About Paula Deen: Let it go

My sassy, tattooed friend Kat Kinsman over at Eatocracy offers an excellent take on the Paula Deen flap here. It’s a good read, and Kinsman brings in a lot of information to be dealing with someone who won’t give interviews.

I have been a little surprised at the amount of venom directed at Deen, after she revealed that, during years of promoting her butter-and-fat-soaked recipes, she had diabetes and then hooked her name up with a drug company. More serious are recent charges of discrimination and racism against her family business.

My biggest objection to her cookbooks is that they promote a stereotypical style of Southern cooking. Southern cooking has always been more than fatback and ham hocks, and is even more varied now as the South absorbs international influences. Flipping through her cookbooks is to enter a fantasy world, like going to a Jimmy Buffett concert. I love Buffett, but I know the man doesn’t go to Margaritaville every night (anymore) and neither do I. Once a year I can live the fantasy, but I can’t stay there.

I have no great admiration for Deen. I don’t have any for Martha Stewart either, but I’ll ask the same question about Deen that I did when Stewart was imprisoned for stock fraud: Would a man be treated the same way for the same offense?

And, people, if you’re going to get worked up about something, get angry about food deserts in our cities or kids going hungry or the lack of healthy food in schools. Deen isn’t worth it.


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2 Responses to “About Paula Deen: Let it go”

  • Comment from Beth K.

    Great perspective Debbie – thank you. I love your comparison to Margaritaville!

  • Comment from Sharon

    I have never been a fan of Paula Deen, but I am aware of her show through friends who are. Like you, the main problem I have with Deen is her depiction of Southern cooking.

    My maternal grandmother, who hailed from Duckhill, Mississippi, never in her life drank butter, made sandwiches out of donuts or deep fried macaroni and cheese.

    As you said, there is more to Southern cooking than fatback and hamhocks. And Paula Deen really does Southern cuisine an injustice by portraying it as this mess of concoctions that she displays to people who are unfamiliar with Southern cooking.

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