My Love/Hate Relationship with Paula Deen

She has a fascination with butter, has been hit in the face with a frozen ham, loves her two sons and is famous for riding things. That’s right, I’m talking about Paula Deen. This woman holds an interesting place in my heart, a place of both love and hate.

My hate for Paula Deen first developed my sophomore year of high school, watching an episode of “Paula’s Home Cooking” with a few friends. As the episode began, Paula greeted us with warm Southern hospitality and a sparkling smile. This quickly changed, as we watched in fear as she began throwing butter and sugar into a bottomless pot, thinking that more is better.

Not to be too harsh, but it comes as no surprise that she has Type II Diabetes. Let me tell you Paula Deen, more butter and sugar is decidedly not better.

Witnessing Paula’s food philosophy in action, my friends and I became disgusted with the display of fat, sugar and lard. And yet, we couldn’t look away. We were fascinated with the way Paula danced around the pot, using magic powers reminiscent of a witch, to create her dessert. She was in her element, and we could not change the channel. We continued to watch two more episodes, and as each continued, we continued to be horrified and fascinated.

Perhaps the most terrifying Paula Deen episode is the 2010 Halloween special. The episode opens with a terrifying witch cackle, and Paula appearing from the back dressed as a witch (perhaps she really is one). Throughout the episode, she continues her cackling and talks in a weird, quasi-witch voice that creates nothing but awkwardness for her and her son Jamie.

She then proceeds to put on a fat-woman costume, claiming “I ate too many cupcakes, y’all.” Paula, no one is surprised. She decides to tell the audience the lovely fact that she is not wearing anything underneath the costume. Thank you Paula, for putting that lovely image in my mind.

While I have to deal with all this nonsense, I still cannot help but love sweet Paula. She provides me with so many laughs, though they are usually followed by fear-induced anxiety. Watching her get hit in the head with a frozen ham (albeit on accident) was a highlight of my Thanksgiving season 2009. Seeing comedian Kathy Griffin smacking Paula with a switch (also on accident) provided great entertainment in the summer of 2009. Basically, 2009 was a great year to laugh at Paula Deen.

Although Paula has provided me with all these great laughs, my hate outweighs my love in the end. Her mass use of fattening and unhealthy ingredients in her southern comfort food makes me nauseous, and while some of the country is trying to get on a health kick, she is impeding the effort. I find her hospitable veneer to be fake, and her smiles forced. I’m sure she is a very nice woman, but I have a feeling feeling that if I ever came across her, I would not believe it.

Paula Deen, congratulations. You hold a special place in my heart, and you have managed to fill it with both love and hate. While I hate you a little, I appreciate the laughs and good memories you’ve given me. Now please, go make some healthy food.

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