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  • Writer's pictureStand-Up Comedy Historian

Sandra’s Second Ring of Hell: Lazy Day Lunches


For this week’s installment of Sandra Lee’s Cool Kids’ Cooking, we will be exploring the second chapter, entitled “Lazy Day Lunches.”

This time around, Sandy focuses on food that “active kids like Scott [one of her many nephews] can hip to in a hurry.” Okay…how do you get “hip to” food? Does that particular phrase make sense to anyone? Did she forget to include the word “be”? I mean, I’ve heard people say “I’m hip to doing that,” but usually these are painfully lame individuals or the phrase is used in a sarcastic way (oh, yeah…I’m TOTALLY hip to that). But, seriously, who says “hip to” anymore? Apparently, the woefully pathetic Sandra Lee who believes she is invoking the cool slang of her homies.

And, I’m not joking about this. She LITERALLY has this exact phrase featured in the introduction of the second chapter: “Text the peeps—lunch is at your house today.”

What the H E double hockey-sticks is she trying to do here? Reach out to her urban demographic? Wow…Sandy is so down with us and our terminology…if she understands our language, her food must be as in-touch with what kids want! Was this really the reasoning behind the ridiculous use of terms like “fab flavas” (is she trying to set herself up as the next Flavor of Love ho?). Flava Flav, indeed!

I also enjoy the fact that Sandy’s title for this chapter reinforces her lazy mentality towards cooking—it’s too hard! Let’s semi-crap up our food instead!

Sandy always mentions having no TIME to get things done in the same manner as fellow Food Network denizen, buggy-eyed Robin Miller, and promptly references her nephew’s BUSY schedule which means he needs good food fast. What results, however, is neither good (her recipes offer little by way of fruits or vegetables) nor fast, but disgusting, calorie-laden delicacies for the kiddies.

Food Network personality Robin Miller

Anyway, this horrifying level of Dante’s culinary inferno results in 16 recipes for foods that, once again, belong in a “make food in your dorm room in 15 minutes” type of cookbook, not recipes for young children.

The recipes in this particular chapter are “Buffalo Pizza,” “Spaghetti Calzones,” “Sloppy Sandwiches,” “Cordon Bleu Crescents,” “Cheese Steak Bagel Bites,” “Monte Cristo Mania,” “Ranch Wraps” (the only relatively healthy specimen among the pack), “French au Jus,” “Cheeseburger Bites,” “Bacon-Pickle Dogs,” “Double Grilled Double Cheese” (repetitive, much?), “Mini Melts,” “Popcorn Chicken Salad,” “Teriyaki Noodle Bowl,” “Cheddar Cheese Baked Potato Soup,” and finally “Dropped Ramen.”

With names like “Buffalo Pizza,” "Spaghetti Calzones,” and “Dropped Ramen,” Sandy’s recipes could easily appeal to the stoner/frat boy population. However, as usual, the potential for deliciousness is defeated when one actually examines the contents of her recipes.

Sandra vows that her recipes will "be a ginormous hit with the It Crowd” (does the rhyming never end for this woman?), so let’s see how successful these treats really are. While reading through the list, one recognizes the standards of kid’s food (fried chicken, pizza, hot dogs, etc.), yet Sandy offers little innovation (“Popcorn Chicken Salad,” anyone?). Even when Sandra does something surprising (a quality she always stresses when feeding guests), she almost inevitably combines ingredients that no one in their right mind or in a sober state would imagine.

Her “Dropped Ramen,” for instance, is Ramen noodles with eggs in it and random chicken strips. How does she screw up the concept of a lovely egg drop soup like this? And why does she relate typical Chinese food with freakin’ Ramen?

Oh, they’re both made by those ching-chong guys, so they have to go well together, right? God, trying to make sense of Sandra’s frightening culinary logic is like trying to limit Sandy’s alcoholic intake during the annual trimming of the Cocktail Tree: Both will give you a massive headache. [Ed. note: I wrote this in 2007, and I am not racist...I was just using the terms SHE would say.]

For my analysis of Sandra’s horrific recipes, I will be closely examining her “Cheeseburger Bites.”

Now, Ruby Tuesday has a delicious mini-burger meal that is under eight dollars and most likely tastes a hell of a lot better than Sandra’s meatloaf seasoning-packet mess.

I mean, this is a fairly simple, well-known dish that people have been making for decades (Burger King used to offer Burger Buddies, for example, that I adored as a child).

However, in this recipe, Sandy yet again focuses on brands, not simplicity, and her recommendations for Heinz ketchup, McCormick seasoning and Sargento cheese snacks smack of culinary irresponsibility.

There is no reason one has to use her products to achieve her supposedly delightful result, yet Sandra’s cookbooks insist that buying such products makes one’s life soo much easier; Should I “save” money the Semi-homemade way (and get terrible food), or actually save money by buying reasonable ingredients and making good food? I wonder which one I’d choose?

While Sandy offers up a horrific rendition of the American classic recipe, it is, in fact, her images of said dish that scar me in a way I never thought possible. Firstly, she includes cartoon pictures of the “Bites” on her front cover and in the second chapter, while also having a real-life version opposite the recipe (which doesn’t look any more appetizing than the animated versions).

Secondly, all of these images feature pickles and tomatoes attached to the hamburger bun with a toothpick, which I’m sure Sandy though looked sooo gourmet (not really). I know restaurants do this all the time, but for children, I just don’t think it’s necessary or appropriate; just have the veggies on the side for them.

Finally, the particular image in which children are trying to EAT the damn thing is very disturbing because of the fact that two children (and Sandra herself!) are about to bite into the “Cheeseburger Bites” WITHOUT taking the toothpick out of the hamburger! What? Shouldn’t Sandy, the responsible caretaker that she is, have warned the children that eating the burger with the toothpick attached might be a wee bit dangerous? Or, in the very least, shouldn’t she have provided herself as a role model for the impressionable youth by removing her own toothpick? I just cannot believe that she depicts these burgers as edible when they have “cocktail toothpicks” sticking out of the top!

Also, if these are bite-size, why do all of the pictures of the hamburgers make the bites look HUGE? Seriously, I’ve seen Sandra shove many foodstuffs into her giant mouth (check out how she downs a corn dog, for example), but I do not see how a burger bite would need two hands and appear to be the size of a regular burger. Very weird, and confusing, I would think, for young children learning how to cook.

Sandy’s recipe is basically meatloaf burgers (with Thousand Island dressing that makes them some ghetto version of a Big Mac), and even the picture she supplies in the cookbook does not make it appetizing to say the least; Thousand Island is dripping down the side of the bun in a most revolting manner. Once again, even the presumably delicious, and simple, recipe for cheeseburger bites is ruined in the hands of Aunt Sandy, and her cookbook fails to enlighten anyone, young or old, on nutritious food for children.

Next week: The third ring of Hell, “Meal Mania.” Dish Delish!

For all of Sandra's Rings of Hell, please click here.


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