In My Opinion

Rivenbark: Paula Deen’s goose is cooked

July 6, 2013 

Stick a fork in her, y’all; Paula Deen is done. To use Food Network parlance, she is “on the chopping block;” she is Bobby Flayed; she is – wait for it – persona non gratin.

We should’ve seen this one coming because, the truth is, Paula Deen has never been a stranger to controversy … crossing the picket line at Smithfield Foods with a smile on her face, keeping that whole diabetes thing under wraps until she could ink a sweet drug company spokeswoman deal … pining openly for the good ol’ days when a celebrity could throw her brother a “slave-themed” wedding without everybody getting’ their step-ins in a wad …

Deen’s now notorious admission to using the N-word in the past, adding an unfortunate “of course” as if somebody was asking if she ever added almond extract to her peach cobbler, has derailed her career, forcing her to join the likes of Michael Richards (Seinfeld’s “Kramer”) and Mel Gibson in the “Did I just say that out loud?” hall o’ shame.

So what’s a pie-faced granny gonna do now? Even Smithfield has dumped her and her hams, and QVC (QVC!!!!) has decided to “take a pause” from Deen. Walmart and Sears have booted her cookware line. It’s bad, y’all.

The only way Paula Deen could ever get back on national TV would be if she bought her own network and used a redemption theme, say, only having guests who are folks like her in serious need of an image makeover.

Paula: “Y’all, today I’m going to be in the kitchen with my very special guest, Edward Snowden! Edward’s gonna share his family’s special barbecue sauce recipe ’cause, you guessed it, this fool can’t keep anything secret!” (Cackle, cackle, cackle!) (Speaking of Snowden, don’t you know this cat was fun at Christmas? “Hey Tommy! See that present under the tree from Mom and Dad with your name on it? It’s a Playstation. You’re welcome.”)

Paula’s new redemptive cooking show could have a segment with cheating cyclist Lance Armstrong in which he demonstrates extreme crust week after week after week. A certain fallen FEMA director could share his recipe for “Heckofajob Brownies.”

The whole Paula Deen scandal is, as we say in the South, most unfortunate. Mostly because it has set us back a hundred years in public perception. Gawd, we were just crawling out from under “The Help” and now this.

As a native Southerner, I blame Paula Deen for the fact that now we have to put up with comments such as this semi-hysterical entry in a L.A. Times online discussion about the scandal that concluded “The South is a scary place filled with scary people.”

Oh, calm down. The South is becoming so homogenized that the only thing scary about it is the proliferation of bagel emporiums.

I will always be grateful to Paula Deen for the world’s best grits casserole recipe (the secret is cooking the grits in chicken broth) and, well, nothing else.

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