23 July 2006

Please Help Me Overcome my Tyler Florence Abhorrence

sesame noodles that make me feel guilty for criticizing
Tyler Florence's cookbook writing skills

Hmmm… I suppose the word ‘abhorrence’ may be too strong to describe my sentiments towards the celebrity chef Tyler Florence, but there are no other sentiments that rhyme with the surname of Florence. The closest rhyme I can come up with is “St. Lawrence,” but St. Lawrence is really not an emotion that you can feel for someone.
A more accurate description of my feelings for Tyler Florence would be annoyance. Florence and annoyance, however, are only approximate rhymes, and I know that approximate rhymes annoy some people more than Tyler Florence annoys me.

What is it about Tyler Florence that grates on my soul?
It’s not his recipes… ever since my husband discovered Tyler Florence’s online recipe for Banana and Pecan Pancakes with Maple Butter, and then proceeded to make Banana and Pecan Pancakes with Maple Butter for his wife (that’s me, yay!), not one of Tyler Florence’s recipes have failed us. You can count on them to be uncomplicated yet elegant, and deliciously delicious. I just made his recipe for cold sesame noodles (see below for recipe) and was more than pleased by the results.
So it’s not his recipes. It’s his writing. It’s atrocious! One month ago, I purchased his cookbook, Eat This Book, and then I spent the next month becoming increasingly irritated by his uninspiring comments. My typical Eat This Book reading sessions would go something like this:

Sit down.
Open book.
Sight a gorgeous photograph.
Lovingly caress said photograph.
Read ingredients and recipe and think to self, “Someday I will make this recipe.”
Drool on photograph.
Wipe drool from photograph in case cookbook is going to be returned to bookstore.
Read Tyler Florence’s comment about recipe.
Read irritating comment out loud to husband or anyone who will listen.
Experience violently fluctuating thoughts about whether I will keep the book or return the book.
Slam book.
Stand up.
Sit down.
Open book.
Repeat steps until I am so clogged with indecision that I have to go eat a banana to calm myself down.

I need help. I can't decide if I am retarded or not.
I returned the cookbook yesterday in a fit of confused rage, but I still haven't decided whether that was the right thing to do. I have typed out a whole bunch of his comments so you can read them and tell me if:

a) I am both retarded and overly judgmental…I should get over it and re-buy the book for the wonderful recipes…stop being such a snot.


b) I am not out of my cotton-picking gourd because I think it’s important that someone publishing a book should able to write well.

A Few of his Comments that will Help You Help Me:
“I guarantee you, roasted this way, your bird will really taste like something.”
But everything tastes like something, Tyler Florence. Even poop.
“This recipe is very simple and it’s really good.”
No doi. If it weren't 'really good,' Tyler Florence, it wouldn't be in your cookbook.
When you bite into a Bosc pear, you really know what time of year it is.
I do, Tyler Florence?
“Summertime is my favorite time to cook because the produce is so great.”
'Great?' Couldn't you think of a better word, Tyler Florence?
“Fresh pasta’s also kind of fun to make.”
What's up with the apostrophes? They are everywhere, Tyler Florence. I don't know why it annoys me but it does. And 'kind of'? It's a book, not a blog, for crying out loud! Maintain some professional standards here!
“…I realized how important it was to savor the important stuff.”
Once again, Tyler Florence, I emphasize the importance of word choice.

Please note excessive use of the word ‘truly.'
“This is truly a great dish.”
“The recipes are easy to put together and they truly taste like the sun.”
“This is a hearty winter dish, a truly satisfying casserole.”
“…how truly great simple great Italian food can be.”
“…you can find amazing organic produce and farmers who truly take pride in their craft.”
“…this everyday vegetable was transformed into something that tasted truly amazing.
“…the mushrooms taste truly amazing.

Get ready for the worst one of all:
“The truffles tasted like sex.”
Not appetizing, Tyler Florence!
Get away from me, book!

Before I returned the gross book, I made his recipe for cold sesame noodles. I feel rather guilty about it because they really are filled with so much spicy-peanut-buttery goodness and Tyler Florence really does not deserve abhorrence from anybody (except for writing the above mushroom description).

Cold Sesame Noodles
Truly amazing recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence

1/2 pound Chinese egg noodles (I used vermicelli, came out fine)
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red chili paste, such as sambal oelek
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Cucumber slices, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Cook the noodles in large pot of boiling unsalted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm. Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain the noodles really well and transfer to a wide bowl; toss with the sesame oil so they don't stick together.

In a small saucepan, heat the peanut oil over medium-low flame. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic, and chili paste. Cook and stir for a minute until soft and fragrant. Mix in the brown sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, and hot water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the peanut butter has smoothed out. Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce until well coated. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Garnish with the sesame seeds, cucumber slices, and cilantro.


el duderino said...

Welcome to the club!! I can't think of someone who grinds my gears like tyler florence...I'd rather be strapped to a chair in a small room w/ rachel ray after she drank a pot of coffee; the guy's "mastery" of the english language is on par w/ a 1st grader's. Thanks for speakin out! (love the blog, btw.)

Anonymous said...

Erielle, Travis sent me the link to your blog on Friday and now I am your secret blog stalker. I love it!!!

Regarding your fit over Tyler Florence, I am conflicted. Clearly one does not need to be a poet to create delicious sesame noodles, or in this case, publish a cookbook. And I'll probably cook those noodles - they sound like they'd make a great dinner on a hot day, and like I could bring some to work for lunch.

However, the excerpts from his writing are irritating. Sex is fun and all, but I'd really rather not associate bodily fluids with my food, thank you. And I would like to avoid thinking about Tyler Florence having sex, particularly when I'm eating. So I'm not going to run out and get his book, that's for sure. I don't think this makes me a snob, either!!!

Anonymous said...

if this annoys you, just make sure you never open a rachel ray "cook"book!

from everything i've heard, Tyler is a really nice, intelligent, engaging guy (yes, i know people that know him, and no i've never met him)
i'd say the biggest problem (with the phrases you pointed out) is with the editing
nost good writers are good simply because they have excellent editors
i'd say, re-buy the book, copy all the recipes you think you'll ever cook, and then re-return it

emily said...

Yes, I agree with ann about re-buying and copying. I don't really think that Tyler needs any extra money, do you?

barb said...

the problem is these so called "celebrity chefs' and they are cause we buy their books and watch their shows. But I think the majority of the cookbooks written by these so called chefs should have ghost writers. I like you love cookbooks, love cookbooks enough to read them like a novel at times.
Please never ask my opinion of the dingbat Sandra Lee.....OMG!!!
Erielle, great blog thanks

barb said...

I need to add another comment......better yet go to TV Food network and see if you can find the recipe there.

Anonymous said...

Um,hello...has Tyler heard about EDITING? Or an EDITOR?

Love the blog...keep up the truly amazing work.

-Laura in Baltimore

(too lazy to sign up)

Erielle said...

el duderino ~ I wonder which celebrity chef I would most like to be in a room with if he/she is strapped to a chair...probably Barefoot Contessa, because then I could untie her and she would have to repay me by making dinner for me and inviting me to her beautiful house and I could be her new best friend and collect fresh lavendar from her garden.

Lauren O ~ The noodles would make a great lunch! I would be so sad at work the next day because I would be nostalgic for the noodles I ate at lunch the day before.

Ann ~ Hee-hee, I sort of might have maybe already copied down fourteen recipes before I returned the book! I feel just awful about it, but I'm glad you suggested it because now I don't feel so badly.

Emily ~ Yeah you're right. He doesn't need money. I need money! And I need Molly Stevens' "All About Braising" (my new cookbook) much more than the book I returned!

Laura in Baltimore ~ Now I am wondering if there even was an editor involved. I don't have the book anymore, heh, so I can't check and see.

Jess said...

Travis is sending you all kinds of new fans!

We had these for dinner tonight, and yummmmmmy! I think the addition of some shaved carrots would add crunchy goodness.

And all these days later, I'm still giggling over "everything tastes like something, Tyler Florence."


barb said...

I don't think the poor man has an editor or even an agent. Think back to what he says on those wretched shows. YUK!!!!
Go to foodnetwork and get his recipes off of there.

Anonymous said...

I am LAUGHING SO LOUDLY right now! This posting is hilarious, brilliant and superb!

You hit every single nail on the head. He is rather annoying, but he's cute and I tend to forgive him.

Which I shouldn't.

I shouldn't at all.

Love your blog :)

Donald said...

Good news! You're not the only one with a Tyler Florence problem. Even if the other person is a homocidal cartoon cat.

Anonymous said...

uhhh AHHHH! truffles taste like sex, i cant believe i just typed that. SO gross. i LOVE your blog, make me laugh aloud at work like an idiot. thx for that! ps the noodles look really good, and your pics - bueno!

Erielle said...

Jess~ Glad you liked the noodles. I will be making them again soon, this time with some carrots for color and crunchy goodness. Thanks for the suggestion.

Doodles~ That's true, he might not have an editor. But you don't have an editor, either, and you're not annoying at all!

Matt~ Glad you enjoyed the post. On the subject of forigiveness, I might be almost there, now that I have had the chance to vent. Almost there.

Donald~ DJ! It took me way too long to figure out that it's you. Hi! I was confused for a little bit but now it's all straightened out. Wow, Peter H. Cropes is hilarious! Do you know him personally?
Can he be our friend?
If there is a slow moment at work today, or for that matter, if there is ever a slow moment during the rest of my life, I shall picture Tyler being whacked on the back of the head with Peter's ladle and I will laugh and laugh and laugh!

Aria~ I felt the same revulsion when I typed those words as well. Ick.

Donald said...

I have been known to display ninja-like stealth in electronic spheres... so don't blame yourself.

Cropes ("Nice Pete" as we, ahem, insiders like to call him) is a character from Achewood, Chris Onstad's online comic. Each character keeps his own online blog and boy, do I ever wish I knew him personally.

Anonymous said...

The noodles look spectacular! Great photo. Shame about Tyler Florence, though...

I couldn't stop laughing out loud while reading this. I don't think i'll rush to go and buy the book either. If only i had to only put up with his chosen words like 'truly' and 'amazing'..., but the truffle thing really ruined it for me.

Like you said, one expects more from a book.

Lisa said...

I've just discovered your blog and I love it. Thanks for the TRULY great laughs I had from this post. I absolutely agree with you about the writing. I love watching Tyler on TV, he's so . . . GREAT, but probably you don't need the aggravation of having the book around.

Toni said...

I just found your blog and laughed out loud as I was reading it. You've made a loyal fan, also from Chicago!!

Erielle said...

DJ~ It's a shame he is not a real person.


Lisa~ I'm happy you like reading the blog. I like your blog, too - there are so many recipes I would like to try!

Toni~ Hooray for a Chicago food blog! There aren't many of them... Aren't you so jealous of all those cities that have seventeen food bloggers in one town?

Anonymous said...

His recipes? Yum...easy and good, and Yum!

Him? Quite yum...if you like that scruffy, wild haired philandering type....ok, so I don't know about the philandering, but if you read the acknowledgements in all his cookbooks, he thanks a different girlfriend each time. Philanderer or sexaholic? With that truffle thing, hard to tell

His writing? SO wrong...SO.WRONG.

I utilize the cookbooks for the recipes only and ignore anything else

Anonymous said...

I studied psycology and you are absolutely in Love with Tyler Florence. I know you will not publish this, but you should come to terms with yourself. Everyone makes mistakes!

Erielle said...

Kate, I did not know that about all the girlies. Not surprised!
Since this summer, I have been less disturbed about him. I suppose it's because I can just download his recipes without having to think about him.

Anonymous, I studied psychology a few times too, and I know that you must be Tyler Florence, and you stay up late at night googling your own name, and you found this post on the 149th page, and you're really hoping that finally you have found a girl that secretly loves the way you talk dirty about mushrooms. Tyler, I am sorry to let you down, but I am not that girl.

ServesYouRight said...


I've always thought celebrity chefs are more eye-candy than anything else. Felt bad for the food writer who let Tyler's un-inspiring words slide....


Chez Megane said...

I'm so glad I've finally discovered your blog! This post had me laughing - I don't have Tyler's book, but I can think of a few others that insight my rage. Thanks for a lovely recipe and I can't wait to read more!

Anonymous said...

I found your post whilst trying to perfect my sesame noodles (if I read a million recipes, eventually I'll get it just right!)...what really made me laugh was your saying you had to eat a banana to calm yourself. My grandma used to say, "I'm so mad I could eat a banana!"

Anonymous said...

Just found this post: Can I add my two cents?!? This is just like Ina Garten, who every five minute on her show says, "What could be better than THAT!?"... Of course, that is coupled by all the name-dropping she does. "Me and Paul Newman were admiring the garden the other day"...blah blah blah...

And don't get me started on Racheal Ray and her grating voice so irritating I'd have a mind to poke my eyes out everytime I hear her.

Still, I'd turn to one of Ina's recipe in a heartbeat. I guess they all have "something" about them thats going to irritate "someone". :)

Anonymous said...

All of your comments are very verbose and I am sure it's how you feel. However, I just came in and turned on the TV to the Food Network and Tyler was there. I could care less of what he was creating because his FAT, yes FAT body as on TV and I knew he has truly, finally lost control. Dear God Man - get some help! See Dr. Oz, Oprah's guru NOW. lol but I am very serious. We want to look up to chefs on many levels - get a grip man!

Anonymous said...

Try to replace your Tyler Florence abhorrence with a Bobby Flay dismay. Now that's a feeling that will last a lifetime.

Anonymous said...

It's a cookbook. I've never written a cookbook, but I assume the priorities are something along the lines of (1) include useful and quality content (e.g., recipes, instruction, etc.) and (2) be entertaining. I think Tyler succeeds on these points. Plus his "personality" is very much the same in writing and on TV, which is important for people like him who want to "brand" themselves.

And I'm actually usually pretty hard-to-please when it comes to writing .. at least in contexts where it's reasonable to have such expectations. I just don't think a cookbook is one of those places...

Anonymous said...

I hadn't seen him in a while, but remember being annoyed at the Flirtation 911 thing, and his use of the word "okay" about three times per sentence (on TV, haven't seen the book).

I watched him do chicken paillard this morning. "Okay" has been replaced with a heavily-emphasized "right", as in "RIGHT on top of the lettuce", "RIGHT in the pan", etc. Goofy. But, the reason I came in search of aaaaarrrgghh dispersal, and ended up here at your blog, was that he said he was "hooking up the egg yolks with the blender".

Anonymous said...

I don't know who Tyler Florence is, but I feel that it is important to comment so that I might publicly shame you for the following:

I am not out of my cotton-picking gourd because I think it’s important that someone publishing a book should able to write well.

You seem to be missing a word there. I just thought it was ironic that you were criticizing this mysterious Tyler Florence for his hideous writing when you have an error RIGHT THERE!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHahsjdkahsdkjhcaj

Anonymous said...

How about the world "beautiful"? everything is beautiful, look at this gorgeous really sort of.. beautiful salsa verde.. AHH!!!! i cant stand him.. but the foods good! :/

Anonymous said...

i googled the phrase "tyler florence is annoying" (chalk it up to procrastination) and this blog entry came up first. many of the commenters discuss his repetitive usage of dumb words. here's another one: "absolutely." and ugh! the way he pronounces it-- he drags the first syllable out way too long (AAAAAAB-solutely) just grates my last nerve. he really needs to work on his diction and word choice. anyway, thanks for the laughs.

Anonymous said...

I just watched an episode of Tyler's Ultimate about 30 minutes ago for one purpose and one purpose alone: to tally how many times he used the word "beautiful." The final number was...drumroll please...43. Yes, that is right. In a 30 mintute segment...well more like 20 when you subtract commercial time...he used the word "beautiful" 43 times!! But it doesn't end there. About 7 minutes into the show I began to notice the incessant use of the words "gorgeous" and "boom" as well. So I began to tally those up too! In the final portion of the show, the combination of those three words were spoken to the point that I had to take a Percocet for the headache I had developed. Now don't get me wrong: he seems to be a nice guy, and I've used his recipes on multiple occasions...but dear God! Food Network is also to blame. Have the writers, directors, producers, etc. not caught on to this ridiculous repitition??

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Tyler Florence! He is amazingly sexy and a perfect specimen of masculine culinary talent. I want to kiss him, and I am a man! I wish he were my lover.

Anonymous said...

He tries to be very up-to-the-minute in his coolness. His constant use of phrases like "that's what I'm talkin' about" and "classic" really push my button. This is why I can only last about 3 watching before I change the channel. Sorry Tyler dude.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend has to mock him if we are watching Tyler's Ultimate. His relentless uses of adjectives is ridiculous. I get that he's trying to sell his dishes, but he comes off smug. I'm sure his food is good but I don't need to hear how its the best because that is probably not true.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend has to mock him if we are watching Tyler's Ultimate. His relentless uses of adjectives is ridiculous. I get that he's trying to sell his dishes, but he comes off smug. I'm sure his food is good but I don't need to hear how its the best because that is probably not true.

Anonymous said...

Ann is right; there are plenty of "good" writers but "great" writers have "great" editors. I'm thinking of buying one of Tyler's books as a gift so I thank this blog for at least letting me know the recipe's are good even though Tyler's comments may not be... thanks!

Anonymous said...

I own Eat This Book and found your post very funny. I look forward to opening it up again and re-reading it for the comments. The pictures are wonderful and the recipes are so tasty. When watching Tyler's Ultimate I keep track of how many times he utters, "...absolutely fantastic!"

Anonymous said...

Don't read this comment if you are a regular Tyler watcher or a Tyler worshipper...........turn away now......okay, I'm warning you....you'll never be able to watch his show again after reading this.....

Here it is....(and props to KarmaSartre who alluded to this also)...

Tyler has an annoying habit of interjecting the words, "okay" or "alright" (almost under his breath) in about every second or third sentence. Once I noticed it, I found that every time I'd surf past the Food Network and he was on, I'd listen for a minute and then want to scream!!!!

He is MEGA-annoying...more than most of Food Network annoying chefs..Guy, Giada, Bobby, etc. And his show is more over-produced than most others...the cuts to closeups make my dizzy.

Enough said?