Rachael Ray

  Rachael Ray
Rachael reaches for a mai tai.
She can cook you a meal in 30 minutes and travel the world on $40 a day, but what does Rachael Ray listen to when she wants to rock out? The Food Network's newest (and perhaps only) diva gives Popcrazy some noshing tips, her thoughts on go-gurt, and a sneak peak at her new show.

What would you eat if you only had $5 a day?

Rachael Ray: I would buy a bloody mary at happy hour -- gazpacho with a kick.

What would you buy if your food budget were unlimited?

Rachael Ray: I'd take 50 homeless people to dinner at Ducasse for $500.00 a head.

Do you prefer eating out to cooking a meal when you're off the clock?

Rachael Ray: No. John and I make dinner at home. (He's dessert.)

If you're going to a potluck dinner, what's the ace up your sleeve?

Rachael Ray: Italian Mac-n-cheese: four cheeses, sausage, tomatoes, yummo. It makes grown men cry. The recipe is in Get Togethers in the chapter devoted to food to eat while watching football. You can also get it off the Food Network website.

Do you like to listen to music while you cook? What do you listen to?

Rachael Ray: Always. Music makes good food rock! I like a new band, MUSE, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, U2 and my boyfriend's band The Cringe. I also like Pavarotti and jazz/swing -- Chet Baker, Bud Powell, Louis Prima and Keeley Smith. Eclectic mix, I guess.

Rachael Ray 
Rachael shows off her wild side.
When you go on a road trip, eating is always tricky. You get fast food at rest stops and no exercise. What's the best diet for a road trip?

Rachael Ray: I like raw nuts, fruit, and baby carrots for crunchy car snacks. Gum keeps my jaws busy as well. I drive into town off exits that look promising, rather than eating at rest areas. Restaurants in town will have healthier choices.

What was the first meal you learned to make? (Not like spaghetti -- the first real dish.)

Rachael Ray: I made lasagna roll ups filled with spinach and artichokes and topped with a Gorgonzola sauce. I also had asparagus and prosciutto on the side. The dinner was for my mom. I was 11, I think.

Have you ever thought about challenging an Iron Chef? And if so, which one?

Rachael Ray: I like to buy my ingredients at the market, rather than making fresh-kills in my kitchen. I don't have Marimoto's stomach -- I can't chop the head off an eel to make my dinner. These guys are amazing and well beyond my area of cook-spertise. I have no beef or eel with them and I will not be challenging any Iron Chefs any time soon. On the other hand, they say never say never...

(Editor's note: If you agree that an Iron Chef episode with Rachael Ray as the challenger would be beyond fantastic, write to the Food Network!)

  Rachael Ray
She won't eat Go-gurt, but she'll do this?
Are you pro-Go-gurt or anti-Go-gurt?

Rachael Ray: If this is that fruity yogurt stuff that you suck out of a plastic tube, I really don't need to see that sort of thing in public. What you suck at home is your business.

Do you have a favorite junk food for when you're depressed?

Rachael Ray: I eat everything in any mood. If I am depressed, I just eat more of it all.

Now that being cheap has made you a superstar do people think you're cheap?

Rachael Ray: They think I am a lousy tipper. I am not. I grossly over-tip. I was a waitress for a long time. P.S. I do not think I qualify as a superstar. Please check the guidelines and official handbook.

What is your favorite city to eat in on $40/day?

Rachael Ray: I love NYC, Rome, Austin, TX, Cleveland, OH. They all rock.

You make cheap look good! Have you ever been approached about doing a holiday movie where you play a sassy yet likable female version of Scrooge?

Rachael Ray: Got a script? I'll read.

With your two Food Network shows, $40 A Day and 30 Minute Meals being such big hits, are you opposed to doing shows that don't have numbers in the title?

Rachael Ray: I am a little superstitious, but I have a third show coming out next year with no numbers in the title. Keep your fingers crossed.

(Editor's note: We heard a rumor that Rachael's third show will involve celebrities cooking for her. We'll keep you posted, because that sounds like something we'd like.)

Do you really eat at Burger King, and if so, how often? And whose fries are better, BK's or McD's?

Rachael Ray: Fries are very tasty at both, but I prefer BK. Yes, I do grab an occasional sandwich there if I am out and about and it's there. The chicken sandwich with mustard is good. Also, I like a Whopper Jr., no mayo add mustard.

  Rachael Ray
Aww, she's so crazy!
What advice do you have for aspiring television personalities?

Rachael Ray: None. I got my job by a series of accidents. I guess, don't plan out your life too much and take any and every opportunity that comes your way, no matter how surprising the idea may be to you -- with the exception of the XXX industry, that is.

Rachael-mania is sweeping the country with two successful Food Network shows (and another one in the making), an ever-growing series of cookbooks, and even a national fast food commercial. Read Rachel's bio, and find lots of fun recipes at the Food Network website.
--interviewed and photographed by Kitty Freedom

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