Opinion

June 26, 2013

Misty Watson: Move along, Paula: Time for a new queen of Southern cooking

Finally.

Now that Paula Deen has been overthrown as the reigning queen of Southern cooking, there’s place at the top for a new Southern girl to take the title.

Maybe the next one should use a little less butter in every single recipe. Maybe the next one should put a healthier spin on Southern cooking. I swear, it is possible to cook healthy in the South. Not everything has to be fried balls of butter. I know I just made some enemies with that statement, but before this column is over I’ll have probably made a whole lot more.

I’ve never been a fan of Paula Deen. More enemies! I am sure they’re putting together a mob with butter-fueled torches and carving forks by now.

Her on-camera personality bugged me. That Southern accent and nasally laugh seemed over the top, like an on-camera character and not her true self. And nothing about her seemed particularly hospitable. True, I’ve never met her in person, but I never saw the reason she was lauded.

Deen has been let go from the Food Network after being sued for racial discrimination and admitting to using a racial slur in the past. Even if I’m not a fan of her, I’m not sure that using the “N-word” once in the 1980s justifies her being fired from the Food Network. Of course, there is the other story that she wanted to plan a plantation-style wedding for her brother, complete with all black servers. And more race-related allegations are surfacing daily. Smithfield Foods has also dropped its endorsement deal with her.

The Food Network should have dropped Deen by now anyway. We’ve already seen she can be deceptive and hypocritical when she hid that she had Type 2 diabetes for several years while still promoting high-calorie, high-sugar foods. Everyone should limit those foods anyway but especially diabetics.

How many times can you watch the same woman incorporate a pound of butter into dishes anyway?

I thought the more horrifying “N-word” in Deen’s vocabulary would be the word “nutrition,” not the racial slur. Now the mob members are pulling on their Lady and Sons souvenir T-shirts from that time they stood in line in Savannah for over an hour to eat butter-coated shrimp and grits!

Maybe I could become the next queen of Southern cooking.

I talk to my 20-month-old like I’m hosting a cooking show. Earlier this week, I even took her tiny hand in mine as I used a whisk to demonstrate how to emulsify my homemade honey Dijon dressing for a slaw I was eating with barbecue-flavored seared tofu. I may be kicked out of the South for suggesting anything besides beef or pork have barbecue sauce anywhere near it. I fear my reign as queen of Southern cooking may be short, if it happens at all.

I could stand in front of a camera and talk about how to stuff tofu with tofu and baste it with tofu, as one of my friends on Facebook recently suggested I’d do. The thought of a queen of Southern cooking using tofu is just too much for the fried butter lovers. I think the mob is getting bigger.

Maybe smoky chipotle pintos simmered in a crock pot with corn and tomatoes served with vegan cornbread doesn’t sound as good to you as it does to me. Maybe you’d rather have pintos with half a slab of pork and cornbread with a pound of butter in it and more coating the cast iron skillet.

I get that the South may not be ready for this Georgia Peach to be on TV explaining how to do healthy, vegetarian Southern comfort food. I’ve got to find my way into and through culinary school first anyway.

But I’d rather someone be on the throne who shows true Southern hospitality and who isn’t afraid to tell their fans what’s going on behind the camera. I’ve still got hopes for “Next Food Network Star” contender Damaris Phillips.

And for all of Paula Deen’s fans, don’t worry. She may be gone from the Food Network, but I doubt this will be the last you see of her. Her empire is too big and her fans are too loyal for this to bring her down.

Murray County native Misty Watson is a photographer and staff writer for The Daily Citizen. You can try to convince her of all the reasons to love Paula Deen at mistywatson@daltoncitizen.com and facebook.com/MistyWatsonDCN or on Twitter, @mistydwatson.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Sacrifices worth honoring

    Members of the Dalton City Council were recently approached by representatives of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart with a request to declare Dalton a Purple Heart City. Council members indicated they will approve the request.

    July 24, 2014

  • We must do better

    The numbers tell a sad tale.
    Registered voters: 36,843.
    Cards cast: 5,307.
    That means the turnout for Tuesday’s runoffs in Whitfield County was a measly 14.4 percent, according to unofficial results from the Whitfield County elections office.

    July 23, 2014

  • Letter: Control immigration

    Thousands are starting to pour into our country, and things are getting personal. Why would we end up the bad guys if we turn away children who aren’t ours? How does it make us better people to let one man steal from our children and stand by and do nothing?

    July 23, 2014

  • Helping with Book Blast betters the community

    The school test results are in, and students in Whitfield and Murray counties mostly improved from a year ago, mirroring or exceeding average scores of their peers.

    July 23, 2014

  • Mark Millican: Guns are already everywhere

    Though it happened over 30 years ago, the image is still vivid.

    July 22, 2014

  • Charles Oliver: Former officer works overtime improperly

    Stephen F. Hall has pleaded guilty to theft by deception and falsifying a government record.

    July 22, 2014

  • Dalton council should seek answers

    Judicial elections in this area are usually pretty staid. In fact, they are generally nonexistent, since most judges run unopposed.

    July 21, 2014

  • Letter: Something to think about

    It has been better than four months now since Malaysia Flight 370 went missing. During that time we have heard all kinds of speculation, conjecture and opinions as to what happened to it. The only certainties to emerge are that the Malaysians fumbled the ball early on and there are some understandably distressed loved ones left to deal with their losses.

    July 21, 2014

  • Don’t forget the runoff

    Most folks are either getting ready for or still recovering from their summer vacations. So it’s easy to forget that Tuesday is an election day. A runoff election day to be precise.

    July 20, 2014

  • Be excited about a new grocery store, but stay loyal to the Green Spot

    The Daily Citizen reported on the front page of the July 15 newspaper that Dalton could get a new grocery store.

    July 19, 2014