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Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin' Hardcover – April 3, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 261 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Anyone who's ever watched, mesmerized, as the author of this memoir pan-fries a porkchop on the Food Network will find lots to savor in her down-home life story. Deen, the sunny host of Paula's Home Cooking and the author of three cookbooks, relates the collapse of her first marriage, her surprising fight with agoraphobia and the rise of her Savannah restaurant, The Lady and Sons, with candor, good humor and mouthwatering descriptions of Southern food. Of her husband's favorite dish, Sexy Oxtails, Deen writes, "It is a loving dish; a hearty, lip-smacking dish; and those tails are better than a passionate kiss." Yes, she includes the simple, savory recipe alongside recipes for favorites like belly-filling Shaggy Man Split Pea Soup, salty-sweet Pan-Fried Corn and addictive Biscuits and Sawmill Gravy. Deen writes the way she talks-lots of ain'ts, darlings and honeys-but the effect is charming and disarmingly upfront. On her early Food Network success, she says, "I was not a size 2, but instead a sassy, roundish, white-headed cook. Women could identify with me... I could be them, and they could be me." She's absolutely right; when Deen has turned the last of life's lemons into Southern-sweet lemonade, readers may want to stand up and cheer, or maybe just tuck into a big, celebratory plate of porkchops.
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About the Author

Paula Deen is the bestselling author of thirteen books and an Emmy Award–winning Food Network television star. She was born and raised in Albany, Georgia. She later moved to Savannah, where she started The Bag Lady catering company. The business took off and evolved into The Lady & Sons restaurant, which is located in Savannah’s historic district and specializes in Southern cooking. She also co-owns Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House with her brother. Paula publishes a bimonthly magazine, Cooking with Paula Deen, and is a regular guest on QVC, where she sells her books and food products.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743292855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743292856
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (261 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #964,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, if you have a high opinion of Paula Deen and don't want to know about her past, including lots of mistakes (by her own admission) and her bouts of agoraphobia (which left her housebound) and panic attacks, then this isn't the book for you. But there is lots to recommend here - not only are there wonderful recipes at the end of each chapter, some of which have become family favorites for us - try the chili or the ham salad sandwiches or one of her scrumptous desserts - but Deen holds nothing back and proves that a person who started out with nothing, had a low opinion of herself but lots of energy and gumption, was able to rise above her flaws and make it. It is inspiring and an amazing story, too!

I loved this book and found it VERY inspiring. Deen came from a rather modest background and she didn't have a lot of self-esteem. She married a handsome hunk of a guy, had two gorgeous boys and found herself in a mess of trouble, with a man who couldn't make ends meet and leading a hardscrabble existence. She lost her parents and felt lost, alone and very scared. Her home was repossessed. A lot of people would have given up at that point but she did not. Working nearly round the clock, she slowly built up her business.....very slowly, but steadily.

But out of her adversity, one step at a time, she learned to make it. Along the way, she made lots of mistakes but she kept persevering.

In all honesty, some readers may have trouble with some of values and decisions made by Deen but I didn't judge her a bit. We are all human and we all have our ups and downs. I find her indefatable resilience to be amazing.
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Format: Hardcover
What is it that makes us all fall in love with Paula Deen, that Savannah queen in the kitchen with the recipes that ooze with butter and mayo? I can't find a reason not to love her. She's a slap in the face of honesty, with a cup full of love, a dash of humor, a sprinkle of wisdom, all rolled up into a pretty recipe loaf baked at 350 degrees of yumminess.

First, you have to appreciate that she is a true southern cook, and who doesn't like good ole southern food? Second of all, she has a background story of struggling to make ends meet with two sons, working 9 to 5 in a bank, scared to go out in public, and starting her own business in the kitchen in her middle-age years. Yeah, it's a story we've all heard before, but hers is 100% honest and true.

And lastly, she cooks up recipes that anyone can do, and they are recipes that you want to try, not a recipe you throw in a box and plan to cook some day (but probably never will). Remember those over-the-top chefs from years ago that used ingredients you had never even heard of, cooking up dishes that required hundreds of dollars, gallons of sweat, hours of nail biting, prep work, and probably lots of crying? Paula is definitely not one of those cooks. People appreciate her as a person because they can relate to her on all sides of her life. She's one of us.

If you are a Paula Fan, from her cookbooks to her shows, there's a lot in this book that you've read or seen before. But there is a lot that you will be learning for the first time on these very pages as Paula reveals more about herself and who she is, which will make you appreciate Paula even more. She is truly inspiring, in and out of the kitchen.
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Format: Hardcover
There is an old joke here in the South about a man who gets up during a fire and brimstone sermon at church and starts to confess all of his sins. The minister is pleased with the results of his sermon and is urging the subject on by saying, "Amen brother, tell it all." Finally the confessing backslider confesses something so horrible that the preacher's jaw drops and he says, "Whoa, I don't believe I would have told that!" A few times while I was reading this book I sort of felt like that preacher because Paula tells it ALL!

She starts out the book by saying that she is going to hide nothing and is going to be totally honest with her fans. She then proceeds to admit that she is a smoker and I thought that if this was her biggest darkest secret I was going to be bored before I got through with this book. Well in true Southern fashion she was just serving up a light appetizer because there was much more to come. The much more I'm not going to give away but take it from me, Paula has been cooking in more rooms than the kitchen.

Beyond the secrets though this is a warm and endearing book that is filled with Southern slang and humor. This is the story of the average Southern girl who grows up watching her mother and grandmother cook but never dreams that cooking will be her ticket to the big time. This is the story of a girl who marries too young, loses her parents not long after that and ends up in the having to find a way to support her family. There are dark times when she has to deal with family problems and mental illness and there are times when most people would have just given up but this is also a love story with a happy ending.
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