Food Network celebrity chef Rachael Ray travels to various destinations and attempts to eat three meals for $40 a day.
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 Host (77 episodes, 2002-2005)
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Food Network celebrity chef Rachael Ray travels to various destinations and attempts to eat three meals for $40 a day.

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24 April 2002 (USA)  »

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Forty Dollars a Day  »

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Referenced in Late Show with David Letterman: Episode #12.108 (2005) See more »

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Rachael Ray is a delightful entertainer who brings humor and food together
30 July 2006 | by (Illinois) – See all my reviews

$40 Dollars a Day with Rachael Ray has become my favorite television program. Compared to the standard theatrical offerings on the other cable channels and broadcast channels, Rachael Ray beings a vibrant form of entertainment to television.

Even though her persona comes to the audience in the form of her flagship cooking show, "30 Minute Meals," Rachael Ray brings "fresh" entertainment with each show. Her meals that she and her staff work on may be simple and not haute cuisine, but, what average person wants to cook expensive high end restaurant meals in their own home? So, Rachael relies on using lots of store prepared ingredients that the usual home shopper can find in their supermarket. She advises to save time by purchasing salad greens in prepared bags. The usual veggies she chops or slices are onions, herbs, and garlic! But, the key ingredient is the entertainment Rachael offers as she talks to the audience as if she were talking to her high school classmates. Very informal and loaded with comedy, facial gestures, hand movements, and her own brand of culinary vocabulary called "Rachael-speak" or "Rachaelisms." Probably her most used expressions are "E.V.O.O." (for extra virgin olive oil) and "Yumm-O"(her expression for delicious). A regular viewer can accumulate a count of up to 30 Rachaelisms in no time! One of the difficulties in copying some of her recipes is the cost that one incurs in purchasing ingredients at the local supermarket. As an example, I made two pan pizzas with my grandson teaching him how to do it the Rachael method. When we went to the supermarket to purchase the needed food stuffs the bill came to $16 for the ingredients. So, the cost is almost the same as a commercially bought item. The benefit was showing the child how to make the pizza.

Rachael brings her upbeat personality to all of the four shows of which she is the host. In "$40 Dollars a Day" Rachael usually makes her budget because she carefully selects the ratio of her funds to allocate across three or four meal purchases (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack). It seems that she saves lots of money by not ordering soft drinks with her meal purchases. Her "usual" request is for free ice water with lemon. Thus, you can add up the cost of four soft drinks a day to be up to $8 more not including tax if she where to purchase these. Then, the show would have to be called "$50 Dollars a Day" and the number 40 seems to sit better than 50!

One can rationalize that Rachael diverts the cost of drinks into providing a tip for the waitpersons. Often she gets criticized for tipping too low. However, in one early episode she remarked that as a waitress herself she knows the value of a tip. While most diners attempt to justify an appropriate tip by using a formula of say, 10, 12, 15, 18, or 20 percent of the total bill, the key to remember is what the term T.I.P.S. was supposed to mean - To Insure Prompt Service. Realistically, the author considers a flat gratuity based upon the dollar value, usually, one dollar up to $5, two dollars from $5 - $15, three dollars from $15 - $25, for the single dinner and two dollars a person for small families. In evaluating a tip one must consider whether the wait-staff first brings a glass of water to the table. Many restaurants do not do this service, a necessary safety measure to insure that should a diner begin to choke on the food there is water at the table for that emergency. Further, does the wait-staff return to the table to help along the meal or is the dinning party abandoned until the bill/check is presented? A tip needs to be determined on the involvement of the wait-staff with the dining party.

While Rachael's show serves to provide nationwide free advertising exposure for the restaurants she selects to highlight on her show, maybe, the tip she leaves is adequate, considering! Rachael Ray's television shows are a great way for those persons who "don't now how to cook" to learn about food and get entertained at the same time. Hopefully, Rachael Ray will have many more seasons on television and continue to be as entertaining as she is at the present time.

If you don't think this show earns a grade of "excellent" than at least award her a "9."


6 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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