Paula Should Tell Critics, “Kiss my grits!”

Paula & Al on Today Show (source: The Atlantic)

The big news this morning is Southern food maven Paula Deen’s announcement on the Today Show that she has type 2 diabetes. She’s had it for a while, apparently, and now she’s also come out as a spokesperson for a diabetes drug.

The media and everywhere online have been giving her a lot of flack about it. Some even go as far as to insinuate that she somehow deserves it given all the “un-healthy” food she promotes.

I feel bad for her. Truthfully, I enjoy watching her show! Some of her recipes, especially the extreme ones like the cheesburger on Krispy Kreme donut leave that queasy, sick feeling in my throat just watching it, but hey, it’s amusing in a morbid kind of way. That’s why I watch it. It’s like all you rubber neckers who clog up the highways whenever there’s a wreck. We all slow down to take a look even if it makes us cringe. Admit it.

I liked watching Paula Deen because she seemed to genuinely love food. Relished it! You can see it in her body. At least she’s not matchstick skinny and pretending to enjoy all the rich, calorie laden food she cooks. You can tell the woman eats what she cooks! No crime in that.

I do, however, don’t agree with this new venture she’s going into as a paid spokesperson for the diabetes drug company. She will also be promoting ways to manage diabetes through healthier diet and exercise on a website sponsored by the drug company. It’s all and good, I suppose. Maybe someone will see it, take heed and make a difference in their lifestyle.

Personally though, I would probably have had more respect for Paula if she had just told everyone to “Kiss my grits!”

Everyone knows how Southern cooking is. Southern cooking floats on grease and sugar. It’s what makes it so down home good! It’s how our grandmas made it, swimming in syrup and gravy, it’s the kind of food that folds you into its ample cottony arms and gives you comfort. No one ever said Southern food is healthy for you, but it sure is darn healthy for your soul.

If I was Paula, I would have stuck to my grits and told everyone to kiss it. Stick to the love for Southern food, but maybe tweak it a bit to combat that darn diabetes or as my neighbor used to say, “sugar”. That’s how some of my elder Southern neighbors refer to diabetes. When someone’s got “sugar”, they mean diabetes.

But really, who of anyone conscious of their health would eat everything Paula Deen cooks up on her show? As if by us watching her show and being amused by her charm we would suddenly start eating all the deliciously bad for us food she cooks up on a daily basis. We have to be accountable for our own actions too, just as Paula has to be for hers. Anyone with good sense knows we can’t eat that way all the time. But it sure is good to indulge once in a while!

And even when we can’t, it’s good to indulge virtually by watching her show; even if her show does nothing but to make us feel smug about how much healthier our diet is than hers.

If I was Paula, I would take ownership of Southern cooking with Diabetes!

(By the way, her son is doing something akin to that already on his Not My Mama’s Meals)

“Sugar” is not an uncommon problem here in the South. Is it any wonder? lol! But how great would it be to have had her say, hey, I got diabetes but I do so love all this stuff I grew up with! It’s all this food I’ve been cookin’ up and eatin’ that probably gave me this disease, but it’s who I am! I’m a girl of the South and this is my life. Now how can I keep living this way just a little bit longer?

That would probably be more helpful and empowering to me and my neighbors who can’t help but indulge in Southern food. As one of them said, it’s crack for us who grew up with it. We can’t live without it. Now we just have to figure out how to LIVE with it.



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