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.


Food news roundup

Great cooking runs in the family for Mildred Council, the founder of Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill, N.C. The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) has an article on food projects by her daughter and granddaughter here. Mama Dip’s has been offering fried chicken, fried green tomato biscuits and greens for 34 years.

Part-time carnivores, flexitarians – whatever you want to call them, more people are going meatless…sometimes. The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer says that eating habits aren’t either-or anymore. Reasons for occasional vegetarians include health and finances. Read more here. The article is also in The News & Observer.

Stop the presses – or the bytes, since we’re on the Internet here. Hot news from the Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.): We’re drinking more wine. Well, you have to do something if you’re eating less meat. Read more here.

Being frugal didn’t start with the current recession. Food cultures all over the world have ways to use leftovers, and fried rice is a big one. The Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal has tips on making the dish here. One secret: Don’t use freshly made rice.

I often sigh in relief when I remember, at the prospect of a busy day, that I have my slow-cooker. JanNorris.com has a great-sounding recipe for chicken with artichokes.

Root vegetable gratin anyone? LeitesCulinaria has your cheesy needs. I’m drawn to photographs of anything covered in crusty, browned, drippy cheese. The dairy-allergic Hub means I am so deprived. Drool.

Back to those plant eaters. The Portland Oregonian has slow-cooker recipes for vegans. Yes, beans. Read more here.

You may not want to look at these pictures of Paula Deen on the Today Show blog before eating. Note how she never spills a drop of that red wine.