Sunday, March 07, 2010

Maybe I'm just jealous

As Azure Song pointed out in a recent comment, Pioneer Woman aims straight at the taste buds of American men. She's the dream wife who never scolds, nags or serves brussels sprouts, never drags her spouse to a Cambodian restaurant, Romanian movie, or the ballet. Instead, she fries him up some battered chicken and nicknames him Marlboro Man. 

I like Pioneer Woman, like her lack of pretension and her humor and heart. But sometimes she bugs me. Here's the foreword to her breakfast burrito recipe: "If you're looking for fancy chipotle-asiago-chorizo poblano-fancy-o breakfast burritos, you've come to the wrong wife and mother. And I've tried that route; believe me, I've tried it. The problem is, my family -- my husband and four children -- just don't like chipotle-asiago-chorizo-poblano-fancy-o stuff."

Wait a minute. Chipotle, asiago, chorizo and poblano aren't really "fancy-o stuff," they're inexpensive Mexican/Italian staples you can find at Safeway, and while you wouldn't want to eat them all together, each on its own is, in my shrewish opinion, more delicious and nutritious than, say, cream of mushroom soup. Moreover, I'd sooner put poblano and chorizo in a burrito than frozen hash browns (per PW's recipe), not because I'm "fancy-o" but because I think the burrito would taste better.  C'mon, Pioneer Woman, lead your timid family into some new culinary frontiers! You're making the rest of us look bad.

I'm not sure Pioneer Woman's rustic flat apple pie, which I baked the other night, was as man-pleasing as her usual fare. It's essentially apples and sugar folded in a free-form crust. PW seems to realize this is rather austere and elegant, maybe even healthy, and offers a suggestion: "For extra sweetness, drizzle on jarred caramel topping after removing the pie from the oven."

This chick does not fight fair. 


  1. I agree that she is both charming and grating. For me sometimes the "good ole girl" routine gets a little tired. And also? Her photos drive me nuts. I do not need to see oil pouring into a pan or butter melting in every. single. recipe.

  2. I agree, it sounds like she is eschewing an entire class of indredients because you couldn't get them in pioneer days?

    Chorizo and burrito sound like they are made for each other and would probably make the frozen spuds taste that much better.

  3. PW is wildly successful partly because she makes laziness in the kitchen (dumbing down classic recipes; using supermarket processed foods like cream of mushroom soup and frozen vegetables) not only acceptable but even preferable because the alternative (using non-fake foods, searching out ingredients she would deem exotic) would make us pretentious, snobbish gourmands who emasculate our men with "fancy-o" food.

    Her whole franchise strikes me as kitsch and fabricated and campy. "Pioneer Woman"? Really?

    Is her "Marlboro Man" one of the Village People?

  4. Why is fancy-o food not supposed to be for men? Aren't many of the "great chefs" men? It's sort of like saying you want your male kid to play baseball not the violin and then you go to the hear the best symphony orchestras and 90% of the violin players are men.....???? Macho myth vs reality check?

  5. While I understand your lament, I also understand that your Safeway is going to carry different foods than her grocer--or even mine. She's in middle of nowhere Oklahoma, and I'm in Tennessee--both of which aren't known for their access to culinary diverse foods (or cultures if we're honest). I love that her food is easy, but I also know that she doesn't find "fancy-o" foods pretentious. She loves it--but she has four kids, a husband, and ranch hands to feed that don't always share her (or our) appreciation for the experimental.

  6. Julia -- I know. And on her web site she's been making sushi, so she's not really anti-"challenging" foods at all. It's just that the book doesn't really show that side of her. I do think you can probably get a lot of those ingredients even in rural areas these days, given demographic trends.
    Tonight I'm going to make her leek and potato pizza which looks truly delicious, the kind of thing I will genuinely like. I'm very excited.

  7. I live in rural Northern Utah, and I can get all of those ingredients.

    This series on PW is going to make my brain cleave asunder.

  8. I have mixed feelings about PW too. At the same time, I can sympathize with what she says here. most of my male relatives and in-laws are the kind who eat meat, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, pizza, peas, corn, and very little else. Once my brother-in-law described a disappointing experience he'd had with a dish his wife had cooked. His exact words were: "It looked like macaroni and cheese, but it turned out to be some kind of queer-ass casserole, with rice and spinach." If he won't eat rice or spinach, he definitely won't go for asiago or chorizo, unless you call them "cheese" and "sausage" and hide the distinctive flavor under Velveeta or spaghetti sauce.

    I find PW a little too smug overall, but I have tried a few of her recipes. I'm enjoying reading your impressions of them.

  9. ROFLMA! "This chick does not fight fair!" Thank you - I'll have to go pick up her recipe book just because you've been making it so funny to read about! LOL! :) Best, Ida

  10. Pioneer Woman cooks with lots of high fat additions and calories. What concerns me is how unhealthy most of it is. That high fat taste is cultivated. When you eat lower fat for a while all that stuff just tastes really greasy. The same for salt and sweet(too salty, too sweet.)Also so many of the canned and processed ingredients are high salt and many chemicals When one of the family has a heart condition or diabetes or any number of health challenges the way they eat will change tremendously.
    I think it is great when people encourage the kids to try new things. Might not like it but learn to explore and investigate for themselves.

  11. Tipsy, are you still cooking from Moro? I'm not sure if I missed the post where you give an overall review a cookbook. I don't want to put a damper on your PW reviews because I find them to be refreshingly honest and hilarious. I was just wondering about the other book...

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