Food Network personality Sandra Lee, queen of semi-homemade recipes and ornately revolting cocktails, is trending right now, largely owing to a hilariously snippy interview that ran in last Sunday's New York Times. Well, OK, she's also in the media cloud right now because she's dating the governor of New York (and possible 2016 presidential candidate), Andrew Cuomo, and she has some sort of new line of homestuffs coming out at Kmart. It's all well and good, since Lee is a kooky and entertaining character, but one thing about it all has us worried. Namely, she's starting to get a little serious.
Lee is mostly fun because she seems, on her Food Network shows and specials at least, more than a little off her rocker. She had a hardscrabble upbringing that now manifests itself as a "who cares, I'm doing what makes me happy" attitude; she's unabashedly campy and tacky because that's what she likes. She's basically the home cooking version of Dolly Parton. Look no further than Lee's amazingly crazy Halloween specials — in which she dresses up in a variety of costumes and does weird voices and makes adult beverages from the most heinous of ingredients (cream, not milk, actual cream is used in one of them) — to see what a nutty delight she can be. She's chintzy and a little cheap, but that's what's great about her!
Which is why this new version of Sandra, the "first girlfriend" Sandra, is a little distressing. The Daily Mail seems to think that she's prepping herself to possibly become the first girlfriend (or likely wife by that point) of the entire nation, dressing in more modest designer gowns at events and ditching the whole semi-homemade philosophy (70% store bought, 30% kitchen made). No! We like her old clothes and her old food. Well, ha, OK, "like" is a funny word. Let's say we appreciate her old clothes and her old food. They were what made Sandra Lee Sandra Lee. It's understandable that she'd want to class up her act a bit now that she's a rising politician's main squeeze, but we do hope she doesn't lose too much of her old self in the process.
We're worried about Sandra Lee, is what we're saying. Obviously she's free to do whatever the heck she wants, but if she's going all high-end (well, Kmart high-end, anyway) who will make us our delicious lemonade, cream, and vodka cocktails?? Who will design "tablescapes" that look like a Lillian Vernon came to life and exploded? She serves a very important function in American lifestyle infotainment, one that would be hard recreate with anyone else. So please don't leave us, Sandra. Put on the fancy dresses and glad hand with the muckety-mucks when you need to be at Cuomo's side, but please also take some time to do you. Do you, Sandra. Just do you.