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

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
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.

image

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.

image

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).

image

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.

image

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!

Julia Sayers grew up with a love and appreciation for good food, instilled in her by her Italian family. She learned to cook from family recipes, passed down from her mother and grandmother. As she grew older, she decided to pursue a career in journalism to express her passion for food through writing. After working for newspapers, a travel magazine, a cookbook publisher, and even as a dolphin photographer in the Florida Keys, Julia came on board with Cooking with Paula Deen as the Associate Editor. She loves that she gets to work with food everyday, whether it be writing about it, tasting delicious goodies in the test kitchen, or overseeing photoshoots.
Read More From Blogs.

Read More From Julia Sayers.

Read More From Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

  • The Deen Bros. Lighter Orange-Apricot Turkey The Deen Bros. Lighter Orange-Apricot Turkey
    View Now
  • Barbecue Meatloaf Barbecue Meatloaf
    54321
    View Now
  • Roasted Pork Loin with Mushroom Gravy Roasted Pork Loin with Mushroom Gravy
    54321
    View Now
  • Chocolate Dipped Cannoli Chocolate Dipped Cannoli
    54321
    View Now

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

54321

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

By Billy Tatum on April 01, 2014

54321

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

By Linda Etheridge on April 01, 2014

54321

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

By becky holloman on March 24, 2014

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

LOVE YOU GALD YOU'RE BACK

By Anonymous on February 27, 2014

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

image
Paula Deen
Paula Deen
The Lady's Blog
The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

Brooke Deen
Brooke Deen
Deen Mother
Advice on raising two boys (three counting Jamie). See Posts

Brandon Branch
Brandon Branch
Southern Style
Decorating Inspiration from Paula's Design Director. See Posts

Julia Sayers
Julia Sayers
Hot off the Press
Step behind the pages and let the Associate Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen fill you in on what goes into creating every issue. See Posts

Lisa Scarbrough
Lisa Scarbrough
Thrift Store Mommy
Mom on a dime advice from Paula's Digital Properties Manager. See Posts

Andrea Goto
Andrea Goto
Mom 2.0
Tips from a real-world mom with comedic tendencies. See Posts

Martha Lee
Martha Lee
Earth Mother
Practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. See Posts

Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Bubbles' Corner
Ideas and advice from a 21st Century young at heart Grandmother. See Posts

Cindy Edwards
Cindy Edwards
Southern Proper
Etiquette advice from a true Southern belle. See Posts

image

hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm