The Lady is in the middle of a controversy…..her announcement late this week that she has had diabetes for three years has resulted in a debate about her irresponsibility for the fried chicken and all the fixins that Paula Deen has apparently been force- feeding her followers!! (Point to note, which ties to my blog on the breadth of news reporting outside the US….this made the news in the UAE….not your hub for southern cooking!)
The issue at the middle of the debate is a tough one…..celebrities become role models these days and Paula Deen’s celebrity stemmed from her yummy southern cooking. Timing is everything and the explosion of the popularity of the Food Network and their discovery of The Lady and Sons in Savannah, Georgia combined with Paula’s charm, ability to relate and inspiring personal story is the stuff that makes legends….and she has certainly become one.
Can you blame her being smart enough to leverage an opportunity of a life time? Definitely not. I do, however, remember our first trip to the Lady and Sons. The restaurant and Paula had been profiled on the Food Network. However, the day we went in she was at the restaurant and was happy to chat with my kids and sign her cookbook. You had to be happy for her and the food was delicious. Over the years, we still go down…it’s a family tradition for us when we go to Savannah and no trip to Savannah, especially for my son, is complete without a meal at Lady and Sons. Actually, that’s the only reason we still go……..the food has become mediocre, the commercialism of Paula Deen in the store is somehow both obnoxious and pathetic.
It is certainly not her responsibility to make sure we eat healthy food. For many of us a meal at her restaurant is that once in a while treat….nothing wrong with that…….but there are also many many people there who clearly are overweight and unhealthy and certainly that is their responsibility not hers. Her personal life and health matters should be private ………so it is sad that it does appear she came forward because she is now being paid to be a spokesperson. Where does the commercialism stop? When is “enough is enough” when it comes to wealth. Why is her son now creating a healthier cuisine called “Not my Mama’s Meals”……that feels disrespectful to his mother but clearly done with her support…….all in the name of business success I suppose….. I think enough is enough…..