Paula Deen: Paula Deen

Overview

Do you know the real Paula Deen? You may think you know the butter-loving, finger-licking, joke-cracking queen of melt-in-your-mouth Southern cuisine. You may have even visited The Lady & Sons to taste for yourself the down-home delicacies that made her famous and even heard some version of her Cinderella story (a single mom with two teenage sons started a brown-bag lunch business with $200 and wound up with a thriving restaurant, a fairy-tale second marriage, and wildly popular television shows), but you ...
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2007 Hardcover N jacket New Hardcover with dust jacket, clean, tight, unmarked, (Fine with Fine Dust Jacket). Jacket has light edge wear. () Do you know the real Paula Deen? ... You may think you know the butter-loving, finger-licking, joke-cracking queen of melt-in-your-mouth Southern cuisine. You may have even visited The Lady & Sons to taste for yourself the down-home delicacies that made her famous and even heard some version of her Cinderella story (a single mom with two teenage sons started a brown-bag lunch busines. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Do you know the real Paula Deen? You may think you know the butter-loving, finger-licking, joke-cracking queen of melt-in-your-mouth Southern cuisine. You may have even visited The Lady & Sons to taste for yourself the down-home delicacies that made her famous and even heard some version of her Cinderella story (a single mom with two teenage sons started a brown-bag lunch business with $200 and wound up with a thriving restaurant, a fairy-tale second marriage, and wildly popular television shows), but you have never heard the intimate details of her often bumpy road to fame and fortune.

Courageously honest, downright inspiring, and just a little bit saucy, Paula shares the highs and lows of her life in the inimitable charming and irreverent style that you know from her television shows and personal appearances. She talks about long childhood summers spent in a bathing suit and roller skates and hard years living in the back of her father's gas station; a buzzing high school social life of sleepovers, parties, cheerleading, and boys; and a difficult marriage. The death of her beloved parents precipitated a debilitating agoraphobia that crippled her for years. But even when the going got tough, Paula never lost the good grace and sense of humor that would eventually help carry her to success and stardom. Of course, you can't get by on charm alone: as Paula has learned, you need plenty of willpower, hard work, and, above all, the love and support of family and friends to finance, sustain, and run a successful restaurant.

In each chapter, Paula shares new recipes: there's serious comfort food like her momma's Chocolate-Dippy Doughnuts, Courage Chili for when you know life's going to get tough, Sexy Oxtails for seducing that special someone, and the recipe for her new mother-in-law's Banana Nut Delight Cake that Paula finally got just right. And you'll love the never-before-seen photos of her family.

In this memoir, Paula Deen speaks as frankly and intimately as few women in the public eye have ever dared. Whether she's telling tales of good times or bad, her story is proof that the old-fashioned American dream is alive and kicking, and there still is such a thing as a real-life happy ending.

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  • It Ain't All About the Cookin'
    It Ain't All About the Cookin'  

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

In this richly emotional culinary memoir, Deen, the author of three best-selling cookbooks, star of a popular Food Network television show, and the owner of the celebrated Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, GA, shares her life story. Writing in a warm, comfortable, and occasionally salty style, Deen talks about everything from her decades-long battle with agoraphobia and her troubled first marriage to the hard work that went into building her first business, The Bag Lady, and the professional and personal successes that followed. A few of Deen's recipes (almost all new) are sprinkled among her stories, which offer a sample of the distinctively Southern cooking that is the foundation of Deen's life and career. This wonderfully nourishing book will have readers laughing, crying, and hungry for more. Highly recommended for all public libraries, especially those where other culinary memoirs such as Pat Conroy's The Pat Conroy Cookbookand Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Boneare popular. [See Prepub Alert, LJ12/06.]
—John Charles

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

  • ISBN-13: 9780743292856
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 4/3/2007
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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.
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Read an Excerpt

Paula Deen

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

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2007 Paula Deen
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780743292856

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, Iwas 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



Continues...


Excerpted from Paula Deen by Paula Deen Copyright © 2007 by Paula Deen. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword

1 Terror with No Name

2 Something Smells Good

3 On Not Listening to Yo' Momma

4 How Do You Get to Be a Woman of Substance When Your World's Fallin' Apart?

5 The Terror Did Have a Name

6 The Bag Lady

7 The Bottoming Out and the New Beginning

8 What I Did for Love

9 The Lady & Sons

10 Sharing Recipes

11 Love on a Tug: Michael

12 How I Got My Own Television Show, and It Wasn't No Desperate Housewives

13 Backstage Secrets and a Weddin' to Beat All

14 Blend. Don't Mix, Stir, or Beat

15 Food, Glorious Food, Southern Style

16 So You Want to Own a Restaurant?

17 Scenes from a Life: Growth, Cameron, Mr. Jimmy, Bubba, and Me

18 Southern Comfort: Things I've Learned

Index

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Paula Deen's Story is Incredible

    Paula Deen is a favorite on TV. You see her cooking up her great recipes and she seems like a natural and you would think she was always on top of the world. Reading this book you get insight in to the early years of Paula's life and the hard times she encountered. Those hard times actually made her the strong person and great cook she is today. She talks about her brother Bubba and her sons who are also great cooks. This is an inspirational story and should be enjoyed by anyone who loves food and also likes a good biography. Paula Deen fans will truely love getting to know her better.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    Paula Deen is a hoot. She is not perfect and she openly admits

    Paula Deen is a hoot. She is not perfect and she openly admits it...course few of us are. I read this book and laughed out loud at some of the parts. She has been through the worst of times and came out on top. You cant fault her on that...though some people try.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    I enjoyed reading "Paula Deen's "It aint all about the cooking"

    Paula writes a really interesting life she has lived and is very thankful that her life has turned around. What she has done with this book is truly inspirational because she tells how she has succeeded in life by "Hard Work" which I feel that people need to know that. She doesn't pull any punches when she lets us know her regrets and by reading this book I have come to know the Paula Deen that I have always been fond of from watching her cooking show on the Food Network. I thank Paula for writing this book and had a fun time reading it. DD

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Paula Deen's It Ain't All About Cookin'

    I would read Paula Deen's biography repeatedly for inspiration and 'just because'. This book reads as if Paula Deen is your personal friend. She is so down to earth and humourous. Her experiences will mirror your own, no matter who you are or where you're from. She will have you dreaming again, if you've stopped, and picking up the pace, if you've slowed down. Her story is one of survival and family. She uses the very thing that is in her hand (cooking), and turns it into a monumental success. This is a great gift book for anyone needing hope and motivation to perservere, a source of joy if in need of laughter, or simply needing a good book to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Southern Lady Makes Very Good!

    I could not put it down! Ms. Deen, unlike I had thought, had not been a lady of privilege and unending happiness and prosperity. No, she really arrived at success the hard way. I just fell in love with her and her triumphs over countless obstacles. She is EVERYWOMAN. Every Southern woman, that is. She bares her soul. She relates that if you tell a secret, you'll get one back. I am a southern lady a little older than Paula. I love to cook, read, laugh, cuss (just a little), and try to keep it real while wishing it were perfect. I am a fan for life and just wish I could go to Savannah while I can still walk and digest good food. Paula, stay Paula. Please keep writing and cooking!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    Ya gotta Love this woman!

    This a really good read about "The Lady". Recommend it to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    It is all about Paula Deen

    Love this book. Cannot say enough about it. I have rated it my favorite book I have read so far this year - and the year just started. I am not even going to lend this one out as I usually do. Love, love, love it.
    There is a bonus as well, after every chapter she inserts a recipe, so now I get to try all those.

    I was touched beyond words by Ms. Deen. It brought back such wonderful memories for me. As a child I hung out with a Southern family - my best friend was from the South. Her mother Sandi would do the best cooking. I mean, the table would be covered with wonderful foodstuffs. I loved to be at that house at those times, not just for that wonderful food, but because it felt like love to this child from a broken home. I never wanted to leave that place. Paula Deen just brought all of that back to me in this book. I did not want this book to end and savored every word. What a lady.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2008

    A truly inspiring, funny woman

    From the moment I read the first paragraph I loved this book. Have always admired Paula's great sense of humor and charm but would never guess what she had to overcome in her life to get her success. She is a woman of so much strength and courage. Even though she went through some really tough and depressing times she always kept her zest for life and sense of humor.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2008

    Inspirational

    Paula Deen is my favorite television chef. Not surprisingly, her memoir is just as down home as her cookery. And, just as delicious.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2008

    Cheers to you Paula!

    When you watch these people on Food Network, you think you know them pretty well. Never could I have imagined Paula, that you lived such a life full of fear. I have read other reviews about this book and people have said they are disappointed in you. My review could not be further from the truth. I can't imagine the courage it took to put this into print and tell the world your most hidden secrets. I give you so much credit and I admire you even more for it. Everyone has skeletons and if you say you don't, you are hiding from the truth. There isn't a person I know that hasn't made a bad choice or has some type of regret. You go girl!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2007

    Camellia Ann

    I have loved her/you Paula Deen over the years watcHing your Home Cooking on the Food network and also being on that first cruise with the Travel Goup. I am disappointed with her/your stretch, ie: marketing everything and not sticking to just the cooking-the down home person. She is another 'Kinkade' that has gone to far! She/You prayed and wanted a husband/companion and grand children and now what are/is you/she doing-being away from all that more and more, and then the new restaurant-WHAT ARE YOU DOING PAULA??? It's time to smell the rose's, your box of chocolate's are about gone 'Forest Gump'! I , after reading to page 133 and before then have decided you are just a SPOILED BRAT AND A CONTROL FREAK!!! Yes, you did work hard but that was you and your stubborn hard head personality.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2007

    The Best biography I've ever read

    I watch Paula every day on the food network, but reading her book just shows me the kind of person she truly is. I could not put her book down. She is so inspiring. To get where she is today has been a long hard struggle. It's very sad that she struggled so hard and so long with her panic attacks, but she proved to me and many others if you want something bad enough you will do it. God Bless you Paula. You are one beautiful, sweet and kind person. Your husband and sons I'm sure are quite proud of you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2007

    I loved this book

    I like to read true stories. And Paula's story is very interesting. She has the guts that I wish I had. I'm too scared to take risks and she definately isn't. Way to go Paula!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2007

    I LOVE THIS

    I love Paula Deen and reading this book brings out a whole other look for her. I love how he tells everything like she is talking right to you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2007

    A reviewer

    I got paula's book shortly after her book tour brought her to cincinnati, ohio and I love it!!!. The story makes me want to give her the biggest hug and never let her go. And the recipes Oh, my lord. Reading her recipes will make yo mouth water. You have not seen or read anything by paula deen till you read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    One of the best and most honest book's I have read in years. Thank you for a very honest look inside your heart and family. I am going to try and get tickets for show in August 2007... Thanks again, Eldonna from Dallas Texas

    I now have all your cookbooks, thanks to my daughters and friends who all know how much I Love Paula Deen...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2007

    I couldn't put it down....

    I love to watch Paula Deen on the food channel. I had heard some bits and pieces about her life. This really was a tell all. She was open and honest...very honest! It gave me hope for the future. I'm almost 40 and faced with possibly having to make a career change. I don't know if I'd be as brave as she was but it really was encouraging to read where she came from and how she got to where she is! When I started to read it I just didn't want to put it down. I read it in about three sittings. Go Paula!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2007

    A Momma for the Ages

    This woman is the real thing--yo' momma, yo'cook, yo' best friend, yo'shrink, yo'sister----everyone you like and admire. On top of it all, she's the most fun on th e planet. I adore her, I'd follow her anywhere. Read IT AIN'T ALL ABOUT THE COOKIN'---you'll fall in love with Paula Deen.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2007

    Makes me want to drive on down to The Lady & Sons right now

    Paula Deen writes beautifully in the voice that we loyal food network fans have come to love. It took me just a few days to read and I loved the ease in which she told her life story. It really was very inspirational memoir and shows that sometimes a dream is all it takes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    I bought this book so I could make some delicious meals for friends and family. Boy was i wrong!!!!!!!! All it talked about was Paula's life and not cooking. Thanks a lot!!!!. I am deeply disapointed and never leaving my house again.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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