Friday, June 28, 2013

Paula, Paula, Paula

Tsk...tsk...tsk. I don't what to say. 

Yes, I do.

If I had what Paula Deen has you couldn't catch up with me because the last place I'd want to be is in a studio cooking!

Everyone is up in arms about racially-insenstive comments (and suggestions) that Paula Deen of The Food Network made...oh, I have no idea when. 

What's the problem?  Why would she lose so many contracts, left and right?

I have no preconceived notions about this woman.  I watched her shows from the very beginning and know her story, well.  (She referenced it quite a few times.) She came from nothing and grew an empire because she learned to cook from her Aunt Peggy, et al.  Nothing wrong with that.  It's the American Dream. 
Everyone followed her like she was made of gold, because she was!  Golden butter, yellow cheese, bacon, mayonnaise, and, if anything stood still long enough, it would be battered and deep-fried! Then Brother Bubba and her boys jumped on the bandwagon with his oysters and it was ON!

My husband began watching her show with me.  We found her mildly amusing, sometimes interesting, but mostly, I would sit and I'd take mental notes of recipes while Hubby drooled.

"That woman could KILL a man!", he exclaimed once.  That was my light bulb moment.  I want my husband to live!

So, I would 'tweak' the recipes to suit us, of course. Sometimes, I'd go all out on Holidays or occasional Sunday and make it exactly how she showed her audience. I can't say it didn't taste really good.

My problem with Paula Deen is not what she's said or done.  Look.  The woman was raised a long time ago in the Southern States of the U.S. around racists, bigots, whatever, during a time when African-Americans had little value, in their eyes.  Some were good friends to Blacks, some just friendly, some used us, some tolerated our presence on the planet, some 'stole' recipes from Blacks.  Whatever.  I expected actions like using the 'N-word' was going on in her personal life.  No biggie.  Didn't hurt my feelings at all.

It's how she was raised.  Kind of like whoever raised the woman in front of me in the theater tonight rubbing her bare feet on the back of the seat in front of her, playing with her toes, and rubbing and scratching at her foot.  Let's talk food!
I've BEEN to her restaurant in Savannah, Georgia.  The lines can circle the block with fat people dying (pun intended) to get it.  We, mistakenly, chose the trough, I mean, buffet for dinner. Everything tasted of salt. But it was Paula's and we were excited as we left past the gift shop.

We even tried Bubba's restaurant.  The food was better there and had just enough people, which meant the food was better there!

My problem is that for years Paula (being naive?) encouraged Americans to eat with MORE butter, MORE sugar, MORE salt, MORE fried, MORE dipped, MORE gravy, MORE MORE MORE!  That was the last thing we need in the Western World is to be told to eat more, and eat more food that'll kill you, eventually. The perfect storm.

I guess her radar never detected that there was a world outside of hers actually hungry and starving.  I'll leave that alone for now, except to say there's kids with cable television and no food in the house watching her and others like her.  That's gotta hurt.

She would enjoy the tastes of the food she made on the program like it was, well, porn.  It was funny yet disturbing at the same time to watch that.  She finally had to confess to the world that she'd developed diabetes.  Hm. 

Paula continued cooking.  She had African-American cooks on her show (in anticipation?).  She joked and played around as if to say, "See? I'm a good person! I like EVERYbody!) But in hushed tones told her boys not to think to bring a black woman home to marry.  That last part is a guess and hopefully, a wrong one.

I think Paula Deen encouraged poor health and for viewers to desire more of what they know is wrong for them.  Even as she began to cook lighter meals after the diabetes-bust, her own cravings didn't stop her from making and tasting desserts, etc.  It's her decision to obey or disobey her doctor's orders.  Her son went on to his own show during which he makes 'diet food' and challenges Mama if she likes it or not. She pretends to. His heart, I believe, is in the right place.  He wants her to live, of course!  If he can get on TV and help others, great.  But know that people are only watching because of her cameo appearances.

I believe people have been too hard on her in the press.  Her fans, however, are being too easy.  When I watch, for example, Jacques Pepin, I learn from him.  He uses the same ingredients, frequently, as Paula.  But he presents a beautiful, healthful, normal (read: smaller) portion of a meal that I think I'd enjoy more.  Paula, however, is literally 'feeding' into this slogan of "More is Better" we have here.  More's elder brothers and sisters are Bigger, Better, and Faster.  Perhaps, you've heard of them?  None of them get you where you want to be, in reality, but promise a lot.

Paula has become an extremely wealthy woman due to her personality and as a cook (not chef), which is fantastic.  This is the point when she should sit down somewhere or take a vacation and enjoy her life with her husband.  No one ever said she had to be like Rachael (Energizer Bunny) Ray and have 10 shows simultaneously, 5 books out every other month, create dog foods, sponsor everything, and have a talk show.  Relax.  Anything from this point on that Paula signs up for is exhibiting pride and vanity.  And we, Christians, all know neither has a worth in our lives.

I don't feel sorry for her and won't protest corporations that are dropping her like she burned down an orphanage. She has enough money.  She has a husband and a family.  She has fine homes and gets to travel the world.  Thinking of it, she has more than the larger population does but it just doesn't seem to be enough for her.  If it were, she wouldn't be all over the place with looking pitiful and tweeting and interviewing, and talking about much she's losing.

How much is enough, Paula?

But Paula's done nothing wrong, really.  If we each were fired everytime we said or did something stupid, the world would come to a halt.  I wish her blessings in her new endeavors which I hope don't include the spotlight.

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