Hitchens/Dembski Debate – Pioneer Woman/Bobby Flay Throwdown

November 18th, 2010

For anyone with time on their hands this morning, Christopher Hitchens author of God is Not Great will be debating William Dembski – a researcher for the Discovery Institute at a private Christian high-school in Texas. I wish I could see it, but hopefully it will be stashed on the internet somewhere. The debate starts at 8:30 am. You can find it here.

In other news…

I was unable to watch the Pioneer Woman/Bobby Flay Throwdown last night. I hope to catch it later as there is nothing I love better than to watch Ree Drummond spin that city girl/ranch wife story into gold. Your comments are probably better than actually being there so don’t hesitate to spoil it for me! Feel free to dish.


  • I won’t even go on her site so there’s no way I was going to watch her on television. I’ll wait for the Pie Near Woman version produced, directed and written by the brilliant Rechelle thankyouverymuch.

  • I flipped back & forth from Criminal Minds to Throw Down…PW’s portion of TD seemed very scripted & PW looked very uncomfortable & stiff in front of the camera. If her (& the Food Network’s) thought is to have her own cooking show, IMO, it bombed.

  • I have not seen it either. I wonder if PW put calf nuts in the stuffin’?

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Sadly, I had not removed her from my Twitter feed, and checked into Twitter last night towards the end of the Throwdown. My computer screen was covered with almost a minute-by-minute PW play-by-play while she watched theThrowdown. I about barfed (and now she’s removed.) Andy Richter and AlmightyGod are MUCH more entertaining on Twitter.

    Missed the beginning, but watching the Hitchins/Dembski debate…

    • Jill:

      I had to check it out. OMG, she is so full of herself. It is amazing. I do not know why I care so much, except that she is everything I would like women today to NOT be and she has such a huge following.

      • Bridget:

        I understand what you saying Jill. Its not that you don’t want women to have a successful business, but more so she encourages the stereotypical 1905′s female roles that a majority of conservatives claim is the rightful place for women. America, after all, is having problems because our society as strayed from a traditional way of life. Yeah right. In her world men do the work, fight the fires, wrangle the cattle and women stay in the kitchen, do the laundry, find joy in running a household and to hell with trying to find challenges outside of the home or what she may want.

        When you really start to examine the content of her website versus who she truly is, reading the website becomes intolerable because you realize that she is full of bullshit and most her posts then read as fake, phony and pretentious. I would rather that PEOPLE be less like her that people ask more of themselves than just doing whatever it takes to make the money, doing whatever it takes to sell shit to people. I would like someone that has such a huge following to actually offer something of substance in return.

        • Jill:

          Thank you for your very articulate response. That is exactly what I am saying. With such a large following and all of that money that she spends on expensive prizes to give away, it seems that she could provide a more substantial influence. I listened to her stupid Macy’s video about giving to the community and she said she doesn’t have time but bakes an extra lasagna to give to someone in the community. REALLY, REALLY?
          She is just so narcissistic and vapid; it really infuriates me that she is becoming a role model…

        • sara:

          I totally disagree. I think that she is a woman who is pretty content with her country, homeschool life. Its taken a turn she never dreamed. Whats wrong with domestic bliss?

  • Debbie:

    I can only begin to imagine just how pissed she was thinking she was shooting a pilot for Food Network and then ended up in a throwdown.

    • Karen:

      I thought the premise was she was challenging Bobby Flay, as she put it, “Not one of your throwdowns has been in my state” or something like that. I hope to God she doesn’t get a show on the Food Network. However will she have time to homeschool, eat butter by the stick, and dress up her Bassett Hound?

  • Suzanna:

    So she is making money, get over it already! Just seems to me that far too much time and pettiness wasted on this topic! Or maybe its just cloudy and damp and I am cranky! : )

  • Amelia:

    When I don’t like someone, I typically just don’t bother mentioning them. Funny to me that you seem to refer to Ree to attract readers to your blog. Pathetic. Jealous much??

    • jrsbebco:

      Yes, I think it reads just that ~ jealous ~ please stop wasting so much time on all this and go focus some positive energy in your lives! In the scope of life, it just doesn’t matter (or ask yourselves why it matters to you) ……you’re depriving you and your families ~ yes, all of you haters ~ of the better parts of life. Life is just too short.

      • Rechelle:

        jrsbebco. I think your comment qualifies you as a hater too. Welcome aboard!

        • M C:

          You respond to any comment like this the same way every time. By your own admission you are a miserable, jealous, and petty bitch and you’re happy about it?? I’m sorry, but I find that hard to believe. I have to ask–do you let your kids read your blog?

          • M C:

            Never mind, don’t answer that. I’m sure you’ll respond “Of course I’m a miserable bitch and I’m proud of it! *Insert some snarky comment about being some paradox of an awesome/bad mother* You’re an idiot because you don’t agree with my illogical hate of a woman I met once”

    • Betsy:

      Amelia: I so completely agree – Rechelle is always referring to something Ree did or didn’t do. Jealous is exactly correct.

      • Kay in KCMO:

        Here’s the remedy for you and others (read very carefully): STOP READING RECHELLE’S BLOG! Jesus H. Christ on a hockey stick! Really, it’s as simple as that. Shit!

        • Betsy:

          Jesus H. Christ on a hockey stick? Is that supposed to mean something? Maybe its southern for?

  • Pam:

    I watched. It was a change from the usual Throwdown setup wherein Bobby surprises the challengee. This one was set up with Ree challenging Bobby to a dinner throwdown at her house. I thought it was fine. A little long – it could have been done in the normal 1/2 hour. Her camera presence was better than some of the “Next Food Network Stars” I have seen…not great, not bad. The only thing I got a new take on was how very big her lodge is and how very big their piece of land is. Largest cattle ranch in OK, something like that.
    I have no vitriol towards her nor do I find her to be full of herself. If people are willing to buy her book or watch her on tv or read her blog, than more power to her. “She is everything I would like women today to NOT be” says an above commenter. You mean someone running a small empire from the comfort of her home while she raises her children? Yeah, shame on her.
    Love your blog, Rechelle. I can laugh at Pie Near Woman and still enjoy her blog. It’s all good.

    • judy:

      I agree. As you say, “Running a small empire from the comfort of home…” sounds great to me. Not particularly a fan, or not a fan, but am looking forward to seeing the show, I think it replays Saturday evening.

  • I have to admit I was scrolling through what was on Food Network and DVR’d the throwdown. I attempted to watch it this morning.

    She is not a very attractive woman and that voice was like finger nails on a chalkboard. So I was unable to finish it.

    And here I thought I could watch anything with Bobby Flay in it. Alas PW ruined that for me too.

  • Jenny:

    I just watched it and thought it was a weird episode. Ree definitely had some awkward moments, but I won’t be surprised if she ends up with her own Food Network show. No burnt toast on her Thanksgiving menu, no tutorial on how to chop an onion, not a single remark about her husband’s ass or Cuisinart giveaway–count me shocked!

    Random thoughts: she has pretty hair, her daughter (interviewed about Bobby’s dessert) is cute, Ree’s voice and habit of breaking into a bad country accent for humor were annoying. At one point she smeared butter all over a turkey and could not have been a greater epitome of Pie Near Woman if she’d tried.

    There was the usual “I was a city girl who moved to the country, saw him across a smoky bar, blah blah” speech. If/when she does get a show, I wonder if she will ever move past that and have different stuff to say about herself or if it will be a continual litany of the same old, same old. I cackle that she paints herself as having been a gourmet cook of ethnic foods when she lived in L.A. since as far as I can tell that translates to “sometimes I cook noodles.”

  • Barb:


    Pretty much seconding what Jenny above me said. The show definitely felt scripted and a little awkward sometimes. I was NOT surprised when she won the throwdown. I was fully expecting that since it’s clear they are gearing her up for her own show. I started to suspect that way back when when she was redoing the lodge and that kitchen was incredibly massive. I thought then it was being set up with cameras and lighting equipment in mind. I also suspect they had her get some botox. Not that i couldn’t use a little myself, just an observation. Ladd didn’t look thrilled to have all that going on, but then again, maybe that’s just his personality.

  • Sharon:

    My high def tv really showed how much she photo shops herself. I acutally thought her sister in law Missy (?) was way more attratcive on tv than in the photos on the site.

    • Barb:

      Agreed, Sharon. The lighting was definitely harsher than anything we see on the blog. Missy is a cutie.

  • Karen:

    I really thought Bobby’s menu was more inspired and delicious looking. PW’s menu was just turkey and carbs. Seriously. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and pecan pie (which is to barf for dessert on Thanksgiving. Give me pumpkin or chocolate). It was so monochromatic and dull. And everybody kept swooning over the damn mashed potatoes–folks, mashed potatoes are so easy my kid could make them. And of course they’re going to taste good if you dump butter AND cream AND cream cheese in them. They’re…potatoes.

    While Bobby went with a brussels sprout dish that looked so good I want to make it for my Thanksgiving. With pomegranate seeds and molasses and vanilla…just beautiful. And his turkey looked better.

    My husband suffered through it with me (he dislikes Bobby Flay, but he was in the end rooting for Flay, because he found PW infinitely more annoying–ha!) and when he saw the brine, he said, “So she’s soaking the turkey in…salt water? Please don’t do that to our turkey.” When he saw how Bobby did his turkey he said, “Now THAT’S how you treat a turkey.”

    I never thought anybody could make me root for Bobby Flay, but PW is so annoying she managed it. I just loved how she dug into a whole pecan pie with a fork and said, “Here in Oklahoma we don’t need no plates!” Or something dumb like that.

  • Bridget:

    I am just surprised that anyone actually still watches the Food Network. The Food Network is to cooking as Cool Whip is to food. Basically the majority of the shows are just crap, but that makes sense with the current climate of our society. Whatever is the easiest that is what people like and want. Even talented chefs like Bobby Flay, Mario Batli, Emeril and even Ida Gardner have had to dumb down their cooking to fit in with the Food Channel. Bobby Flay isn’t even allowed to cook anymore and it stuck doing these challenges where most of the time he loses against a much less talented chef (the common, every man chef).

    @Karen: As much as it pains me to side with the Pie Near Woman- brined turkey (turkey/salt water) is extremely delicious and a turkey made that way is so tender and moist. If you do it right, you will never want to have turkey cooked in any other way. It is actually an older style of preparation that has made a come back.

    • Karen:


      There’s a seriously large part of me that would love to brine a turkey. It’s just my husband who, when he saw that huge amount of salt, freaked out. He doesn’t like a lot of salt. I thought it was kind of dumb that PW didn’t mention that the brining takes place the day BEFORE you roast the turkey. Am I right? She made it look like she was brining it and then popping it out and into the oven right away.

      I felt sorry for Hyacinth and Missy…they didn’t get much to say, Missy just stood there most of the time and Hyacinth got to be a little flirty with Bobby, but they came off as annoyiing. Especially when she told Bobby she nearly threw out his pomegranate Molasses. That’s good sportsmanship right there!

      • Bridget:

        Surprisingly the salt doesn’t really effect the turkey, it doesn’t make the turkey taste liked it soaked in salt water. From my limited understanding it doesn’t really go into the turkey, but more so it forces water to enter into the turkey. I totally understand your husband’s reaction and it could potentially be a huge, salty disaster to brine a large turkey especially on Thanksgiving. So if you want to try it maybe you can do it with a chicken or a small turkey at another time. I would encourage trying it. I also really like food and trying new recipes out, so it isn’t like going through life without trying brined turkey would be the end of the world:)

        • Kay in KCMO:

          I brine for four hours the night before and rinse, rinse, rinse the turkey. Think you’ve rinsed enough? Oh, no you haven’t. Then pat dry. Be a fanatic about it. Then put the turkey on a cooling rack which is on a baking sheet and put it in the fridge over night uncovered. There’s a bunch of stuff the next day, but the process I use (from Cook’s Illustrated) results in white meat that’s so moist it practically falls off the bone. And the resulting gravy is c’est magnifique! I’ve been doing this every year for 7-8 years and the result is always a beautiful, flavorful bird. The whole process is a bit of effort but so worth it.

          • Jenny:

            I started brining my Thanksgiving turkey a few years ago and everyone loved it so much I’ve done it every year since then. I use Alton Brown’s recipe for brine & it’s never the slightest bit salty. The meat is so juicy and delicious it’ll make you cry. You can make half as much gravy as you usually do because people will only want it for their potatoes, as the turkey doesn’t need anything to make it moist & yummy.

            BTW, I do recall seeing a post on PW’s blog about how to get rid of the saltiness caused by brining. I don’t know what method she uses that makes her turkey salty, but if you do it right it’s not a problem. Hers must be really, really salty for it to bother her because having tried a few of her recipes before vowing to never waste my ingredients on her shit again, I can tell you her “Best Lasagna Ever” is so salty people were wiping their tongues off with napkins after tasting it and her steak “seasoning” is seasoned salt, salt, and salty lemon pepper which requires you to scrape off the seasoning crust & wash your steak before it’s remotely edible.

    • Celeste:

      Bridget – 1st Paragraph — you ought to take over Food Network. You are dead right on how it is no longer about Food, but just another program with food as an after-thought. Bottom line, most people don’t want to really cook; they want to EAT, but not cook — our nation has become the audience of “Running Man”……TV is crap. But…innovation in America is dead anyway. We’ve come a long way, Baby.

  • Barb:

    Is Bobby’s Brussel sprout recipe listed on the Food Channel website? I’d love to try that.

  • Watched the debate. Hitchens smoked him. God, if I could get that kind of gumption with Stage 3 cancer I would be Superman. Then again, I think Hitchens just needs a cape. Worse yet, Dembski READ his remarks for the most part, and fumbled through anything that was spontaneous. Hitchens ended with challenging the student body at PWA to THINK for themselves. Wonder if the enrollment will drop come September…..EFH

    • Rechelle:

      Dang it! Can’t watch it til Monday. Arrrrrrgh! Glad to hear that Hitchens is soldiering on.

      • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

        I watched the last 2 hours. Hitchens was impressive – really knows his stuff. And Expat is right – Dembski just read. At the end Hitchens was prefering to have an audience question, but Dembski wanted to read his closing argument.
        Dembski also focused a lot on trying to undermine Darwin – whatever. Even if Darwin didn’t explain everything, doesn’t mean Dembski’s views are right.

  • I thought she was couragoeus and a beautiful of an 2000′s entrepreneurial woman. She was AWESOME! Hello making her own fortune and she married into a wealthy family? How stupid is that? She is an inspiration!

  • Rechelle:

    Courageous? I’m not seeing it Ruth.

  • Kathy:

    I enjoyed the show a lot. She seemed like a good hostess. Not fake at all. In fact, I think I will watch it again!!

  • Sue:

    I agree that Ree’s voice was very hard to listen to. I also think the camera wasn’t very flattering – it added 10-15 lbs. and her face looked more worn than the pictures she posts of herself.

    Did I hear her correctly when she said to mash the potatoes for 10 minutes? Don’t they turn out like glue when beat so long? Or maybe I’m not adding as much saturated fat to them…

    I thought Bobby’s dessert looked scrumptious. I was disappointed he didn’t win.

  • We read a lot of SWB’s stuff when homeschooling. It kind of reminds me of the Reformed teachings, in that it is a way to be super conservative while being, or thinking you are, intellectual at the same time. I think it involves a lot of compartmentalization, trying to live in both worlds that way.

    The thing I remember about her stuff, and I never sorted out if it was her or her followers, that there was a smugness about her teaching methods being the ‘right’ way, as opposed to just a good way, or whatever. “Teaching the Classics,” as though one should teach that way, as though everything that Susan grew up with and excelled with would make your children excel in the same way. It seemed very elitist, in a Christian homeschooling sort of way. Oh well, we are done with homeschooling, at least for the time being.

  • I commented on the wrong post, sorry, I’ll copy it to the other one!

  • Melissa:

    I agree with Bridget, I live in a very small town in west Texas and a few weeks ago we got the Food Channel. I was so excited, but now I am over it. Rechelle, I am on season three of House of Eliot and really, isn’t THAT the way women entrepreneurs should behave? I am immersed in that series and I thank you for suggestion. As to Pie-well bless her heart she is a parody of herself but I prefer your parody of herself!

  • Wallace:
  • Linda Joan:

    Bobby Flay must be a really stupid man – all of the producers too – to have Ree Drummond on his show! Who knew!?

  • Rachel:

    I can’t stomach the Food Network. I think it’s a disservice to actual food lovers. Add Ree to that, and HELL NO.

  • Rechelle,

    Thanks for pointing this one out. Two points:

    1) Apparently the webcast of this debate will appear online at the link you provided above on Nov 22.

    2) This fine gentleman live-blogged the debate and did a pretty darn good job of it too. http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/2010/11/live-blogging-hitchensdembski-debate.html



    • Rechelle:

      Thanks for the link. I read through it. Looking forward to watching it.

  • Mo:

    It’s coming on again tonight (11/20 at 7 pm Eastern Time) and I plan to watch. Mainly I’m interested in hearing her voice due to the comments of others above — I don’t use speakers on my computer at work and never bothered with any of her clips at home. We shall see if there’s enough to hold my interest for a whole hour.

    Also, I’m curious if she and her family really eat all that heavy food on a regular basis, or are the recipes she makes reserved for “special meals” (holidays, parties, lodge guests) and otherwise usually they eat pretty lean? Aside from being for the sake of hits for her website and cookbook. I know they are all pretty physically active and red meat is a staple on a cattle ranch, but come on. Maybe I am jealous that I can’t use cream and butter every other day, but I have a hard enough time maintaining my weight as it is, plus I actully visualize the fattyfat fatcells cementing thier fatty selves onto my arteries and ass region if I overdo it. More power to them if they don’t have such concerns.

    • Rechelle:

      Quite honestly – I think that the only time Ree cooks is when she is making a recipe for the blog. The rest of the time those people are eating pizza, cereal and sandwiches just like the rest of us.

      • Mo:

        Oh hello there! And I guess the family must know by now the if the camera is out then the prettiest piece of chicken is for the money shot and it will be a little cold by the time they get to eat it.

      • Sharon:

        I wondered about that.