Expect the Unexpected

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Archive for the month “June, 2013”

Paula Deen: A recipe for redemption


It’s been a tough week for Paula Deen. After the contents of a sexual harassment legal complaint and her 196-page deposition were made public, she faced intense fallout for using the “n-word” and describing her desire to give her brother a “Southern plantation wedding” complete with black men in white tuxedos.

Seeking damage control she quickly made two weird apology videos which were a bust. Then she appeared on the Today show where she invoked the Popeye Defense, “I is what I is and I’m not changing.”

Paula Deen’s portrayal of herself as a victim didn’t play well. The Food Network quickly announced it was not renewing her contract and immediately pulled her shows. She then lost a number of corporate sponsors: Smithfield Foods, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Caesar Entertainment, Whit-Ash Furnishings, and Novo Nordisk.

Ballantine Books announced it was canceling her latest cookbook. This was a surprise because the publisher was taking advance orders for October and it was selling very well on Amazon.com. QVC has said it is “taking a pause” from Paula for now. Read more…

The Third Man, the musical?

Colin Firth in the Harry Lime role created by Orson Welles? I could see it.

Colin Firth in the Harry Lime role created by Orson Welles? I could see it.

Could a story about a wartime racketeer who steals penicillin, dilutes it, and sells it on the black market injuring innocent children, be the premise of a musical?

That was a recent topic of discussion on a chat board on BroadwayWorld.com.

There’s talk that the classic 1949 film, The Third Man, written by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed, is being made into a musical in Vienna by an Austrian production company, Vereinigte Buehnen Wien (VBW). Read more…

Poetry Friday: Here’s to The Great White Way

Broadway - Bright lights, big city.

Spider-Man is just one of the many offerings that’s still here on Broadway.

There’s something magical about Broadway. The first time you stand in Times Square your jaw drops. Talk about not being in Kansas anymore. Bright lights, big New York City, a place for dreamers and schemers.

On the surface, Broadway is a fun place, a happy place, street after street of lit theater after lit theater, full of life and people, an entertainment paradise.

Behind the scenes the gears are turning. High hopes are sometimes realized and sometimes dashed. It’s not personal, it’s just business. Read more…

Ci vediamo James Gandolfini

Mourners gather outside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine today in New York to pay their respects to the late James Gandolfini. —Getty photo

Mourners gather outside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine today in New York to pay their respects to the late James Gandolfini. —Getty photo

Read more…

The American Baking Competition cooks up a storm

Francine's Peanut Butter Bacon Pie was a surprise hit with judge Paul Hollywood on The American Baking Competition.

Francine’s Peanut Butter Bacon Pie was a surprise hit with judge Paul Hollywood on The American Baking Competition.

american-baking-competitionThere’s a delicious show on CBS these days called The American Baking Competition, a reality show aimed at finding the best amateur baker in the United States.

Move over MasterChef, I think this is the best new cooking show to hit the airwaves.

Pies, cookies, cakes, bread, and über-skillful desserts like croissants, macarons and soufflés are all part of the delicacies the contestants have to make in their baking challenges.

As a home baker myself, I’m hooked on this show. And I almost missed it. After the first episode aired in late May, my sister Carol called. “Did you see the new baking show? It’s so good, you should be on it!” she said.

I hadn’t even heard of it. Read more…

Paula Deen: The Popeye defense


FURTHER UPDATE: 7 p.m., Wal-Mart Stores just announced they are dropping Paula Deen’s products from their stores.

UPDATE: 9:32 a.m. Based on her Today show appearance, it was announced Paula Deen lost another endorsement – from Caesar’s Entertainment.

With her two apology videos going bust, Paula Deen took to the airwaves on the Today show this morning to apologize for her use of the N-word, which she admitted to in a deposition she gave in a court proceeding.

The tears were flowing as PR sound bite after PR sound bite emanated from Paula’s mouth.

“Every creature on this earth was created equal.”

“He who is without sin cast the first stone.”

“If God led us to it, he’ll get us through it.”

“There is something evil out there…”

“If you’ve never committed a sin, pick up a rock and throw it at me as hard as you can.”

And then there was the Popeye defense: “I is what I is and I’m not changing.” Read more…

Recipe Reveal: Instant Strawberry Ice Cream


Frozen strawberries, nonfat dry milk powder, and a little sweetener = Guilt-free Instant Ice Cream.

With strawberry season in full bloom, I was fortunate to visit a local farm recently and pick berries to my heart’s content.

I used some of the berries for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Strawberry Sauce for Lemon Budino. Because they’re so perishable, I put the remaining berries on a baking sheet, froze them individually, and bagged them for future use.

With the weather so hot and muggy, I decided to use some of the frozen berries to make Instant Strawberry Ice Cream. As its name implies, this is a quick recipe. No ice cream maker is required, all the ingredients are just whipped up fast in a food processor and eaten immediately. My favorite version has no added sugar, so it’s a guilt-free pleasure too. Read more…

Mad Men: Don Draper is dead!

Don faces Sally, showing her where he grew up in the season finale of Mad Men.

Don faces Sally as he shows her where he grew up in the season finale of Mad Men.

Don Draper has finally come clean and it took a Hershey bar to make him do it.

The first episode of this season’s Mad Men started with Don reading Dante’s Inferno on the beach. The last episode, titled “In Care Of,” ended with him hitting rock bottom. A great cliffhanger to set up the show’s final season.

At times it was painful to watch as Don plowed through the nine levels of hell — limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. Read more…

Giancarlo Esposito gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

From his humble appearance on Sesame Street with Big Bird to his killer performance as Gus Fring on Breaking Bad, Giancarlo Esposito has built a hige fan base.

From his humble appearance as a kid on Sesame Street to his killer performance on Breaking Bad as crime boss Gus Fring, Giancarlo Esposito is one of the hardest working actors in show business.

Giancarlo Esposito outside my newspaper office. —Bryan Haeffele photo

Giancarlo Esposito outside my office. —Bryan Haeffele photo

Actor Giancarlo Esposito is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!

The announcement was made last week in Hollywood after Jennifer Lopez was presented with the Walk of Fame’s 2,500th star.

Giancarlo Esposito is part of the “Class of  2014,” announced David Green, Chairman of the Walk of Fame selection committee. Other celebrities who will have their stars added next year include Orlando Bloom, Sally Field, Jessica Lange, Matthew McConaughey, Liam Neeson, and posthumously Phil Hartman and Tupac Shakur.

Quite a list, and I’m thrilled for Giancarlo Esposito, who I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing in 2011. Read more…

Paula Deen, a recipe for disaster

paula-deen-apology-squareUPDATE: 10 a.m., Saturday. Food Network has already started pulling Paula Deen’s shows from the air. That was FAST!

It wasn’t a good week for Paula Deen. Stick a fork in her, she’s done. Or is she?

The Food Network, which is currently airing three of her shows, announced it was dropping her after a 14 year run.

I shed no tears for her. She has been coasting on her overdone “aw shucks” Face In the Crowd personality and over the top bad, insult to Southern cooking for a long time.

The announcement came after The National Enquirer, yes that National Enquirer, leaked a court deposition by Deen in which she admitted to using the N-word and wanting to plan a ‘plantation-style wedding’ for her brother with black waiters dressed like slaves. Read the full 149 page transcript when you have an hour or two to kill. She also revealed she has quite a potty mouth, and admitted to referring to an underage waitress as a ‘piece of p***y.’ Read more…

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