Paula Deen Serves Up Food Advice for Kids

paula deenThe queen of Southern cuisine has a new cookbook for kids:   Paula Deen’s Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set. I must admit, Paula is not my favorite Food Network star. No doubt she’s charming and entertaining, but I don’t really embrace her deep-fried, fat-laden style of cooking.  So the thought of her cuisine translated to kids made me a bit nervous.  It seems as though Barbara Walters had a similar concern when Paula made a recent appearance on The View to promote her new book.

Paula dishes up an enormous spread of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, strawberry cake, chocolate fondue, cookies, muffins and other Southern comforts, licking off her fingers as she described these so-called kid-friendly foods in her cookbook. The View ladies are digging right in and then Barbara asks a rather serious question:

“This is a cookbook for kids. Obesity is the number one problem for kids today. Everything you have here is enormously fattening. You tell kids to have cheesecake for breakfast . . .you tell them to have chocolate cake, meatloaf and french fries for lunch.  Does it bother you that you’re adding to it? No? Not at all?”

Paula mumbles something about moderation — “you know, we don’t eat this every day” — to an unconvinced Walters. The awkward exchange has fueled a heated debate in the blogosphere, with people passionately taking both sides — criticizing Walters for her “attack” and Paula for promoting high-calorie, fatty recipes for kids.

Yes, Walters comes down hard on Paula during this light-hearted segment (ironically, the abrupt question came soon after Paula told Walters how she reminded her of her mom and Aunt Peggy because she was so lady-like).  Ha!  Guess she didn’t know what hit her.

But how could Walters not ask this question?  How could the issue be ignored?  The entire segment was over-the-top indulgent — it seemed like a logical topic to bring up.   So can you really blame Walters…or was it just the way she said it?   What’s disturbing to me is that so many people will be looking to Paula for advice on what’s good for kids to pack in a lunch or eat for breakfast before school.  She even tried to talk about nutrition mentioning the “protein” they need.  Yes, Paula is a celebrity chef and she has a devoted following, but that doesn’t automatically make her an expert on children’s nutrition. Well, at least she’s not talking about hiding broccoli in brownies.


No, Paula is not the reason we have a childhood obesity problem in this country.  But is this the type of cookbook parents really need right now?   Was Paula ambushed by Walters on The View?  Was it a fair question?  Or should we just all calm down and shut-up?  Watch the video and let me know your thoughts.

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