Thursday, May 10, 2007

It Ain't All About The Cookin' (Y'all)

I am currently reading the most amazing book.


However, I think the title needs an edit - - the addition of one word. I think the title should be...


Because if you're a big of fan of Ms. Paula Deen like I am, you know that you fell in love with her within two seconds of the first episode of PAULA'S HOME COOKING you ever watched when you heard her famous, opening tagline...

"Hey, y'all. I'm Paula Deen!"

They ain't nothin' like it.

When I watch Paula Deen, I am with my mother. And being a Southern boy so far from home, it is so nice to be relieved of my homesickness when this good ole' Georgia girl flashes across my tv screen.

I am proud to say that I have eaten in her restaurant, THE LADY & SONS, twice.

I have bought her cookbooks. Almost all of them.

I have received one of her aprons as a Christmas gift from Alanda. The one that says, "Put some South in your mouth!"

(It proudly hangs in my kitchen in a place formerly reserved for my SWEENEY TOOD "Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pies" apron. Hey, I figure, if you're gonna be gay, be the biggest damn homo you can be, ok?)

I have been the hit of several dinner parties by bringing a Paula Deen dish.

Whether it's her Corn Casserole (which is now known as "Stephen's Corn Pie" in certain circles - - I'm looking at you, Alanda)

Or her Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding (which will make your tongue slap your brains out!).

And I have stood in line at Border's and had her sign my copy of PAULA DEEN CELEBRATES. Which happily allowed me to slightly flirt with her cute as Hell assistant, Brandon Branch. (Why, oh why, do I always fall for the Southern hotties who live 5 states away?!?!).

But this latest book is fast becoming one of my favorite pieces of Paula Deen.

If see me on the 146 bus and you're wondering what that shaved-headed boy is reading that is making him laugh out loud like a stark, raving lunatic one minute and then cry like a child being left at school for the first time the next, you can be sure that I'm still reading PAULA DEEN: IT AIN'T ALL ABOUT THE COOKIN' (Y'ALL)


Here is one of my favorite stories from the book, so far. This is my mama, through and through. And if this doesn't make you fall in love with Paula Deen, then you ain't go no soul!

A little set-up to this story: Paula suffered from horrible agoraphobia for years and rarely could leave her home because of horrible panic attacks. She couldn't afford to see a psychiatrist because the family had so little money, but then, Paula writes...

I'd heard that my church, the First Baptist Church, had started a health service and hired a Southern minister who had a degree in psychology. Now, man, you turn one of them ministers who think they're Freud loose, your ass is through.

I was so embarrassed and I really wanted to get better, so I decided to try this minister with this degree.

"Once (my then husband Jimmy and I) got to the church, I just walked in and started pouring my heart out to this man. Jimmy was just sittin' there so quiet, and it came out that we were having problems about Jimmy's drinking and him turning to stone and not hearing me as soon as he finished even one beer.

Well, the minister man looked hard at me and, when I finished crying, when I finished talking, he stared into my eyes and said, "Your husband having a beer every day does not make him an alcoholic. And you are a spoiled brat."

Jimmy only smiled. I was flabbergasted and so hurt, but Paula Deen was never so hurt she didn't have words. I said to that powerfully mean man...

"Well, you know what you can do? And that man over there - that HUSBAND? Y'all can kiss my ass and call me SHORTY and go to hell."

And I never went back.

That's Paula.

And that's just like my mama.

And sweet Jesus, I hope that I have the backbone to stand up for myself and my soul, so that someday, someone can say that that is just like me.


Aaron said...

Stephen, thank you so much for posting this!! I didn't know that she had a new book out, but now I have a Mother's Day gift for my mom (who's also a huge Paula fan). I've bought her all the cookbooks already, and the apron that says "That's ELBOW LICKIN' good, y'all!"

And I think you'll be able to stand up for yourself just fine when the time comes. If you need help, just holler. We have cans of whup-ass at the ready...

Did you see Paula's two adorable sons when you were at The L & S? I know one's married, but it's still fun to look...

Stephen Rader said...

Aaron - Great minds think alike! I have a copy of IT AIN'T ALL ABOUT THE COOKIN' en route to my mother's house at this very minute!

And I did indeed see Paula's sons when I was at their restaurant. Bobby (the youngest) actually helped me out and used my camera to take a picture of me surrounded by about 7 incredible Southern ladies all sporting gigantic, overly-decorated red hats.

As Julia Sugarbaker said on an episode of DESIGNING WOMEN, "In the South, we don't ask if you have crazy people in your family, we ask which side their on!"

Brigitte said...

Look, anyone who gives the instructions "thin the mayonnaise with the sour cream" and drinks melted butter on her television show is my hero.
Brooke and I watch her show like most folks watch porn.

Stephen Rader said...

brigitte - Hello, fellow Paula Deen fan!! After you mentioned you were also reading this book, I kept imagining you somewhere on the CTA laughing at the same passage of the book that I was.

And you know, Paula spends a large amount of time on her show talking about "rubbing meat" - - PAULA'S HOME COOKING IS PORN!!

Lance's friend said...

I think the Julia Sugarbaker quote is "In the south, we don't hide our crazy people in back bedrooms, we bring them out and show them off to everybody."

Aaron said...

Actually, I think she said both:

JULIA: "Here in the South, we don't hide our crazy people in the attic, we bring 'em right on down to the front room and show 'em off. You see, Phyllis, nobody in the South ever asks IF you have crazy people in your family. They just ask WHICH SIDE they're on."

Phyllis: "Oh? And which side are YOURS on, Ms. Sugarbaker?"

JULIA (without missing a beat): Both.

See how pedantic I am? I've taped WAY too much Lifetime TV!

Stephen Rader said...

Aaron and lance's friend - How much do I love you both for your love DESIGNING WOMEN!!! I feel like I'm found my people!!!

Lance's friend said...

We love you too!

Anonymous said...

I love Mrs Paula. I hadn't seen the recipe for the krispy kreme bread pudding, my god heart attack in a pan I want some.

Did you see that Paula was on Rachel Ray today along with her boys?

Stephen Rader said...

Kristie - Trust me, I have made the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding on more than one occasion, and it only takes a bite to bring on the sugar coma. I love it!

I didn't know that Paula was on Rachel Ray today. Damn my TiVo! He's gonna find himself out of a job if he doesn't shape up.