Book Review: Read my book, y'aaall

book coverPaula Deen, the Sweet Potato Queen of Savannah, Georgia, and a star of the Food Network, has written an autobiography titled Paula Deen: It Ain’t All About the Cookin’. I’m going to warn readers in advance that Deen is even bawdier in her book than on TV, and that means lots of cussing and candor. Even I found myself blushing and shaking my head in amazement several times. But all this makes for one of the funniest memoirs I’ve ever read.

Deen writes like she speaks, which means the pages are dotted with double negatives, “ain’ts” and lazily dropped “g’s” from the end of almost every gerund. It almost feels like one isn’t so much reading a book as enjoying a Monday morning kaffeeklatsch around Deen’s kitchen table.

I’m fond of steel magnolias, and Deen earns this respected southern title. It’s all here: her parents' early deaths; her verbally abusive first marriage; her struggles as she's forced to raise her sons in poverty; the launch of her successful The Bag Lady catering business; the opening of her famous restaurant The Lady & Sons in downtown Savannah; the hilarious first meeting of her soul mate and future husband; and her quick rise to fame on the Food Network.

Deen shares fond family memories that center around their love of food and tradition. Her natural talent as a cook has earned her fame and riches. Her own success in the food industry allowed her sons to have careers in the restaurant and TV business. She couldn’t even resist including favorite family recipes in her autobiography. So, maybe it is all about the cookin’.

I’ll leave this review with comedienne Sara Schaefer’s take on the perfect Paula Deen recipe:

Butter, for greasing pan
2 cups butter
1 ½ cups butter oil
1/4 cup butter juice
3 cups all-purpose butter
1 teaspoon baking butter
3 cups peeled and finely chopped butter
1 cup shredded butter
1 pinch butter, for taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a tube pan. For the cake: In a large bowl, combine the butter, butter oil, butter juice, and baking butter; and mix well. Fold butter, butter and butter into batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bathe in it until you go into cardiac arrest.


Search the JCLC catalog for Paula Deen's cookbooks

The Official Website of Paula Deen

Paula's Home Cooking and Paula's Party pages at Food Network