June 26th, 2013
04:45 PM ET
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No matter how you slice it, Southern food is complicated. Some detractors dismiss the whole menu as an over-larded, gravy-drenched, carbed-up monolith; they clearly just haven’t been invited to the right homes for supper.

At its core, Southern food is one of the most multilayered, globally-influenced and constantly evolving cuisines on the planet. It’s inextricably and equally tied to the rhythms of the seasons and the lives of the people who cook it the way their grandmother did, and her grandmother before her, and so on.

No one cooks Southern food alone; there’s always a ghost in the corner giving guidance. For millions of people, that’s Paula Deen, a celebrity chef whose sugary, bubbly bonhomie has earned her the moniker “Queen of Southern Cooking” - as well as her share of critics.

Deen has come under fire in the past for promoting aggressively unhealthy recipes, then failing to disclose her diabetes diagnosis for three years before picking up a lucrative endorsement deal for a drug to treat it. Her more recent admission of using a racial slur in the past and that she had once discussed putting on a “plantation-themed” wedding party - complete with waiters dressed in a manner reminiscent of slaves - has proven even more sickening to some.

Internet backlash was fierce and pointed, and at least six of Deen’s major sources of revenue - the Food Network, Walmart, Caesars Entertainment, Home Depot, Novo Nordisk and Smithfield Foods - have cut ties with her and condemned her words. Although many fans have gone out of their way to express support for her online and at her flagship restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, Deen apologized in online videos and in a teary appearance on the Today Show.

But some African-American food and culture scholars find it’s what Deen didn’t say that’s the bitterest pill to swallow. They claim that she has profited off the culinary legacy of African Americans, a group she’s repeatedly failed to credit in her cookbooks or on her television shows. Their contributions to American cuisine are often marginalized in the food world, despite having introduced rice cultivation techniques to the South, along with watermelon, okra, chile peppers and other foods that were already part of the African palate. Representatives for Deen weren’t immediately available to comment on the issue.

In the wake of the controversy, pre-orders for Deen’s cookbook are red-hot, but some feel frozen out.

“We’re burned by this,” says writer and image activist Michaela Angela Davis. “Why does she get all the money and fame around the food that our ancestors created and sweated over?”

Davis argues that minimizing the role of the African-American culture’s contributions to Southern cooking isn’t unique to Deen, but fallout from a cultural system that needed to dehumanize slaves to keep the status quo. “Completely divorcing us from our history, our cuisine, our languages - that's just all par for the course. You can't let people have pride and then have them be your slaves.”

Culinary historian Michael Twitty agrees. “Our ancestors were not tertiary to the story of Southern food,” he says. “Whenever our role is minimized to just being passive participants or just the ‘help,’ it becomes a strike against culinary justice.”

“Paula Deen once did hoecake on her show and never once mentioned that this was the hardtack and daily bread of enslaved people,” he adds. So were, “gumbo, okra soup, red rice, fried chicken, black eyed peas, various greens, sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts, cala, jambalaya, hot sauce, barbecue, the list goes on.”

In Deen’s autobiography, “It Ain’t All About the Cookin’,” Deen touches on her dealings with the African-American community in her hometown, saying, “None of us were strangers to the black community, although they seemed to live their lives and we lived ours. I would say we lived a pretty unexamined life in terms of politics or civil rights."

Perhaps if Deen were just “a cook” and not “the Charles Barkley of food,” as Syracuse University scholar Boyce Watkins argued in a discussion with Davis on CNN’s AC360, that lack of context around her food would be understandable and even acceptable. But as Davis pointed out, “She’s a brand.”

That brand reportedly pulled in more than $17 million dollars in 2012 alone, and Davis ascribes Deen’s lack of connection in some part to that level of success.

“We all related to her when she was at the bottom and worked her way up, “ Davis says. “When you put money in it and you're in a different class, you get all the benefits of being white and privileged. Your sensitivity and need to know about us goes away. There's nothing in your life that brings about the urgency of knowing about the culture you're benefiting from.”

Twitty and Davis are both eager to have some potentially difficult and painful conversations - over a meal.

Twitty is on a mission of reclamation and healing in a project he calls The Cooking Gene. He spent much of 2012 on the “Southern Discomfort Tour,” visiting the former plantations where his ancestors were enslaved, meeting the descendents of the people who claimed ownership over his family, and sharing meals together. Through breaking bread in these haunted locales and having difficult conversations with people of all races, Twitty seeks to dispel any romantic notions of slavery, and begin to heal.

“I think the enduring myth is that slavery was a time when blacks knew their place, didn't make trouble and served as the perfect status symbol of Western superiority and white supremacy. Nothing could be more un-American or untrue,” Twitty says.

“People who worked in the ‘big house’ didn't have it easy. Women and men who cooked and served usually had one of three fates. They were often treated abusively and savagely punished; they could be family figures of great respect and trust or they were autocrats who used their unique role to carve out a special power niche with lines and boundaries not to be crossed.”

Cooking meant power in many cases, Twitty says, and per plantation records, good cooks were often “worth” more than a “plain” or “tolerable” cook.

There’s power in owning your culture’s narrative, Davis says, and it’s painful when a thing that should be a great source of pride and joy is instead used as a vehicle for shame. “Fried chicken is creative. Collards with smoked neckbones is creative,” Davis says.

“This generation gets to say, ‘No! Fried chicken is amazing!’ Everybody gets to participate in it, but let's be clear about whose brilliance made this thing be popular.” It worries her that Paula Deen and Colonel Sanders are seen as “the face of fried chicken,” and sees it as a failure of an educational system that diminishes African-American contributions to history.

“We are the fried chicken makers - everybody's grandma, Sadie, whomever, can make some fried chicken that would make your wig fall off,” she says. “African-Americans being ashamed to eat fried chicken or watermelons is heartbreaking and in complete alignment of the philosophical alignment of oppression and slavery. You're made to turn against yourself and abandon your culture.”

Davis combats that in the kitchen, she says. While she doesn’t fry chicken every Sunday like her grandmother did, she corrals her daughter a couple times a year to show her how it’s done. Her daughter is from the lean-chicken-breast-on-the-grill generation, Davis jokes, but there’s a serious point: “We lose our food, we lose our stories.”

“I would sit in the kitchen while my grandmother told the story about her grandmother made this pound cake - as she's making it and I'm watching,” she recalls. “I remember that she would use the notches in her fingers as measurements.

“It wasn't precise, but there were all these stories and our history was completely folded up in telling these stories as you're sitting in the kitchen and watching your grandmother and your mother cook. This happens with everybody. That's why they call it ‘soul food.’”

And that’s what Davis wishes Deen would acknowledge - that she’s peddling and profiting off the food part, but leaving the soul behind.

Deen writes frequently about learning in the kitchen at her Grandma Paul’s side, and shares that story with a wider audience. African-American food traditions were often shared orally, and only within the community, Davis says. She now believes they need to take control over their own story, document it and spread the gospel. Cookbooks by African-American celebrities like Pearl Bailey and Patti LaBelle are a great start, but there needs to be more, and in cooks’ own words.

“If our stories aren't told correctly and through a proper lens, we get cut out of the narrative,” Davis says.

“In those kitchen moments, my grandmother and grandfather's life became real to me. We have to write it down. We're not living in a time where people are eating fried chicken for four or five hours on Sunday, with anybody. This is the perfect time to take our oral history, film it, write it down so it's not lost.”

Food justice activist and podcast host Nicole A. Taylor, a native Southerner, said in a recent video blog that she’s “done with Paula Deen,” but that the incident sheds a light on the food world needing more African-American representation on Food Network and in mainstream media outlets.

“We need to show that the South is just not Paula Deen,” she said. “The South is me. The South is immigrants who are moving here. We need to lift these people up so that Paula Deen does not become the poster child for what is Southern in terms of food.”

And Twitty would like to sit down and talk about it over a meal. In a much-read open letter to Deen on his website yesterday, he invited the embattled chef to a gathering at a historic plantation in September when he’s hosting a fundraiser for Historic Stagville, a North Carolina, plantation that once held 900 slaves and is now a historic tourist destination.

“I want you to walk the grounds with me, go into the cabins, and most of all I want you to help me cook,” Twitty wrote. “If you’re brave enough, let’s break bread...This isn’t publicity this is opportunity. Leave the cameras at home.”

Davis, too, believes in the power of food to soothe and stitch painful rifts. “Food and music are the foundations of African-American - and American culture. They're a perfect way to talk about race and move forward. And they're a thing that people love about us, and we love about us - but it's been abused,” she says.

Davis continued, “The first thing you have to do is admit that it's happened, talk about it, move on and forgive. Have a conversation over a meal with some music. These conversations: This is the work. This is how we heal.”

Want to know more about African American contributions to Southern cooking? Dig in and let us know what's missing in the comments below:

Books (note: some are out of print, but available through used book stores):
– The African American Heritage Cookbook: Traditional Recipes & Fond Remembrances - Carolyn Quick Tillery
– Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine One Plate at a Time - Adrian Miller (Coming August 15)
– Mama Dip’s Kitchen - Mildred Council
– The Taste of Southern Cooking - Edna Lewis
– High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America - Jessica B. Harris
– Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America - Frederick Douglass Opie
– A Taste of Heritage: The New African American Cuisine - Toni Tipton-Martin and Joe Randall
– The Dooky Chase Cookbook - Leah Chase

Blogs and Websites:
Farming While Black
Food Culturist
The Blacker the Berry Food
Black Culinary History
Southern Foodways Alliance Oral Histories

Paula Deen – From the frying pan to the firestorm
Hugh Acheson: Southern food beyond the butter
The cook who picks cotton: reclaiming my roots
How far has Southern food traveled since segregation?
Old world ingredients you should know and use from the South
Why it's different in the South
Why diversity matters in a restaurant kitchen
Why eating grits doesn't automatically make you a Southerner
5@5 – Overlooked Southern ingredients
Mehepyewpleez? A love letter to K&W Cafeteria
Boiled peanuts
She-crab soup, shrimp and grits, benne seed wafers and the lowdown on Lowcountry cuisine
5@5 – Virginia Willis – Southern is a state of mind
Talk with your mouth full – what is Southern food?
Reclaiming the soul of Southern food
Southern food: more voices from the field

soundoff (956 Responses)
  1. Mustafa Pingaso

    I think that food made by dinks is better than southern food !!!!!

    June 27, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  2. Melissa

    1. Southern food is NOT complicated. I live in the south. It's incredibly easy to make and to bake, but it tastes delicious. Its just that some of it takes a while (a properly made chili is going to have to cook for a good 24 hours. Oh, and noodles are not part of real southern cooking, rice is).

    2. Unfortunately, her racial slurs are extremely common in the south.

    3. That doesn't make her racial slurs right. Shes getting what she deserves.

    June 27, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • briguy85

      ABSOLUTELY NOT! My guess is if you had to stand up to this level of scrutiny for every sin you've committed in your life time, you'd wilt. The reality is EVERYONE has said or done something racist, discriminatory, mean, hurtful, hateful, you name it. If I get called out for my transgressions, I hope I handle it with the same grace that Paula Deen did. I hope I have the strength to admit the wrong, ask for forgiveness and then move forward with my life.

      As for you, I hope you get what you deserve when you're called out.

      June 27, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • DB

        "The reality is EVERYONE has said or done something racist..."

        The reality is that you're wrong. How sad that you honestly believe that.

        Even in the South it was NEVER true that "everybody" spoke that way, and there was never a single person who didn't know how wrong it was. Stop rationalizing and defending her behavior, you're disgracing yourself. She is getting what she deserves, and you know it.

        By the way, she revealed a lot more about herself than simply using a word she shouldn't have used.

        June 27, 2013 at 10:49 am |
        • Read

          I am not saying I agree with her, but you did not quote the complete sentence. She did not limit it to racist, but mean, discriminatory, hurtful, and hateful. There is a monumental difference between everyone has done something racist and everyone has done something that has hurt/offended someone.

          June 27, 2013 at 11:19 am |
        • DB

          I'm aware that there was more to the sentence, but the whole point is that I reject the notion that there is any equivalence between directing racial slurs at a human being and simply "being mean." Sorry, but calling someone an a-hole and calling someone the N-word are not comparable at all, and I refuse to even entertain the notion that they are. Because that's part of the process of rationalizing what Paula Deen did, downplaying by comparing it to everyday rudeness.

          June 27, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • DB

      Chili is NOT a "Southern food," dude. Chili is Tex-Mex. You may have adopted it, but you didn't invent it. We have barbecue restaurants up here in Boston, can I call barbecue a New England food? Of course not.

      June 27, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • Melissa

        Last I looked, chilli is in the south, id io t.

        June 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
        • Melissa

          Grrr,, posted too quick... meant Texas.

          June 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
  3. Debbie H

    What a ridiculous article. I kept reading simply because I couldn't believe what it was saying. I read through many comments before posting this. And the best way to sum it up is I totally agree with the following commenters, who expressed my stand on this issue quite well: briguy85, Janet, Connie, Eric and AJD. I also agree that Paula's sponsors should have stood by her. They'll regret it. This media circus is ridiculous. I wonder who they'll go after next. And people say lawyers are bad. Nothing compared to the media.

    June 27, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Tim Connelly

      I agree with Debbie. This is the most asinine article I've read recently. It stops just short of calling for white Southern recipe book writers to pay reparations to the black community for writing about what were traditionally Afro-American dishes. Of course, we have to track that fried okra back to the original cooking. We might find that the reparations are to be shared equally between the descendants of slaves and the descendants of Bubba.

      June 27, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Jim

      I don't understand – why do so many people enjoy seeing someone tortured and tormented because they made a mistake? Regardless of her mistake, right or wrong, she is a successful woman that worked for what she wanted. Let's crucify her for being successful and take away everything that she has.
      She doesn't deserve a second chance, heck most people act like she doesn't deserve to live. I wish everyone that is so quick to crucify her could be as perfect as they think they are........................... this is pathetic.

      June 27, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • mogran

      Paula Deen has done nothing to receive the liberal punishment she's getting, my only guess is there's far, far, too many liberal police n management positions with gives them the opportunity to subject anybody who disagrees with them to this type of crap...I have no respect for nor will I watch food network ever again, I've removed it from my favorites list and unliked their facebook page. Paula deserved better treatment from the very people who are trying hard to make her disappear...shame on 'em, every single one of 'em.

      June 27, 2013 at 11:01 am |
      • Joan

        I totally agree. Too many politically correct liberals out there. I'm just so sick of the hatefullness of all these people. I too have turned off Food Network.

        June 27, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  4. JOYCE

    I think all the Food network is making a big issue of this. I'm sure they could get rid of a lot of people on that network. Tired of seeing Alton Brown all the time and the guys on chopped. They are very cruel and don't care what they say especially Scott. Why would they bring up something that happened years ago. We have all said something about people, so why take it out on her. I think FOOD NETWORK is going to go away soon. People are tired of their shows repeat after repeat. So wake up Food Network

    June 27, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Blanton

      I totally agree! My grandparents were poor white farmers who worked their on crops on a small farm and sold the goods to local retailers or on the side of the road. They never complained and never took welfare or food stamps. I learned all of the recipes for gravy, biscuits, fried chicken & squirrel from my Grandmothers tattered hands. They made their own butter and the milk came straight from cow...warm and sweet. Nothing racial about it. Why does everything have to be centered on "black"...there are poor whites that have overcome just the same and I don't hear them screaming poor me. I am the first generation of college in my family. I worked and paid my own tuition. And by the way...I don't see blacks being called out for calling us "crackers"...Paula Deen is not my favorite but I intend to boycott the sponsors who have dropped her...PBS, I am back full time. The Food Net Work is over anyway...I only watch it for Ina G. Look, Rush got dropped and came back...so will Paula and probably stronger...Have a look at Martha. Good Luck Paula D.

      June 27, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Liz

      Totally agree Joyce. How about asking if other celebrities every made comments about Italians, or Jews, or Hispanics, or Japanese during WW II, or any other ethnic group or race. to say nothing of how black people talk about each other !
      And let's ask the black chefs if they ever said anything bad about white people, ever in their whole life. Come on people, let's get real. And Matt Lauer – – OMG, his was not an interview, he behaved like a Prosecutor in a courtroom.
      And this article takes a huge sharp turn going off on all the history of what Paula cooks and how she didn't give credit to it's origins. Who grew the food, when, who introduced it, etc. Cooking shows are history shows, folks. If black people want to give us the history of Southern Food, then get a black chef show and let them educate the public.
      Racial slurs my eye. I could scream for weeks over this absolutely ridiculous issue. Anyone remember when Jessie Jackson referred to "Himey Town", when he thought no one was listening? He wasn't grilled by any major "news" (I use that word lightly) host about what other comments he made during his lifetime. The media makes me sick. Paula Deen MADE the Food Network when she started. I've seen many of her shows with black guest cooks and the friendship between them was very obvious and genuine. Everyone who is damning Paula should have to testify about what words they've used in their lives.

      June 27, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  5. dippitydoda

    Why do we have to make the joys of dining a race thing? Can't we all just sit down and eat some fried chicken and watermelons without judging each other and being so ugly? I wish we could just all stop pointing fingers and just help each other to be better people. We have all been terribly wronged and hurt by others in some way. Let's learn to forgive and bring out the best in each other instead of always focusing on how to hurt each other and get revenge.

    June 27, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Spidey

      Here's why it's a big deal. Dining is a contextual experience. Imagine going to an East Indian restaraunt and the chef says these recipes trace their history to downtown Manhattan. No! They are dishes passed down through generations of East Indians and presented to you as such. White Americans knew nothing of sweet potatoes, collard greens, fat back, poke salad, fried chkcken, and the like until they say their slaves cooking these things. But White Americans turn a blind eye to that history, revise the narrative, and make it their own. This same revisionist history methodology is the reason that you don't know that the gas mask, stop light, cotton gin, peanuts (made Jimmy Carter famous) - just to name a few inventions and discoveries - were done by Black people.

      That's why when Paula Dean fails to give a shout out to the heritage of Southern Cuisine, Blacks get a little miffed...

      June 27, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • LuvnLife

        Ummm we do know that black people made those inventions. It was taught to me in the early 1970's. Are you kidding?

        June 27, 2013 at 11:52 am |
      • Liz

        Dining is about enjoying good food with good friends. I've never had a chef or waiter come out to tell me the history of the food at an Asian restaurant, or Greek, or Russian or italian or Thai, etc, and if they serve a combination of different cultures, I don't expect or want to know who gets credit for creating or discovering the food. If I want the history of every thing I eat, I'll look it up. Dining is NOT a contextual experience. Not on a conscious level.
        I'm so sick of black friends telling me how poor they were that they ate chicken feet, and greens, and dandelions and had to catch fish and rabbit. GUESS WHAT? So did my grandparents who were dirt poor, no jobs during the depression, had a farm but no money to buy seed. They did without food and had to ask neighbors for milk for their kids. Poor is poor, it doesn't matter what race you are, and who created what food. Every race and nationality that came here brought their food and customs because no other race was here except the Native Americans. I'm so sick of black people bitching because the white people, Paula Deen now, doesn't give them credit for everything they did. Well then start your own books and shows and restaurants and movies and make them all about your race. Don't depend on everyone else to tell your story. There is no "Greek History Month" or "Japanese History Month" or "Irish History Month", or a holiday for any of our religious leaders like Billy Graham in this country. Or White Entertainment Channel, or Ivory magazine, or a White Miss America contest. And by the way -- when you do tell your story, don't call white people "whitey". That's a very offensive comment and it could ruin your life. Black people scream for equality still in 2013. There is nothing that you don't have access too – – education, employment, housing, everything. There are loads of black sitcoms and other shows. Tell your food and life stories there, and be sure to include all the food and recipes that are yours. Yay. Good for you. And by the way, I don't ever remember hearing any food history being talked about on "The Nealy's" food show. Hmmm. I say you write to them about how they are failing their race.

        June 27, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • Connie Lydon

          Yes, when you start holding yourselves accountable, then you can speak about others. Until then, not so much.

          June 27, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • RC

          Wow. well stated Liz.

          June 28, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Guest

          You go girl!

          July 1, 2013 at 7:25 am |
      • fzkatt

        That is the biggest load of B.S I have ever heard. white people were certanly eating fat back, poke, and fried chicken before they saw black people eating them. Fried chicken originated with the Scots, many of whom settled in the Appalachains.

        October 11, 2014 at 8:09 am |
    • DB

      Because like many cooking shows (and cookbooks), Paula Deen's show was about much more than just food. It was about the culture surrounding that food. But she's never acknowledged one of the two cultures her cooking was inspired by. It's like a successful artist that had two mentors thanking one of the mentors publicly and pretending the other one didn't even exist. Does the other one have a right to be offended? You bet he does.

      June 27, 2013 at 10:54 am |
      • whodunit

        Did anyone consider the fact that she may think of these dishes as her culture? Not saying that's right or wrong, but she said in her autobiography they lived an "unexamined life". She learned the dishes from her grandmama, she's just a plain woman in her own world doing what she can. Sorry, but she's cooking on tv, she's not giving a history lesson from a 200 hundred years ago – time and place people. Racism is terrible and shouldn't be tolerated, but that doesn't mean we can't forgive a person for old transgressions. Ask her black friends if they are still friends with her – the real ones. If they are then that's enough for me. Should I fault the professor who at school forced the following bologna down my throat: every white person, at birth, is automatically racist by nature; black people are incapable of racism. I actually had to write that on a test so I wouldn't fail. There's a difference between history; current events and failing to move on. Most don't understand. Oh, and the media is terrible this day and age, true journalism has died and been replaced with ratings grabbing bs.

        June 27, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  6. consumerjoe

    LEAVE PAULA DEEN ALONE! What has she done that warrants the witch hunt that is taking place now? She said a bad word years ago and now the media is crucifying her for it. She could have lied even under oath but she didn't. We all say bad words occasionally that we regret later in life. That doesn't make her a racist. It's a real stretch to blame her for slavery and the history of the south. I didn't even like her before this happened but what the media is doing to her is just plain wrong. She worked hard for what she has and she shouldn't have to tearfully apologize for making a mistake thirty years ago and lose everything she's worked for. Paula needs to come out swinging. I just bought a Paula Deen cookbook and I don't even like to cook. LEAVE HER ALONE AND GET OVER IT!

    June 27, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Susie

      At least she didn't lie...She told the truth and said said she was sorry...Maybe she should do like most people in the business, lied and went on with her life.

      June 27, 2013 at 9:52 am |
      • DB

        Wait...you want to call her a hero simply because she didn't commit perjury? Of course she "told the truth," SHE WAS UNDER OATH!

        June 27, 2013 at 10:51 am |
        • Read

          You missed the point. People lie under oath frequently enough that it is a major issue. I can speak personally in family law that this happens frequently. She is saying the woman could have lied and likely gotten away with it. That does not make her a hero, but it does speak to her character. She was honest about her past and paid a high price.

          June 27, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • AJD

      What REALLY bothers me about this is that aside from her being honest that she used the word in reference to a situation where A GUN WAS HELD TO HER HEAD, all the other things that are being said about her, like the "plantation wedding" thing, are just accusations that have been made by one employee and have not as of yet been proven in a court of law. They are merely accusations thus far. However, the media and so in turn a lot of other people, are treating those things as if they are proven FACT when thus far they are NOT. So many comments on this subject in various stories on it show quite clearly that the media has done a VERY POOR job of making it clear that anything other than her admitting that she used the term in the past and only specifically remembered using it that one time when she was robbed are at this point only unproven accusations. This whole thing is absolutely crazy. I have to wonder if a black cooking show host or any black host of a show ever admitted or was proven to have used one of the various racial slurs that blacks use for white people if they would be dragged through the mud and raked over the coals like Paula has been. I kind of doubt it.

      June 27, 2013 at 10:01 am |
      • BJC

        AJD, Paula admitted in her deposition the plantation wedding allegation.

        June 27, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • Kat Kinsman

        The plantation wedding planning isn't just an allegation. You can read about it in her own words:


        June 27, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • 99.94% Sane

        Adding gas to the flames–the wedding being planned was for Bubba. That sums up the family "culture" in a nutshell.

        June 27, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
        • AJD

          Actually if you really read what she said and understand it, she was somewhere where all the servers were black and dressed up very nicely and very professional and she said she was very impressed with them and would like to do something like that but was afraid it would be misinterpreted which it seems it now has been. What disturbs me more than Paula talking about it is that it seems that someone is actually DOING it and no one is saying anything about that, no digging by the media has been done to out the person that's actually DOING it. I find that very interesting. Mere talk about something like that is considered horrible, but actually doing it seems to get a pass.

          June 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Mickey Finn

      Agreed comsumerjoe. I would have liked to see her NOT apologize and have said, So What? Tired of all the noise about N words and C words, etc etc. Every people has taken their turns in the slavery barrel. Whites have been enslaved by muslims, greeks by romans omg don't get me started and women are still enslaved in so many parts of the world. I am sorry that Paula is being used as a distraction from what's really important and it sure isn't the fact that she didn't 'credit' africa for different dishes. Give me a break you whining idiots, whites, blacks male and female. Nobody 'owns' a word. Moving on.

      June 27, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  7. Racism SUCKS

    I'll bet anything Paula Deen's father wore one of those "Casper, the friendly ghost" costumes with a cone-head, (better known as the KKK) !!!!

    Hey Paula Deen – In case you missed it – Racism SUCKS !!!! And so do you !!!! Go back to your March 7, 1965 Selma, Alabama race wars, why don't you !!!!

    June 27, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • consumerjoe

      Talk about name calling... and how is she responsible for all that? You don't even make sense.

      June 27, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • BSB

      And if he did, which you have no proof of, what does that have to do with Paula Deen?

      June 27, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • FrantheJew

      I think you are by far the most ignorant person on here so far. You need to find some brains, and get a life to survive. Get off your butt and get a job and stop leaning on most of us to pay your welfare checks.

      June 27, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • RC

      I'm sorry...did you say something?


      June 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  8. Will

    The notion that she should drop back and thank or credit black people for her success is utterly absurd. She became famous simply based on her personality. Plain and simple. Yes, she had some good recipes, but it was that warm southern charm that drew the viewer in. But nothing sells papers, magazines, and webpage ads like a good scandal and that's what the lame-stream media found in Paula Deen this past week. They love nothing more than to topple an American pop icon and that's what they've done here all in the name of monetary gain.

    June 27, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • consumerjoe

      Well said! Exactly right.

      June 27, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • Mickey Finn

      'lame-stream media'. Love that. Thanks!

      June 27, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  9. Susie

    Enough is enough. She said something back in the day we now consider incorrect. SHAME ON US for nailing her to the cross......The correct thing would be to except her heartfelt apology and move on.

    June 27, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • consumerjoe

      It's not "us" that's doing it. It's the media.

      June 27, 2013 at 9:48 am |
      • B

        The media is certainly doing its part, but if you read some of these "one strike and you're out" comments, there is definitely some "us" involved also. One thing is for sure, about the only thing Americans love more than a rags to riches story like Paula's is seeing those same people fall from grace.

        June 27, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  10. Tori

    Well lets have a history lesson over our hoecake. It's freedom of speech.....just get over it........she did the work, not your ancestors, she went to work, not sit around and collect welfare etc. thats why she gets the credit you bozo hag.

    June 27, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Tom

      What an utterly ridiculous comment... People like you are part of the problem...

      June 27, 2013 at 9:32 am |
      • Tori


        June 27, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • DB

          "Struck a nerve did I?"

          Uh, yeah...making blatantly racist comments (like accusing the author of being a lazy welfare queen) will tend to "strike a nerve." People don't like that, which is why Paula Deen is experiencing the backlash. What part of this do you not understand?

          June 27, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • MJ

      You are disgusting.... You're an entire waste of skin with mush for brains. Reread the article until you actually see the meaning and get the point. Let's not talk about welfare statistics on yet another racially motivated issue. Because the statistics do not lie and umm...... African americans, blacks, whatever you might want to say, are not the leading number of appicants.. Thank you, do your research you ignorant gallon of puke. If you can't read, Youtube works wonders. I suspect your education stopped at the 10th grade somewhere...

      June 27, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Kim

      Ok Tori, let me make a statement regarding your IGNORANT comment. I really dont give a hoot about Paula Dean I take her as an over the top Southern Belle. 30 yrs ago when she made that racist comment that she admitted was well after the 60's and if my math serves me around 1983 when we weren't using that slur as common no matter where we originated. So 1983 to now I am sure that fat over the top southern ma'am has used it a number of other times with her other southern friends. We all have to have some black people as friends isnt that what all white people say?

      Now really back to your comment will you PLEASE stop believing that black people sit around and collect welfare. Please pay attention to the census blacks are a very small number when it comes to american population. Who is the largest race in the US???? White... They are the ones that are truly depleted the system. Ever heard the saying Po White Trash???? There is a lot of that because there are more whites than there are black, spanish or any other race in the US. Of course whites will protect their own. Its ok we all must stick together. SO before you go and post anything else anywhere else for the public to see, I IMPLORE YOU TO EDUCATE YOURSELF FIRST. Look at facts then speak!!!!! Paul Dean is a racist southern white woman aint no way around it. Racism is taught and she clearly remembers when she had a Mammy in her house cleaning, cooking and probably wiping her behind. Dont be fooled. Tell her to stop those crocodile tears and MAN UP and go sit down in the corner somewhere her time is up! Written by a City White Woman

      June 27, 2013 at 9:47 am |
      • Read

        The irony in your response is so high I just had to comment. She never said race was part of it. She said the woman worked hard instead of sitting around receiving welfare. YOU and others brought race into it. You make the connection, not her and from an outsiders perspective I feel like you come off as more racist because you automatically associate welfare comments with African Americans. How very sad, I feel sorry for you actually.

        June 27, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Ashley

          Well said.. It always amazes me how the simplest comment can get turned around to being about race and all of sudden that person is a racist even if they never bring it up.
          It is 2013 not 1913 if you do not like the life you have do something about it and stop blaming everything on your race, and that goes for whites, Indians, African Americans....

          June 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • Mon

          Actually, the "your ancestor" comment brought in race, when that is what was discussed in the article. Not explicit, but certainly implicit.

          The article itself, while it may be true, is ill timed. There is no need to dump all of this on top of what's already going on. Truth be told, she just got busted saying what I'm sure a lot of people in the South (and other places) have said. The sad fact is while most would not be persecuted like she is currently being, as the old saying goes, "to whom much is given, much is required". She is judged by a different standard, right or wrong.

          June 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  11. Mike Z

    This is the way in this country. Build people up to super stardom and then tear them down to nothing – only to make them into born again super stars. Two months the same critics who watched her show in the past will be buying her next nifty kitchen gadget and watching her new show on the travel channel. I mean if you can cheat on your investments go to jail and become a felon and still become a billionaire on network TV, can a slip of the tongue during a time when many people were uttering the same word keep you from becoming successful?

    June 27, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • AJD

      What's funny about this is that Food Network fired her for her honesty in her deposition and tried to sound all holier than thou about why they did it but back in 2008, another one of their employees, Robert Irvine, was found to have lied and embellished his resume including his work as a chef at the White House and his claim to have cooked for the British royal family and they fired him then saying some such thing about not accepting anyone who is untruthful....yet there Irvine is again back on FN doing another show and nothing is ever said about it now. If they were really so morally upright why would they hire someone back that they fired in the past for being a liar?

      June 27, 2013 at 10:06 am |
      • Connie Lydon

        The execs at FN try to act so righteous and moral and yet where are those morals when Mario, Bobby Flay and Moromoto were sued by a large group of their employees for skimming wages, tips and not paying overtime? Or Anne Burell, who's mouth got her in alot of trouble with slurs? Or Cat Cora's DUI and foul mouth? Or Guy Fieri's homophobic comments? Or Jorge Cruz who hired a hitman to murder his wife? The list goes on. They opened up a can of worms and now can't answer for their own actions (read "inaction") with the chefs who have done bad or worse than Paula Deen. Maybe you should be asking FN why The Neely's and Aaron McCargo's shows are no longer on the FN? Only token black cook left is Sunni Anderson, seems that the execs really aren't considering a need to have blacks on their network. They need to be very, very careful now, so that someone doesn't go poking around in their closets to see what they've said or done over their lifetimes and publicize it for the world to comment on and oust them. No wonder they are in hiding. As we've seen, the media can destroy a life in seconds, so look out boys and girls. After all, the execs of a network are public figures also.

        June 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • AJD

          Yep....I don't watch a lot of FN myself, not into cooking shows, but my husband does and I can't help but notice that their "minority" chefs very rarely get the publicity that their other chefs do. Their shows are put on at times that are not the "prime hours" for TV watching and there are very few "cross over" type things with their minority stars and other shows like there are for their white stars. Their white stars seem to get multiple shows while their minority ones don't and at best may show up as a "judge" on one of their competition shows.

          June 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  12. James

    This is getting ludicrous CNN. This whole Paula Deen this is the definition of a media circus. Try vilifying someone who is actually bad next time.

    June 27, 2013 at 8:31 am |
  13. tinabryantw

    So sick of the packs of wolves waiting tear people apart and down. Now gonna start this crap she stole recipes. Bull crap BUll , I'm sick of it damn guess ancestors came here Sat on assets then never ate cooked nothing until others came over!!!!! ??? BULL crap sick of it people need stop shut up get on with life sick of it every where I read now someone trying say one race and only one has been in every continent in the world and that's where everything came from Egypt Jewish etc they're liars.......

    June 27, 2013 at 8:23 am |
  14. Sun

    Oh please, Blacks were not the only poor people creating these dishes. What about the poor whites, the Cherokee in Georgia, for crap's sake? Get over yourselves.

    June 27, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • Mike in KC

      No kidding....this article is ridiculous. A real stretch just to find ways to criticize her all the more. As to her "slur", let he/she who has not sinned cast the first stone. How many of her vocal critics have used a derogatory term for some other ethnic group while they claim they have never uttered the "N" word? She said she's sorry and I forgive her mistake and will support her. The media is most of the problem continuing to stir this up. Her corporate sponsors are nothing but cowards.

      June 27, 2013 at 8:05 am |
      • Misty

        I completely agree, Mike. I've been saying that her sponsors will regret their decision to drop her. I was never really a fan of hers, but I have to applaud her honesty and give her kudos for that. She's being vilified for something many other people have done.
        Regarding her "stealing" recipes from African-Americans and not discussing the origins of the recipes – how would her talk of slavery have gone over 5 or 10 years ago?! I mean, really. Then everyone would be up at arms complaining that she's a white chick claiming to know African-American history. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. No one is perfect. The best we can do is try to live a good life. But everyone makes mistakes. It's what you do with the mistakes that define the kind of person you are. If I was a sponsor, I may have a chat with her, but I wouldn't be dropping her.

        June 27, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • AJD

          No doubt. When I was a teacher I taught in a school with a predominantly African American student body. I actually had a parent call me and tell me that I wasn't "qualified" to teach about slavery because I'm white and not black. Excuse me but I have studied that era of history for over 20 years and have a degree in it...what exactly qualified them aside from the color of their skin? Were they ever a slave? What do they really know about it? What was funny was that when I asked them a few pretty simple questions about slavery, they were unable to answer the questions but yet insisted that I was unqualified to teach it. To tell someone, anyone, that they aren't allowed to do something merely because of the color of their skin despite whatever qualifications they may have IS RACISM plain and simple. Black people are not immune from being racists.

          June 27, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  15. briguy85

    I'm sorry but this article exemplifies the essence of the problem in this country. People are upset because Paula Deen didn't give credit to the "real" creators of Southern cuisine? REALLY??? My family is form the south and has been making this food for generations. Black or white, it doesn't matter who created it in the first place. It's the person that takes the time and effort and invests the work and money and time into making the product (in this case, Southern Cuisine) attractive to others. That's what Paula Deen did. She deserves the credit and has no obligation to give credit to anyone else other than the people that backed her. I'm tired of people winging because they don't put the effort into making something work but want credit when someone else does.

    June 27, 2013 at 6:26 am |
    • Kim

      Such a shame that you just don't get it.

      June 27, 2013 at 6:54 am |
      • VladT

        A condescending comeback which actually says nothing of substance???

        Not on this thread!

        June 27, 2013 at 7:07 am |
      • briguy85

        Sorry, Kim, but you're the one that doesn't get it. It's not Paula Deen's responsibility to give credit to some past unknown individual . She doesn't need to research it and point it out. The recipes she presented on her show are hers. She sat in her kitchen and created them and perfected them. She's the one that started the restaurant. She's the one that put her neck on the line and risked her success and failure. If you watched her show, she told the history of the dishes as she knew them. In the end, she's simply putting on a show to talk about making a dish. You want history, go the History Channel.

        Look at any inventor or patent holder. I'll wager with you that the discovery they've patented was done by someone else at some point. However, it's the person that puts their name on it and does the actual work to hone the invention, demonstrate it, and get it published/patented/popularized that deserves the credit.

        June 27, 2013 at 7:17 am |
      • Deepsea35

        Credit for Kim is awarded to several diverse ethnic groups. Any thoughts, feelings, or opinions that Kim may express are not her own. In fact, Kim is actually a puppet that gets handed around regularly. Kim "gets it".

        June 27, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • emma96

      You hit the nail on the head. Evidently, Kim is the one with the deficiency.

      June 27, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • Janet

      I live in the South and my recipes are from my mother and grandmothers who never employed cooks, either black or white. They cooked with the food they grew or livestock they raised or fish they caught. They were poor whites who owned no slaves, so all our recipes are our own.
      These are Paula's recipes, and the credit is hers.

      June 27, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  16. suzannah campbell

    I applaud The Food Network for cancelling Paula Den's contract I enjoy the Food network but have been offended by Miss Deen's slovenly habits of putting her fingers in her mouth and then in the food Her "hokey" manner was also offensive to me It felt exaggerated as if "playing to the gallery" All this is an aside to her racial slurs and the diabetic fiasco where she promoted non-diabetic recipes for years after learning about her diabetic condition – Her show seemed inconsistent with the other professional and enjoyable other chefs on The Food Network

    June 27, 2013 at 6:04 am |
    • VladT

      I agree......that Guy Fieiri brings class and dignified food, unlike Paula Deen.

      Nitpicking, much?

      June 27, 2013 at 6:09 am |
    • Eric


      1. If you're offending by something on TV...do what the rest of us do... O.o...CHANGE THE FREAKING CHANNEL!
      2. If you don't like how she cooked food, get off your butt, get your rear end in the kitchen, and cook your own
      3. She lived in a different time and place than you and the real fact is, if I held YOU accountable for all the STUPID things you did in the past, you wouldn't be able to afford the internet, much less be able to write that ridiculously stupid message.
      4. People "freak out" about how someone is acting racist, and then they freak out even more when they learn that someone said a few racist things IN THE PAST....heck if race was the issue shouldn't we question WHY Obama was elected president on his first term and primarly for his second? I'll give you a hint, it wasn't because he was good lookin' and it wasn't because what he had to offer was any better than anything else anyone else offered (on top of that note how he not only didn't deliver on *any* of his promises, but makes it a point to do exactly the OPPOSITE of his promises...time...and time.....and time again).

      So if your issue is about race, it's not a Paula Deen problem. It's an American problem. This country is still very much so racist in a lot of its areas. I honestly could give a rat's behind about who gets credit for her cooking...i'm white, and these are the meals I ate for YEARS. And ain't no black person EVER cooked one for me, just sayin. Race isn't an issue for me, but when others like to throw it on me anyways, expect a world of hurt.

      June 27, 2013 at 8:20 am |
      • DB

        "1. If you're offending by something on TV...do what the rest of us do... O.o...CHANGE THE FREAKING CHANNEL!"

        Fool, do you think Food Network really wants people to stop watching Food Network? That's why they dropped her, because she offended their audience and will drive viewers away.

        It's really hilarious when people like you tell the rest of us "just change the channel" when some television personality offends people, while you complain about how unfair it is when they get kicked off the air...without the slightest clue of what you're really saying. We all had every intention of changing the channel, and that's why Paula Deen won't be on TV any more. GET IT?

        June 27, 2013 at 11:10 am |
        • Connie Lydon

          The only one driving FN's viewers away is FN, since over 400,000 viewers have now left the network in the dust. Their blatant discrimination left a sour taste in people's mouth. When they hold themselves and the other chefs up to the same standards as they do Paula, then they can talk. Until then- not.

          June 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  17. VladT

    I love going to "The Hat" for a great Pastrami sandwich. However, I find it a shame that there is not a whole history report on the walls of this fine Los Angeles establishment about how Eastern European Jews lived off this in delis to survive. I encourage the local Jewish community to protest.

    I will tell my friend since kindergarten, who happens to be Chinese, that it is blasphemous that on the menu at the Olive Garden there is not a whole summary of how Marco Polo learned of noodles and helped bring them to Italty. I will now help him make the protest signs, and create the facebook page.

    I could go on and on, but seeing the person's reasoning of who wrote this blog, I think the sarcasm would be lost if I continued.

    June 27, 2013 at 5:55 am |
    • Connie Lydon

      Gee, I've made some mighty good meals and I don't give a damn who "created" them! I'm the one who did the work, put the time and effort in to make them good, so I'm claiming them as MY recipes. So if any of you make something similar to my dishes, I want you to be sure and give me credit!

      June 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  18. AJD

    Jeez...now not only is she supposed to be a civil rights historian and understand all the nuances of race relationships as I read in another editorial, she's supposed to be a food historian as well that can't give a simple recipe without going through the whole history of it. She's a TV chef that showed people how to make certain types of food. Does everyone on every other cooking show on TV give a full history of the foods they're cooking before they make it? No. She failed to say that hoecakes were once made and eaten by slaves...oh my....the horror. How racist of her. Give me a break.

    June 27, 2013 at 4:23 am |
    • mab

      I agree. It would have been nice had she given credit, but I don't see others giving credit for their food's lineage. I think she is being held up to a different standard, in part, because of her Southern accent and the allegations. People have jumped on the bandwagon to paint her as giant Southern racist, and this adds to that.

      June 27, 2013 at 6:00 am |
      • Connie Lydon

        People seem to forget that this is a TV show, not a reality or history show!. She did what she was told to and made the show heartwarming and cozy and what would sell the show to viewers. All the producers, etc were interested in were ratings and pushing their agenda/line of goods. We don't hold the actors of other TV shows-say dramas- to the truthfulness or correctness of the plot, we know it's just a TV show!

        June 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • connie

      she's really not even a chef :) she started out in her kitchen making bag lunches and sending bobby and jamie out to sell them to the local business men. that was how she supported herself and two small sons. if they didn't sell, she started all over the next day. then one day the kids came home with NO LUNCH BAGS...yea!!! and she eventually started lady and sons. wonder who she needs to credit for that one?

      everyones fried chicken is different. the flavor, the seasoning the batter the way you fry. there are as many fried chicken places as ther are gas stations. when someone figures out a way to patent fried chicken, blackeyed peas and okra (w or w/out tomatoes) ...THEN there will be reason to attack somes charachter and finances. til then i will no longer watch food tv cause paula always started my sat. mornings on that channel and i just left it there for the day and i won't have smithville ham steaks for sunday breakfast anymore or hams for Easter Sunday.

      i believe in loyalty and as maya angelou says "when i knew better, i did better" that's what paula did. her generation was raised saying the n word. so was my uncles. i can't go in public with them for fear of being shot but they are 88-92 years old and they just don't think about what they are saying.

      June 27, 2013 at 9:17 am |
      • AJD

        Connie...I so get what you said about older family members using the word. My grandfather was born in 1912 and lived all his life in NE Missouri in the same small area. At the time of his birth and growing up the N word was used the same as the word "black" is today for black people. It was not seen as derogatory but merely designated that that person was black. He grew up in the same area with the same people and grew old with the same people. He had been crippled with arthritis since he was 25 so had not traveled out of that area. That whole area was his "world." There was little to cause him to change the language he had learned as a child and he used that word all his life. We were always very nervous whenever we had a black friend that was going to be with us when he was around but he never treated them poorly and was very respectful. Was he "racist?" Sure, by today's standards he was...he didn't believe in "race mixing" and believed that blacks should only marry black people and whites only marry whites. However, that was really the extent of any racism I ever heard from him and that was pretty much how a lot of people felt, even black people, most of his life. I am not a fan of Paula or any cooking show, not into them, but I also don't like to see people unfairly maligned either, especially before they've had their day in court and hate to see accusations that have not at this point been proven in court treated like they are fact which is what the media is doing and in turn has led many others to do. As it stands now, until any of these accusations are proven in a court of law, I don't feel that what is happening to her is proportional to the "crime." This has been taken way too far at this point before the court case has even happened and I find it ridiculous. Heaven help any of us who ever in our lives once used a derogatory word for a person which is probably most people. If we ever become a celebrity (or maybe even if we don't) we could find ourselves having lost everything we ever worked for practically overnight.

        June 27, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  19. Mimi Balh

    Let's not forget the role Paula Deen had when introducing the Food Network & Pat/Gina Neely. She not only encouraged the FN to think about giving the Neely's their own show, she also showcased Pat/Gina on her FN show by having them as guest chefs!

    Frankly, this article is short on these types of examples. It's not due to a lack of examples, but instead as convenient oversight.

    June 27, 2013 at 2:40 am |
    • monique

      But yet The Neeley's, Sunny Anderson, or Aaron McCargo are still on the FN today.

      June 27, 2013 at 4:23 am |
      • AJD

        I have to wonder if any black TV cooking show host, or black host of any show for that matter was found to have used one of the various racial slurs against whites if they would be getting raked over the coals as Paula has been. I kind of doubt it.

        June 27, 2013 at 9:53 am |
      • alwaysright

        Wouldn't that be discrimation if they kicked them off???

        June 27, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Connie Lydon

      selective memory!

      June 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  20. Michael A Ruzicho

    People make mistakes in life. I don't agree with what she said, but she is now going to suffer the consequences for her actions. People forget to many times when you do something wrong there are consequences. People need to realize you have to respect everyone even if you disagree with them, or do not like them. It is the law!

    June 27, 2013 at 12:53 am |
    • Karen

      Just curious MIchael A Ruzicho – to which "law" are you referring?

      June 27, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • margeann

      I am curious if southern cooking should be attributed to the black society why haven't they written their own cook books on Southern cooking? Why chastise Paula Deen for being the success she was? Someone enlighten me.

      June 27, 2013 at 1:35 am |
      • Laura

        Poor Paula. I don't envy her these days. The Lady was doing what she loved to do. What a mess. I just hope she stays true to herself and doesn't take on responsibilties that she really doesn't owe.

        June 27, 2013 at 3:03 am |
        • Thomas

          Poor Paula. She will be forced into retirement and will some how scrape by with her millions of dollars she will continue to earn from her cooking books.

          Poor Paula.

          June 27, 2013 at 8:57 am |
      • monique

        There are plenty of cookbooks by black people. You haven't looked to find one. Try Sylvia's Soul Food Cookbook as an example. Many recipes are passed on orally and not written down because of how we were taught to cook.

        June 27, 2013 at 4:25 am |
  21. Michael A Ruzicho

    People make mistakes in life. I don't agree with what she said, but she is now going to suffer the consequences for her actions. People forget to many times when you do something wrong there are consequences. Hopefully she is sincere with her apology. People need to realize you have to respect everyone even if you disagree with them, or do not like them. It is the law!

    June 27, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • frdms2thelft

      this is what you want to be enlightened about? that alone is enlightening.

      June 27, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • Connie Lydon

      As far as using "the slur"- I don't think she should have apologized! She did nothing wrong. Are you going to sit there and say that if you had a gun held to your head that you wouldn't later be calling that person every name in the book ? Of course you would after an experience like that and if you say that you wouldn't you are a liar.

      June 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
      • :| Not amused.

        Derogatory racial epithets are wrong < Martha Stewart.

        June 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  22. Stargazer

    I don't think foods can be predominately of any particular race of origin. If we are born in the south, we are southerners and enjoy that area's cuisine, likewise in other parts of the country. There are lots of cooks on TV cooking all kinds of foods from all over the country, adding their flair which only makes it better. Unless there is some sort of copyright, it's up for grabs.

    June 27, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  23. KARA

    OK then Giada, Mario ,Emeril et al start thanking the Chinese for inventing spaghetti

    June 26, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  24. stan

    Paula Deen has contributed in many ways to her community and the national community. I would hazard a guess that there is not one of us that has not said or done something we wish we could undo. Let her apologize and let's move on.
    Otherwise, we'll just keep having trolls such as "horlexx" race baiting... dealing with someone like that is much like having mental combat with an unarmed person.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • frdms2thelft

      and your choice of topic and comment are a tribute to your mental prowess?

      June 27, 2013 at 2:57 am |
    • Connie Lydon

      Agreed- with all of the philanthropic work she has done over the years more than outweighs mentioning a slur after a horrifying experience that offends someone. The harder she worked, the more money she made and the more she shared that money with others. She has her priorities straight, can't say the same for others.Get over it.

      June 27, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  25. Debra

    Oh my, why was this story even published? Now Deen is blamed for not giving accolades to other cooks? Why would she have to? This gets more ridiculous every day.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Laura

      I totally agree!

      June 27, 2013 at 3:06 am |
    • carbonaraboy

      Wouldn't it be more interesting if Ms. Deen actually did speak about the history of the dishes and the ingredients, everything else aside? One wonders why she has not, especially since this issue has been brought up before.

      June 27, 2013 at 6:53 am |
      • Kim

        I agree because Southern food is unique in this country with such a complex history.

        June 27, 2013 at 6:58 am |
        • Truth

          Right. She had a responsibility to give some credit to African Americans for the many millions she has made over the years!

          I am not asking for reparations. However, at the very least, she should have acknowledged AA in her book.

          June 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  26. Ginny

    While I agree that knowing the roots of your food makes it richer and much of our southern food is derived from or influenced by African Americans, the author of this article is assuming that every southern white family had a slave or later a black cook. Most southern white farmers could not afford to own a slave and therefore were making their own southern soul food. It is a common mistake to assume that all of the white south lived on plantations with housefulls of slaves.

    June 26, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • horlexx

      but most of them did and THAT MAKE'S IT A FACT!

      June 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
      • Debra

        Simply not true.

        June 26, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
      • stan

        Hopefully you will research "white history" a little more before you make these generalizations. I can trace my history back many generations as well as my wife's and we never had slaves or hired help. I think you may have seen "Grapes of Wrath" or "Gone with the Wind " too many times. (horlexx those are movies)

        June 26, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
        • frdms2thelft

          so you choose to ignore that the entire economy of the confederacy was driven by slavery? who doesn't know their white history" now? Even the confederate south knew it and that is why it was at their insistence that the second ammendment was created. look it up and learn.

          June 27, 2013 at 3:03 am |
        • Ai

          They are books, actually.

          June 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • Misty

        I cannnot believe we are "celebrating" the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg in mere days, and people are still pulling this Northern/Southern crap. Really?! It may be a fact that much of the southern economy was driven by slave labour, but that's NOT to say that every white family had slaves. Guess what – there were poor white people, too! I assure you, they didn't have slaves. Not that I'm looking at census reports or anything, but the majority of white people didn't have slaves – rich men owned large tracks of land, leaving the average man with little or no land.
        I also want to mention that just because you may have been born and raised south of the Mason/Dixon, doesn't mean you know every detail and nuance of southern history, just like a Yankee doesn't know everything about northern history.

        June 27, 2013 at 9:27 am |
      • Faith

        hey horlexx i just wanted to know, do YOU think its all right for black people to be rascist to white people? I wasn't around when slavery happen (i'm in my 20s) and my friends and I would get bullied by the black kids in my high school all the time. They call each other N***a, the would call us the white bitches, they would be very LOUD and rowdy make fights and exclude ANY white people from their table. They would get special treatment from the white teachers because the teachers didn't want to seem rascist. I was also ROBBED and ASSAULTED by a group of black men and you know what they said to me when i was being robbed? they called me a white bitch. SOOO I don't understand why is this racist card pulled out so much now when we "white" people are also being treated as criminals in the eyes of some black people. my best friend is black and even she knows that her friends hate it that she hangs out with me and this is the north by the way. I can't even imagine being white in the south!

        As were food goes i see people cooking mexican food Chinese food and not giving credit thats crazy how you want to label your selves THE CREATORS OF FRIED CHICKEN AND THE ONES THATS STARTED EATING WATERMELON??? WOW! fried and watermelon have been know all over the world in different versions, the only person we should be crediting is GOD. This article is a waste is mind blowing.....

        June 28, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  27. horlexx

    as a black man I used to catch this woman show and thought it was good. now to find out how she feel's make's me sick. she can take a trip to hell.

    June 26, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Mimi Balh

      ...you first!

      June 27, 2013 at 2:29 am |
      • frdms2thelft


        June 27, 2013 at 3:03 am |
  28. ala-kat

    Really? So if a cook/chef doesn't pay homage to the roots (if they even know the roots), they are not worthy? While knowing some broad information is nice, it is not necessary. If I want this information, I can find it on my own. If it is a cooking show, show me your shortcuts and secrets. It's about the cooking.

    June 26, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Faith

      You are absolutely right!

      June 28, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  29. tinabryantw

    really a hoecake???? And saying it come from or enslaved people ate it? Are u stupid? He'll no she nor anyone else will ever say such and this crap is why .......... damn u wanna cook or give history behind what u eat fine do it own and shut up by damn it isn't gonna change our ways of cooking eating and passing things on to our kids.......funny a damn word said everyday I hear it at meds food lion nursing home employees, etc but that's ok they can say it laugh at it put females down treat them like crap.

    June 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Laura

      I think hoecakes originated from Native Americans.

      June 27, 2013 at 3:11 am |
      • Faith

        hoe cakes did come from native americans.

        June 28, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  30. tinabryantw

    So true damn Wal-Mart, acc all the rest what do u think u r representing,????? There is more than one damn race in America that has feelings I'm sick of this egg shell crap!!!! He'll walkabout food subscribe cough ones here cooking ugh some can't work at a fast food place and ever get order right anymore what the he'll is wrong now a days??? They need fire them townspeople who understand what order is, and can get it right-click paying money wasting time to get wring thing

    June 26, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Thomas

      Can we get a translation into English? There must be an app for that.

      June 27, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  31. Mary Anne Enns

    The overreaction of the Food Network head honchos was unbelievable. No one should be held responsible for something they said 40-50 years ago. What were they thinking? As a former Food Network fan, you will now find me watching PBS cooking shows, as well as local cooking shows. You've lost a customer with your inane "political correctness".

    June 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  32. mary

    Having a family from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas.. Around those parts.. :)
    I can tell you, gravy, biscuits, eggs floating in cooking grease.. Fried chicken, lard laden food.. etc.. I have to say.. Its a way of life for many.. Knowing better today changes, nothing.. Its a matter of aquired taste..
    Breakfasts are the worst.. Eggs, bacon, or ham, bisquits , gravy, waffles smothered in butter and syrup....Thats "morning" to many.
    People worked hard all day in the fields .. And breakfast had to sustain them..And by dinner, they were starved and ate big again..
    Now people don't work that hard. But this food is a tradition.
    So her cooking??
    Well many grew up eating that way, for many many years people ate that way..
    And like it or not many still eat that way.. Want food cooked that way.. And will always eat that way.
    And you know what ?? Its F--ing Good.. ~! :)

    June 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  33. tinabryantw

    Well well now we see some trying get noticed and say she has no right she's not real southern????? Some can say i am and the so called dig bat in article not paula is not southern a imposter.

    June 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • RC

      What the hell did you just say? If you want your posts to be taken seriously, learn to spell and type!

      June 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  34. Sue

    Ms.Deen has always been open and honest about being FROM the South. I would think people would be smart enough to be aware that 'southern style' cooking is a seperate style of cooking that is different from French, Organic, New Orleans, etc. Each type uses ghe food and cooking methods that are alluded to in their names. Why should she be expected to name and credit every person who contributed to the overall fund of knowledge? This is PC gone mad! Paula Deen is being punished for being straightfoward and honest..and that's WRONG.

    June 26, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  35. Pennsylvania Mom

    I am sick of, judgemental people. Paula Deen has worked her behind off to get where she is today. She does not owe ANYONE anything! NO ONE can claim that they have never done something that they have regretted. She has admitted her actions were wrong and she has made her apologies. All the nasty people who are attacking her need to get another hobby and move on.

    June 26, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  36. tim

    Last time I checked, Black folks can open their own restaurants. In Kennesaw, Ga there is an excellent high end restaurant that is owned by Black folk. We need to quit crying and show everyone including ourselves that we can make it if we try!!

    June 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Laura

      Apparently, only some black folks can. Appears the ones that can't, need to blame Paula Deen.

      June 27, 2013 at 3:17 am |
      • Steve

        Amen to that.

        June 27, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  37. wolfbaby

    If all these black people are/were upset......WRITE YOUR OWN BOOK!

    June 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • horlexx

      the woman is a piece of sh*t. be gone.

      June 26, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  38. Crescendo

    What's all the fuss? People pay comedienne Katt Williams millions of dollars to hear him use the "N" word a couple of hundred times during each of his shows – and he's black. This is ridiculous hypocrisy.

    June 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • youdiditwrong

      Even if that argument was valid, Katt Williams' financial backers know what they're getting into. He doesn't market himself as a family man or a wholesome brand. And he sure as heck doesn't accept endorsement deals from brands like Walmart under the pretenses that he's selling a good, old-fashioned brand. And while we're here, Katt Williams has been in trouble plenty for his behavior, too. Since his arrests and financial issues with the IRS, people have also come to view him as a liability.

      June 26, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
      • Connie Lydon

        Once black people start policing their own race and stop musicians, comedians, etc. from promoting/ feeding racism, Then they can go after whites and other races for their part. When they stop using racial slurs on other races, then they can talk. Saying that the "n" word has a different meaning when they say it is bullcrap. That's just an excuse so they can continue to speak it and not be held accountable for THEIR actions. Until then, they are hypoctites..

        June 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • Terrie

          Connie... when you were a teenager and upset with your mother, did you ever call her a nasty name ? If you did, was it ever okay with you if one of your friends called your mother the very same nasty name? If you can understand the parallel I attempted to draw, then you should be able to understand why "some" black people think it is okay to use the N-word, but it would never be okay for a white person to use it. The N-word historically was used to denigrate human beings, to subject them with enough verbal venom to scar the psyche, and it worked. When was the last time someone called you a name so offensive that you were shocked to the core of your being? That has never happened to you? You've been blessed and probably don't even know it.

          July 1, 2013 at 1:00 am |
  39. dale

    Thank you for your booklist! I do wonder though . Paula Dee introduced Food Network watchers to the Neelys. They are from my neck of the woods and I believe I read this somewhere. My mother was a wonderful cook and many of her recipes were handed down and some she got from friends and coworkers of all stripes. We in the South has been blessed with a long list of people who took what they had on hand and made some of the best tasting food around. There are so many influences from African, Swedish ,Irish, German, Cuban, Mexican and on and on. That's the beauty of foods cooked with love. They linger in our consciousness. I do hope you have your meal with PD. I hope hearts can heal and fences be mended. If any stones or hams are brought don't throw them. Do as they did in the story, Stone Soup. Let them be a metaphor for the human condition. Let them represent an ingredient added to the pot of shared needs and wants and dreams. Savor the flavors and basked in the Southern sunshine of a new day.

    June 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • tim

      Dale you hit the nail on the head, "food cooked with love". Anyone who believes there is no difference needs to come to the South.

      June 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • Laura


        June 27, 2013 at 3:20 am |
    • Ky Girl

      I agree Dale, do we all have to tell where our old recipes came from...really...stupid. I am really tired of everyone wanting "CREDIT" write your own darn cookbook if it is that important to you.
      gggeeeszzzz get a life people.

      June 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  40. bearfairie

    Great blog post, and thank you for the list of blogs and books.

    June 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • Pam

      If you can forgive Martha Stuart's past, then you can fogrive Paula Deen for past language unbecoming a food icon . . . what you can't forgive are the past decades of her fatful, buttery, sugary and creamy recipes that have had a negative impact of the health of hundreds either in recreating them or feasting at her restaurants. Wake-up calls are sometimes wolves in sheeps clothing. Sometimes when you are unhealthy in one aspect of your life, you are unhealthy in another.*****

      June 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
      • Connie Lydon

        So you think we are all so ignorant as to not know what we should or shouldn't eat or adapt a recipe to fit our situation? Gee, thanks for thinking you know what's best for me.

        June 27, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  41. Thinking things through

    Thanks for this post - not so much for being about Paula Deen (I really don't have any stake in her future, having never watched her show nor having bought any of her books, although I did once download one good recipe of hers from online). I do wish her well. I do think it horrible to become a celebrity without knowing the downside such a fate can bring.

    What I do appreciate from this post, is the list of books and blogs about African-American foods and their related cultures. Over 15 years ago, I was invited to a co-worker's bridal shower; she was Black and the event was held at her sister's home. The sister did all the "catering", as in she cooked most of the dishes herself. The highlight of the night for me – regarding food – was collards and ham hocks - I got the recipe towards the end of the event ("You like that?" Pause... "Oh, awesome, here it is...", when she saw I was indeed serious.) I've made this recipe countless times since.

    I guess my rambling point is: credit your sources.

    June 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  42. Terry

    Pick any country in Europe, do those chefs have to credit every morsel that came from other countries? No, of course they don't , but leave it to the perpetual victims, the whining blacks to demand it.

    June 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Thinking things through

      NO you don't have to say exactly where everything came from, but if you are going to talk about the food you prepare and serve, beyond saying "hey, here's something good, do enjoy", it is friendly to give notes, if not conversational. I for one, appreciate it.

      June 26, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
      • Courteous in cooking

        I agree. I do it all the time, if someone likes what I cook or bake and I have gotten it from someone else, I am sure to let them know. Common courtesy.

        June 27, 2013 at 4:47 am |
      • Connie Lydon

        In Paula's case, she had 30 minutes to do a segment. I'm willing to bet her producers didn't want time spent on a history lesson, although that can make the food even more interesting, I will admit.

        June 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • Thinking things through

          There is that, and in those 30 minutes there would be ads. I'm thinking more about the cookbooks.

          June 28, 2013 at 6:42 am |
    • horlexx

      we don't wine we DAMAND! don't you know anything.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
      • Sapphire

        With two typos to your credit, your comment has no credibility.

        June 28, 2013 at 6:52 am |
        • Sapphire

          Make that 4.

          June 28, 2013 at 6:53 am |
        • Ruby

          And one spelling error makes it five. Try this: “We don't whine, we DAMAND! Don't you know anything?”

          June 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
      • Casual Reader

        Please spell demand as you see it in this sentence.

        July 1, 2013 at 1:07 am |
  43. Melody

    Really folks. This lady uses all she's been taught and her business skills to build an business (brand) and we have to take something away from her because she's not crediting every culture on the planet that has or could have influenced something that she learned along her journey. This world is getting OUT OF CONTROL. Leave the lady alone. She's worked hard and deserves the fruits of what she's built.

    June 26, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Thinking things through

      No, it is not required that she credit every culture she's had her cuisine pass through. It does make for more interesting reading and thought-provoking understanding of the foods we eat (or don't eat) today, if she (or any other person discussing food recipes and byways) does so. It isn't a requirement, but if I do obtain specific cultural information, frankly, I think it is important to share that. It is polite for one, and informative for two.

      June 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
      • Laura

        I'm all for that, if it's something she would like to do. However, I don't think she is obligated or less nice if she doesn't. She is a very nice person and a very busy one. If she can't find the time, maybe someone that can't seem to do what she's been able to, can.

        June 27, 2013 at 3:32 am |
      • greeneyedirishlass

        I can understand and respect that you might find it informative and enjoy someone doing that, however a chef/cook does not generally do that...but she is being singled out for not doing it, that is unfair. For Example, Bobby Flay often cooks with a Southwestern flair, cooks many Southwestern dishes from where I grew up...but doesn't go into explanation as to the origin of the dishes...he's not singled out. I have hundreds of cookbooks at home, two of them might have interesting side notes or anecdotes along with the recipes....and I have books for foods from all around the world, rarely do they go into an explanation of the origins of recipes. However, I do know where I can find that information if I want it...the internet, book store, or library. I buy cookbooks for recipes, not history. That's not to say there wouldn't be a market for cookbooks with historical references :-) They just aren't the general norm.

        June 27, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
        • Thinking things through

          No, she's not obligated, I agree. Not all the cookbooks I own also discuss the backgrounds of the foods, but many of the regional/culturally inspired ones I have, do. It's great to know, for instance, when assembling a dinner based on Indian cuisine, which recipes lend themselves to which region of India, and using that as a way to challenge myself to cook accordingly. It is not that I HAVE to do it that way, it is just a nice challenge. It's things about, say, Southern cooking that I wouldn't have thought to look up, like the fact that black eyed peas are traditional for New Years.

          I seriously wish her well, and I do think the Food Network over-reacted in their decision. And thanks, both of you, for your considered responses to the earlier message.

          June 28, 2013 at 6:54 am |
    • Anne Johnson

      Well stated!

      June 26, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Connie Lydon

      I'm going to sit back and wait for Karma to come into play and enjoy it fully. Then watch the whiners (of all races) cry about the injustice of it all :)

      June 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  44. RLaws

    Can I throw rocks at her anyway?

    June 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Ham is the preferred tossing object.

      June 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • RLaws

        Hah! You're right. Is frozen ok?

        June 26, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
        • Kat Kinsman

          That's between you and your butcher.

          June 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
      • darth cheney

        Ham. Battered. Deep fried. And sugar coated.

        June 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • Rob

          LOL..... excellent!

          June 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Thinking things through

      RLaws: "Anyway?" NO. (Think about it...)

      June 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  45. Arthur in the Garden!

    Non-issue. Moving on....

    June 26, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • BlinkyWinky

      Hear, Hear!

      July 3, 2013 at 9:31 am |
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