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The Life Of Paula Deen: In A Four-Course Menu

Cooking show host Paula Deen visits FOX Studios in December.
Slaven Vlasic
/
Getty Images
Cooking show host Paula Deen visits FOX Studios in December.

Appetizer: Hogs In A Sleeping Bag

These hearty kielbasas, partially hidden in puff pastries, represent Paula Deen's first catering company The Bag Lady — begun in 1989. It offered "lunch and love" ... in a bag.

Salad: Georgia Cracker Salad

In 2002, the Food Network introduced the fresh and zesty show, Paula's Home Cooking. A decade later, Forbes ranked her as fourth in a list of highest-earning celebrity chefs. In its heyday, Paula Deen Enterprises was minting greenery — with annual revenue of almost $100 million, The Associated Press reports. In honor of Paula Deen's salad days, this greenery features a surprising melange of saltines, tomatoes, onions and an egg — hard-boiled.

Entree: Chicken And Rice Casserole

Before being released from the Food Network in 2013 — after she admitted using racial slurs in the past — Paula Deen was riding so high that her Top 100 Recipes were featured on the network's website. This chicken, green bean and water chestnut creation was considered the Numero Uno of Paula Deen dishes. A bubbly casserole, it is clear and simple and presents well.

Presentation is critical for any dish. And for a contrite celebrity as well, according to political psychologist Bart Rossi. "Paula Deen did not apologize in a concise manner and could have presented herself better," Rossi tells NPR. "Now she needs to say or make comments that reflect she has said things that she regrets. Clear and simple regret."

Dessert: Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies or Gooey Toffee Butter Cake

Two ooey-gooey offerings. Of the chocolate treat, Paula Deen once exclaimed, "This is my new favorite cookie." Overbaked on the outside or underdone on the inside, any cookie can leave a "bitter aftertaste." The baker strives to make things right.

Like some celebrity chefs, the toffee butter cake is "very, very rich and a little will go a long way." This delicacy was featured in 2005 on the Food Network in an episode of Paula's Home Cooking. The title: "Just Desserts."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.