Cook's Corner: Meeting the queen of nice

Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
I didn't get an autograph and I didn't even get a picture of myself with her, but I had a wonderful time last week with Paula Deen.
It still amazes me that there are people out there who really don't know who she is. Why that amazes me is because she is a popular woman and has such a wonderful personality. Although I realize not everyone gets the Food Network on their television, so I guess I can forgive them for not knowing this genuinely sweet woman.
We were told there would be no time for autographs nor would there be time for personal photos. I was, however, among the few who attended a press conference with Paula before here book tour appearance at the Mobile Convention Center last Tuesday evening.
I imagine there aren't many people from Brewton who have had an opportunity to meet Paula Deen. There are a few people who have told me they've been to The Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah and actually had a chance to see and/or talk to her. However, if it was more than three or four years ago, she wasn't quite as well known or as beloved as she has become recently.
On Tuesday evening last week, I join a small group of people in a private area to meet and talk to Paula. With butterflies fluttering in my tummy, I spoke up when the question and answer period came around. I asked what I thought would be an easy question, but I was amazed at the answer she gave.
Paula has written a personal memoir about her life. This book is added to an extensive list of cookbooks written by the queen of the kitchen.
The book, &#8220It Ain't All About the Cookin',” has already made it to the No. 3 spot on the New York Times Best Seller list. That could be because, along with a chance to see Ms. Deen in person, every one of the more than 4,000 people who attended last Tuesday's event was given a book in exchange for the price of a ticket to the show. That's a pretty good deal when an author can sell 4,000 plus books in one spot.
At any rate, when I had the opportunity to ask her a question, I asked if it was harder to write a biographical book or a cookbook. I expected the answer to be pretty easy for her, but she gave it a little thought and came up with an answer.
Of the memoir that she wrote, she said that kind of writing was equally hard, but for a different reason.
During the interview conducted by David Holloway, food editor for the Mobile Press-Register, Paula told the audience why she decided to write this book at this time in her life.
I could write on and on about the evening. It was a wonderful time and she was so sweet and genuine that it made me love her even more.
Over the next couple of weeks, I probably will be sharing some of her newest recipes with you in this space. She doesn't mind if we share her recipes as long as we give her credit. She has sold enough cookbooks that she has sparkly diamonds on a couple of fingers and some very nice diamond bracelets on each of her wrists.
But don't let those clothes and baubles fool you - Paula Deen is certainly just like you and I in many ways. She just has more people helping her look good.
If you get a chance, you should get her newest book and read it. If you didn't know who Paula Deen was before, you'll meet a wonderful woman, chef or not.

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