My original intent in writing this post was not to be mean-spirited or to express jealousy that I'm not a millionaire fending off cookbook contracts and endorsements. I was feeling disillusioned by what I felt was an unrealistic presentation of la vie en rose showcased by Ms. Drummond's public persona. I stated my decision to move on to other blogs that had more relevance to my life. I did not resort to a single name-calling incident or slander, and allowed all comments to be posted, regardless of their point of view or tone. I even permitted posts that were nasty to me personally... and that was hard.
This post has run its course and is nearly a year old. Read on if you wish but no further comments will be allowed on this post, nor will any comments - positive or negative - about The Pioneer Woman be permitted on my blog.
My blog, my rules.
-----------------------------------------------------------If you're a Pioneer Woman (aka Ree Drummond) fan, stop reading now.
Someone told me about you perhaps 2 years ago. I visited your blog, liked it, and signed up for the RSS feed. I looked forward to your posts, as many as 4 or 5 each day. Heck, though I'm childless, I even read the ones about homeschooling out of curiousity.
Last spring, you came to Washington State. I talked a friend into making the hour-plus drive to a bookstore over 50 miles away, where I bought your book sight-unseen, and waited for the chance to meet you and have you sign it. That tattered copy of "The Egg and I"... that was from me. I wanted you to have it because 1) you were in WA and 2) I'd heard that you wanted to raise chickens. I included a note but didn't tell you who I was because I didn't want to come across as an attention-grubbing blogger seeking a mention on your site. I handed the book to your bored mother-in-law because I never got within 30 feet of you. Nancy and I finally gave up after 3 hours when we realized that my ticket letter to queue up was G and you were only on the D tickets. At least I can say my copy of the book was in the same room as you at some point.
During our fruitless, long-ass wait Nancy wondered aloud how you managed to do a book tour, home-school 4 kids, clean not 1 but 2 houses, take all kinds of photos and photoshop them, write a cookbook, develop and photograph recipes, blog 4-5 times per day, stay slender on said recipes, take care of a house full of animals, garden, host dinner parties, and still sleep.
I had recently started blogging around that time. I was working half-time, gardening my wee city lot, raising chickens, and cooking from scratch as you purported to do. Each of my blog posts was taking me about an hour to write, edit, and illustrate with photos. How the heck did you do it?!?
When I got home that night, I read your cookbook cover to cover. Every single recipe - I repeat "Every Single Recipe" - was from your blog. There was no new content, and all the content was available for free online. The format was annoying. I'd spent 5 hours and $40 on the book + gas for naught. You made me feel like a chump, Ree. That hurt my feelings.
That evening was when the shine started to come off the "P-Dub" apple for me. My friend's comments got me thinking about how effortless you made it all seem, and how inadequate it made me seem in comparison. What the hell was I doing wrong that I can't do half of what you do? You don't make me feel very good about myself and that's not good for a relationship.
Last summer you posted a "recipe" for an utter abomination. You call it "The Bread" and speak of it as if it came from Christ Himself. I felt betrayed. Your recipes up to that point had been interesting, though extravagantly rich in calories. This one was not even worthy of cooking class for 12-year-old boy scouts. How is "broil a shitload of butter on bread" a recipe?
But I stayed with you. Your blog has been like bad porn: I can't look and not get tingly at the thought of eating things with cream, buying $120 earrings because I can't find a matching pair, playing Oprah by giving away dozens of KitchenAids, enjoying lavish 5-star hotel stays. I was a voyeuse into another life, another waistline, another tax class, and I liked it.
I had drank the Pioneer Woman KoolAid.
I've made plenty of your recipes, some even on this blog. I adapted your scone and pasta recipes to something that might induce heart murmurs but not a full-blown coronary incident. I've entered your contests, I endured your mind-numbing hotel room tour with the "aw shucks, look at me in the bathroom mirror!" comments, the photos of the $30 candles, and closet-cleaning where you off-loaded expensive designer clothing you bought but couldn't be bothered to wear.
Yeah, I googled what you probably paid for those garments. Hell, I only entered the contests in the hopes of getting one that I could hawk on ebay. "Buy this flowy shirt once owned and pitted out by the one and only Pioneer Woman!" I could have gotten good bucks for that.
I should have known then that I was becoming jaded.
But this... this is inexcusable:
pistachio cake "recipe" you posted this week is not worthy of my affection. You have jumped the shark, Ree, and we can no longer be together. You're just a non-alcoholic version of Sandra Lee to me, a hollowed-out version of your former self.
I'd like to wish you all the best but the reality is that you already have it. I'll cop to being envious of your charmed life but that's not why I broke up with you: I need to see other people. People who get me, like David Lebowitz, Clay and Zach, Toby, Sean & Paul, Deb, and Bridget, to name just a few.
Good luck, Ree. Please don't call me.