The Lady Goes Green

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The Lady Goes Green

By Martha Tinkler

I have a few different jobs—writer, cooking instructor—but on my best days, I am the On-Set Assistant for a little show you might know: Paula’s Best Dishes. I scramble around for everything from orange zest and orange drinking straws to whitefish and white lace. And if The Lady wants more butter, I get her more butter!

But I’m not the only one hustling; during filming there are usually 20 to 30 people running around at top speed trying to make the magic of seamless television. You know what they say about laws and sausages? It’s best if you don’t see how they’re made! Television shows are about the same! And all this in Savannah, Georgia? Let’s just say that on a smoking hot August day it is hard to keep enough coolers full of bottled water…and the empty bottles start to pile up. 

Last September, we were all gearing up for another busy shoot, rigging the lights and sharpening the knives, when Libbie—my boss, Head Food Stylist and Senior Food Editor here at—came in with a tub full of brand new reusable water bottles and a proclamation. “The Lady’s going green!” After seeing all the wasted water bottles, Paula decided to make a change. No more bottled water. She installed water coolers on the set and provided a reusable bottle for each crew member.

And that wasn’t the only change. Some people say less is more? With Paula, more is more. Everything needed to be green! In the house, recycling bins popped up around every corner. In the kitchen sustainable seafood became a must, produce should be local and—as much as possible—from Paula’s garden. In addition, all of the leftover food (and there is a lot) goes straight to a local boys and girls home just down the road.

Trim fat from the food? We wouldn’t dare! But we now have a leaner, greener show thanks to our favorite Southern lady.

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Reader Comments:


My husband is the Marketing Director for Kinetico Water systems. They make an incredible non electric water filter that provides pure, unpolluted water. I'm sure they would work with Paula to install a filter so y'all have the purest and most environmentally friendly water available! Go to or their facebook page and message them and he would be happy to help. We adore Paula and you all do a great job on the show!

By joy on April 23, 2011


She didn't use a reuseable water bottle at her show in Buffalo, neither did Joe the cook or her guest. or the audience(that would be difficult) i recyle all of the products I can..and did use a water machine for years thinking of going back to one but the bottles are very heavy to lift will have to get the 3 gallon ones.. Glad she is following the greenier way !!!!!!

By cheryl haff on April 22, 2011


Paula, you prove over and over that you are one classy Lady! What a fantastic role model for strong women! Thank you!

By Karen Williams on April 22, 2011

Hey Paula
Just wanted to shout out a big hello.  Being from Savannah myself and have visited your restaurant many times loved it!  And love the fact that you have gone green.  Keep it up.  Oh yea, just ordered your Savannah Style cook book.  Can’t wait to get it.

Regards     Marie VanDyke Mueller

By Marie Mueller on October 26, 2010

Love your show, magazine and have been to Lady and Sons 3 times. In addition your cookbooks are filled with recipes I love.  Keeping it simple and keeping it homemade is my motto.

By christine klopenstine on April 25, 2010

Have been recycling for over 10 years, purchased energy saving appliances replacing old worn out ones,composting, and living in Fla. - I hang out laundry most of the time.  The smell is incredible and so simple.  We recently put on a metal roof and now replacing windows with energy saving features plus forgot to mention many fruit trees and a garden my husband put in.  Would like to use solar but, for now the intial expense is way too high.  Replaced lightbulbs with the energy efficient ones and constantly aware of the environment.

By christine klopenstine on April 25, 2010

GOOD FOR YOU!  God gave us this wonderful earth us use; not abuse.  I am almost 70 and want to feel I do my part in preserving our great earth for my kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.  Bless you for who you are and what you do.

By Margaret Wisler on April 25, 2010

Way to go Paula!

By Annie on April 22, 2010

Paula is one great wonder to me.  I am the same age as her, we were born same year, my birthday is March, and it is amazing to me all that she does.  And in addition to all of the work for the shows, the traveling, she still cares about saving our earth for the next generations.  I just think we are lucky to have Paula in our lives, I know I am.  She is such an inspiration.

By Jackie Butler on April 22, 2010

I am finally remembering to take the cloth grocery bags into the store when shopping. And we are recycling anything plastic,glass,paper.I now get bills in the e-mail and end the paper billing.

By dee mcginn on April 22, 2010

Thank you Paula for always being you. Tell it how it is and cook it like it’s meant to be cooked! My 8 year old son knew you before he knew most of the Sesame Street characters…southern draw an all! In my little town I am proud to have and know two very inspiring women, committed to making a difference in how we treat our minds, bodies and planet. Please visit their website to see how they do it and how we can all make a difference too! Thank you smile

By Jennifer Pfeifer on April 22, 2010

what an accomplishment…and those kids must be eating pretty good now, yum.

By Lena on April 22, 2010

Hi, This is a great article. It has very good recipes, that are easy and good to eat. I have your cookbooks that I use and get great ideas from.

By Anna Cain on April 22, 2010

Hi Paula,I Love watching you on Food Network. Your recipes are easy to follow, and made with ingredients I don’t have to search for in the markets. They’re easy and everyone Loves them. Natural down home cooking. I have your cookbooks, and they are used..alot. Thanks for going green.

By Anna Cain on April 22, 2010

love you and michael the country takes great pride in all you folks have accomplished in your lifetime

my husband and I relate to you in so many ways.

keep it green y’all love m&M

By melsi,madge on April 20, 2010

hell PAULA I love your shows I even have one of your cook books when I’M in a mood for something good andgooie I know whitch cook book to grab so does my 13 year stepson he says we cant go wrong with butter I agree just wanted you too know we love you in OKC.OK. thanks for briting up our kitchen your friends Grace,RUSSELL and AUSTIN FABIAN

By gracerussell on April 20, 2010

Paula I feel like you are real people. you started with nothing and look at you now. WOW! I love the fine china and crystal I see on your show sometimes. I use to sell it and enjoy seeing it. The waterford flute you used for a drink you made was beautyful. I love your christmas dishes to. And every thing I try on your show always comes out great.  also is gretdy your dog still around? I love your pets to. Your Friend Gail Riggins systems68

By Gail Riggins on April 20, 2010

GOOD GOING PAULA!!!Your the best!! My husband calls me the recycling Queen!! I am trying to help keep this earth in better shape for my Great-grandkids!!!!

By Jody Craig on April 19, 2010

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Paula's Upcoming Schedule

  • September 12: 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.

  • September 16: Paula Deen Live! Birmingham, AL

    Come see Paula’s live show at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham, AL and get a heaping helping of Paula’s recipes, and some good old-fashioned fun and laughter!
    Tickets available from Ticketmaster here!
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  • September 18: Paula Deen Live! Jacksonville, FL

    Come see Paula’s live show at the Times Union Center for Performing Arts in Jacksonville, FL and get a heaping helping of Paula’s recipes, and some good old-fashioned fun and laughter!
    Tickets available from Ticketmaster here!
    Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms.

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