Ree Drummond, the copper-haired blogger who resides on a quaint parcel of 433,000 acres in Pawhuska, Oklahoma makes creating yummy, down-home prairie food look so easy. Whether she’s making her world-famous cinnamon rolls to give as gifts to her mailman, hosting game day feasts, or whipping up a chicken-fried steak, it all looks effortless to this little wife on the prairie.
Not only does she cook up a storm, but she is also the author of a pile of books, the host of her own wildly successful cooking show, a homeschooling mother of four, and even has her own line of kitchen tools, cookware, and home goods. She basically does everything, all while looking totes adorbs in affluent nouveau-hippie tunics and dangly earrings and bearing what must be the extreme hardships of being married to an actual real-life hunky cowboy. Sucks to be her, right?
But as much as we all love her, and as much as a lot of us (make that all of us) would love to be her, not everything she does is perfect. As a matter of fact, here are a few of the lies the Pioneer Woman has made us believe about cooking.
That you need an actual recipe to make egg-in-a-hole
To be fair, this particular non-recipe for an egg fried in the center of a piece of toast is classified as "easy," which it definitely is. And it’s also the type of recipe that anyone who owns a frying pan would know how to make just by looking at it. It’s almost as insulting as a recipe for ice cubes or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or cinnamon toast, which, for some reason, the Pioneer Woman also has. The difference is, people rave about her cinnamon toast method where this humble egg-in-a-hole gets comments like, "This is called toad in the hole and is not in any way an innovative recipe. Why would you put this on your website or even waste camera time on it?" and, "Meh…I made this in Girl Scouts when I was in 5th grade. She gets a cooking show with recipes such as this?"
Even though it’s not very innovative or something you need an actual recipe for (we are told to salt and pepper the egg — like, really?), a lot of readers were charmed by the nostalgia aspect of this dish and reminded of nomming on these for breakfast as children, or reminisced about how their grandma whipped these up for Sunday breakfast when they arrived home famished after church. But it’s still not something that deserves cookbook or Food Network space. Save that for those yummy cinnamon rolls, and give your fans just a little more credit.
That you should use an entire cup of olive oil to make salad dressing
The Pioneer Woman’s marinated tomato salad recipe is enough to make anyone feel greasy because it calls for — wait for it — an entire cup of olive oil to be poured over just six to eight tomatoes, a few green onions, and some herbs. It’s just too much, especially considering the recipe is only meant to serve six people.
Sure, olive oil is actually pretty healthy for you, but reviewers were quick to criticize the massive amount of it used. "Those poor tomatoes swimming in an oil-bath. If you have to use a slotted spoon to dip them out of the dressing, that’s kind of ridiculous," one review said. Another lamented, "Too much oil, I make a version of this recipe all the time in the summer and use way less oil."
When you’re using simple, fresh, seasonal ingredients, you can definitely use a recipe as a rough guideline for your own personal taste and, um, oil preferences. It may be a better idea to start off with 1/4 cup and go from there. The added bonus is that if you’re tasting as you go along you end up getting more of this yummy salad than your family members or dinner guests get to eat. That’s what they get for not helping you out in the kitchen, anyway.
That you should add a mess of extra junk to mashed potatoes
Sure, everyone raves about the Pioneer Woman’s method of making mashed potatoes, and half-and-half plus more than a pound of cream cheese and butter are almost guaranteed to make anything more yummy (except, you know, vodka tonics). Sometimes Drummond even adds Lawry’s Seasoned Salt to her mashed potatoes, for some inexplicable reason.
Food Network readers seem to be very into these decadent additions, saying things, like, "Oh my god! The best mashed potatoes I ever ate in my life! I will keep preciously this recipe and will never use any other ones for mashed potatoes. Not only it’s amazing when it’s freshly cooked, but the next day it’s just as good! Which wasn’t the case with any other recipe I made before," and, "I love mashed potatoes, and I had yet to taste some as incredibly tasty as these. I mean d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. Throw away every recipe of mashed potatoes you have — this is the only one you’ll need and want. Don’t change a thing with the recipe; it’s perfect the way it is. Perfect."
But part of the beauty of mashed potatoes is their simplicity. All you really need is russet potatoes, butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Mashed potatoes don’t need anything extra — and they certainly don’t need Lawry’s Seasoned Salt — because that’s what gravy and extra butter and even extra extra butter is for.
That cooking with her non-stick cookware isn’t going to be sticky
As beautiful as these vintage speckle pots and pans from Walmart are, it seems as though the Pioneer Woman might be selling a set of non-stick lies.
The reviews for the pans are decidedly less than stellar. One angry customer complains, "These are HORRIBLE!! Got them as a birthday gift, had them less than 3 months when the bottom started flaking off and getting in the food. Food would stick no matter what. Threw them in the trash." Another reviewer says, "So bummed. This was the very first time using my Pioneer Woman set. I made eggs in this pan and even used cooking spray, but even eggs stuck to the pan. I handwashed the pan with Dawn and it still looks like this. The bottom turned colors also. I’m so upset that it literally lasted one use and it is all discolored." And there’s more where that came from, with yet another unhappy customer saying, "I’m disgusted with the Pioneer Woman’s Red Speckled Cookware that I purchased over a year ago at Walmart. I cook on as low a heat temp. as possible and about 6 months ago the cookware stopped it’s ‘non-stick’ abilities."
With 91 one-star reviews and 32 2-star reviews (as of June 2019), it seems like you might be getting yourself into a sticky situation with these Pioneer Woman wares.
That her 7-can soup recipe makes any sense at all
A 7-can soup recipe (which consists of exactly what it sounds like — seven cans and little else) is probably an excellent way to clean out your pantry. It’s also an excellent way to punish whoever in your household purchased far too many cans of black beans and tomato paste that need to be used up before they expire. There’s a lot to be said for being thrifty and minimizing food waste but this recipe sounds like it could turn into a big ol’ bowl of unhappy. That’s because the Pioneer Woman states in her recipe that you can use "7 cans of whatever you want. Don’t drain the cans. Just violently throw them into the pot."
Okay then, what if you have a couples cans of tuna, and a couple cans of pinto beans, and a couple cans of mushrooms, and a can of frosting? That doesn’t sound very delicious, especially considering that after gently heating the ingredients on the stove you are supposed to throw in a hunk of Velveeta.
There are many ways you can make soup. There are many ways to use canned goods. This seems like a good way to combine both to make something truly unappetizing that will make you put down the ladle and call your pizza delivery place right quick.
That you can use her measuring cups that don’t measure up
In addition to cookware, the Pioneer Woman also has measuring cups in her kitchenware line for Walmart. Despite the fact that they’re pretty adorable with the floral print and countrified charm, some of the reviews on these are not so great, either. It’s not too much to ask the Pioneer Woman that her measuring cups actually… measure, is it?
One dissatisfied customer, who even provided photographic proof of how inaccurate the measuring cups were, wrote, "The measurement markings are way off, over 1/4 cup. Also the pour spout is defective; unless you turn it almost all the way over, the liquid just runs down the side of the pitcher." Another reviewer noted, "I can’t express how excited I was to receive these… They are gorgeous in person, but I bought them to USE. Unfortunately, the measuring lines are VERY crooked — defeating the purpose of measuring cups! Again, they are lovely, but not very functional."
Thank goodness you won’t be needing these to make that 7-can soup recipe.
That bananas are anything other than delicious
At around 100 calories with all sorts of vitamins and nutrients, bananas are a pretty wonderful fruit — unless you’re the Pioneer Woman, who took to her blog to express her dislike. "…I abhor, loathe, and hate bananas. Bananas — the flavor, the scent, the texture — make me recoil in pain and fear and if they disappeared from the earth forever, I wouldn’t mourn their passing." Don’t hold back Pioneer Woman, tell us how you really feel.
Bananas seem like a pretty innocuous food to have an aversion to, especially when there are truly icky things in the world like calamari (which cannot be made into a yummy breakfast bread), foie gras (which cannot be made into a foie gras split with hot fudge and whipped cream), and Good and Plenty candy, which is just plain repulsive (and also cannot be made into bread or a milkshake, either.)
Bananas are great. Ask any infant or monkey — they don’t lie.
That there’s a difference between man food and lady food
The Pioneer Woman has separate sections on her blog for Cowboy Food and Cowgirl Food. Cowboys eat short rib sandwiches and chicken-fried steak and big fat bacon sliders, while cowgirls eat quinoa and zucchini noodles. Sure, the argument can be made that people who work on a ranch need filling, stick-to-your-rib meals that can keep them working on russlin’ up them cattle from sun-up to sundown, but what if it’s a lady doing the russlin’? Can’t she have cowboy nachos instead of killer kale salad?
This isn’t the only time the Pioneer Woman’s somewhat sexist views on man food and lady food have reared their problematic head. In her recipe for olive cheese bread, she writes "I officially christen this ‘Chick Food’ because a) Marlboro Man wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot cattle prod b) There is no meat in it. Anywhere. and c) It’s a great accompaniment for a nice green salad, and makes a great meal. For chicks. Men don’t get the whole salad-as-a-meal thing, at least not the men I see on a daily basis."
How about we don’t let our babies grow up to be cowboys who are afraid of salad?
That you should drink a glass of (basically) sugar
There are so many delicious beverages in the world. A cold beer on a hot summer day! Hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows! Fresh, hot coffee! Fresh hot coffee with Bailey’s! Sangria! Mojitos! Diet Coke that you get from a gas station fountain dispenser in a styrofoam cup and not a plastic cup even though styrofoam is horrible for the environment, with crushed ice and not ice cubes unless they are those big round ice cubes! Aperol Spritzes! A cold beer on a cold winter day!
All these beverages are truly wonderful, so it’s unfathomable what prompted the Pioneer Woman to make her cherry limeade, an unholy concoction consisting of a two-liter bottle of lemon-lime soda, a cup of lime juice, a jar (yes, an entire jar, liquid included) of maraschino cherries, and, because this just wasn’t sweet enough yet, an entire cup of sugar. There isn’t even a shot of booze in this sickeningly sweet cavity-making cocktail. There’s no telling who this drink is for. If it’s for adults, they are going to ask where the vodka is. If it’s for children, they’re going to get so hyped up on sugar that you won’t be able to get them to sleep for weeks. Maybe this is what you serve with that 7-can-soup to make someone very sad.
That a loaf of bread needs two sticks of butter to taste good
Butter is the best. Everyone can agree on this. Let’s just all take a moment to reflect on the creamy, salty, melt-in-your-mouth lusciousness of butter. Butter makes almost everything better (except 7-can soup and vodka tonics), and there are very few instances where you can say less butter is better than more butter. But the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for "The Bread" is one of those instances.
"Split a loaf of French bread in half, then spread one stick of room-temperature butter all over the surface. That’s one stick per half loaf. Yes, you read that right. The idea here is that every speck of the surface of the bread needs to be coated," Drummond advised. And this is one of those egg-in-a-hole recipes that can barely be called a recipe, because it’s just a loaf of bread and way too much butter. And then it’s broiled to the point of looking more burnt than toasted. This is basically a recipe that was invented when the Pioneer Woman was too busy heating up her 7-can soup and forgot to take the bread out of the oven, but regardless, it still doesn’t need two whole sticks of butter.
That you should ever put this secret ingredient on your eggs
There are many things that taste delicious on eggs. Chives? Sure! Cheese? Absolutely! Bacon? You best believe it! Ketchup? Of course — you can eat like a toddler if you want to! Some extra syrup that slid on over from your pancake and infiltrated your egg space on your breakfast platter from your favorite 24-hour diner? Why not? You’re drunk anyway! But one thing that never, ever belongs on eggs is mustard, and clearly no one told the Pioneer Woman that because she gone done did it.
According to Eat This, Not That!, "Ree starts off by scrambling eggs (straight from her farm, we’re guessing) with butter, half-and-half, a dash of hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Then, she spreads dijon mustard on a slice of rye toast and tops it with the rich egg scramble." No she doesn’t! How could she? But oh yes, she does, because Ree Ree is obviously trolling us and the world is suddenly a bag of garbage. Hot dogs all over the country are crying out, "Get your filthy hands off MY condiment, Pioneer Woman!" And yes, mustard can be wonderful in many things, like potato salad, which also contains eggs, but it has celery and mayonnaise and potatoes to counteract the mustard until it’s doing a tantalizing delicate dance of flavors, and… oh, whatever, this is just not how we do things, Ree!
That it takes anyone other than a kindergartner to make a good PB&J
The Pioneer Woman, bestselling author of numerous cookbooks and TV host and multi-bazillionaire, wants you to put peanut butter and jelly on an English muffin and then toss some streusel topping on it and feel good about it. PB&J is just fine as it is — it needs no modifications, and it especially does not need any fancifications.
The best part of this ridiculous "recipe" is the comment section because even some of her fans aren’t buying it. One commenter says, "Gotta love a simple recipe!" which is obviously code for, "Bless your heart," and we all know what that means (spoiler alert… it’s not a compliment). Another commenter gushes, "Wow its so simple recipe i will try this [sic]," which is code for "I will make my dog cook this for me, it’s that easy."
The streusel part of this "recipe" would possibly take you about three minutes, and also you have to take the extra-complicated step of pre-heating your oven, so it’s obviously super-complicated and time-invasive. Best take the rest of the afternoon off so you can make these and then eat them all on the sofa while wondering what else to do with the 23.9 hours left in your day. Or, you know, have your kindergartner make them for you.