Happy Tuesday y’all!
Today I am putting a little extra emphasis on my southern accent (see greeting above), mainly due in part because this past Sunday I met a very, very special lady with a heart of gold and a southern tongue as thick as black strap molasses. Yes, ladies and gents I had the privilege of meeting the one and only Queen of Butter (as I would like to call her), the sultan of Southern food and my third grandmother (I could only wish), Mrs. Paula Deen herself! You may have heard of her, you know, she has a cooking show on a “little” television network, first name Food. And here she is…
Isn’t she just the best? I.LOVE.HER! So, let me explain how I got the chance to meet Mrs. Deen. Last week I was browsing through a local newspaper and came across my favorite section with the crossword puzzle, I usually just skip all the local news and political junk and just go right to the Life and Style, or sometimes called Food and Life or maybe Arts and Life, anyway, the section was rather thick that day because there was a special calendar for the Texas Book Festival, which occurred this past weekend. Now, I am not much of a reader, unless its a cookbook or some type of food magazine…seriously I will spend hours upon hours sprawled out on my bed reading recipes and/or cutting recipes out of magazine to put in my recipe binder. But when it comes to Of Mice and Men or The Harry Potter Series, count me out.
This years Texas Book Festival was a buzz with food authors, you know, who just so happen to be food celebrities. As I was scaling the schedule for food authors, names were jumping out at me, in particular Alton Brown, who I absolutely adore, I grew up watching his cooking show Good Eats and I am telling you I have never learned more about food in my life, so informative! Then I began seeing several local food authors (some who are chefs and own restaurants round these here parts) who have a devout following, some of my favorites like Lisa Fain, the author of The Homesick Texan Cookbook and food blogger, and others like Gesine-Bullock Prado, Tyson Cole, Louis Lambert, and The Casserole Queens. I thought I was as excited as I could possibly be, but I was wrong. In fact, I was dead wrong. As I turned the page for Sunday’s schedule of events, there it was, first slot, in big bold letters, Paula Deen.
At first I thought it was some sort of sick joke, then it quickly became a realization. If you don’t know, Paula Deen is by far my favorite chef, she is the person who got me hooked watching The Food Network. I’d go as far in saying that The Food Network didn’t make her, she made The Food Network. Needless to say, meeting her is, I mean, was near the number one spot on my bucket list. I can proudly say that I have checked that one off! Did I mention that the Texas Book Festival is 100% complimentary? There are no hidden fees or unnecessary charges, it’s free to anyone and everyone that wishes to attend, mind you first come first serve to any event. I made a quick decision, called up my baby sister, and the next thing you know, we were standing in line at 9 a.m. Sunday morning to hear Paula Deen talk about her new cookbook, Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible. Don’t expect anything less than a stick of butter and a 1/2 c. of grated cheddar cheese in these recipes! Although she does have a skinny version of Mac n’ Cheese available for those watching their butter intake!
Thumbs Up…so excited for Paula Deen!
They started barreling us into the theater around 9:30 a.m., and Les and I got a seat about five rows away from the stage (pretty fricking close if you ask me). What was even better is that Les was determined to sit in the front row, so she is just minding her own business and spots two seats in the front row. She is calling me over, all the while the seating attendant is calling out at her “Um, ma’am that section is reserved for Paula’s guests…are you one of Paula’s guests?” She quickly and solemnly replied “No ma’am.” We then reverted back to our original seats where I had a conversation with my sis about what makes a person Paula’s guest. How special do you have to be? Then I went as far to say, “I am special, don’t they know we are Paula’s people? Hell, we are practically her biggest fans!” Les just chuckled and gave me a look that said, “Chels, we will have our time, just not today.” As we sat in the theater and waited for Paula to come out, I occupied my time playing around with my camera settings and shooting some pics.
Isn’t the Paramount beautiful? Had to take a pic of the box seating…love it!
The stage…that’s the seating attendant that told us we weren’t Paula’s people!
Photo Fun! Geez Les, blue eyes much?
Paula was originally scheduled to go on stage at 10 a.m., yet she was fashionably ten minutes late…no one really cared much because when she took the stage it was totally worth the wait. Paula had us busting a gut, Les and I were laughing so hard, she needs her own comedy show, truly hilarious. The mediator told us no flash on the cameras were allowed so these are the only two photos I could sneak in.
Paula poked fun at the mediator’s “Where’s Waldo” socks
So, I forgot to mention the best part about the session. Paula was scheduled to talk from 10-10:45. Her book signing was to occur immediately afterwards at 11 in the book signing tent. Because I had my trusty partner in crime with me, a.k.a. seester, Les volunteered to leave 5 minutes before Paula was finished talking to make a bee line over to the book signing to get a good spot in line for us. Around 10:40 Les informed me that she was going to take a restroom break and head to the book signing tent to get in line. She got up out of her seat and scooted past the two girls on the end of the row. My glance immediately turned to Paula, whose eyes were fixated directly on Leslie as she was heading to the back of the theater. Well, apparently Paula wasn’t having it, and she called out after Leslie, “Hey hunny, did I offend you? Where ya going? I’m not finished talkin’? Hunny, do you have to “wee wee?” The crowd burst into laughter as Leslie turned around and started laughing so hard until she was red in the face. Leslie told the truth, “Paula, I am headed to your book signing so I can get a good spot for my sister and I.” Paula smiled and waved her arms, “Okay hunny, you just go right on ahead and I will see you in a bit.” TOTALLY.EPIC. MADE MINE AND LESLIE’S DAY.
Les got a pretty good spot in line and we met Paula right away, where Leslie thanked her for calling her out in the theater. Paula thought we were just the cutest pair ever! By the way, that is her husband, Michael Groover, in the picture beside her. He is just as much a celeb as she is and was signing away!
All in all, it was a fabulous day to say the least! I wanted to share the first Paula Deen recipe that I ever made when I was a freshmen in high school, her famous Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. I remember the first time my Dad tried this dish and his eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store. Paula says that you can only have one serving of this dish in your lifetime, so pick your day because this dessert is super sweet and rich, and don’t expect anything less than a wholesome stick of butter in this dish. Totally Paula-fied!