Before the legal problems, the scandalous accusations, and rapidly falling endorsement deals, chef Paula Deen was just a simple Southern gal who wanted to cook – on television. Before she was butchering the English language with her declaration of, “I is what I is” on national television, she was butchering sticks of butter by the thousands to bring Americans gluttonous cuisine.
Deen has always maintained that most of her recipes are created for entertainment value because, “who would tune in to watch me make a salad?” she has rhetorically asked. However, she was clearly enjoying the fried fruits of her labor because – spoiler alert – in 2020, Deen was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The diagnosis encouraged Paula to lose 45 pounds, healthify her recipes, and obtain the requisite endorsement deal from insulin drug company Novo Nordisk.
I don’t know what the future holds for Paula Deen but let’s hope the following recipes remain in the past.
The Lady’s Brunch Burger (pictured above) – Unless you carry a pocket defibrillator, we advise steering clear of this burger bomb. Each “lady’s” burger calls for a hearty half pound of ground beef, one egg fried in butter (of course it is), two slices of bacon (because one would just be skimpy), and then served between two glazed Krispy Kreme donuts. One burger is estimated to be 1800 calories. We don’t want women to revert back to 1950’s beehive hairstyles and circle skirts but really, what was so wrong with cucumber sandwiches and Jell-O molds for lady’s brunch, anyway?
Ultimate Fantasy Deep Fried Cheesecake – Cheesecake. It’s one of those desserts that can be tweaked and revamped with low-calorie substitutions ensuring you can have it for dessert and not feel all the guilt-feelings about eating it. This is not one of those times. This cheesecake starts with typical ingredients like graham cracker crumbs and cream cheese and then, well, that’s where it goes off the rails. Next, bake, cool, cut, place squares on wonton wrappers, sprinkle with chopped chocolate, fold wonton, deep fry, then drizzle with more chocolate and top with whipped cream because, why not, right? Wrong!
“Fat Darrell” Sandwich – The original claim to fame for this sandwich belongs to Rutgers University student Darrell Butler, but that doesn’t mean Paula needed to recreate it. This monstrosity includes fried mozzarella sticks, french fries, and fried chicken fingers. Did you pick up a disturbing trend in the main ingredients? Psst – they’re fried! After assembling the sandwich, Paula then slathers with marinara sauce, which we assume is less for taste and more as a throat lubricant for swallowing all that batter-fried business. The lard, oil and cheese needed to create this dish surely has the American Diabetes Association sensing a disturbance in the force.
Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast – I’m not gonna lie. If I made this dish in July, my children would look at the chimney and wait for the arrival of Santa, because surely Christmas must be early. Sadly, even the jolliest of well-fed elves would look at this dish and say, “Um, no thanks.” The ingredients seem harmless enough, peanut butter and bananas. You’ve got protein and fruit. What’s the problem? Well, then you take the pb and ‘nanners, slap them between two slices of white bread, dip in batter, fry and cover in maple syrup. Ho-Ho-NO.
Deep-Fried Lasagna – One would think a traditional lasagna recipe would include enough carbohydrates, sodium and fat to be considered a diabetes no-no but in this dish, Paula has upped the ante by including Gruyere and cream cheeses. After laboriously making this hefty dish, we are then instructed to bake, refrigerate overnight, then cut in squares, roll in flour and do what with it – come on studio audience, you know the answer by now – that’s right, YOU. DEEP. FRY. IT.
Paula once told Oprah, “I’m your cook, not your doctor.” It’s frightening what this woman has cooked up in the name of food lovin’, maybe an ounce of medical experience could have done us all a little good.
images via Food Network