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.


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.


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).


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.


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:


paula my 76 yr old sister and my other sister 65 and my self 61 just think your are the best. we always watched your show great food and good company reminded me of my moms and oldest sisters kitchen, family and friends and good food, a good combination. if you ever get back on tv we will be watching. sister isn't much on computers so I print out recipies once in awhile, she misses your show. you made us laugh and gave us great food. all the best in your endevers I will keep up with you on the net and watch your sons on tv, Thank you so much 3 of your forever fans Fannie, Odell, and Sammie

By sammie on August 08, 2014


Dear Paula, You are just as pretty as ever. I'm happy to see you back on stage where you belong. Best wishes, and forever your fan!! Cindy

By Cindy Sage on August 04, 2014


Paula Deen: Can`t take your invite, but I love your show and recipes. I will be watching and waiting. Sincerely Sharon Roberts

By Sharon on July 21, 2014


Paula, You look great. What did you do to get the weight off. I am nearly 60 and having a REAL HARD TIME! Regarding events of the past, we have ALL made mistakes. People are hypocrites. They haven't gotten caught. Miss you. Love the oriental ramen noodle salad. Have made it in the past. Having friends from Arizona, and am making it for them. Know that they will love it too. Ann

By ann on July 12, 2014


So glad you are back! Loved you from the first time I met you in old Books A Million Days. I wil never forget how gracious you were to everyone in Albany. You talked to people on the phone. They were white, black, brown all colors. People who really know YOU and your family love and support you. I have missed you . Welcome back!! Let's make this the best ever! ♡♡♡♡♡♡YOU!

By Donna Jacobs on June 12, 2014


Hey Paula, Just wanted to let you know how much we love you here..and I am trying your Blondie recipe tonight. I know it will be delicious because all of recipes are unbelievable! When my hubby is having a stressful week I make your peanut butter pie,and his giant smile quickly returns. I miss seeing you on TV... you are the best! Love, Jackie smile

By Jackie Lee on May 05, 2014


I love Paula. I have always watched her. Her cooking is similar to my mom. I have read her cookbooks and her fave was a book I got from library discussing her first marriage, her poverty, her struggle to get ahead, and her struggles as a step mom. I also loved how Bobby and Jaime helped deliver lunches. I hope she can stick with her roots! I love butter, cream, fried anything, etc!! You will not find Kim Chee (sp), lemongrass, quinoa, or skim milk in my house. I have no regrets either!!

By Sheri on April 30, 2014


Paula, I received your magazine in the mail and it was so nicely done. I can't wait to make the receipes that were in the magazine. I loved watching you and you reminded me of a aunt of mine that is not deceased. She was funny, loving, and a great cook. I hope to some day to be able to meet you in person. Being unemployed for two years has made it a hard task of doing things that you want to do. I wish you were back on TV. There was no reason for the hoopla that the person cause for you and your family. Sincerely, RoxAnna

By RoxAnna Kirby on April 28, 2014


Like u very much. Make your recipe for cornbread stuffing all the time. My family loves it. Miss your show.

By Karen white on April 27, 2014


I miss your TV shows and your great personality. TV needs you back!!

By Chris S on April 22, 2014


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

By Billy Tatum on April 01, 2014


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

By Linda Etheridge on April 01, 2014


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

By becky holloman on March 24, 2014


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


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


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


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 do not need to apologize for youe heritage. Live long and prosper! JD

By Jd24400 on March 01, 2014


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


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


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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Paula's Upcoming Schedule

  • September 20: Booksigning in Waco, TX

    Join Paula at DuBois Furniture in Waco, TX for a book signing and meet and greet from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm.

  • September 24: Paula Deen Live! in Charlotte

    Come see Paula’s live show at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, NC and get a heaping helping of Paula’s recipes, and some good old-fashioned fun and laughter!
    Tickets available from Blumenthal Performing Arts Center here!

    Starts at 5:30 PM. Light hors d’oeuvres and beer & wine will be served, including a meet and greet with Paula Deen! 

    Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms.

  • October 24: Deen Family Book Signing

    Join the Deen Family for a Book Signing at The Lady & Sons from 10 am to 12 pm.
    The event is free; 350 wristbands to be distributed starting at 9 am.

  • View Paula's Full Schedule