(Note: This was originally posted a few months ago, but for some reason it reverted to the Draft copy. All the comments disappeared too! Disappointing. I hope I didn't anger anyone's lawyers!)
I am soooo conflicted about this Hungry Girl character who recently invaded my beloved Cooking Channel. I do appreciate how she tries to maximize portion sizes (and thus, satisfaction) by bulking them up with fruits and veggies, but that goodwill is so quickly lost when she reaches for box of something powdered and awful. Her recipes are usually quite simple; only a handful of ingredients so that's not really where her creativity comes in. Her shtick seems to be in her, "swaps," where she takes something great (like kale or squash) and bastardizes it into something it's really really not (like 'potato chips' or 'french fries.') Why can't kale just be kale, I'm wondering? Do we have to trick ourselves with food in order to be satisfied? That's what Hungry Girl is trying to tell us.
For some reason, the whole show has a vibe of, "Welcome to my personal hell." Lisa Lillien is obsessed with food and calorie counting, and wants you to be, too. She wants you to know that zero calorie non-stick spray should be used sparingly, because if you spray too long, there will be calories. And that you can make "macaroni and cheese" with frozen cheesy broccoli, whole wheat spirals, and several 35 calorie wedges of Laughing Cow cheese. That...is an abomination.
One recipe called for canned pumpkin and she put on a very serious face, saying, "Now, don't get the preseasoned pumpkin pie filling, because that would be a disaster. Sure, it would taste good, but..." That makes me think that, should the pure canned pumpkin have been disastrously replaced by pumpkin pie filling, Lisa Lillien would spend a good hour crying about it. "A disaster?" Come on. Counterproductive to her cause, maybe? A bad mistake that leads to an extra six hours on the treadmill on the 'San Fransisco' setting tomorrow? I would assume so. But it's not a disaster.
And don't think that the Hungry Girl stays slim simply by taking out all the, "stuff you don't need," (like nuts and raisins, as she reiterated several times during a granola recipe. Nuts and raisins.) because she also belongs to Weight Watchers, according to this article from 2010. Also in that article she claims to live in the middle of the supermarket, which we all know is where the most packaging and preservatives live as well. Iiiiieeeeeejustdunno.
It just seems like this woman is a junk food junkie who is also dominated by body image issues. From the telltale puffy cheeks - which betray a history of anorexia - to the bizarre lusting over things she won't actually eat. In a recent episode, the line, "I could read diner menus all day long," oozed out of her mouth like the honey she replaces with, "sugar-free maple syrup." Ugh. Before going to commercial break, she'll ask you a fun little question, like, "What food do you dream about the most?" Are you kidding me lady? Have a freaking french fry. I enjoy a bit of food lust as much as the next woman, but I'll indulge every one in a while.
OK, always. But, what do I know? In my world, kale can just be kale.