comments: 44


As you may know, it's Chefography week on Food TV. We've watched Emeril, Rachael Ray, Ina, Nigella, and even the second half of Sandra Lee this week. It is inevitable that whenever I watch a biography or an interview with someone, I can't help but like them more, which, I suppose, is how it should be. (Mark Ruffalo, one of my favorite actors was on Inside the Actor's Studio this week, too, though I don't know how I could've liked him more than I already did. If you've never seen You Can Count on Me, stop reading here and go directly to the video store.)

But I am eager to know the backstory, almost every time. There is context for everything, and I am usually keen to understand how and why and what people have done with their lives. Felicia, who is a great fellow-fan of Ina and Nigella, sent me a link to this article about Ina in the New York Times on Monday and I found it fascinating. Feleesh and I agreed that we both loved how Ina seemed to resist pressure to expand her offerings (a magazine, more TV shows, a line of food shops) in ways that would compromise her life. "There is a balance between having a life and having a business," Ina said, and we nod vigorously at that — yup, we knew it [wink]! Just enough is quite enough. Even in lives and with businesses that are just lived and run by us regular little peeps.

I can also watch E! True Hollywood Story, Biography, Intimate Portrait (remember that show?), or almost any interview and become interested in almost anyone, even if I thought I didn't "like" them. I missed the first twenty minutes of Sandra Lee's chefography, for instance, but they kept alluding to her difficult childhood throughout the show, and as I watched her explain her concept I found myself growing more and more understanding, even sympathetic, though we snobby Paulsons avidly harass the television when we watch her show (the ever-rotating kitchen decor makes me want to rip it all down and stomp on it hysterically, but after she explained it [the kitchen thing] I understood it). And I loved how she said she felt sorry for the make-up artist on her show because she (Sandra) cried so much and so regularly when first doing it, frustrated by the feeling that she just couldn't communicate it all accurately, as passionately as she felt it (so then I felt bad that I am always smacking my forehead every time she uses a singular verb with a plural subject, but not that bad). Hers is not the kind of cooking I aspire to do, but I understand where she's coming from. I'm glad there's room — I hope there's room — for all of it.

So all that should hopefully make you quite sympathetic to me as I point you toward an interview I gave yesterday at Create a Connection. Tara asked some really unique questions that I really enjoyed answering. That whole making vs. designing thing got me all in a tizzy, and I thought about it for the rest of the day. I don't think about the distinction that much, but now I kind of think it's all designing. Isn't it? There is a subjectivity that is inherent in making anything, which seems to qualify it, technically, but, you know, I say — however you gotta get there, just make something.

And also, Terry just wrote and said the finalists have been posted for the Softie Awards, and voting will start soon. The amazing array of work over there blows my mind. If you entered and didn't get chosen, you should not feel bad for one millisecond — it was seriously subjective and impossible to choose. Everything was so cool.

And also, about the blocking — thanks for all the discussion yesterday (see the comments on that post for lots of hints and tips). As mentioned, my 'ghan is made of mostly Baby Cashmerino on a D hook, and if you have questions about other fibers or techniques, I know that the posts over at the Granny Along will be very helpful —there is a ton of great advice and experience (as well as "before" and "after" photos of blocked pieces — I haven't taken any of mine, but I'll try) over there. I don't have enough experience outside of my own very regularly used yarns and ways to feel comfortable answering a lot of what was asked, I must say.

OH — and I almost forgot about that crostini. Forget what show I was watching on PBS, but they made something like this on Sunday. Just grill some day-old bread and rub it with the clove of raw garlic, sliced longways. Then spread it with a mixture made from 2 c. ricotta cheese, 1/2 c. grated Parmesan, and a handful of torn fresh basil. Then top it with some frothy curls of prosciutto and — manga. Yummo (as Rache would say).

'Kay. That's all. Have a good day, the first whole one of spring. More flowers here for you tomorrow, just wait.


It's good on cucumbers too! One of my favorite summer lunches!

I would probably throw up if I saw Sandra Lee's Chefography.

That was really mean of me, I'm sorry.

No, I REALLY feel bad for just saying that! I feel like I should apologize again! ARRRGH!!!! Dumb conscience!

Oooh! Chefography! I totally feel you about feeling sympathetic about people after seeing their biography. I watched all of Sandra Lee last night even though I really can't stand her show, and now I have a ton of respect for her. Still won't watch her show, but I have lots of respect for her. It always amazes me how a personality can change in an interview versus TV. Even the tone of voice is different!

I, too, am a sucker for the biography shows. Unfortunately, on Sunday I just kept catching the Bobby Flay episode, over and over and over. Every time I woke up, it was on. Still, it was better than an infomercial!

Applause, applause. Although I confess I am a bit snooty about chefs, I can appreciate and respect where Sandra Lee is coming from (although I find her recipes, and the constant use of trans-fats and packaged goods, very unhealthy).

What I loved most about Ina and Nigella is that they don't profess to be technically trained chefs - I remember Nigella saying in the Chefography that she was frustrated with the lack of 'home cooking' in homes. That everyone was aspiring to create restaurant food and pulling their hair out because of it. I fell in love with these cooks because they make food and an environment that you want to eat and be in :)!

And food that even I could make and feel proud of :)
xoxox, f.

Love the article at Create a Connection. I think you vocalized (okay, I know on a blog... ) how a lot of us feel. I like your trying to connect the old with the new. Funny how so many of us do that. I really believe we pick a time in our lives we really remember as being "free", enjoying life, and most of the time that is childhood. Gees, look at my blog, I just posted about my My Friends dolls from Fisher Price that I have now given to Emma. I have to admit I am overjoyed with the fact she loves them as much as I did, oops, I do.

And I am so glad that I now know someone else who is interested in "the background story" -- E! True Hollywood Story, Biography, Intimate Portrait, etc. I love the interviews where you really get to find out about the person. My mom always laughs at me when I watch things like that and get all excited telling her about the person.

I have only watched Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray's Chefography show so far. I wasn't going to watch Sandra Lee's because she bugs the heck out of me, but maybe now I will watch it.

I *might* actually be able to watch her show if she didn't say "super simple" and "now what I want you to do is..." in every other sentence. Makes me crazy.

And the crostini.....looks delicious! Will have to try that :)

Alicia that was an awesome interview, great job!

Oh, and I get it, I really get it! :O)

I agree on the thought dilema between designing a creation or just making it. There might be a distinciton in gallery circles, but in the real world, I believe that all the work that goes into making something involves design. Whether we know it or not, while we are doing it, we are designing!

oh my gosh, i have the same food tv personality as you do! sandra drives me crazy, and i tend to scoff at her cooking, but now i feel like i should really watch her chefography! i always always find myself reading the mini bios on imdb on everyone too. even like grips or best boys if they have one.

Oh, that crostini - Yummo!
I'm in Canada and i looked high and low, hither and thither, all around for that special issue of Romantic Homes with your feature, but alas, was too late (oh pooh!), the one store i found it in was the April issue on Paris Style...which i bought cos i love anything to do with Paris.
I am disappointed about not getting the March issue but i suppose i can order a back issue.

Yay! I've TiVo'd all of the Chefography shows this week and have been rewarding myself for all of my daytime work on the bedroom/bathroom remodeling by sitting down to watch one or two of them each evening. I LOVE these shows. Now I'm wishing I wouldn't have deleted them because I already want to re-watch Ina's.

As far as the "backstory" goes - I totally agree too. I think that's one of the reasons why I love your blog. Because I'm always fascinated with the why&how&because behind what we see on the surface. Maybe because we're natural story tellers. The same reason it's difficult for me to just "stick to the facts" when talking to someone. I always feel that it's important for them to know the background to the story before I tell the actual story. I can't help it.

Oh, how I miss Food Network! And I missed Mark Ruffalo?! I need cable again because Mark Ruffalo is a dreamboat.

Thanks for the crostini recipe. Looks delicious.

Oh, Alicia! I agree that You Can Count on Me is a MUST, MUST see. I flipped out over Mark Ruffalo and it only enhanced my enjoyment of his bed-jumping scene in Eternal Sunshine [,,,].

Oh my! I rarely watch commercial thanks to TiVo so I had no idea it was Chefography week. Now.. tonight I will need to scan through every one of them and record record record! God I love Tivo! Now I'm off to read more about Ina whom I adore. :)

that is so funny!! i am exactly the same way with all those "biography" shows...and while not normally a sandra lee fan, also watched the chefography and wound up really liking her =)

I love biography shows! I haven't been home enough to know about the Chefography stuff going on, but I'm definitely going to check it out. You've got me convinced that I should watch the Sandra Lee one so that I can soften my heart towards her! I don't think her food bugs me as much as her body-language and the way she talks...I really need to get a different image of her in my mind! Do they have a Chefography of that Giada something or other? I don't think any hardship story could warm me up to her! Agh! Sorry all you fans out there, but my goodness does she bring out my bad side! It's so weird how we can get hooked into watching a person on TV that irks us just so we can talk back like they can hear us! (Or is that just me..?) I have been known to watch things I can't stand and just sit there and shake my head. That's why I really stick to movies! I don't make remarks at movies. Anyway, great interview...love interviews too!

Oh yes! I caught Nigella's show night before last....at about 2 am. LOL (Yes, this is what time I'm watching television.) Loved her interview and the behind the scenes tid bits. What was that comment she made about ample bums and bosoms? LOL I can't remember now, but it made me laugh.
And I ADORE Ina. Selfish me attributed my like for Ina to the fact that her recipes ALWAYS turn out, making me shine as a cook. LOL It wasn't until my friend Morgan once said, "she's just so likable"....that it finally clicked in my head. Yes, it's HER that I really like. The recipes are fantastic, but I do love HER even more than the food.

What I'm getting at is, this is the same way people (myself included) feel about YOU! You're just so likable! A genuine and dear person that we can relate with. This just shines through in each blog post. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

Okay... just TiVo'd like ten shows. Several Chefographies and some Barefoot Contessa's and some Sandra Lee (to see what you're talking about)! I, personally, don't love to cook... but I love to watch other people cook. I'm with you on watching biographies, though. I find myself watching them about people I, otherwise, have no interest in. Good to know I'm not alone! I'm going to check out "You Can Count On Me"... always looking for a good chick flick! Thanks for all the recommendations!

loved the interview!

Loved reading your interview.

And now after reading your post I feel a little bad about not liking Sandra Lee. [I'm a sucker for a difficult childhood story.] I'll try not to roll my eyes next time I see how her outfit matches her kitchen. =)

I watched Nigella's the other night and Tuesday morning when I got to work (at the library) I snagged all of her books :) I'd forgotten how much I love her.

Sometimes I just want to stay in my cushy bed for days, simply watching all of the biography shows... tip-toeing out only for food and water. I am totally on board with what you are saying!Completely!!!Love it! Oh, the softie awards.. ooo's and Aaaa's are all I can say. What wonderfully creative talented people! WOW! Vanessa

I stayed up late last night watching the bio on Sandra and it gave me a new, kinder view of her. If you get another opportunity to watch the first half of that show, I'd encourage you to do it. She had quite a lot to deal with as a kid and it's remarkable how she rose to the challenge....Thanks for all the links and I look forward to reading the interview you had...You're such a smart thinker and observer. It's always a joy reading your posts!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com