What have you done, Paula Deen, Paula Deen?

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.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • Alan Sheridan

    *applause*

    I’m not Southern, but I love bacon, butter, and sugar.  I’m a hedonistic foodie, and not a bit apologetic for it.  I also love raw veggies and fruit, whole grains, and other healthy foods.  I exercise daily so that I *can* enjoy my food without putting my health at risk.  I’ve been appalled by Paula Deen’s recipes in the past, because I thought they were just insanely over-sugared.

    I know the old line “your body is a temple” annoys some people, but the way I look at it, my body (and my life) is a gift from the gods, as well as my parents.  In order to show my appreciation for that gift, I need to take care of it AND enjoy it.  It’s not difficult to do both  :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000451145781 MrsBs Confessions

    I love sweet tea and frying things in bacon fat.  But I sure as crap wouldn’t hide something like this while telling people to eat like she does.  I’m not a huge fan of Paul Deen in the first place, but she so could have handled this better.  If she’d have come out sooner and said she was going to work at changing her style, she would have probably gained some fans.  

  • PhaedraHPS

    This is a good example of what happens when you become a brand. I’m sure she had people advising her not to change anything for fear of her numbers slipping.

  • LezlieKinyon

    You are so lucky to be in a Pagan community where everyone is a good cook.  I really can’t remember the last time we had a good feast hereabouts!  As the culinary arts are my avocation  I can see both sides of this controversy. (I keep a blog: http://www.lezlie1.wordpress.com) -But- Paula Deen’s show is really over the top *and* sometimes one wants a dish that’s really over the top on the menu. 
    I can see the conflicts, and, yes, she is a cook, not a doctor.  For my part: even though I can’t eat (anymore) a lot of things, I still prepare them for my friends & occasional clients.  My good friends from NoLA do serious Southern cooking and after a heart-scare (angina) have begun the “basic Mediterranean”  approach.   It’s interesting to see them reorganize all sorts of traditional southern fare with healthier techniques.  (I’ll be talking a bout some of this on my blog soon.) 

  • Sunweaver

    I’m a Southern Kitchen Witch myself (as well as Hellenic polytheist) and have so often been horrified at the kind of things she fixes. It’s not representative of Southern food. This:

    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.

    is much closer to my experience. I grew up in the hills of East TN and this is exactly how we ate. It’s how I eat now and how I feed my family.

  • http://hellenicpolytheist.wordpress.com/ Pythia Theocritos


    “Honey, I’m your cook, not your doctor.”

    I’m gonna have to agree with Mrs. Deen on this one. I love her show and watch it religiously but I have never cooked anything off of it.  Sometimes it’s just nice to see someone get rich and decadent with their cooking.

    It’s not Paula Deen’s job to police what I eat and there are plenty of healthy cooking shows on the Food Network. These T.V. chefs aren’t supposed to be people’s role models. It’s a sad thing that she has diabetes, but right now she’s the one having to live with it and if someone else is diagnosed because they didn’t have the common sense to NOT eat everything she makes in large quantities? 

    That’s kind of pathetic on their part.


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