I’m a Southern girl. I will fry anything. Chicken, pork chops, okra, squash, and even pickles. It’s true that Southern cooking tends to be a bit heavy on the butter and deep fat frying, but honestly, every Southern cook I know whips up healthier meals than Paula Deen.
So after pushing sugar and butter for years, Deen has come out as a diabetic after being paid to push diabetes medication. It’s kind of like encouraging someone to cut off their foot and then selling them a prosthetic. Of course, a lot of people are upset by this news, including Deen fans, such as this caps-happy blogger. Anthony Bourdain has been a critic of Deen’s cooking and isn’t remaining silent now:
When your signature dish is hamburger in between a doughnut, and you’ve been cheerfully selling this stuff knowing all along that you’ve got Type 2 Diabetes. … It’s in bad taste if nothing else.
I’ll admit I’ve bought Paula Deen desserts on a rare occasion, but I am not one of her fangirls. Her cooking is lacking in that old Pagan tenet of moderation in all things, and hardly representative of real Southern food.
Growing up my plate was heaped with veggies, and with cornbread that didn’t contain sugar. Salads were a regular thing, and there was an emphasis on foods that weren’t greasy. Fresh fruits were a treat and vine-ripe tomatoes were our decadent indulgence. We didn’t put sugar on our grits, although I’ll admit to drinking syrupy sweet tea a time or two.
Paula Deen is just irresponsible. Like she says, Type II diabetes isn’t a death sentence, but it’s also a horrible disease that’s very preventable. I’ve known women like Paula Deen who have willingly eaten themselves sick. It’s a sad state of affairs.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend I don’t love bacon, chocolate and Southern sweet tea. I do, and I eat things I shouldn’t. I’m also not going to tell you to eat buckets of butter and sugar with a flippant “Honey, I’m your cook, not your doctor.”
Almost every Pagan I know is a good cook. I sometimes think instead of a creed, we espouse a potluck. One of things I love about Pagan feasts is that the pound cake sits cheek-by-jowl with the grilled veggies. There are whole grain vegan dishes sharing a table with fried pork chops. And when people go to fill their plates, they take a little bit of each.
Everything in moderation. Respect yourself. Benefit yourself.
Those are Delphic maxims, Pagan wisdom thousands of years old. Paula Deen could have done with a little ancient wisdom. Because all that money is cold comfort when you find yourself facing a daily injection.