First, let me say that this blog isn’t meant to be a political platform or social commentary. It’s a place to share recipes, sharpen cooking skills, meet new people, and enjoy spending time in the kitchen with family and friends. However, the admission yesterday that Paula Deen is a diabetic has started a firestorm of controversy over her style of cooking, as well as her endorsement of a medicine to control diabetes.
I enjoy Paula Deen. I think she’s got a personality that is made for television. I also think she reflects her cultural up-bringing through the foods she presents – healthy or otherwise. One of her biggest critics, both personally and professionally is none other than self-proclaimed bad boy, Anthony Bourdain. You know, the arrogant chef who spent several years strung out on heroin and now parades all over the world acting like he’s the coolest kid in school? Yeah, that guy. Obviously, you can tell he’s not one of my favorite people to watch on television. I find him amusing, much as I would watching a bunch of posturing high school boys. In other words, in very small doses.
The vitriol that Mr. Bourdain has spewed at Ms. Deen seems over the top. It also sounds a bit like sour grapes. If we were to look at their financial status, my guess is that Paula Deen is making considerably more money than Anthony Bourdain. I could be very wrong, it’s just my opinion. But I think most would agree that in a contest of name recognition or “approachability factor” Paula Deen would win hands down. Once again, an opinion that is solely mine. Bourdain’s anger seems to come more from his tragic hipster attitude towards anyone who doesn’t find his brand of “entertainment”… well, entertaining. I’ve known people like this. Very insecure.
Does Paula use a lot of butter? Yep. So did Julia Child and I don’t see anyone getting ready to tar and feather her good name. I have several of Julia Child’s cookbooks. She makes the argument that you need butter – but it is all about MODERATION. The last time I checked, Paula Deen wasn’t holding a gun to anyone’s head and force feeding them spoonfuls of butter. Anthony Bourdain said that she’s the “most dangerous person” because of her cooking. Umm, excuse me, does that make McDonald’s a serial killer because they have served billions and billions of their greasy hamburgers. I think not. Ultimately, YOU decide what to put in YOUR mouth.
Did Paula Deen’s eating habits cause her current medical problems? Probably. Is she cashing in on her disease by shilling for a pharmaceutical company? I have no way of knowing. But I doubt very much that she woke up one day and thought, “Hey ya’ll. I’m gonna eat myself into a big ole case of diabetes and then make money off it being a spokeswoman for medication!”
Unlike the Anthony Bourdain’s of the world, I will choose to look at this positively. My hope is that the millions of Paula Deen fans will now get educated about nutrition and diabetes. I hope they will discover that it’s not an “all or nothing” proposition when it comes to food. It’s a balancing act. Yes, you can have those lovely, buttery potatoes oozing with cheese. You just don’t need it everyday!
And more than anything I truly hope that Paula Deen bounces back from this healthier than ever, bringing new ideas and insights to her viewers – and as an added bonus, keeps pissing off Anthony Bourdain!