One of my first posts, on May 13, 2010, was Paula Deen, eat your heart out, about the Southern home cooking restaurant rage in NYC. The photo that accompanied the post was my Mom’s banana pudding, served in the bowl that belonged to my grandmother, who made the best banana pudding on the planet! Mom’s is pretty darned good, too!
I want to emphasis that, even though the post is called Paula Deen, eat your heart out, I mean no disrespect to Ms. Deen. In fact, she is one of my foodie heroes. Hers is an inspiring and well deserved success story.
In spite of losing her parents at a young age, an early marriage that ended in divorce, and suffering from agoraphobia and panic attacks that left her virtually housebound for years, she pulled herself together and worked with what she had, to support herself and her two young sons. And, what she had was a warm, wonderful, down home personality, and a talent for cooking fabulous food.
She expanded her cooking skills into a catering business, called The Bag Lady. Then, in 1996, she opened a restaurant in Savannah, GA, called The Lady and Sons, which USA Today named The International Meal of the Year, in 1999. She’s published five cookbooks, launched a lifestyle magazine in 2005, called Cooking With Paula, opened another restaurant in Harrah’s Casino in Tunica, MS in 2008, and has had several cooking shows on The Food Network, including Paula‘s Home Cooking, Paula‘s Party, and Paula‘s Best Dishes.. But even with all of her successes and accolades, she’s still a funny, authentic, and genuinely charming Southern Lady. So, here’s to Paula, ya’ll!