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September 19, 2007

Mr. Henry makes a confession

Filed under: Celebrity,Japanese Food,Television — Mr. Henry @ 7:38 am

SandraLee.jpgIt all started with Sandra Lee, America’s semi-homemade TV food vixen. Channel surfing on a rainy vacation afternoon, Little Henry and Stinky found Sandra on the Food Network and the rest is, well, an ugly story of dependence, obsession, and addiction.

Who can resist the way her pink top matches not only the drapes but the paper napkins and the hors d’oeuvres, too? Who can resist watching her scoop the innards out of an A & P cheese cake, load it into a pastry sleeve, and “pop it” onto cute lil’ crackers? The scene recalls Shelley Duvall’s pigs in a blanket from Robert Altman’s dark masterpiece 3 Women. She’s a train wreck of Americana.

Then came Iron Chef, the high-kitch, haute cuisine smashdown that years ago Mr. Henry watched in translation on some obscure cable channel. Mr. Henry remains in awe of the remarkable inventions these masters cobble together in one hour.
Now there is Top Chef.

Night and day Padma Lakshmi’s toffee-tongued locutions ring round the Henry living room. Clipped, staccato, 22-calibur pronouncements explode up through Tom Colicchio’s shiny pate. Yes, Top Chef on Bravo TV never ceases. Should you miss an episode, just wait. The replay is coming up soon.

The secret attraction of Top Chef, Mr. Henry confesses, is the weekly drubbing the judges hand out. It is the sure promise of real humiliation that grips the audience, the sadomasochistic pleasure of seeing young, eager acolytes sent to their doom. Die, young chefs! We who are about to cook salute you!


Looking at Padma’s longshanks frame, one wonders just how much rich food she actually swallows. Mr. Henry, in fact, spends a good part of each episode examining Padma’s hypnotic physique and the clothing with which she drapes it. How can she be so thin and still have curves? Has she been surgically redesigned into a foodie fem-bot? Padma.bikini.jpg

Will she ever reveal the secret story behind the enormous scar that runs the entire length of her upper right arm? Mr. Henry harbors a secret affection for the tall, scarred Padma’s of this world.

And Padma, too, harbors secret affections. When forced to eliminate tall, handsome guys like Sam last season or C.J. this season, her dark eyes swell with tears. Hard as he may try, Mr. Henry cannot look away.


  1. I believe Padma’s scar is from an automobile accident when she was young. Also, did you hear that Padma & her hubby, Mr. Salmon Rushdie are splitting? Maybe there’s hope for you, Sam or C.J.?

    Comment by Gwen — September 19, 2007 @ 7:59 am

  2. Yes, Mr. Henry knows more about Padma than he is proud to admit. For years Salman has been a notorious fashion-modelizer around town. One wonders why Padma never knew that, but perhaps she was looking for the father figure she never had.

    Whatever the story, she is a captivating TV presence, made more captivating by her combination of vulnerability and confidence, as well as by the combination of incredibly beautiful skin adorned by one incredibly long scar. In this she resembles a cartoon action heroine, no?

    Comment by Mr. Henry — September 19, 2007 @ 8:09 am

  3. Gwen is right she got the scar in a car accident when she was 14. Vogue had a very good article (written by Padma) about it a few years back.

    And now you also know that she is 34 (C)-24- 34.

    Comment by FashionGeek — September 19, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

  4. Actually Mr. Henry, there were some blind items going around that Padma was the guilty party, flaunting her affair on the New York scene. It certainly confirms the father figure theory – he’s a 60+ y/o billionaire.

    Regardless, someone on that show hates her and makes it apparent in the horrid ensembles she’s endured during the first 2 season.

    Comment by Ninjarina — September 23, 2007 @ 10:40 pm

  5. Despite the Food Network connection, Mr. Rushdie’s name is not Salmon, but Salman.

    Comment by trouble — September 24, 2007 @ 8:49 am

  6. Padma’s scar comes from a car accident when she was 14. Perhaps Mr. Henry missed the reunion episode in which she quipped about being mauled by a Bengal tiger and the, well, told the banal truth.

    Comment by missprinn — September 24, 2007 @ 10:22 am

  7. Where can one find a similar foodie fem bot? … or how to create one? That should not be a secret!

    Comment by oceanguy — October 3, 2007 @ 9:46 am

  8. Top Chef may have Padma, but it doesn’t have the key to Iron Chef’s success: the very clear implication that the loser is marched offstage and becomes next week’s secret ingredient.

    “Pack your knives and go,” she says, confidently. Doesn’t she know that A) she just fired a guy armed with knives? and B) this is reality tv: anything for ratings. One day somebody will go all Sam Peckinpah on her and they’ll win the sweeps.

    Comment by raincoaster — November 26, 2007 @ 2:16 pm

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