Paula Dean: The Rise and Fall

For people in the foodie world, the news is out about Paula Dean, the queen of fried and southern comfort food.

The News: Dean has type 2 Diabetes…and she had been hiding it for three years, while selling her brand of high calorie, fried, EVERYDAY FOOD.

She announce a big money drug endorsement deal to boot and has her son playing a little cover with his new show “Not My Mama Meals,” which is supposed to feature healthier food.

From:

Of Mouselike Bites and Marathons, by Frank Bruni, NYT

What’s more, she [Dean] had waited three long, greasy years since her diagnosis to come out. During that period, she promoted the deep-fried life without acknowledging her firsthand experience of how a person can be burned by it.

That’s a profound, unsettling act of withholding. But it’s mirrored by many smaller, less calculated, more innocent ones in the world of food celebrities and food celebrators, including those of us who have written orgiastic accounts of sumptuous dinners. Deen’s revelation jolted me in part because people in the business of peddling gastronomic bliss rarely draw such a bold connection between indulgence and its possible wages.

So are the food celebrities the food gluttons that we tend to believe they are or are they good at hiding it like a skilled under cover cop on a drug beat?

The issue I have with Dean, having never made any of her food and found her recipes and show more of an outrageous food laugh line than cuisine, is her lack of damage control.

She should have fessed up after her diagnosis.

But the larger issue is that the whole industry of food TV/publishing/Media.

People are cooking less and these food writers are running marathons and going on juice fast to have made-for-TV bodies that do not come from the food and indulgent lifestyle they promote.

We can point to Dean, but it did not start with her.

But what gets me about Dean is that she promoted her food as everyday, not special occasion fare.

Maybe more food celebrities should out themselves about how they eat and then maybe we can have a food media that reflects a lifestyle that will not promote obesity and Diabetes.

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3 responses to “Paula Dean: The Rise and Fall

  1. Well, yes Paula Deen has promoted incredibly rich, fatty and sugary concoctions for years and yes, she is diabetic. But it seems to me that anyone would have to have lived in a cave without electricity to not know what healthy eating is by now. Some deny watching television but we are bombarded with articles and essays and rants and tips and suggestions and blogs, etc., etc., etc. of what to eat and not eat non- stop. We are still getting fatter! OK, I get the message and I’m sure a lot of other people do. I’m frankly tired of it all. Give it a rest! Yes, we need to take personal responsibility for what we eat. If we don’t, then not much else will work either. This constant education of the masses is getting old. I guess we have too much time on our hands.

  2. MK,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I do not agree that Americans/TV watching public know how to eat healthy by now. They certainly are not getting it from the massive food media or the fast food, snack food, soft drink, candy industry or packaged food industries.

    We had someone running for president this year who ran a frozen pizza company.

    Burni from the NYT outed himself in a memoir struggling with weight including having bulimia.

    And Now we have Dean who did it only after securing a drug endorsement.

    The question I have is who is eating this way, the way that food, meals, recipes and dining is depicted in books, magazine, blogs and on TV?

    The only one who comes to mind if Jeffery Steingarten, who has been writing with humor and honestly for years about his love of food and his many diets he has been on. Yes he is over weight, but he is real and he really eats.

    • Even if we know what we should be eating, the commercials try to tempt us with the crap and often succeed. But I still maintain that most of us have been “educated” about eating more vegetables and less red meat, fats and sugars, yet don’t always eat that way. I just read a study (another one) that said that actually the most frequent fast food customers are families who make over $80,000. That was a shocker. Maybe the stress of competition to make that much money causes people to “reward” themselves with junk food. Maybe they buy fast food because they have to run between work and activities and just want to shove something in. Someone can just eat healthy salads and smother them in salad dressing, down calorie laden lattes, and drink a lot of wine. It all adds up. I don’t think healthy means thin and I don’t think that thin people are necessarily healthy. It’s more than that. I wish that news was news again and health programs were about health. I’m glad that I never had to even think about starving myself to impress others or practice bulimia. I hate to throw up.

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