Customer Reviews: Paula Deen Celebrates!: Best Dishes and Best Wishes for the Best Times of Your Life
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on June 30, 2013
I think Paula Deen has been treated unfairly, and I wanted to show my support for her in some small way. I already have some of her books and a lot of her recipes from her shows, but I got on Amazon and saw that they would accept reviews mentioning her; so, I picked out the book that seemed to be getting the most attention, Paula's Cooking Bible, plus Paula Deen Celebrates, one that sounded like something I would like, and ordered them! I enjoy reading cookbooks as well as trying new recipes, and I will just have these to add to my collection.

I like the feature you have on a lot of your books where you can look inside and see the index and table of contents and get a good idea of what you are getting.

Thank you, Amazon, for taking the high road and not making a mountain out of a mole hill over the Paula uproar. We Southerners get a bad rap, anyway, in the racial divide. I once worked in the North and saw more prejudice there than I ever saw in the South, except they just kept it quiet and pretended.
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on December 9, 2006
Just in time for the holidays, I got this book. I love Paula Deen's show and her cookbooks always have amazingly simple dishes to prepare.

The author's personal stories and remembrances are what really made this book for me. As a girl from the south, these recipes are like things your Mammaw and Mama used to cook up for the family for a special occasion.

These recipes aren't necessarily things that you would eat in your everyday meals; they're for celebrations. If you're looking for a Southerner to eat tofu and bean sprouts for Thanksgiving, you've got it all wrong and would do better with buying another book. I prefer my tofu marinated in soy sauce and stir fried with pea pods and broccoli, but I'd rather have a turkey and all the trimmins for Thanksgiving.

The recipe book, and I hesitate to call it that because it's more of an entertaining book, has wonderful meal planning recipes and ideas for celebrating with your family & friends. Although I'd have loved more entertaining ideas, maybe next time, Paula?
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on December 5, 2006
After reading a previously posted review I am wondering why someone who isn't a Paula fan would even bother buying her book as that reviewer was definatley not a fan of Paula. For those of us who are TRUE Paula fans this book is another example of Paula giving us her true southern hospitality. Yes, there are recipes that come from her shows, but isn't that what a cookbook should do for any food network star? I mean unless you want to download the recipe each time you use it. There are also new versions of old favorites. But the point of the whole book is to use it as a menu planner for celebrations. Paula's personal history in the book only lets you get to know her more and gives personal insite on a woman who is so loved in the city of Savannah that if someone bad mouths her you are run out of town. So be warned those who wrote bad won't be getting and best dishes, hugs and kisses from Paula any time soon with your cranky attitudes. Also, I have had the honor of meeting Paula in person on numerous occations and also being on her new show Paula's Party, what you see is what you get with her. She is warm and caring and her over the top way of doing things is just who she is, so if you want a boring food network star...go watch the Barefoot Contessa or Giada.
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on July 21, 2012
I just got a book with the exact same cover but the whole title is Paula Deen and friends. I don't know if many of the recipes in the above book are similar to the book I got from Rodale, but if they are, what a disappointment and my book is going back. Most of the recipes are so basic and use packaged ingredients constantly. I expected scratch recipes from her cook books. Now I don't know whether to try a different book of hers or to expect the same type of recipes from every book. Maybe someone could comment on this that has more familiarity with her books. I love southern cooking, but I want to make the whole recipe, not just open packages of this and that. Also, I am a little surprised at how much salt is added even when using many ingredients in a recipe that already contain salt, such as bisquick.
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on June 28, 2013
Finally! A cookbook with good down-home recipes that I remember growing up. My main purpose to purchase was to support Paula Deen in the unfair and uncalled for criticism by the news media and liberals. I will boycott all businesses that sever ties with her. I always loved Sears but now will cut up my credit card with them and avoid anything with Craftsman on it. It was not unusual to spent $300 every time I shopped there. I'll find someone worthy of earning my dollar.
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on July 1, 2013
I ordered this book in support of Paula Deen· I am tired of the double standards applied by corporate America and by different factions in the media· I have been a big fan of Paula and had intended to order one of her cookbooks before now. The current debacle in the press just spurred me to action. Maybe the sponsors who rushed to judgement won't listen to my voice but I will express my opinion with my pocketbook! Even ole Wally World will not be seeing me. It may cost a bit more but I will be supporting my local independent grocer.
As for content of this book, I was not disappointed. There are many practical and yummy recipes listed.
God Bless to Paula Deen and her family!
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`Paula Deen Celebrates', by Food Network star and home cooking matron, with assistance from "Savannah Magazine" columnist, Martha Nesbit expands Ms. Deen's franchisee in a most logical and expected manner, by being a collection of recipes appropriate to twenty-one (21) favorite occasions to celebrate with food.

Among all the various different cookbook styles, the special occasion menu book seems to be the one most useful for the largest number of people next to your basic encyclopedic reference cookbook such as `The Joy of Cooking' and `James Beard's American Cookery'. And, Ms. Paula has, to my lights, done a better than average job at providing both an excellent selection of occasions and recipes for those occasions.

Her rather idiosyncratic selection of events is:

New Years' Eve Brunch

New Years' Day Good Luck Meal

Elvis's (sic) Birthday

Valentine's Day

President's Day

Big Easy Mardi Gras

My Wedding Anniversary

St. Patrick's Day

Easter Dinner

An Easter Egg Hunt

May Day Pink and White Party

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

Mother's Day Tea

Graduation Potato Bar

Father's Day Boating Picnic

Fourth of July Outdoor Grill and Low-Country Boil

Movie Watching Pizza Party in Bed


Sunday Afternoon Football Party

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Christmas Dinner

One thing that immediately strikes me about the choice of recipes is the emphasis on coordinating food colors and personal traditions, to the total disregard of seasonal availability. For example, for the New Year's Eve Brunch, one dish requires fresh tomatoes and another requires fresh blueberries, both of which are out of season in late December. That's not to say they are unavailable, it's just that they are expensive and not at their best, but price be darned! Paula will have her traditional favorites, come heck or high water.

Paula's recipes are written in exactly the same way you have come to expect from her earlier books, with just enough information for a knowledgeable amateur cook. That means a total novice may now and then be at a bit of a loss, as when Paula gives instructions for butterflying a beef tenderloin. A teaching cookbook would include a series of diagrams on how to do it. A teaching book by someone like Jacques Pepin would include additional instructions to get the greatest possible area of meat exposed to the rub being applied to the meat. Similarly, a recipe for shrimp and lobster bisque, done by someone like Jasper White (of '50 Chowders' fame) may take three for four pages and start with some live lobsters rather than steamed lobster tails. But then, Paula's recipes here, just as her endearing presentations on her show imbue the auditor with a great sense of confidence that `you too can cook a great homemade meal to entertain your family'.

There is no question that these recipes and menus will appeal most to natives of the southeastern United States, from Virginia to Georgia to Mississippi, to Kentucky, but there is nothing that will turn anyone else off of the recipes.

There are also several recipes that seem to be included for pure whimsy. My two favorites are Elvis' banana and peanut butter sandwich and the `turducken, a chicken, stuffed into a duck, which in turn is stuffed into a turkey. Thankfully, there is a company that does this feat for you, and Paula provides the web site for same. To think that just five years ago, this notion was totally unknown to the foodie nation. Just one of the things for which we have to be thankful to the Food Network (sic).

One caveat may be that Paula's style of cooking does not appeal to me as much as some others, such as the Mediterranean styles from Italy, France, Spain, and Morocco, and the Pennsylvania Dutch style. I am also not entirely pleased with some small aspects of her cooking, such as the use of self-raising flour. In spite of those personal tastes, I really think Paula has hit the nail on the head in putting together an excellent book on entertaining menus and recipes. Like Jamie Oliver, she succeeds more than many in communicating how good food can engender warm feelings `en familia'. I especially like her lower than average list price which, when discounted, will make buying her book almost painless, especially once you use one of her delightful menus.

I will also note that Paula could use a better copy editor. Her English usage and sentence structure are fine for talking in front of the camera, but they give the feeling of stumbling over words, especially prepositions, when you see them on the printed page. I also think she would have done well to cash in all the effort expended to create her `Paula's Pearl's of Wisdom' and `Brandon's Decorating Tips' for one more holiday. I think Halloween would have appreciated some attention from Savannah's own Ms. Deen!
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on July 10, 2013
Your recipes are so helpful, and wonderfully tasty. Your book makes a thoughtful gift for any occasion. I rarely buy cookbooks anymore, I get recipes on line. But I want to support you during this unbelievably vicious unjust attack you are being subjected to. I can only imagine the pain you must be undergoing. I thank God for the loving and supportive family you have. Maybe you can come up with a recipe for "Sacrificial Lamb" and send it to Matt Lauer and others like him. They seem to thrive on this type of fare. Keep your chin up, and smile as you do it. We average Americans are with you.
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on January 16, 2007
If you love Paula, you will love this cookbook. Many of these recipes I have seen on her show; however, her book has a lot of stories that go with the is a good book to read. The recipes are easy and are prepared with everyday ingredients.
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on July 16, 2013
Just love this book! Paula shares great recipes with photos and family stories. This book is very entertaining, informative and a good read even if you don't feel like cooking. YOU ARE GREAT PAULA!
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