A&K’s Email Bag

Friday, 21 August 2015

We've been getting hate mail. Seems our Grocery Bag re-runs are ticking off a few viewers! As we're seeing a few common themes I thought it efficient to address them here. The following are some examples of what we've been receiving along with my responses.

Deb G writes, “Honestly I don’t know if Anna and Kristina are consciously trying to be stupid on this show, or if this is the audience they target. It’s insulting to women that they intentionally try screw up, especially since the introduction says they’ve been cooking since they were children. Basic cooking concepts seem to elude these ladies.

These ladies say they’ve shopped for the ingredients, yet on the show they don’t appear to have pre-read the recipe, which any normal person would do when they host guests. Additionally, they intentionally set unrealistic time limits and always screw up….

Well Deb, just so you know, we are not intentionally trying to screw up or be stupid, as you say. Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag is a show that puts cookbooks and kitchen products to the test, by two people who aren’t professional chefs. That part is key. Many cooking shows are highly stylized and cookbooks often include recipes that don’t deliver picture perfect results. So we decided to do a show about what really happens in the kitchen, when someone important is coming for dinner. Do you ever screw up at home, when no one’s watching?

I can assure you we always read the recipes in advance. When keeping track of a long list of recipes at once for a celebrated chef and the clock is ticking and you’re in a room full of camera operators, directors, audio personnel, and other production crew, sometimes you screw up. And everyone loves it when we do and our team would always play it up, because that makes for better television.

Because keep in mind, this is in fact entertainment. If we were only making one simple recipe it wouldn’t make much of a TV show. Of course we have to set lofty goals, that’s part of the fun. But I don’t see how any of this is insulting to women. The whole point is to be real! And besides, I would argue that we have had far more successes than failures. (Or at least that’s what I choose to believe.)

Kiwipoodle says: “Can there be an episode or two of vegan instead of butchering fucking animals. you must have more compassion than what you showed on TV….I never get to watch your show but when I do you are talking about dissecting lamb. R u guys on crack seriously? U are gross”

You will be happy to know, dear Kiwipoodle, that we did do several vegetarian episodes on the series, covering classics like The Moosewood Cookbook and Good Housekeeping’s Vegetarian Meals along with numerous dessert cookbooks including my personal favourite, Absolutely Chocolate.

While recipes that include meat are obviously part of the program, we never did get to dissecting a lamb as you write. I did, however, go rabbit hunting as part of a segment about the importance of connecting with and understanding where our food comes from. For those of us who eat meat, I think it’s a worthwhile conversation to have. Please note that the rabbit in question was used in a stew and nothing went to waste. I know rabbits are cute, but they aren’t exactly an endangered species and no one ever complains when we cook chicken. And no, we are not on crack.

And my personal favourite comes from Rjeska, “Are these two actors, spoofs, hosts, or simple comedians? I cannot believe what bumbling goofs these two chicks are…no one can be that ignorant. The mistakes they make have to be prodded by the show. AND FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LEARN TO PRONOUNCE WORDS CORRECTLY. It isn’t processor with a long o sound it’s pronounced with a short o sound…drives me nuts. But I must be the crazy one cause I do like watching them cause they make me laugh if for nothing else…they are a couple of idiots in the kitchen.”

Let me assure you Rjeska, there is nothing simple about being a comedian. Just ask Rick Mercer or Jon Stewart. We aren’t actors or “spoofs” either. We are the creators and producers of this series and several others, which we have sold in over 70 countries around the world. Not so bad for a couple of “bumbling goofs”! Also, I found this Youtube instructional video on the pronunciation of “processor” and it seems the long “o” is in fact correct. Perhaps it’s more a question of accent than right or wrong. But I’m glad you enjoy the show!

Keep the mail coming everyone!

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  • Susan Bellwood

    Geez Louise, some of these comments are nasty. My only complaint is I don’t get the channel that airs the shows anymore and I love the Shopping Bags and Grocery Bag. How about another show?

    • Pikey Burden

      Sometimes mean people need to take a nap! Sleep on it and then reply!

  • Tim Edwards

    Some people just don’t get that its entertainment not a cooking show. Im just excited that I found out that I get ION Life over they air. Don’t get it on cable. Now I can watch your shows again. I missed watching it, you two are great and I wish you had a new show.

  • Charlie Galan

    One of my favourite lines from the movie Garden of Stone is “Opinions are like assholes…everybody has one”. Love your show and hopeful you both have a second production with new cookbooks. I have just under 1,100 in my library. Saw a recent article that there is a real lack of test kitchens and there is good chance a number of recipes in your new cookbook has not really been tested. Good responses ladies.

  • Cindy Rottacker

    So surprised by the mean comments….I love you two…you are not afraid to be real women!! Keep it coming ladies I’m a big fan of you both!!

  • Not a Real Green Dress

    Honestly, I like the screw ups. You guys sometimes mess things up, but you always pull it together and serve something (that’s usually pretty good) in the end. It encouraged me to start cooking more because if you can make mistakes and fix them, then maybe I can too, and that one mistake I make won’t be a huge disaster.

  • Elysia

    My only complaint is that I have seen all the episodes!

  • bluegrass69

    Way to stand up to the haters, Anna. I really don’t know why they just don’t change the channel ! And furthermore, having worked for an American company in Canada, I discovered that Americans pronounce “process” with the short “o”, like prawcess, however we Canucks pronounce it as you did – with the long “o”, like prowcess. I never failed to remind my US counterparts that every other English speaking country in the world pronounces the last letter of the alphabet as “zed”. Bring on more Grocery Bag – I love it, and I love the humour, and especially when you start cursing – wish they wouldn’t bleep that out. 🙂

  • Hetty5

    From this “stuck in a rut” home cooks stand point, I love the concept and execution of the show. It really helps me understand from a lay person’s point of view, what i can expect and what pitfalls can happen and how to avoid them. Absolutely it is like “you make the mistakes, so i don’t have to”. And when you screw it up in the kitchen, of course you have to have both humor and humility . We all do!

    The short o would be very Midwestern USA. We pronounce processor, pracessor because we butcher long vowels along with unsuspecting animals all the time 😀 Sorry, i had to get that dig in 😀

  • dcls

    Good on you for being honest and real!! There are plenty of shows to watch the perfect cook in the perfect kitchen presenting the perfect meal…that is why I enjoy watching your program so much!! As a home cook myself…it’s delightful to hear the antics of when things go wrong, and likewise, the satisfaction when things go right!! Keep up the fantastic work ladies!! 🙂

  • Ruth Cooper

    A&K haters need to change the channel! Ive been cooking for many years and still have the occasional ‘oops’ in the kitchen. Its real. Keep doing what your’e doing because you have the following to prove all the nay-sayers wrong!

  • Courtney Robertson

    I love the show. You ladies empower women to be themselves and to get in the kitchen and have fun. People don’t spend enough time cooking for themselves or ask questions about where their food is actually coming from. I think what you do it fabulous!

  • ankhamun

    Wow – I’m so saddened you receive responses like that. I was lucky enough to get to watch some of your episodes on OWN in the states before it was removed. I’ve been saddened for YEARS that I can’t see your shows anymore. Your show is one of the best cooking shows ever. I always loved seeing how you tackled the cookbooks and the problems that would arise. I’ve been cooking as a child too and when you actually FOLLOW a recipe in someone else’s book things can go awry very quickly. In fact, I started getting Blue Apron delivery for a while and while the recipes were not complicated I always found the cooking for them so laborious that I had to just quit getting it.
    Keep it up ladies- let me know if you’re back on in the states and i’m somehow missing you. YOU ROCK. YOU’RE AMAZING, and DO NOT LISTEN to these haters!!

  • Anna Wallner

    Thanks for all the comments everyone!!! I agree, if you don’t like the show then watch something else. Cooking is an adventure and to be honest I enjoy it most with the path to deliciousness isn’t exactly straight 😉

    • Eric G

      I just recently discovered this show and I love it! I’m not a great cook so I can relate to a lot of this situations on the shows. I’m glad I can catch the re-runs since I’m behind. 🙂 don’t listen to the haters. You rock!

  • megan

    Some people eh? Then dont watch the show!! Good for you for standing up for you and Kristina and the show. I do not know how to cook a thing, literally. But since watching your show, I’ve made some (2) pretty good meals haha. Ya the show is on all the time and yes I’ve probably seen every episode 60 times but I love it! And even though you and Kristina are way more experienced than myself at cooking, its still great to watch you testing out books and trying new things. It’s inspired me to come out of my comfort zone and actually try to cook things so thank you!!!

  • SandraM

    I really enjoy the show. I pvr episodes and watch them when I have time. They are funny and brave to attempt some of these recipes, as home cooks. I am a home cook (and cook a lot) and I still make mistakes reading recipes and following instructions (so I get mistakes). I don’t think they are insulting their audience with ‘mistakes’. I am sure a lot of people (like me) know some of the mistakes they are making and know what should have been done (and that is empowering to know the fix).
    I would love to see more episodes, as there are so many cookbooks out there and it is lovely to see other people try out recipes before I purchase a book. And it is super brave to cook for chefs!! Kudos to you both!

    • Shannon Brown

      Sandra – I couldn’t agree more! You hit the nail on the head.

    • Steve Cappiello

      More episodes!

  • WN

    Well,i dunno,I thought you guys were pretty swell.

  • Shannon Brown

    I believe this is one of the best cooking shows on TV. I was so upset to see it removed from the airwaves in the Unites States. I can’t believe what Oprah put on to replace it. People trying to run a restaurant with more drama then I care to watch. The bickering amongst the relatives was a complete turn off. I don’t watch the OWN network any longer as I believe the content has taken a nose dive. I have been trying new recipes from various cookbooks for years. I’ve made notes on every recipe I’ve tried. Whether it was a keeper, labor intensive or if the recipe had mistakes. I was SO HAPPY when I found Anna & Kristina’s show!! I had every episode set on my DVR. I could relate to them testing these recipes out from beginning to end! It is REAL FOLKS! I love the fact that a chef would come and taste everything. I’ve always tried new recipes on friends and asked for their 100% honest opinion.. presentation, taste etc… It would help determine whether to “keep” the recipe. I also loved other aspects of the show such as the product test. I research items before I buy them so I feel I’m getting the most for my money. I LOVED the fact they would have other chefs help them try out the top 5 (food thermometers for example) products to determine the best buy. It’s like having Consumer Reports do a live test in front of you! I also loved when they traveled to new places. I appreciate their love for learning about other cultures through travel and food! So to all the haters out there… Be kind…. be open minded and mind your manners. I personally miss these funny ladies and miss their show here in the states each and EVERY day!

    P.S. I’m bringing my husband to B.C (his first visit ever) to visit my sisters family on Gibsons. I know that you ladies have been at Granville Island (my personal fave) doing taste tests in the past.
    Is there any chance you will be doing appearances in Vancouver from Sept. 12th – Sept. 28th? I would also love any suggestions for things to do or places to eat while we are there. We may visit Tofino as well. I love it there!

    Warm regards,
    Florida, USA

  • Sherri Nuttall Olsen

    I love the show! been watching it for years 🙂 I have the PVR set to tape the 2 on (Canadian) OWN everyday. I could care less if I have seen them all over & over. Great show & l feel it shows the real “women” in the kitchen was preparing for guests 🙂

  • Steve Cappiello

    I cannot believe that first post. It gets real in the kitchen and mistakes are made. I have laughed at myself sometimes after realizing what had just happened. In no way do I agree with what
    Deb G said. You have to laugh at yourself sometimes just to be human. And maybe cuss a little bit also.

    I really like it when you try out new appliances and even though I’m a college graduate sometimes those ingredients are hard to pronounce. That’s pro nownse. Pronounce.

    I certainly hope that this doesn’t discourage the two of you from making the show again. I love it. BrIng it back! I really like the chemistry the two of you have. And checking out the appliances is really helpful.

  • Glenn Metters

    I love this show, it is refreshing and always makes me smile, because the girls are so real.

  • Kathy

    I have watched every episode of the show at least twice. My husband and I really enjoy it. It never grows old watching Anna and Kristina try these cookbooks. I don’t always agree with their reviews of the cookbooks but hey…if you don’t enjoy the show…don’t watch it

  • Beth Walker

    More episodes! Please! I love this show- seriously it is the only show that does – because it looks and feels like real life. It is authentic- awesome!

  • Tom Rade

    Take a pill, you uptight people. This show is meant to be taken as it is given. It is fun, and the rest of us non-professionals enjoy it. We screw up in the same way!!

  • Tish Perry

    You guys are awesome… don’t let the turkeys get you down. I so admire your creativity and the way you dress, your wardrobes rock. I am slowly but surely stocking my kitchen with the items you recommend. Wish I could find two best friends just like you! Cheers!

  • Donna

    Cloak of the internet *sigh*

  • Suzie Q

    Food for thought. Why your show is my favorite food-related show. 2 fun-loving, positive, smart, funny, real people taking the time to research a cookbook, live it for a month, plan a pretty-full menu, and cook your hearts out for a guest. Plus the tips, the reviews of kitchen tools and equipment, the constructive reviews of the cookbooks.
    I wish you could do this for every cookbook. You are doing a lot of work for the viewers and are highly entertaining. Every show you make feeds my passion. And you are REAL!! Thank you so much.

  • https://coletters.wordpress.com Colette Colter

    I love this show – and wish there were more episodes! So many more cookbooks to explore! You guys are a riot and remind me that the majority of us are not perfect in the kitchen (even if we’d like to think we are). And when you’re making as many recipes as you do all at once, mistakes are bound to happen!
    To touch on Deb G’s angry rant – I do seem to remember one episode where you were discussing the different cuts of meat that can come from a lamb – but you never actually dissected one – it came to you already dissected. I can see how Deb G may have gotten confused.
    But still, I miss the original Shopping Bags show, and was very glad when you came up with the Grocery Bags =) Keep up the good work!

  • DeenaBee

    OMG who are these horrible people? I will STOP DROP AND WATCH your show any day any time no matter what I’m doing!! I can tell you in all honestly, lately I will scroll thru the tv guide of 400+ channels and find nothing. Then I get to OWN and see Grocery Bag and the heavens open up and angels start singing!! I LOVE YOUR SHOW!!!

    • Pikey Burden


  • Roz

    Wow, amazing how horrible people can be when they are writing anonymous comments. I love watching “The Bags”, as my husband and I call you, and watch your programmes over and over again. And it is the one cooking show that my husband will watch. We both love you guys. You are so obviously not stupid! And I really hope we see you with some new shows soon.

    • Pikey Burden


  • Jimin Hong-Noden

    I love the show. I love the way you both cook and I especially love the success vs failures. Its a real show that helps me choose cook books and recipes for me and my family.

    And to quote Taylor Swift –
    And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
    Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
    I shake it off, I shake it off

  • SCB

    I used to record the show and enjoyed it, but Ion Life keeps showing the same episodes over and over. They appear to have purchased less than the entire run, as I’ve never seen shows for some of the cookbooks which have received your stamp of approval according to your website. As for pronunciation, it will appear wrong to those of us living in the United States, where there never has been and never will be a long “o” in “processor” (among many examples). Apparently not everyone realizes that Canada is another country, and you’re in it.

  • Marika

    I absolutely love your show! You’re both accomplished, funny, intelligent and personable- most undeserving of this hate mail!

  • Gillian

    I am sorry you have received negative ‘feedback’. I enjoy your shows and where else on television are cookbooks rated and recipes followed?

  • Allison C.

    I love your show. I wish you had new episodes because I miss both of you.
    I have purchased a few of the cookbooks you have recommended.
    Don’t ever change, your the best!c

  • Joel Teller

    Love the show, love both of you.
    Just discovered the show — I get it via antenna in my area.

  • Haveyouseen

    What bores these people are! You are both hilarious and smart women whom I would immediately welcome into my circle of girlfriends. Hoping for some new episodes soon!

  • Stephanie R. Brown

    I LOVE your all’s show!!!! I work out while I watch it, & it’s just the right combination of real, funny, educating, challenging, & inspiring, to improve my workout! I’ve been cooking/baking since I was 10 years old, but I’ve never branched away from southern basics like casseroles, breads, & crockpot dishes. So, to learn about the best tools, foods, & books to use to branch out, is hugely helpful! Not to mention, y’all are very easy for me to relate to. I’m a 29yr old wife and mother, & (as “silly” as this may sound) I’m a healthy body weight & feel encouraged that I can keep it that way AND cook and enjoy the foods you all select for the show. I’ve also recently dug into improving my style, beyond blue jeans & a T-Shirt, so yall’s style even adds to the show! Thank you for letting the negative comments roll off your backs & continuing to produce my favorite show!!
    Best Regards,
    Stephanie Brown
    Decatur, Texas

  • danitzza

    I just want to let you guys know that I really like your shows.8 And is because I identify with you in the kitchen. I have try I lot of recipes that I think are very easy and I think I am very capable of doing it but in the end is not true. Things happen at the kitchen when you have no training. All those heaters shouldn’t watch your show. There are cooking channels host by Chefs that they can watch. They don’t have any mistakes because they edit a lot or they do everything in advance. As they say the magic of tv. You are very kind to take the time to respond to all those haters. Keep doing what you guys are doing you are great.

  • Debbe

    My husband and I watch all the time – new or repeats, we don’t care. Husband always says “no one can be that bad in the kitchen, or who wouldn’t know that” etc. I say “But that’s the point. They’re testing the cookbook and if it doesn’t say DON’T grease the angel food pan then they will because that’s what you do with cake pans. They only do what the book tells them.” A good cookbook should give you precise instructions so the novice or experienced cook can produce a quality product Keep it up ladies!

  • Brandon

    Congratulations to these two! They’ve obviously done well for themselve’s. If I were a betting man I would bet that they’ve done much better than the majority of people who criticize them. I’ve seen the show and understand where people are coming from, but let’s put things into perspective. First of all, it makes sense to play on appearances. I think it’s reasonable to suggest that many people watch because the women are attractive in their own right. And it wouldnt make great television if everything went along smoothly. This is television, where everything is edited to create the most appealing product. It’s clear that the show plays off of their failures in the kitchen, and the fact that these women rub some people the wrong way is one of the many reasons for the show’s success.

  • Gillian

    I always enjoy Grocery Bags and think you two do an amazing job under stressful conditions! But I would love to know why, when the guest chef arrives, do you all try the food standing up? Once I think I saw you serve your guest at a table. Seems odd to just stand around a counter when you’ve usually cooked a proper meal.

  • Roxanne Rollings

    I love you both and I think I’ve watched every episode of Grocery Bags at least once. Any new TV projects in the works? Roxanne

  • Frank Hubert

    I have been watching your shows for awhile now. It’s very entertaining and useful. As a professional Chef I commend you for inviting chefs to try your food. We can be a fickle bunch!!

  • Deborah Porter

    I have been watching you for years. I now look forward to 7 on OWN (Collingwood ON)and watch back to back. I giggle, relax and chill. I wish i was younger and would ask to be your BFF. You ladies make me happy and I wish I was in the kitchen with you. When you laugh and curse (just you Anna) I relate (Kristina you are devilishly sweet). Keep up the great entertainment

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Thanks Deborah!

  • Judi A

    I love you two really but sometimes I wish you would pick cookbooks and recipes that are more in my wheelhouse. As an example, today the show on my TV is “Mexican Cooking”, a course so difficult and time-consuming even experienced that Mexican chefs refuse to make it.” Not really what I need to learn…Like I say, I love watching you because you are both so real and delightful, I hope you don’t mind the feedback.

  • Patricia Wilson

    I have seen every episode twice and three times. I wish you’d make more, there are tons more cookbook that have been released and need reviewing! I’ve bought my most favorite books on your recommendations, I appreciate your point of view and your honesty about the contents of the books. To quote Dickens “Can I have some more please?” (Ok, so it’s not quite right, but you get the idea)

  • Ex-Haney Guy

    My wife and I’ve been long time fans, back to when you started the “Shopping Bags” I think you’re both hot and my wife thinks you pretty cool and sophisticated. I especially like the Canadian connection, despite the American chefs and trips to NYC. I like how much poise and fun you both have with these “celebrities”. Also fun is how you needle each other, like genuine long-time friends or even sisters do. Okay, now, if you could, perhaps you’ve not had time, but; should this shown in the states and for education purposes, keep the Canadian content evident. Icing sugar (CDN) and confectioner’s sugar(US), green onions(CDN) and scallions(US),HHHHHherb-pronounce the “h”(CDN) and ‘erb(US)-[my mum says so-she’s Canadian],and remember; it’s only in the US where they say “Leewtenant”-the rest of the English speaking world says”Left-tenant. This is to educate both countries.

    My wife, my kids ( and their mum ) all cook well ,I like to cook, but they’re better. So, you show, your product testing and your cookbook assessments are all much appreciated. And of course your personalities.

    (Also, take your shoes off when you enter a house, buckle up your seatbelts in a car or truck and, fasten up your motorcycle helmet when you wear one.) The last bit is just for you two; as role models, eh?

    Cheers and Thank You both.