The talk show host takes on being peppy, Oprah and unicorns

By Dan Snierson
October 13, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Rachael Ray is happy, all right — happy to dominate your world. The colossally convivial cook boasts four shows on Food Network (including 30 Minute Meals), a magazine (Every Day With Rachael Ray), a stack of best-selling cookbooks, a line of kitchen products, and her own voice-tones. She’s even extended her oven-gloved reach into daytime TV with the hit syndicated talk show Rachael Ray. Let’s set the blender to puree and whip up a fresh batch of Stupid Questions.

What is your mood today? Perky? Peppy? Vibrant? Vivacious? Upbeat? Bubbly? Cheerful? Sunny?
None of the above?

Really? Do I have a scoop here?
Yeah. I am over tired. And thirsty. And puffy-eyed. I haven’t had enough caffeine today to bring me back around to the perky.

On the Oct. 4 episode of Rachael Ray, you visited NASA and crafted meals to be shot into space. If one of your 30 Minute Meals traveled at the speed of light, wouldn’t it already have been eaten before it was even prepared, thus rendering you a time-warped fraud?
Luckily for me, I was always really bad at math, so I can’t answer that question for you. I’m a waitress who has no idea how to do those problems.

Can you at least tell us how many different ways Tang can be prepared?
Not sure. I’m afraid of deep-tissue massage, all blue food, and powdered anything.

What’s your craziest backstage-party anecdote from Food Network? We’re talking Emeril snorting lines of cumin, the Naked Chef doing watermelon body shots with you and Al Roker…
Sadly, I am all of the most embarrassing Food Network moments in one person. My first birthday at Food Network, I was taping, and they brought me out this big cake and I leaned in and I totally Michael Jackson’d myself. I set both sides of my hair on fire. At the same time. With my own birthday candles. I am a train wreck.

Do you ever worry that there can be only so much happiness in the universe, and that every time you smile, a unicorn gets punched in the face?
I would smile all day long, every day, if it guaranteed a unicorn getting punched in the face. I find them really annoying.

You’re tight with Oprah, who’s co-producing your new show. When you two run out of that girl-talk stuff, do you start making fun of all of us without media empires?
Oprah and I have a thing where she makes me lemon-drop martinis, and I’m always making her a new-and-improved champagne cocktail. So all we fight about is who’s already got their shoes off and who’s going to get up to get the next serving of whatever.

I tried the recipe for your famous You-Won’t-Be-Single-For-Long Vodka Cream Pasta, but not only am I still single, I’ve gained three pounds and have a hangover. What’s wrong with me?
You’re supposed to make it for somebody of the opposite or the same sex, depending on how you swim. You don’t sit at home, eat it, and let people pick up on the scent of it out in the street. You’ve got to rope one in, at least as far as the perimeter of your kitchen table. I can’t do everything.