Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Rachael Ray Ingredient Permutationizer© Successfully Reverse Engineered

Or, how to publish 100 cookbooks without actually creating anything new.

Lemmings and generally clueless people everywhere commonly express amazement at Rachael Ray's prolificness in publishing book after book. "How does she come up with all these ideas?" they muse.

Various theories have been suggested, such as:
She throws darts at a dartboard that has ingredients named in the various sections

She has a list of ingredients written on little slips of paper and randomly pulls them out of a hat

She extracts them from her nether orifice

I have come to the conclusion that the correct answer is none of the above. Nope, the correct answer is that she uses a tool I have dubbed the Ingredient Permutationizer©.

Here is the formula:
(C/2) * (C-1) * F1 * F2 * M * Ch = T

C = number of classic dishes from various cuisines

F1 = format of a dish (ie, soup, stoup, stew, burger, slider, mac n cheese, lasagna, salad, sammie, etc)

F2 = some ethnic cuisine as characterized by presence of an item supposedly representative of that dish (ie, curry powder = Indian, oregano = Italian, mint = Greek, soy sauce = “Asian,” smoked paprika = Hungarian, cumin or chipotle = Mexican, etc)

M = meat item (or mushrooms, for “vegetarian" dishes) strip steak, chicken breasts, ground beef, veal, pork, turkey, etc)

Ch = some kind of cheese

T = total number of dishes possible

Try it yourself, kids! You too can become a published "author."

Southwestern Monte Cristos, anyone?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Content vs. Pages

Now, don't get me wrong -- I loves me some Nigella. Everything she makes looks fantastic and accessible. I've tried several of her recipes and they all turn out well. Her Lemon Risotto is a particular fave.

I recently made a few from the copy of Nigella Bites that I checked out of my local library and I could not help noticing that the book seemed awfully heavy on pretty pix of Nigella Nigella Bites: From Family Meals to Elegant Dinners -- Easy, Delectable Recipes For Any Occasion aling= cooking and eating. Then I noticed the glossy paper (necessary for making the food appear sexy, I guess). Then I noticed that the percentage of these pages seemed awfully high.

Between the pages reserved for "notes" and the food porn shots, I calculated that 144 of the 244 pages in this book could have been left out. This would leave the reader with the same amount of useful content, but paying a lower price.

I had long ago noticed the same thing about Giada de Laurentiis' books. I had Everyday Italian and did a similar count. Since Food Network relies so heavily on Giada's alleged "sensuality," Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes(cough) I expected to unearth a similar discrepancy between the number of pages and hard content. Even though both books had nearly the same number of pages, Giada's book only had 100 pages of essentially useless content. I was rather surprised.

That said, even though I believe that the publishers are padding these titles for all they're worth, the recipes contained therein are still tasty, easily prepared. I just wish the puppet masters would realize that we aren't as dumb as they seem to think we are.

We noticed, Food Network.