Sunday, January 22, 2012
I feel bad for her. I have been following Paula Deen for as long as I can remember. I watch her show. I've twice eaten in her restaraunt. Her fried chicken is second to none. Now she's under the microscope. Somehow, the media has found a way to demonize this charming woman from Albany, Georgia. That Anthony Bourdain fella called her the "worst, most dangerous person in America". Really Anthony? Look at her face! Dangerous? Come on! She's a cream puff (no pun intended)!! Now, make no mistake about it, Paula loves to cook with butter. And fat. And grease. And sugar. And lots of it. She's very well known for once making a hamburger that replaced the buns with Krispy Kream Donuts, taking the whole idea of "heart attack on a plate" into the stratosphere. I know firsthand that if you visit her restaurant in Savannah (which I highly recommend) that 4 trips to the buffet will find you checking your pulse. Yes, I said 4 trips. I believe in getting my money's worth.
The fuss these days centers around the recent discovery that she has diabetes. Apparently she's had it for years. She did not "come out" about this diagnosis until she had signed on to represent a drug company that hawks a $500.00 a month diabetes drug. I say, whatever. There's another side of all this that really bugs me. Paula pushes fat and an unhealthy lifestyle. Paula, with her charming smile, keeps telling everyone to cook with fat and butter. She's making people eat fat sandwiched between deep fried donuts. Why, if it weren't for Paula, we'd all be running half marathons! If Paula hadn't written those heart stopping recipes there'd be no need for a national health insurance plan. It's all Paula's fault. And McDonald's. And Burger King. And what about all of those sugar filled cereals that show up in hi def during every commercial break on Saturday mornings? Paula's got something to do with it all I'm sure.
I do not have my head in the sand about all of this. I understand the debate about targeting children in the ads, etc. My thing is this. Paula Deen has never walked into my kitchen and force fed me her "Oweey Goowy Butter Cake". My man Ron McDonald has never stuffed french fries in my mouth while I slept. Tony the Tiger does not fill my cereal bowl for me even when I'm way past full. By the way, I'd welcome any one of those scenarios. This can be a hard thing to accept, but we bear some responsibility for what we do. Yes, even what we eat. We know that eating fried Oreo Cookies can have an adverse effect on our health. Same for smoking, excess drinking, and living near 3-mile island. We make choices. Even though we can read the nutritional information just about anywhere we eat, we still make those bad choices. I read that my favorite sandwich at my favorite deli has over 1,800 calories and 80 grams of fat. I ordered it anyway. We take risks. We live and die with our choices and we are accountable for those choices. Jesus offered a choice between life and death. Some chose life. Some chose death. Jesus never forced the issue. Life or death, your choice. We will be accountable for our choices, at least according to Jesus. I suppose that when that moment comes, I won't have the CEO of Blue Bell Ice Cream standing next to me. I won't have Arturo Fuente (cigars) with me, nor will Ronald McDonald be around for me to point the finger. Just me and God. What did you choose, he'll ask? No one around to answer but me. Choices.
And if God points me towards the pearly gates, I hope that the "heavenly banquet" includes fried chicken and Oweey Goowy butter cake.