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Sneak Peek - Rachael Ray’s Fall Show

ETonline.com has a sneak peek of Rachael Ray’s new hour long show debuting September 18!

“I want to start tomorrow,” she gushed. “I don’t want to wait because everything looks so great. The models are all done — and the set. It’s really getting exciting.”

The show, which will aim to be intimate and fun — and not celebrity-driven — is not just aimed towards food lovers and wannabe gourmet chefs, but for anyone looking to improve their lives — whether it be how to organize your office or trying something new outside of the kitchen!

Rachael recently revealed what tone the show will take. “I want the show to be a forum for people, but there’s not going to be any crying on our show!”

Rachael, who says she’s working with people she’s known for years as well as brand new staffers, says she’s going to keep the atmosphere super casual.

“We allow dogs and children so I want to go to work tomorrow,” she says. “I want to bring my dog to work with me. It’ll be a lot of fun!”

Tied to the article on ETonline.com is a video of her photo shoot promoting the show. It looks like she invited Isa-Boo to the shoot, too! :)

It will be interesting to see the launch of Rachael’s new show and her transition to things non-food. Do you think her show will be a success? For me it will depend on when it is on, the format and whether the topics of discussion are engaging. Her charisma can carry her traditional shows on the Food Network quite well, but daytime talk is so much different. Her plans aren’t controversial and she doesn’t plan on making anyone cry, so the show will need to be entertaining and stand out away from the Jerry Springers and Montel Williams of the world.


The Lessons “Mama” Taught Rachael Ray

Many fans of Rachael Ray often wonder about the journey she took to get where she is today. I came across this great article called “School of Mama” in the Albany Times Union. You can read the full story here.

When David Letterman asked Rachael Ray if she went to culinary school, she had a great reply:

“I went to the school of Mama!” Ray exclaims.

How many of us could say that very thing? I personally went to the school of Mama, too, with Dad as the assistant principal. Both of my parents were outstanding cooks with completely different experiences. Mom, being born and raised in the Southwest taught me some amazing cooking techniques. She also took some tours with Dad in Germany and Spain, learning the cooking styles there as well. Dad came from the North and can make outstanding stews, chilis and cooks with venison unlike most I know. He also took a tour in Thailand and taught me a few things about Thai cooking (my favorite Asian cuisine).

Rachael started wowing the crowd early, or so it seems:

“My mother was the type who always wanted her kids around her,” Ray explains. “She didn’t want us with baby sitters. We all grew up in restaurants.”

So it came as no surprise to Scuderi when, at age 11, Rachael presented her with a Mother’s Day dinner fit for an Italian queen: a plate of spinach lasagna pinwheels in a Gorgonzola sauce with blanched asparagus.

“It was a feast for the eyes,” remembers Scuderi. “She arranged the asparagus around the plate to look like the sun shining.”

Rachael’s Mama, Elsa Scuderi, learned a lot about cooking and life in the kitchen herself.

“The kitchen was the center of our home,” she remembers. “There were a lot of mouths to feed, and we had to learn about food. My mother made wonderful pies and breads, and my dad was great with meats, stews and sauces.”

On weekends, Scuderi’s father, the late Emmanuel Scuderi, would teach the young Providenza (her given name) the finer points of cutting meat, proper food temperatures and canning vegetables from the garden.

“He’d take a whole piece of meat and season it with herbs and garlic, put it in a hot oven for half an hour then turn (the oven) off and leave it for a few hours and it would be tender and succulent. His food was magnificent,” says Scuderi.

“We had to learn about food, learn a little Italian and go to church,” she says. “If we did those things really well, we got into the rumble seat and went for a matinee and an ice cream.”

It sounds like Grandpa Emmanuel was the pillar of the family.

When a tree fell near the family’s home, Emmanuel left it where it was and carved seats into it for all the children.
“We went out and took food there and listened to his stories,” recalls Scuderi. “Life was good with him. He was a high-spirited, energetic person. There’s a saying by Churchill: ‘as soft as the driving fog and as resistant as marble,’ and that describes Dad.”

Ray also credits her late grandfather for being the genesis of the family’s sense of closeness and their love of cooking.

“My grandfather and I were best friends,” she recalls. “He loved to cook and grow his own food. In my family, there was always good food. It was Italian stinky cheese, fresh greens and sauces,” says Ray. “We weren’t kids who had Pop Tarts and crap like that; I was a food snob by age 7.”

Mama - and business manager for Rachael - is proud of her daughter.

But Scuderi says her daughter has taken the essence of her family’s cooking and made it her own. “Rachael can take anything I cook and shorten it.”

Anyone who watches Rachael Ray regularly hears her references to being a “Ho-Jo” girl (for those of you born much more recently than I, that would be “Howard Johnsons”). Not many realize that it was at Ho-Jos that she worked for her Mama. I really love this quote from Rachael:

“She was a tough manager,” Ray confirms. “If you’re not a hard worker, look out. And God help ya if you show up stoned or drunk.”

Both Mama and daughter admit they’ve learned much from each other.

“For Elsa and Rachael, working in a restaurant was never just a job, it was something they loved,” says De Santis [Elsa’s former manager at Howard Johnson’s]. “It doesn’t surprise me that Rachael is so successful. She gets it from her mother.”

In return there are a few things Rachael’s passed on to her mother.

“I’ve learned that you don’t have to stand in a kitchen for four hours to get dinner — Rachee taught me that,” Scuderi says with a laugh. “I’m learning to have more fun and enjoy life. But I love French sauces and bean cassoulets and mint salads — I’ll always take the time for that.”

Great lessons that move far beyond the kitchen.


Gratuitous Rachael Ray Blogging

Fort Wayne’s “Journal Gazette” had an opportunity to run an interview with Rachael Ray as she was on her way to the Daytime Emmys.

I think the questions people ask in an interview are pretty crazy, but it does expose that other people are even nuttier:

Q. Your shows are basically shot in one take. Ever make a mistake that made you drop an f-bomb?

A. I cook like a sailor when I’m at home. It’s so funny. But I’ve never slipped and cussed on air. I have gotten in trouble, though, in the most obscure ways. One time I was using portobellos and I said, “You know, I just pop the tops off and leave the stems because they’re too woody, I can’t even make a good stalk out of them. They’re so tough, you know.” So I said, “Just pop the tops off because the stems are a bit of a gyp.” I got this hate mail from a Gypsy who said I was being derogatory to Gypsies. I didn’t even know that was the origin of the expression. Really! But whatever. I get in trouble for the most bizarre stuff sometimes, not meaning to. Sometimes I’ll throw salt over my shoulder, you know if I spill some, for good luck. And people write in saying, “Who’s cleaning up all that salt on the floor?” I’m like, “Dude! Why do you care? My dog is licking it up, OK?”

Q. They want the idea, the image of you getting the mop bucket after the show cuts.

A. I don’t know. Sometimes they get angry at me for tasting my own food, or touching something. You know, dipping my finger in the sauce. I’m like, “I’m not cooking for you. I’m here alone with my vegetables. Do you mind if I taste my own food?”

And those of you on the edge around your seat about a mini Rachael or John running around…

Q. Speaking of moms, when can your mom expect grandkids?

A. Never! I love children. I want to work with children and food. It’s my pet thing in life and I love being around kids. They’re funny. They’re much smarter than adults, in my opinion. And much more honest. And I love cooking with them. But I just don’t physically have the time to have any. It would have to be an immaculate conception, first of all. I’m rarely home. And you know, me and my husband love being parents to my little Isaboo (her dog). We like furry kids. And I just don’t have enough time to do it properly, and I don’t think you should have kids just for vanity’s sake or to use a name. Or just because your clock’s ticking.

Q. Plus, the name Suri is taken now.

A. And the name Suri is taken, which is hugely disappointing. So what’s the point in any of us having kids?

As you know, Rachael Ray was recently recognized by Time as one of the “100 People Who Shape Our World.” For those of you who are always looking for pics of Rachael Ray, here she is at the Time event with hubby John. Enjoy!


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!


Rachael Ray at the Daytime Emmys

While she didn’t win for best service show, she was a presenter and looked like she was having fun. Here’s some photos of her at the big event:


This is her with Elmo and Oscar. Nice sidekicks, Rachael!


Another on the red carpet!


Presenting with what’s-her-name from daytime soaps!

Rachael - I think you look great! Congrats on your nomination!


Real Life, Rachael Ray and Please Pass the Next DVD!

Hi everyone!

This is just a quick post to let you know I am still among the living. There have just been certain things that have gotten in the way of me posting anything of note:

The next “Every Day with Rachael Ray” is on my nightstand. Review will commence once I’ve read it cover to cover!

Work has been unbelievable! I’m running a million miles a minute there and I just don’t want to do anything when I get home so my excuse is…

We are now on Season 2, Disc 3 of “24.” Hubby and I have been averaging oh, about 3-4 hours a night immersing ourselves in terror plots, assassinations and wannabe first ladies. The suspense! Pretty soon we’ll be throwing our kids a loaf of bread and some juice bags for dinner as we watch “the next episode.” Whatever will we do when we reach the end of season 4? I don’t know if I can wait a WEEK between episodes! Gah!!! Which is my reason for…..

Laundry, cleaning and bills are waiting in the wings to get done. It’s really sad when you wash a load of mismatched laundry in “cold” with Woolite, just to get you through tomorrow. But it’s “24.” Gimme a break!

Don’t you love my new skin? THANKS AGAIN SADIE LOU! I figured that for those of you who come here for Rachael Ray, John Cusimano and recipes, a nice “food” skin would be just the thing. do you like my Wusthofs? Heh!

Well…back to our warped world of counter-terrorism. I’ll peek my head out from under my rock again soon!


SubTerfuge linked with Roundup
Rachael Ray Interviewed in Chicago

For all of you Rachael Ray fans, she was in Chicago this weekend promoting her new cookbook "365:  No Repeats" and a local news channel interviewed her.  She described how challenging it was to come up with 365 recipes and spoke of her new talk show coming down the road.

There’s a video link in the article to the interview, and I’m CERTAIN any fan would want to see it.  To go to the article, please click here.  The video is in the upper-right.

Oh, and while you are here (grin), please click the "Weblog Award Finalist" icon on the left of my sidebar and throw in a quick vote for Merri Musings.  Since I’m a finalist in a category FULL of amazing blogs, I’m not certain I will win, but would love to refrain from being in last place.  :-)   Thanks for taking the time to throw your vote my way!


2005 Weblog Award Finalists!

…and the finalists have been announced!

Merri Musings is in the running for an award for Best New Blog! Polls are open tomorrow (and you can vote every 24 hours if you’d like)…if you enjoy my site, please be sure to stop by and slip a vote in the ballot box for me!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few of my favorites!  Please be sure to drop them a vote, too!

Best New Blog (but only if you don’t wanna vote for me…wink, wink, nudge, nudge):

Common Sense Runs Wild and Soldiers’ Angel Holly Aho

Best Group Blog

The Cotillion (who individually received a number of nominations….excellent job, ladies!)

Best Humor / Comics Blog

Six Meat Buffet (didn’t you know there were six meats?)

Best Conservative Blog

The Jawa Report (a MUST read!)

Best Culture / Gossip Blog

Knowledge is Power (SondraK - bringing a bit of culture to the Cotillion ladies!)

Best of the Top 250 Blogs

My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (go Beth!)

Best of the Top 501-1000 Blogs

Vince Aut Morire (there are many I could mention here, but by and far my hubby stands out for me for many reasons, so I’m pitching his site!) 

Best of the Top 2501-3500 Blogs

The Wide Awake Cafe

Congrats to everyone that was nominated!  I think it’s an honor just to be nominated, let alone be a finalist!  It affirms for me why I like keeping up this little corner of the web.

Good luck to all and happy voting!


“Every Day with Rachael Ray” Sets Sales Records!

Not any big surprises here:

NEW YORK, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ — Readers have a hearty appetite for Every
Day with Rachael Ray, the new food/lifestyle magazine published by The
Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.  The first issue of Every Day with Rachael
Ray debuted nationwide on October 25, 2005, and the overwhelming demand at
retail has prompted the publisher to go back to press for an additional
135,000 copies, bringing the total print run to more than one million copies.

…and it doesn’t stop there!

Barnes & Noble, Inc. announced on Monday that Every Day with Rachael Ray
set a new sales record at the chain, selling more than 20,000 copies in the
first two weeks — the strongest launch of any food magazine. Every Day with
Rachael Ray is expected to be among Barnes & Noble’s top ten bestselling food
magazines.

If you can’t get your hands on an issue, you can visit their companion site here.  Small snippets are published there, and you can also subscribe to the magazine there.  I really enjoyed the premiere issue, reading it cover to cover, and I’m certain any Rachael Ray fan will enjoy it as well!


Merri Musings Review: Premiere “Every Day with Rachael Ray”

So, I have to say, I’m a Rachael Ray geek.  Now that I have that out of the way, you’ll understand why I wanted to subscribe to her new magazine "Every Day with Rachael Ray."  Now you’ll also understand why I read it cover-to-cover as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed the magazine.  I’m not into fashion magazines, and I’m not into "Gourmet" magazine.  I also don’t read travel magazines (there’s something about reading about a person’s stay in a $3000/night suite that pisses me off in a way).  But there are snippets of each of these magazines I truly enjoy (well, with fashion magazines, it’s minimal as I can never seem to find the articles between the ads).  What I found is that Rachael Ray’s new magazine blends the nice things together.

What did I enjoy the most?

  1. The recipes.  Rachael can’t go wrong publishing more recipes.  If you like her cookbooks or her show "30 Minute Meals" you’ll really enjoy the magazine for this reason alone.  There’s even a "7 Days 7 Recipes" insert you can pull out with shopping lists, etc.  Totally cool.
  2. There was a great article about cooking family recipes - and how it relates to the holidays.  In many ways, cooking is sentimental to me.  When I make particular recipes, it reminds me of great moments in my childhood, my mother, my father, a particular Christmas party, or other related get together.  I loved the article as it not only brought in the sentiment of cooking, but the great recipes.  My best recipes (all in my head) are hand-me-downs from my family.
  3. Focus on kids.  There are a couple of recipes that bring kids into the kitchen, including the youngest "Real Cook" tapped for regular writing submissions for the magazine.  I love that.  Rachael Ray, while I’m sure she is interested in marketing a great magazine, didn’t forget about one of her major loves in life - kids in the kitchen.

Some things I didn’t like so much…

  1. I was hoping for more focus on the "Real Cook" segment.  There was a section about what "Real Cooks" want.  I wasn’t all that impressed.  It seemed to be a way to advertise products more than a way to introduce the "Real Cooks" who are contributors who aren’t professional chefs, but everyday people who love to cook.  I also thought some of the products would NEVER fit into my everyday kitchen.  I know I’m in the wrong league when a "Real Cook" buys a dozen brownies for $37, not including shipping.  :)
  2. Whoopi’s fridge.  I really do like the idea of looking inside a celebrity’s fridge to see what’s in there - it’s up my alley (I do read "People" magazine…I can’t believe I admitted it!).  But Whoopi is so *not* up my alley.  And her fridge contents are boring.  I would have found a celebrity with a much more interesting fridge.  What does Anthony Hopkins have in *his* fridge?  Some fava beans and a nice Chianti, perhaps?  Heh.

Overall, for $18/year, it is not a bad purchase…I looked for it on a shelf, and never did find it in a store!  It’s a beautiful magazine, and very Rachael Ray.  I thought it would be a monthly magazine, but found out it is bi-monthly at first [insert sigh of disappointment here].  I can’t wait until the next installment!  Do you think she’ll take my suggestion to look into Anthony Hopkins’ fridge? 


The Mail Gods Were Good to Me!

The Mail Gods were good to me…and no, this has nothing to do with my letter carryin’ hubby, either!  Heh!

I got my first ever, brand-spankin’ new, premiere edition of "Every Day with Rachael Ray."  For those of you who don’t know what this is, it is Rachael Ray’s new magazine!

Who has time to post when this is sitting on the coffee table.

More to come - including a review.  From the outside in, it looks good.  The magazine is an unusual size, so it stands out from other magazines.  The photo on the cover is nice - not too Martha Stewart-y or too Oprah-y, if you know what I mean - down-to-earth.  And for those of you who miss Boo, Rachael’s 13 year old pup/taste tester, the first article I read was about Boo’s passing and a recipe in Boo’s honor!  There are also a ton of recipes, including a picture for every one. 

More to come…in the mean time, I must read.  :-)


Rachael Ray & John Cusimano Wedding Photo

I found a much better picture of Rachael Ray and John Cusimano on their wedding day over at http://www.rachael-ray.org/ (in the photo gallery section):

For those of you who are fans - enjoy!  For those of you who are not, please indulge me!  :-)


Rachael Ray Wedding Picture & Other Rachael Ray News

I have looked and looked and looked for a wedding photo of Rachael Ray and John Cusimano (they were married 9/24/05 and their ceremony was in Italy).  It took me awhile, and it isn’t the best picture, but here it is:

I hope you enjoy this tiny glimpse into their happiness!

Other Rachael Ray news…

Rachael Ray is going to have a talk show!  What does she have to say?

"People know me for my love of food, but I have so much more I want to
share," said Rachael Ray.  "Our show’s going to be all about taking a bigger
bite out of life.  I want people to see themselves in this show, because life
is full of messes and successes, and getting there is half the fun."

…and what does Oprah have to say?

"From the moment I had Rachael on my show earlier this year, I knew she
had ‘it,’" said Oprah Winfrey.  "She has that connection with her audience
that most people only achieve one-on-one."

Pretty exciting for a person who just did her thing and never expected to be "famous," huh?!?

In even *more* Rachael Ray news, her new magazine, "Every Day with Rachael Ray" launches October 15, 2005.  She has her website up, too.  You should go check it out here.  There’s supposed to be even more recipes and stories at this site.  You can also subscribe to her magazine there (yes, I know this because I subscribed…sheesh!).

That’s it for now, although you can hardly call it just "it."  Rachael Ray has hit it lucky again - a new marriage, a trip to Italy (green with envy, I am!), a new show with "Tasty Travels," yet *another* new show in her talk show scheduled for Fall 2006 AND her new magazine.  Whew!  I hope John can keep up!


Rachael Ray & John Cusimano Wedding

Finally!  The news that all of you fans are waiting for!

In a ceremony in Montalcino, Italy on Saturday, September 24, 2005, Rachael Ray and John Cusimano were wed.

Here’s the word directly from Fox News:

We’re betting that Rachael Ray’s wedding cost more than $40 for the day.

The bubbly cooking show cutie, host of three Food Network shows — "30 Minute Meals," "$40 a Day" and "Tasty Travels!" — tied the knot last Saturday with longtime squeeze John Cusimano in a ceremony held in Montalcino, Italy.

I’m sure they’ll be happy…and I bet they are enjoying the amazing cuisine over there!


I Love Knives!

One of my readers (thanks, Jackie!), let me know that Rachael has a new signature knife out at Sur la Table.  This knife is called "Rachael Ray Gusto Grip Santuko by Füriâ„¢" and here’s the details:

Use the knife that Rachael uses on her latest TV shows. Patented "grippy" orange silicone polypropylene handle in an inventive wedge shape helps keep hand from slipping toward the blade when wet - the direction that counts. Enjoy the rocking/sawing motion of a chef’s knife and the chopper work of a Santoku. Hollow-edged blade reduces friction for easier slicing. Blade bolster and tang are forged from a single piece of fine German stainless steel. Hand wash.

I was really tempted to throw this one, or her original Füri signature knife on the ole Christmas list.  But I do like my Wustof knives.  But one can never have too many knives, right?  Well, when I looked further, I found that Sur la Table also has the new oval saute pan.  Now THAT’s something for my list.  When I first saw her using it on her show, I absolutely wanted it - there are some things that just don’t fit in even my largest circular pan.  Here’s the details:

Unique oval shape allows two 5-qt. sautés to fit side by side on a standard range. Even-heating anodized aluminum exterior with nonstick interior; glass lid. Handles are oven safe to 400˚F.

If the description doesn’t job your memory, here’s the picture:

Pretty ain’t it?!?

I’m anxious to hear about Rachael’s wedding.  Word has it, her mom and John (Cusimano - her MAN) planned the entire event since she has been so busy with cook books, magazines, new shows, etc.  She said she just has to "show up."  She should be getting married sometime in the next couple of weeks in Tuscany.  I’m sure there will be more to come!

She has a new cookbook coming out November 1st - "365-No Repeats."  I can’t wait!  I also can’t wait to read her new magazine! 

Thanks to all of you who stop by and read about Rachael Ray…let me know if there’s anything I can add to the site that you’re interested in.


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