Thanks to Ben for pointing me to an amazing commentary by Tony Bourdain, author of the fantastic Kitchen Confidential. Writing as a guest on Michael Ruhlman's blog, Tony employs his signature whip-cracking, politically incorrect, dry style to critique the 'stars' of today's Food Network, and in general bemoans what's become of FoodTV. Here are a few choice tidbits but I suggest you take it all in yourself:

On Rachael Ray:

Complain all you want. It’s like railing against the pounding surf. She only grows stronger and more powerful. Her ear-shattering tones louder and louder. We KNOW she can’t cook… She’s a friendly, familiar face who appears regularly on our screens to tell us that “Even your dumb, lazy ass can cook this!” Wallowing in your own crapulence on your Cheeto-littered couch you watch her and think, “Hell…I could do that. I ain’t gonna…but I could–if I wanted! Now where’s my damn jug a Diet Pepsi?”

On Sandra Lee (of Semi-Homemade):

Pure evil. This frightening Hell Spawn of Kathie Lee and Betty Crocker seems on a mission to kill her fans, one meal at a time… I would likely be arrested if I suggested on television that any children watching should promptly go to a wooded area with a gun and harm themselves. What’s the difference between that and Sandra suggesting we fill our mouths with Ritz Crackers, jam a can of Cheez Wiz in after and press hard? None that I can see. This is simply irresponsible programming.

On Paula Deen:

I’m reluctant to bash what seems to be a nice old lady. Even if her supporting cast is beginning to look like the Hills Have Eyes–and her food a True Buffet of Horrors. A recent Hawaii show was indistinguishable from an early John Waters film. And the food on a par with the last scene of Pink Flamingos.

I couldn't have said it better, especially on Paula Deen. I'll never forgot my horror, watching as she poured an entire can of sweetened condensed milk on top of a pile of Krispy Kreme doughnuts for a nauseating version of bread pudding, as she smiled and said in her silky southern drawl '…and would you believe it, this recipe has no added sugar!'