Behind the Scenes with Paula: The Making of “Paula Deen’s Easy Southern Favorites”

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Behind the Scenes with Paula: The Making of “Paula Deen’s Easy Southern Favorites”

By Julia Sayers

There is a lot that goes into making a magazine, but when you have a great talent like Paula, that process becomes a lot more fun! I recently traveled to Savannah with our magazine team to do some photo shoots with Paula for our latest special edition issue, “Paula Deen’s Easy Southern Favorites.”  This publication features some of Paula’s favorite recipes and modern updates to Southern classics.

We decided to have the photo shoot at Paula’s house, so we built a set right in the middle of her living room for a fresh, new look. Of course, this made her two dogs, Lulu and Gus, wonder what was happening. Gus, a fluffy Goldendoodle who thinks he’s a lap dog, was especially curious—he kept trying to jump in every photo! The pups love to be near Paula, so they were standing right behind her for most of the shots we did.

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Gus trying to get his turn in the lime light!

The first recipe we shot was a cheesy pasta bake, since you can’t have a collection of easy Southern dishes without casseroles! With food photography, whenever someone shoots a cheesy dish, they are always trying to get that perfect “cheese pull”—that is, when you scoop out a serving and a string of melted cheese comes along with it. It’s not as easy as you think it would be! Often the cheese breaks before you can get a good shot. But for this dish, we got the perfect pull and more! Paula scooped out a steaming serving of the casserole to transfer it to a plate, but she just kept pulling, and the cheese just kept stretching. It stretched as high as her arms could reach and still didn’t break. The look of surprise on Paula’s face was classic.

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Here’s the cheese that could probably stretch for a mile. It tasted so good!

After the casserole, we photographed Paula serving a steaming bowl of barbecue shrimp, preparing potato salad, and posing with the most perfect pound cake you’ll ever see (and taste—we couldn’t resist stealing bites from an extra piece).

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Look at all those juicy shrimp!

A lot of work goes into each photograph you see in the magazine. We have to set up and style each shot so it’s different but also has a similar look to the overall theme. For this week of shooting, we hauled 7 large plastic tubs full of props from our magazine office! Our photo stylist chooses the plates, linens, utensils, glasses, and other props such as salt shakers, cutting boards, flowers, etc. and sets them up for the shot. After the food is prepared, it’s brought to set, and a food stylist arranges the dish perfectly.

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Such a pretty poolside picnic.

Once everything is in place, the photographer shoots the food from every angle and has Paula do all sorts of different things like serving the food, slicing a piece of cake, and chopping ingredients. The goal is to get action but let it seem natural. Lucky for us, Paula is a pro at it! She knows exactly what to do with each dish, normally without the photographer having to tell her. She loves to joke around on set and make it a fun and playful time, which always turns out beautifully in the photos. See the results for yourself, and get all the scrumptious recipes when the publication hits newsstands March 18, or order your subscription today!

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Reader Comments:

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I miss you Paula ... Love Always ... Big Starr

By Billy Tatum on April 01, 2014

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I realy miss seeing you on tv. and I love you and what you have done

By Linda Etheridge on April 01, 2014

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can you please tell me who to cook bread ON THE GRILL. THANK YOU. BECKY

By becky holloman on March 24, 2014

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I have always watched your show dreamed of taking cruise with you & your family I have most your magazines. I so wanted to get your cook wear but we live from paycheck to pay check nowI am disable can not work or get around much. Wanted you to know & boys we love you and Paula keep your head up strong. I almost have all magazines could not get special edition sorry u know how it is to do without. Sincerely, Michelle Scott 2807 Nelson Drive Hopkinsville, Ky,42240 PS hope to hear from you . love all your blue cookwear & baking dishes & casserole dishes need dark blue table settings ! Ty

By Michelle Scott on March 21, 2014

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Paula, Sooooo Glad to see you are back. Make those companies that cancelled you eat some sh..! Ordered your special edition magazine, love your products and most of all you! Can't wait to see you on the air again!

By Steve on March 08, 2014

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Hey Miss Paula, so glad to see you are back and the others can kiss my grits. We all missed you and are happy we had all those cook books from before. Never did loose faith that you would come out the winner. Love you, love you, love you. Can't wait till Pigeon Forge opens. Will be in Savannah sometime in April and having lunch at the Lady and Sons, hope to see you then. You most likely don't remember me , back in 1990-1993 my husband ( rest his soul ) were the General Managers of the La Quinta Inn on Abercorn and would see your boys around town with the bag lady's lunches. We would have Savannah Hospitality meetings at the Best Western from time to time and see you there. My husband was Jerry Willard and he was so in love with your southern charm ( LOL ) He always said you were the makings of a great business lady. Hope you will stay around another 25 or so years and never loose faith that your fans are always there for you. I lost my darling Jerry back in 2004 and are so happy you and Michael found each other. Love you Paula Deen and all you stand for. You fan for life Barbara A Willard from Charleston SC

By Barb Will on March 05, 2014

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Hey Paula! I am so glad you are back!!!! I just wanted you to know that all of the "Southern girls" support you in every way. Being born and raised in the south is an honor and a privilege...you do not need to apologize for youe heritage. Live long and prosper! JD

By Jd24400 on March 01, 2014

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Paula, I really miss you on tv. Hope you start cooking on TV again soon. I think you got a bad deal for just being honest! Hang in there you are the best.

By Nancy on February 28, 2014

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Welcome back Paula, you have been gone too long....should never have been gone in the first place! We love you, you go girl!!!

By Judi. Connolly on February 28, 2014

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Wish you were back on TV. I watch your boys on TV but it's not you. We miss you

By Louise on February 28, 2014

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You are looking so good these days! I am so looking forward to seeing you on tv! Please come back soon..... I will be looking for your magazine..... Xoxoxo

By Shannon on February 27, 2014

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You really should write a cookbook for your diabetic meal plan. Any recipes that you modified? I never got into baking with sugar substitutes just passed up on sweets except very rarely a homemade treat.

By jonagilly on February 27, 2014

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You are one fantastic and delightful woman who I can sit down anytime to cheer up my spirits. How I wish you were back on TV for my enjoyment! I've learned so much from you and miss all the chances to gain more insights into recipes that are southern to my taste buds. Luckily, I was able to visit Savannah and Tybee Island for our summer vacation. It was so odd how it all came about. Once I found out that we could go there and spend less than Myrtle Beach I couldn't help but to encourage my husband to make a commitment to a hotel. We discovered the southern charm there with the richness of the downtown shops and parks, but the joy of the beach at Tybee Beach couldn't be beat. How fast we found ourselves wishing and dreaming to make it our favorite place to visit. We even caught ourselves thinking if it would be possible to retire there. Since I am approaching that part of my life I would love to make it happen, but if it doesn't at least have the dream that we would like it to be possible as a vacation dream. I have shared with family and friends how they just got to see the area. We stopped at your restaurant and enjoyed your southern cooking, but really wanted to stop at Uncle Bubba's place, too. We didn't make it, but it will be on our list to do the next time. As for your sons, I have enjoyed watching their shows, too. They are so blessed with your talent. You must be very proud of them. I can't wait to buy Jamie's latest book for there are several recipes that hit my interest. I am crossing my fingers that I will see you on TV soon. You do bring smiles and laughter in many homes across the states. Keep up the good work and looking forward to checking out your latest recipes. So glad that your dogs were able to jump into the pictures. May the sun shine on you and your family, Mary

By Mary Clark on February 27, 2014

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Paula you are the greatest person. I really love and admire all the things that you do. Keep up the good work and the good country food. You have the greatest family too. Love you.

By Toni on February 27, 2014

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LOVE YOU GALD YOU'RE BACK

By Anonymous on February 27, 2014

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I'm soooo glad you are coming back! Many times things happen to us and we struggle to deal with them. But always know, God is right beside you and He will get you through the storm. God Bless You

By Nan Willis on February 27, 2014

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HI PAULA I AM SO GLADE YOU ARE COMMING BACK HOPE TO SEE YOU ON TV AGAIN. IT HAS BEEN TO LONG . LETS KEEP IN TOUCH. YOU AND YOUR SONS ARE OUR STARS. OF COOKING TV. YOUR FAN Ronald J LeMin

By Ronald J LeMin on February 26, 2014

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Please, please, share where I can purchase the darling cornflower horizontal stripped shirt that Paula is wearing above. P L E A S E. Thank you. Mary Johnson

By Mary Johnson on February 26, 2014

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I am diabetic and wonder if the magazine recipes reflect diabetic values. I also would like to know the name of the insulin she is on. Can you help me?

By Linda West-Mottern on February 26, 2014

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Paula, have you ever given thought to doing shows which teach the basics of cooking. There are a lot of young women who did not grow up learning to cook like you and I did. Therefore, they don't cook because they don't know the meaning of terms used in cooking and why certain things are done the way they are.

By Jean Garner on February 26, 2014

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