25
Jun
13

6.25.13 … Paula Deen: “Many chefs who look at Southern food through this lens see Ms. Deen as neither an embarrassment nor an influence — in fact, they barely see her at all.”

Paula Deen, Southern Chefs, Southern Cooking, New Southern Cooking, Natalie Dupree, NYTimes.com: Now this is interesting … I took cooking lessons from Natalie Dupree in the early 80s.  And I would agree with her –  “I’m beginning to take umbrage at being lumped together with people who haven’t taken the trouble to learn what is offensive and what isn’t,” she said. “It puts the whole region back again.”  I do not however write off her cooking to the extent that Ms. Dupree does.  I will often go to her first and then google around to see what else I can find.  She has definitely made a name for herself.

But nowhere, arguably, are passions running fiercer than in Ms. Deen’s own field: Southern cooking. Just as her words revived painful truths about race and language, they have stirred up long-simmering issues in the culinary business, including accusations of industrywide racism and sexism; class divisions; and the fight over the true heritage of the region’s food.In interviews, many black Southern chefs and even some of her fans said Ms. Deen’s words seemed to reveal a disrespect for the people and traditions at the roots of Southern cuisine, the culture that made her famous, rich and a role model for many culinary entrepreneurs.“She did not invent the hush puppy,” said Therese Nelson, a New York chef and caterer who has worked in the South and writes a blog at blackculinaryhistory.com. “By being Southern, of course she has a right to represent. But there comes a point where reverence or respect for the heritage has to show.”Ms. Nelson, like other students of cooking in the South, pointed out that slave cooks and, later, domestic workers who cooked for their own families and white employers developed most of the recipes that the world identifies as Southern.Online, many commenters have accused Ms. Deen of hypocrisy for profiting from the work of African-American cooks, including those who work in her restaurants, while harboring racist attitudes toward them. “You got rich off the recipes of the slave women your grandfather owned,” read one Twitter message last week, a reference to the fact that Ms. Deen’s ancestors, like those of many white people in the South, owned slaves.Certainly, many working chefs can claim Southern cooking as their birthright, but few if any have profited from it as Ms. Deen has.

“It’s almost like a spoof of Southern cooking,” said Nathalie Dupree, the author of “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking,” a cooking teacher and food historian in Charleston, S.C. Ms. Dupree, 73, said that in her childhood fried food was a once-a-week treat, that rich desserts were served even less often, and that vegetables and grains like rice and grits made up most of what was a healthy, farm-based diet.

“That is not how the people I know cook, and that is not how the people I know speak,” she said.

Ms. Dupree, who is white, is especially incensed by the notion (advanced by many of Ms. Deen’s defenders) that whites who grew up in the segregated South routinely use racist language without attaching any significance to it. “I’m beginning to take umbrage at being lumped together with people who haven’t taken the trouble to learn what is offensive and what isn’t,” she said. “It puts the whole region back again.”

Ms. Dupree was referring to the recent gains made by what is called the New Southern Cooking, a high-end culinary movement that celebrates the ingredients of the region — but not the kind found in sealed bags at the Piggly Wiggly.

These chefs worship at the altar of the pre-processed, agrarian South, going to great lengths to uncover the culinary contributions of all the region’s early inhabitants: American Indian hunters, African slave cooks, Italian rice barons and French pastry chefs. “To me, our food represents the very beginnings of American agriculture, eating what is straight from the fields, straight from the sea,” Mr. Raiford said.

Many chefs who look at Southern food through this lens see Ms. Deen as neither an embarrassment nor an influence — in fact, they barely see her at all.

via Paula Deen’s Words Ripple Among Southern Chefs – NYTimes.com.


0 Responses to “6.25.13 … Paula Deen: “Many chefs who look at Southern food through this lens see Ms. Deen as neither an embarrassment nor an influence — in fact, they barely see her at all.””



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 630 other followers

June 2013
S M T W T F S
« May   Jul »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

%d bloggers like this: