Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin'
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Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin'

4.2 45
by Paula Deen, Sherry Suib Cohen
     
 

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• Fans love Paula Deen: Paula Deen: It Ain’t About the Cookin’ spent over 3 months on the New York Times bestseller list: there are over 500,000 hardcovers in print..

• A superstar author: Paula Deen is an American icon. She is one of the most popular hosts on the Food Network and with more than 6 million

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Overview

• Fans love Paula Deen: Paula Deen: It Ain’t About the Cookin’ spent over 3 months on the New York Times bestseller list: there are over 500,000 hardcovers in print..

• A superstar author: Paula Deen is an American icon. She is one of the most popular hosts on the Food Network and with more than 6 million books in print, an expanding restaurant empire, her own line of furniture, cookware, and tableware, Paula’s fame and retail power will only continue to grow..

• Rags-to-riches, the real Paula Deen: Starting with only $200 and plenty of faith and courage, Paula achieved success beyond her wildest dreams. She speaks to readers as frankly about her struggles along the way, including her difficult first marriage and her battle with agoraphobia. .

• Fairy tale marriage: Paula gives all the details on the romance with tugboat captain Michael Groover that captured the hearts of fans across the country. .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Anyone who's ever watched, mesmerized, as the author of this memoir panfries a pork chop on the Food Network will find lots to savor in her down-home life story. Deen, the sunny host of Paula's Home Cookingand the author of three cookbooks, relates the collapse of her first marriage, her surprising fight with agoraphobia and the rise of her Savannah restaurant, The Lady & Sons, with candor, good humor and mouthwatering descriptions of Southern food. Of her husband's favorite dish, Sexy Oxtails, Deen writes, "It is a loving dish; a hearty, lip-smacking dish; and those tails are better than a passionate kiss." Yes, she includes the simple, savory recipe alongside favorites like belly-filling Shaggy Man Split Pea Soup, salty-sweet Pan-Fried Corn and addictive Biscuits and Sawmill Gravy. Deen writes the way she talks-lots of ain'ts, darlings and honeys-but the effect is charming and disarmingly upfront. On her early Food Network success, she says, "I was not a size 2, but instead a sassy, roundish, white-headed cook. Women could identify with me... I could be them, and they could be me." She's absolutely right; when Deen has turned the last of life's lemons into Southern-sweet lemonade, readers may want to stand up and cheer, or maybe just tuck into a big, celebratory plate of pork chops. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
Food network star Deen gets out of the kitchen; with an eight-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439163351
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
11/03/2009
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
531,588
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

TERROR WITH NO NAME

What did I have, what was makin' me so scared that my heart about beat out of my chest? I just knew I was gonna die, knew my heart couldn't stand this kind of pressure, and it had happened too many times before. Almost every last time I had to go outside by myself, that panic would start in and drop me to my knees. Couldn't breathe, couldn't stop trembling. I felt weak and nauseated and dizzy, and I just knew I was gonna die in front of other people. If I dropped over in public, think how horribly humiliatin' it would be.

But, oh Lord, the magnolias smelled so damn good out my window, and all morning I'd been fixin' to take my eleven-year-old son, Jamie, to baseball practice. After, I figured I'd hang out at the mall store in the housewares section, then maybe go strollin' for a bit, just to breathe deep some of that sweet Georgia air. I wanted to walk through my door so bad and maybe today I could do it; maybe today I could go outside.

There would be no breathin' deep, no goin' outside. The thought of outside grabbed my gut like a 'coon grabs a chicken. I started to sweat and my arms lost all feeling, like they belonged on someone else. At the very least, I was likely to faint at any moment. Would there be someone to see me, someone who would catch me if one of those panicky attacks came back and I lost control and fainted outside? Oh, my stars, I was frightened silly.

It was 1978, and I was thirty-one years old. Was this the day I was finally going to die, the day I'd secretly been waiting for and dreading ever since my daddy passed almost thirteen years ago now?

Well, maybe not, if I stopped thinking of going outside.

You're safe, Paula, I told myself. You're safe inside this house. No one's makin' you go out, you won't die today. Fact is — don't you remember — y'all canceled the boys' after-school stuff for the whole year.

What sickness did I have? What had happened to me? My terror had no name — least none I'd ever heard. I was alone with it. So scared about goin' outside.

It wasn't always this way.

Copyright © 2007 by Paula Deen

Foreword

I never call myself a chef. Never went to Chef School. Never made a Blanquette de Veau. Never met a boxed cake mix I didn't like.

I'm a cook. Learned at my grandmomma's stove. But I can cook, honey, cook rings around those tall-white-hatted chefs.

My fried chicken, my grits — oh my stars, you'll think you died and went to heaven.

Like everyone else on this earth, there's a story behind the cook, behind the recipes, behind the woman.

So, y'all, here is what the publisher calls my memoirs.

How did they come about? Well, I've written five cookbooks, and after each one, I got thousands of letters from people asking about my personal life, not just my life with grits. Until now, I haven't been about ready to do that. Maybe if you heard the truth about Paula Deen, about the mistakes I made in my life, how bad my judgment's been at times, and how guilty I still feel because my mothering wasn't always so wonderful...well, maybe you wouldn't be quite as lovin' to me as you have been. And that would kill me.

If I could get back one wrong I did to my family, if I could choose some words I could take back and eat 'em down so they would never have seen the light, it would be the day I told my son Jamie I hated him. I can barely write those words now. I love my sons more than life, but we were in the heat of the battle of starting a restaurant business, trying to get all those people fed, and I felt like Jamie was pulling against me, rather than with me. If I could only live that day over, oh, I would. You'd better believe I learned that the spoken word can never be taken back. Sure, you can apologize for it, but you and the person you hurt will never, ever forget. Forgive, maybe, if you're real lucky.

I've asked for a lot of forgiveness in my life and I've given it as well. You know what? In church, they always tell you to forgive your enemies. Seems to me it's even harder to forgive our loved ones and friends, but it's much more important to do so because it's the people we love who can hurt us the most. The terrible thing I said to Jamie taught me to speak with more care and try not to let my instinct for survival get me so mad I'll give pain to someone close to me. But can you imagine me, a mother who loves her boys beyond love, saying such a thing to her own child?

I'll tell you something else: in all the things that have been written about me, there's something that's been left out of the tellin'. I'm a smoker. There, I said it. Hardly anyone outside my family knows that, and it embarrasses me because it's an addiction I can't be quit of, though I try every day. They say Jackie Kennedy was a chain smoker, but she would never allow herself to be photographed with a cigarette — and I get that real well because I also try my damndest to see that no one takes my picture with one. I love my fans so much and I hate to disappoint them; to see me with such a weakness will surely upset them. I still need to walk into a room where they're waiting with my head up.

But suddenly, somehow, it's time to show and tell — warts and all. I plan to tell some hard secrets in these pages, but it's taken a long time to get up the nerve to do so. Try ten years. Maybe twenty.

Mostly, I want to share with you that I'm livin' proof that the American dream is alive and well, that you can be an imperfect person and still end up with so much fun in your life you can hardly stand it. I'm prayin' that if even one of you out there gets some inspiration from the way my own American dream turned into reality, it'll be worth playing true confessions here.

You should know this: you gotta be willin' to work for that American dream — work for it, and feel the passion. You gotta truly be in love with what you do. If you have a wild hair to fly a circus trapeze, to chug out to sea on a tug, to own a restaurant when you haven't much more than a dime to your name, or to search for true love even when you're no spring chicken — go for it. Sure, luck plays a part, but here's the thing: the harder I work, the luckier I get.

A warning: you may be a little shocked at some of the language in this book, and that's another weakness of mine. I tell people who come to my cooking class that sometimes I can be a little bawdy and I sure hope that don't upset them. But I'm my father's daughter, and I'm banking on one thing, and I'm not budging on this: my God has a sense of humor even if what I say has a four-letter word in it. I think He'd want me to laugh. What's in my heart is not irreverence but a full knowledge that God's laughing too.

So, this is a book wishin' you best dishes from my house to yours, but it's also a look into my home, my true life, my loves, and my Southern heart.

Copyright © 2007 by Paula Deen

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Meet the Author

Paula Deen is the bestselling author of thirteen books and an Emmy Award–winning Food Network television star. She was born and raised in Albany, Georgia. She later moved to Savannah, where she started The Bag Lady catering company. The business took off and evolved into The Lady & Sons restaurant, which is located in Savannah’s historic district and specializes in Southern cooking. She also co-owns Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House with her brother. Paula publishes a bimonthly magazine, Cooking with Paula Deen, and is a regular guest on QVC, where she sells her books and food products.

Sherry Suib Cohen has written twenty-one books for major publishers and was a contributing editor at McCall's, Rosie, New Woman, and Lifetime magazines. She regularly writes for periodicals, including Parade, Family Circle, Redbook, Reader's Digest, and Ladies' Home Journal. Cohen is an award-winning member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and lives with her husband, Larry, in New York City. She makes a great soup.

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