May 02, 2011

Paula Deen: The Butter Queen

Back before Paula Deen was the celebrity she is today, I was already a fan.  When she was just getting her restaurant start in Savannah, GA; I was given a recommendation by two women that worked at the front desk of my hotel one St. Patrick's Day weekend to try her restaurant.  Back then, then lines weren't nearly as long for lunch - but the hoe cakes, fried chicken and collards were just as delish as they are now!  On return visits to Savannah, I made Paula's Lady and Sons Restaurant a "must eat" every time.  Through the years, I've amassed a significant southern cookbook collection; with cookbooks autographed by Ms. Paula herself.  My favorite is my prized Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook that bestie M gave me as a wedding shower present, personalized to say she "hoped these recipes worked on my new husband".  It was such a sweet gift and is still treasured (and used) frequently.  As an early fan of Ms. Paula's, still today I just can't get enough of her wonderfully southern buttery goodness.

To my surprise, Paula was scheduled to make an appearance at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Atlanta this weekend.  So, I did what every fan must do ... talked Zsa Zsa (also a mega fan) into going with me to see Ms. Paula in person.  We had such a busy weekend already in progress, but we made time for our dear friend Paula, of course.  Her presentation in the Celebrity Theater didn't focus on her demonstrating cooking, as she put it "I can't teach any of you to be Julia Child in just an hour so I'm not even going to bother."  Well said, Paula.  We spent our time with Paula getting to know the down home, southern woman and laughing a lot at jokes she and her mister Michael shared with the crowd.  She's a hoot and really down to earth, and Michael (her mister) is a ham as well!  And, I'm pretty sure Zsa Zsa spent most of the hour analyzing Paula's hair to determine if she really liked the extensions Paula was sporting and if she would grow her hair out just a bit to be like Ms. Paula herself!

If you have been under a Food Network rock for the past few years and somehow haven't tried your culinary hand at some of the Butter Queen's recipes, hop on over to her website for a few suggestions.  You will fall in love and learn that if a little butter is good - a lot has to be better!  You can't go wrong with her tried and true favorites - Fried Chicken, The Lady's Mac and Cheese and Tomato Pie are a few of my faves!

A big thank you to the front desk associates for that ever so perfect recommendation ... my stomach thanks you each time I eat at her restaurant over the past 13 or so years!

~charmed b