But not anymore.
Now Miss Paula has joined the ranks of Giada DeLaurentiis and Sandra Lee as my Armageddon Brigade of Kitchen Idiots. I cannot stand to watch any of them, even to sit and constantly criticize, snipe, harp at, and malign them as they "cook."
Here, therefore, is my open Dear Paula Breakup Letter to Miss Deen. Sigh.
Dear Miss Paula,
Believe me, it pains me deeply to have to write you this letter. For years, I watched you faithfully and enjoyed you immensely. How fearlessly you tossed stick after stick of butter into every recipe! How your Holy Trinity remained Butter, Mayonnaise, and Canned Creamed Soups despite our nation's Obesity Epidemic. I defended your folksy southern pronunciations: "spatchler" for spatula; "awl" for oil. I even overlooked your use of "cheese" as a verb, as in "Y'all can wait for the last fifteen minutes to cheese your casserole", meaning "to top with cheese." I simply grinned indulgently when you constantly looked obliviously into the camera as you massaged oil into a cut of pork and said rapturously, "Y'all know how I like to rub my meat." I simply ignored your use of the term "tin foil" even though foil has not been made of tin for...well, EVER.
But when your popularity began to soar in the past couple of years, something happened. You began to market your Countrified Schtick Personality. And magnify it. Suddenly, your accent became more pronounced. Down-Home Expressions peppered your commentary like Cajun seasoning. You got another show, Paula's Party, and on it you acted like a Saturday Night Live actor doing an extreme caricature of you. On crack. And Spanish Fly.
And then there was the crap you started making on your regular show.
I think one recipe says it all: Cheesy Ham and Banana Casserole. Good Heavens. The title alone is gut-wrenching, but the ingredient list (deli ham, bananas, bacon, cheese, potato chips, and, for that little je ne sais quois, nutmeg) is enough to set anyone off on a vegan and Luddite lifestyle. Urk.
At the risk of losing readers--and my own gastric wellbeing--here is a picture:
What were you thinking? Were you hoping for instant inclusion in The Gallery of Regrettable Food?
In any case, it's over between us. I can't have any self-respect and go on watching you, and I can't have any love for food and go on watching what you do to it. Goodbye, Paula Deen, goodbye.
Moving on to Anne Burrell,