When asked by Oprah Winfrey in 2007 how she dealt with criticism that the Southern Cooking Queen’s recipes were too high in fat, Paula Deen took it in stride.
“Honey, I’m your cook, not your doctor,” Deen said, to wild applause from the audience.
With Deen’s admission this morning that she’s had Type 2 Diabetes – and has known since 2008 – the backlash has been fierce.
Long a proponent of high-fat foods that may contribute to a host of health issues, the question now is: will she be able to eat her own cooking? If her Skillet Fried Apple Pie is any indication, she may need to sign a waiver before sitting down for dessert.
Up until today, the 65-year-old Deen has been fanatical about fat and the flavor it provides. Often using a whole stick of butter in recipes and frying everything from spinach to ice cream, the chef seems to have been abiding by the motto: Live a Little. Just not for Long!
Anthony Bourdain, the Travel Channel's resident Curmudgeon/Cook – never a fan of Deen’s - said today, "When your signature dish is hamburger in between a doughnut, and you've been cheerfully selling this stuff knowing all along that you've got Type 2 diabetes ... it's in bad taste if nothing else."
The hypocrisy gets worse. According to the Washington Post, "Deen is the pitch person for Novo Nordisk’s new online program, Diabetes in a New Light, which offers tips on food preparation, stress management and working with doctors on treatment. She has contributed diabetes-friendly recipes to the website and takes the company’s drug Victoza, a once-daily noninsulin injection that had global sales of $734 million in the first nine months of 2011."
But with all the hoopla and harping, it’s unlikely this news will drive away Deen’s true fans; in fact, it will only serve to provide the TV chef with yet another rich income source to mine. At the end of the day, even if she tones down the butter in her recipes, her deal with Big Pharma will fatten up her wallet for years to come. As far as her net worth is concerned, Paula Deen is still on a roll.
With a side of slaw, y’all.
Ruth Williams contributed to this report.
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