Sandra Lee’s Fake Tan

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This is not an April Fool’s Joke. The other day I was at my friends’ Jim and Jess’s place and Jess was like, “Oh my God, you guys have to see this.” She loaded up an episode of Sandra Lee’s new show (the one where she recreates fancy restaurant dishes at home, if you consider a $69 hot dog from Serendipity a fancy restaurant dish) and froze the screen on the shot you see above. What became immediately clear is that Sandra Lee either has the same DNA as a black-and-white cookie or the fake tan she paid for earlier that day had only been applied to the backs of her arms and hands. When she turned her arms the other way they were stark white. The lesson here is obvious: if you fake tan before you cook (and who doesn’t?) be sure they spray you on all sides.

Say Hello To Our New Bakelite Flatware

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I’m 33 years-old, soon to be 34 (get your gifts ready, we’re talking 2/18), but no moment has made me feel older than the moment I found myself, on a Friday night, spending hours on E-Bay looking at flatware. “How did this happen?” I asked myself when I realized what I was doing. “I used to be a vital young person with my whole future ahead of me and now I’m comparing forks and knives on a computer screen when I could be out there shimmying to the sounds of hip young musicians like The Jonas Brothers!” After I calmed myself, though, I accepted my new role as senior citizen. In fact, sometimes I feel like my whole life has been barreling towards this moment. I grew up loving “The Golden Girls.” I had more fun eating bagels with my grandmother, as a teenager, than going to concerts with my high school friends. Maybe searching for flatware on E-Bay on a Friday night has always been my destiny.

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What To Buy The Food Lover In Your Life

If you’re anything like me, you leave things until the last minute. And presumably many of you will be doing some last minute holiday shopping this weekend, scrambling through malls, climbing over parked cars, desperate to find gifts for the food lover in your life. Allow me to help! Here are 10 things that I think any food lover would be glad to get under the tree on Tuesday morning.

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The Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl

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The other night, I cooked (well, chopped) for the first time in the apartment where I’m staying on the Upper East Side. Since I was cooking for just myself, I figured a salad was the right move. There was a cucumber, there was a box of cherry heirloom tomatoes, half of a red onion (sliced thin), a red pepper and a yellow pepper. The dressing had balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. At the end, I crumbled blue cheese over everything. It was a good salad.

Only, while I was making it, I found it frustrating that the garbage can was a tiny one under the sink. I didn’t want to have to swivel and pull out the can to make the top go up ever time I wanted to throw away an onion peel or red pepper seeds. Which is when I recalled the famous Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl.

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That Joke We All Make At Restaurants

I’ve been thinking a lot about that joke we all make at restaurants. You know the one. We finish everything on our plate and then the server comes over and asks, “How was everything?” and we say, “Oh it was terrible, we really hated it” while smiling mischievously and gesturing towards the empty dish. I bet servers hear that joke all the time. Sure, it comes from a good place; it’s meant to involve the server in a conspiracy of sarcasm. But, really, maybe we should stop making that joke. Or if we do make that joke, maybe we should limit ourselves to once a year. That way servers don’t have to laugh insincerely and we don’t have to pretend that we disliked our dinner.

Things I’ve Been Spreading on My Toast

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My love affair with toast hasn’t waned since it began back in May. Sure, there’ve been some breadless mornings where I eat a piece of fruit or don’t eat anything at all, but most mornings there I am in my kitchen, slicing a big slice of bread, popping it into my cheap-o toaster and slathering it with something interesting.

The slathering, as you might imagine, is the most exciting part. That’s why I keep my eyes peeled wherever I go for potential toast toppings.

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A Summertime Farmer’s Market Feast (Green Goddess Heirloom Tomato Salad, Haddock Chowder & A Strawberry/Peach Shortcake)

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At the start of my cookbook, I have a list of the ten most important over-arching lessons I learned cooking with the best chefs in America. One of those lessons is: “Put ingredients on display.”

There’s an explanation of that in the book, and I’ll wait for you to read your copy before I spoil that here, but consider this post a corollary to that advice. As you can see, after going to the farmer’s market last Monday, I put my ingredients on display in my kitchen…and that inspired a rather extravagant feast for my visiting friends Kim and Ben the next night.

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