Expect the Unexpected

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Paula Deen, a recipe for disaster

paula-deen-apology-squareUPDATE: 10 a.m., Saturday. Food Network has already started pulling Paula Deen’s shows from the air. That was FAST!

It wasn’t a good week for Paula Deen. Stick a fork in her, she’s done. Or is she?

The Food Network, which is currently airing three of her shows, announced it was dropping her after a 14 year run.

I shed no tears for her. She has been coasting on her overdone “aw shucks” Face In the Crowd personality and over the top bad, insult to Southern cooking for a long time.

The announcement came after The National Enquirer, yes that National Enquirer, leaked a court deposition by Deen in which she admitted to using the N-word and wanting to plan a ‘plantation-style wedding’ for her brother with black waiters dressed like slaves. Read the full 149 page transcript when you have an hour or two to kill. She also revealed she has quite a potty mouth, and admitted to referring to an underage waitress as a ‘piece of p***y.’

The deposition is part of a legal proceeding involving a complaint brought by Lisa T. Jackson, a former employee of Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House, which is owned by Paula Deen Enterprises, Paula Deen, and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers.

Jackson alleges she was subjected to “violent, sexist, and racist,” behavior when she worked at the restaurant under Bubba’s management. She claims Bubba sexually harassed her for five years, frequently used the ‘N-word’, referred to President Obama as a ‘n—er’ and watched pornography on work computers.

Paula Deen's Butter Balls.

Paula Deen’s Butter Balls.

In the deposition, Paula herself admitted to using the N-word, but it wasn’t her worst testimony. She pleaded ignorance to almost everything, and was evasive as much as possible, relying on attorney-client privilege whenever she could to avoid answering.

She admitted to turning a blind eye to the goings on at the restaurant, so she brought consultants in to investigate Jackson’s claims against her brother. When the consultants were critical of Bubba, she dismissed their report.

Jackson alleged Bubba was taking money from the till. Paula acknowledged the restaurant was losing money bigtime and Paula Deen Enterprises had sunk $300,000 into it to keep it afloat. But Paula dismissed any possibility her brother did anything improper with cash or the treatment of employees because she has known him for “66 years” and knew him better than anyone else.

Paula's gazillion cheese lasagna with cornstarch thickened tomato sauce.

Paula’s gazillion cheese lasagna with cornstarch thickened tomato sauce.

Yet when asked if she knew about her brother’s addiction to cocaine and alcohol, which sent him into drug rehab, she said no, that came as a surprise to her.

The deposition reads like a sister covering her brother’s sorry ass, knowing it’s a sorry ass, but doing what she feels is best for her family’s reputation.

When Paula Deen first emerged on the Food Network scene, I liked her. She seemed like a quaint little aunt sharing Southern cookery. But she lost me when she decided to become the Butter Queen, championing an “everything in excess” spin on food. Her recipes such as Deep Fried Butter Balls were just heart attack on a plate atrocities.

One of the the worst things I saw her make on TV was Lady and Sons Lasagna, an insult to Italian food. For one pan of lasagna, she called for six cheeses, including cream cheese:

12 ounces cottage cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Gruyere Cheese
1 cup Swiss cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 8-ounce package cream cheese

To top it off, she acknowledges her tomato sauce recipe will likely come out thin (maybe because it calls for one cup of water) so she advises home cooks to thicken the sauce with CORNSTARCH AND WATER. That is no way to treat an Italian classic!

Paula tried to atone for her damning deposition testimony by filming an apology video. When that was received negatively, she released another apology video. Better than the first, but too little too late, and Food Network announced they were through with her.

But is Paula Deen permanently leaving the airwaves? I don’t think so, judging from the large number of fans who are defending her on Food Network’s Facebook page. I wouldn’t count her out yet.
At the beginning of this post I referred to A Face in the Crowd, an excellent film starring Andy Griffith as Lonesome Rhodes, a Southern drifter who becomes a major TV star only to lose it all when his true thoughts about his audience were revealed. At the end, Lonesome is afraid he is washed up and has lost it all. But Walter Matthau’s character bitingly reassures him that although he may go away for awhile, there will always be some market, somewhere that will hire him.

I bet the offers are already coming in for Paula.

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6 thoughts on “Paula Deen, a recipe for disaster

  1. Ashley on said:

    You wasted a lot of time on this. I really thought it would have been more original. Why don’t you look into “who” Lisa T Jackson really is and then write something news worthy.

    • I appreciate your comment. From what I understand in the complaint filed in court, Lisa T. Jackson is a former employee of a restaurant owned by Paula Deen Enterprises. If you have more information, please share.

  2. Sarah on said:

    Any link to Bubba Hiers depo? I want to read that next.

    • Hi Sarah. I don’t have any links to any other depositions at this time. There should be depositions coming out for Earl “Bubba” Hiers as well as the defendant Lisa T. Jackson and other witnesses. The National Enquirer released the complaint and Paula Deen’s deposition. As they say, stay tuned.

    • Thank you for this link to a Facebook page which has links to various depositions. Some interesting reading ahead. There are two sides (and often more) to every story.

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