• The 2006 Weblog Awards



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Rachael Ray: One of Time’s Top 100

I certainly think Rachael Ray had some influence on my life - just look at my book shelf or my kitchen and it’s pretty clear. But Rachael has been identified by Time as one of the top 100 people who shape our world. Pretty awesome, don’t you think? …and who provided Rachael’s write up? Mario Batali! Here it is:

In fewer than five years, Rachael Ray, 38, has radically changed the way America cooks dinner. Her perky-girl-next-door swagger, her catchphrases for techniques and her dinner ideology of simpler, less expensive and just in time have sold billions of books and placed her at the top of the talent love heap at the Food Network, which has changed its focus from information exchange to helpful encouragement. Dinner at her house with my kids is tastier than I could have imagined. My boys went wild for the veal, meatball and pasta stoup, as she calls it, and, like her audience, were quickly softened to putty in her kitchen-confident hands, disarmed of their usual ingredient suspicions by Ray’s “just try one” allure.

At book signings and public appearances, I have seen her fans faint, tremble, mumble, moan and ultimately hit the front of the line and embrace their food hero, repeating her mantras such as “let’s run a knife through it” and “easy peasy” like Catholics at Sunday Mass. Mass—mass appeal—is the message. Ray dresses like a suburban American—not a chef (that is key)—and her ease with basic kitchen techniques and a simple-to-find-in-Topeka ingredient list does not challenge viewers but entices them to join her in the famous “carry the stuff from the fridge to the counter” move with her anti-food-stylist packaged groceries. The promise of a meal in less than 30 min. is delivered every day and is calculated to hit all those who ever had a family or thought of having one, coaxing them to eschew the trap of fast-food facility and truly cook—even the easy fast stuff—at home.

Nice write-up, Mario! I have to admit, Rachael Ray has influenced me in more ways that how my book shelf or my kitchen looks. She’s reminded me how simple and rewarding cooking for my family and others can be - and it doesn’t have to take hours to do it!