Secret Pop

Jan 20, 2006


For my mother, there is no real distinction between someone who drinks and someone who has a drinking problem. I have plenty of stories from my own experience. The Christmas Eve dinner in 2004 when I was laughing at something Beulah was saying and had had a half a glass of wine, and my mom snarled, "Look at her. She's drunk." There are plenty more like this. She isn't a teetotaler. She's just judgmental.

But the best case of this is with the Food Network's Sandra Lee. Now, I dislike Sandra Lee for my own reasons. She promotes the white trashery of the American epicure. She speaks authoritatively using words she mispronounces. She has a show, for Pete's sake. A show whose entire purpose is to teach people how to cook without actually having to make anything. The whole point of the show is to use storebought, prepackaged foods to cobble together something that pretends to be more refined. Meaning your family dinners are even more thoroughly suffused with chemicals and preservatives and fat-makers than if you had unwrapped a stack of Big Macs and set them on your fine china, hoping no one would notice you don't smell like a fry cook. I assure you, if you thicken your soups with a can of storebought chicken gravy, you're probably not going to die at your goal weight. Plus, the food she makes doesn't even look pretty to me. I grew up watching Jacques Pépin and stuff, so maybe I'm a big jerk, but if I went to a restaurant or even to someone's home and had one of Sandra Lee's "creations" set before me, there's very little chance I would be able to pretend to be impressed. But whenever Sandra Lee's name comes up or her show comes on, my mom tells me -- as if intoning a great secret -- that Sandra Lee is an alcoholic. I thought at first maybe she had read this somewhere, so I would say, "Really?" But it turns out it's just because Sandra Lee includes recipes for cocktails on her show. It's not even because she swigs from a wine bottle while sautéeing or anything. Just the fact that she has bothered to include recipes for mudslides and creamsicle shots makes her a drunk. Whenever someone is accused of a crime, my mom also assumes they're guilty.

Oh, and for the record, my mom was watching Rachael Ray the other day and she scowled and shook her head and said, "Look at her. She's getting fat."

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