I will in turn save money. Now I understand!"
And then there are Sandr