Paula Deen Has 'Savannah Style' and Low Cholesterol
By Maggie Coughlan Posted May 17th 2010 05:00PM
While she may be most recognizable as the host of three shows on Food Network, Paula Deen's empire expands far beyond the kitchen. Best known for her love of decadent foods, her Southern pride and liberal use of butter, Paula has teamed up with her creative director, Brandon Branch, to co-author 'Savannah Style,' a year-round tour (and visual smorgasbord) of homes in Savannah, Georgia, that is sprinkled with advice and expertise. PopEater sat down with Paula and Brandon to talk about being named "the queen of cholesterol" and what 'Savannah Style' is all about.
Your new book is called 'Savannah Style.' What sets Savannah, Georgia, apart from the rest of the world?
Brandon Branch: That's a good question. I think Savannah people are definitely eccentric. We're really quirky. We love to bring life outside. We love to bring the inside outside. We love collecting things, we love things that tell a story, that have a history. We have such great architecture here, everything's old. We love really unique things.
Paula Deen: Savannah is all about details. It's those little things that so quietly take it to the next level.
Is there a famous house or location you'd love to decorate?
BB: I would love to decorate the Mercer House in Savannah. It's one of the most famous homes downtown. It's the house in the movie and the book, 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.'
PD: Where Jim Williams shot and killed his lover, and then a few years later, Jim William dropped dead in the same spot where his lover had [also] fallen dead in the library.
Does this mean there may be a Paula Deen home decor television show in the future?
PD: You know, I know never say never. I have no idea, honey, what God's got in store for me tomorrow! I don't know, but my head is up high and my eyes are open and I think Brandon's the same way.
You've got some diehard fans who would love to see that show come to fruition. What do you watch on television?
PD: It's so funny because I am a fanatic over Discovery ID. Solving mysteries! I love whodunit. I love 'CSI' -- all those shows. 'Criminal Minds,' 'Criminal Intent,' Discovery ID! Let's get onto the next murder and let me help you solve it!
Who is your favorite Food Network star?
PD: That's hard for me to answer because I don't really watch cooking shows. The thing that makes me the saddest is that I never got to meet Julia Child. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to cook alongside her and to have met her.
One young lady that was just here on set with me, Sunny Anderson, I thoroughly enjoyed being with her. I think she's a great little cook. And her name is perfect -- it fits her personality. 'Cooking for Real' on Food Network. Believe it or not, people think that those of us on Food Network get to see each other all the time, it's totally not true. One may film in LA, one may film in Atlanta, one may film in Jersey, one may film in New York, one may film in Savannah. We MIGHT be all at the same function maybe once, twice a year at the most.
Television shows like Jamie Oliver's 'Food Revolution' have made healthy eating both necessity and entertainment. Anyone who has watched a Paula Deen cooking show or special knows that your approach to cooking is much different. You've been called the "queen of cholesterol" by critics and fans alike.
PD: I don't let it bother me, I just laugh. I'm a firm believer that Southern cooking is not nearly as bad for you as people want to make it out to be. I would put my money up that we eat more vegetables than any region in the country. Y'all know that even if its got some ham hock in it, those vegetables are very good for your body. We don't, regardless of what people think, eat fried chicken at every meal. It's about moderation, it's all about moderation and then it's genetic.
My cholesterol is 137, so that ain't bad. You have to be responsible for yourself. You have to know your numbers and take care of your own dietary needs. No one can do that for ya. It's important that each person be familiar with their numbers, talk to their doctor and eat accordingly.
Regardless of what people think, we do not have fried chicken and biscuits everyday. Sometimes, we will just have a vegetable plate. It's not nearly as bad -- people joke on me! But it's alright, I just laugh along with it. But I'll tell you what -- I would rather have quality than quantity. I want to enjoy this beautiful life that God gave me. And do I have a news bulletin, you won't believe it, hold onto your chair -- none of us are getting out of here alive. So if I want a piece of fried chicken, I'm gonna have me a piece of fried chicken, but at the same time I'm gonna try and be responsible for myself.
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