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Rachael Ray, re-revisited.
Posted to Teevee at 03:53 PM on Feb 21, 2007

I didn't understand the vitriol.

All the hate directed at Rachael on various TV forums, I thought, was alarming. And excessive. I could never be counted among her biggest fans, but that's why I changed the channel when her show was on. I felt like maybe all her haters were just bitter. She doesn't filet baby seals on her show. She's harmless, I thought. Like a sweet but lazy auntie.


Her "lu'au" show.


My. God.

Having a relatively large bug up my ass about culture and food and authenticity, I will admit that I rolled my eyes when I saw that my TiVo had collected a lu'au show from someone who once made an osso bucco soup. What the hell could Rachael Ray know about Hawaiian food? More importantly, how does one cook dishes like kalua pork and poi in half an hour? Kalua pork is an all-day affair. That's the whole point. One could conceivably do one in the oven, but it sure as hell won't be done in thirty minutes and it won't be anywhere near the real thing.

But I watched it.

And damn. I hate her now, too.

Chicken teriyaki. Cookies. And a girl drink. According to Rachael, that is what a lu'au is.

Um. No. A lu'au was, to native Hawaiians, an important cultural and social event central to their lives. Hawaiians raised their own food, established a set of rules and protocol governing the way they ate, and ultimately, their society; and they didn't have microwaves or bagged produce. The lu'au has evolved to reflect Hawai'i's diverse population and includes things like sushi and noodles but still, at its core, features staples of native Hawaiians.

To serve cookies and cocktails at a party and call it a lu'au is an insult. It's a joke.

And all she had to do was a little research. She just had to go online and search for "hawaiian food". She would have figured out pretty quick that to do a half-hour show around Hawaiian food is sheer folly and might have given up anyway. She could have just talked about raw fish and taro and their significance. She could have made poke. Hell, she's traveled to Hawai'i. Did it occur to her to talk to one of six zillion of our local chefs? Sam Choy has been on freaking Iron Chef America! Did she watch him and learn something?


And sadly, she probably doesn't even get what the problem is. She's butchered every other cuisine in the name of convenience, so what's wrong with completely ignoring a dying culture?


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