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Paula Deen: Bringing GayPatriot Readers Together

Before I drove cross country in 2010, I had never heard of Southern cooking diva Paula Deen, but I credit her for the harmony of our readers’ dinner in Atlanta that spring.  You see, when we gathered in that august town, I was concerned; one of our critics (with whom I have corresponded at least since 2006) would be joining us — along with two of our most outspoken conservative readers, one who, two years after the 2008 election, still sported a McCain-Palin sticker (with the Arizona Senator’s name removed) on his truck.

I had feared I might have to play peacemaker.  Well, I didn’t have to.  I don’t know how Paula Deen came up, but as soon as she did, all my Atlanta readers found something to talk about — how they delighted in this diva, enjoying her books, TV show and recipes.  They discussed which ones they had tried and home and celebrated her appreciation for butter.  Paula Deen, in short, bridged the political divide.

Aware of this woman’s capacity to foster harmony, my ears naturally perked up when my correspondent James Richardson alerted me this weekend to an article he wrote, taking to task “Northern” food critics who would bring this Southern diva down:

“Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later,” [New York-based foodie Anthony] Bourdain said Tuesday. He has also previously called Deen the “worst, most dangerous person to America” for her country cooking indulgence. Even 2011 James Beard winner Jose Andres said that Dean should “endorse a vegetable or fruit” instead of a diabetes drug.

But the Bronx cheer for apparent chef-turned-rebel terrorist Deen, a prototypical Southern mother with a lifetime’s recipes of irredeemably deep-fried dishes, is less a reflection of the culinary elitism that runs through Bourdain’s vice-ridden travelogues than the regionalist snobbery that fuels its appeal.

. . . .

From food to faith, the mythic Dixie–soulful and abundant, passionate and insubmissive–has always clashed with the rigidly cosmopolitan north, which keeps an ever watchful eye on we, her unlearned, drawling wards.

Yet the northern perspective of the South amounts to little more than a crude distillation of the most specious of stereotypes, the uncouth yang to their cultured yin. Reserving unparalleled contempt for the region’s myths and manners, fundamental to northern exceptionalism is the notion of southern inadequacy.

It’s all about bashing the South then, is it?  (Read the whole thing.)

Jazz Shaw suggests that Bourdain is a bit hypocritical in his disdain for Deen, given his own cholestoral problems.

I don’t know much about Paula Deen’s cooking, but do commend her for bringing GayPatriot blog readers with different political perspectives together — no small feat for those who have so much as skimmed our comments section.

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20 Comments

  1. I thank you, and my truck thanks you! You know, I still get waves, thumbs up and friendly beeps from people following me…

    I barely remember discussing Ms. Deen that evening, the conversation was terrific! Come on back to ATL soon!

    Comment by The Other Peter H — January 25, 2012 @ 7:01 pm - January 25, 2012

  2. Personally. I don’t understand all the hate directed at Ms.Dean. Once in a great while, I make a shrimp dish I got from, Ms.Dean, that my wife swoons over. The dish is very rich but when you keep in mind that I’m too manly to cook more than bi-annually, what’s the problem? I’d say the hate from the foody elite has more to do with, Ms.Dean, being a traditionalist than anything else.

    P.S. I hope she responds well to her therapy and keeps cooking and making people happy.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 25, 2012 @ 7:55 pm - January 25, 2012

  3. I’ve been to The Lady & Sons; it was good food, but most of the people were starstruck eating at the restaurant. Since I’ve grown up on Southern food, I wasn’t dazzled by the Lady & Sons. I only got into the restaurant because I went on the Paula Deen tour; it’s booked otherwise.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — January 25, 2012 @ 7:58 pm - January 25, 2012

  4. Donna always liked Paula Dean. I never got much out of the cooking shows.

    And if course the hard drinking chain smoking Bored dain lectuing anyone is icing on the cake.

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 25, 2012 @ 8:44 pm - January 25, 2012

  5. I always felt people like Bourdain engaged in “food snobbery” but there is a good point made about regional snobbery playing an important role in this whole issue. She didn’t go to Cordon Bleu or work her way up through tony New York restaurants to become a “chef”. So they think she didn’t “earn” her success simply because she didn’t use the route that northeasterners and others believe is the way you “pay your dues”. She sold bag lunches to local office workers, eventually running a hotel restaurant before opening her own place. And her bubbly personality and personal drive took her to a national prominence that they resent.
    “Food snobs” like Bourdain ought to look a little closer at the ingredient lists those “chefs” at those expensive NYC places use. It’s a lot of the same rich sauces, BUTTER, and high-calorie ingredients that PD uses.

    Comment by jimmy — January 25, 2012 @ 8:45 pm - January 25, 2012

  6. So, let me get this straight. self-confessed heroin user Anthony Bourdain is denouncing Paula Deen for cooking with butter?

    What is he jealous that Methadone doesn’t offer celebrity endorsement deals.

    Comment by V the K — January 25, 2012 @ 9:26 pm - January 25, 2012

  7. Before I drove cross country in 2010, I had never heard of Southern cooking diva Paula Deen

    RINO!

    Comment by Bruce (GayPatriot) — January 25, 2012 @ 10:05 pm - January 25, 2012

  8. We say grace an’ we say ma’am an’ if you ain’t into that we don’t give a damn. – Bocephus

    Comment by TGC — January 25, 2012 @ 11:21 pm - January 25, 2012

  9. I joke a lot that, as a Texan, I am not really a Southerner – I’m a Texan. We like to think we’re a different breed. There are some things that I would agree with everyone in the South on, however: you Yankees need to just git on home, now.

    Comment by Mel Maguire — January 25, 2012 @ 11:51 pm - January 25, 2012

  10. the hard drinking chain smoking Bored dain

    How about somebody create a side-by-side pic of Bourdain and Joe Camel.

    Comment by TGC — January 26, 2012 @ 12:36 am - January 26, 2012

  11. I don’t actually fix her recipes, most of which are lusciously fattening. I live vicariously by feasting on them in my imagination.

    My imagination doesn’t get fat, so it works out very well.

    Comment by Lori Heine — January 26, 2012 @ 12:51 am - January 26, 2012

  12. For Thanksgiving, we made Paula Deen’s squash casserole. It was, in a word, amazing.

    Comment by V the K — January 26, 2012 @ 5:38 am - January 26, 2012

  13. I love Paula Deen. From what I know of her life story, I would think libprog “feminist” types would applaud her.

    Her food is good. Her personality is charming and bubbly. And it doesn’t hurt that her sons are GOOD LOOKIN’.

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — January 26, 2012 @ 11:54 am - January 26, 2012

  14. Food snobs are now joined by the food police to attack taste, literally and figuratively.

    If Paula Deen can deep fry Ben and Jerry’s Heart Attack ice cream, coat it with molasses basted bacon chips and pack the whole thing in heavy whipped cream, so what? There is no food snob hectoring you into eating it and no food police holding a gun to your head forcing you to ingest it.

    The elites will never, ever “approve” of plebeian idiosyncrasies. But, let Paula Deen show up with diabetes and it is immediately akin to a fundamentalist saying God sent Katrina against New Oleans. Divine justice and all that. The atheist elite liberals are quick to serve up a heavy dose of “served you right.” They just don’t use God as their superior source. Their own superior moral relativism is, for them, omnipotent.

    Comment by Heliotrope — January 26, 2012 @ 12:49 pm - January 26, 2012

  15. Paula Deen is a DEMOCRAT.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/40-celebrities-who-are-democrats

    She’s featured an episode where she visited President Jimmy Carter and his wife. Paula Deen did an episode with Michelle Obama, and supports the First Lady’s “gardening initiative.”

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/yeas-nays/2011/10/paula-dean-michelle-obama-likes-fried-food-too

    Comment by James — January 26, 2012 @ 1:47 pm - January 26, 2012

  16. @James

    And? Just shows that sex with children is fine, (wo)man slaughter is fine, running the country into the ground is fine, but fatty foods? That’s a reason to be excommunicated!

    Comment by The Livewire — January 26, 2012 @ 2:04 pm - January 26, 2012

  17. Paula had another program on Food Network, Puala Deen´s Party. She would have guests to parrticipate in preparing a dish or two. My favorite was when Mark Indelicato was her guest. I felt that he was gay right from the beginning. Then in the final season of Ugly Betty, in the fifth from the last episode his acting school classmate kissed him, it was coming out time and in the forth from last they kissed again and were going steady. I felt that as Justin and Austin, they were giving support to gay teens. Since Justin´s (Mark) family were latinos and accepting his being gay, it had to groundbreaking for young latinos/as. I have heard familias say ¨Prefiero tener una hija puta que un hijo maricon.¨ I prefer to have a daughter who is a whore than a son who is queer.¨

    Comment by Roberto — January 26, 2012 @ 3:25 pm - January 26, 2012

  18. Paula didn’t always live in Savannah. She is from Albany, which is close to Plains, GA, which is of course where Jimmy Carter is from. She actually visited with him in an episode of her show (they cooked a little bit, they chatted) and it was obvious she was starstruck not because of his politics, but because he was a “local person” who had risen to POTUS. Heck, I’m from Savannah (a long way from Albany) and though I dislike Carter’s foreign policy comments and what he diod in general as POTUS, I would be tickled to meet him simply because he’s one of the only national-level politicians that rural Georgia has spawned.

    I would not want to eat dinner with him, though…even I have standards.

    Comment by jimmy — January 26, 2012 @ 7:54 pm - January 26, 2012

  19. [...] my figure was to stop watching Paula Deen’s cooking shows. But I have to love and admire her. She brings people together and makes them feel at home. And as dear Fausta reminds us, you didn’t get fat because of Paula [...]

    Pingback by How to improve Paula Deen’s ‘The Lady’s Brunch Burger’ — Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian — January 27, 2012 @ 2:49 pm - January 27, 2012

  20. I used to enjoy Paula when she cooked in her producer’s kitchen (loved that oven!) But, alas…I lost interest as she competed with the Barefoot Contessa on who could be more fake. As a proud member of GRITS (Girls Raised in the South), I found her sudden overuse of “yall” and “son” when she was cooking with her boys just down right grating.

    Could care less about her food…I have cooked that way all of my life. But, it did get my own mama (a good ole girl from TN) to start working on losing her weight to avoid Type II. So, golf clap Paula.

    Anthony B is just a toad…I immediately began to ignore him when he decided to visit Lebanon while Hezbollah was firing their missiles into Israel…and he made it all about their “fight for freedom”…made me *Gag* just like his pretentious NYC cooking. Thanks, Anthony…I grew up loving homemade cinnamon toast with BUTTER, SUGAR, WONDERBREAD, and a dash of cinnamon. Butter and sugar samiches…yum. I will keep them and you can keep your government dictated sodium levels in your big city food.

    Comment by hellocat — January 27, 2012 @ 9:49 pm - January 27, 2012

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