The Littlest Fans Have the Biggest Hearts

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
By Paula Deen

Everyone has bad days—even upbeat, energetic people like myself. But I’m especially blessed with the support of all my fans when I need a little pick-me-up. People from all over the world have sent me notes saying how I’ve touched their lives. Some folks thank me for inspiring them to cook, some tease me for inspiring them to eat, and one woman even credited my Gooey Butter Cake for savin’ her marriage (God only knows). Every letter and email humbles me—how a southern girl from a small town in Georgia could influence anybody to do anything other than drop a heapin’ spoonful of sugar into their tea just blows my mind.

image

Course, nothing is more inspiring than the letters I get from my littlest fans—kids who enjoy cookin’ as much as I do. They are truly amazing. Take 5-year-old Danica, for example. That little darlin’ used Paula Deen’s My First Cookbook to make her momma and aunties a memorable birthday dinner of pigs in a blanket and cheese quesadillas!
image

Another 5-year-old, Carter, chooses the Food Network over cartoons! Before he knew my name, he told his momma that the “Finger Licker” was his favorite cook (guilty as charged). When Carter turned 3, instead of asking for toys, he wanted cooking utensils. His momma obliged and set him up with an apron, rolling pin, measuring cups and spoons, a chef’s outfit and his very own spatula. A man after my own heart.

image

But one of the most touching letters I’ve ever received was from a little boy named Seth. His momma told me that the first cake he ever baked was a coconut cake for his daddy on Father’s Day. But Seth came into cooking out of necessity. He was only 9 when his momma got real sick. To help out, he started cooking supper for the family—simple things like Sloppy Joe’s and spaghetti. He’d entertain his momma by standing on his little stool at the stove and talkin’ like me. Together they watched my cooking shows and picked out the recipes they’d make when his momma got better. By the grace of God, she did and they’ve been cookin’ together ever since.

Then I just received this treasure in the mail the other week. Little Molly drew this picture, sort of a self-portrait, of herself watching my show. It’s deeply touching to receive these letters. They warm my heart, and they remind me of the drawings that Jamie and Bobby use to make for me. There’s a place on every mother’s refrigerator for pictures like this.

image

So on those days when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed (albeit the right side of the dirt), I’m inspired by kids like Danica, Carter, Seth and Molly—their passion for cooking and their enthusiasm for life. Sure, they’re just getting started in both arenas, but in a lot of ways, they’re further along than most of us.

I’m so blessed to have a cheerleading section filled with kids like these that I just had to share their stories with y’all. And if you have a special little chef in your life, please share their story too. ‘Cause if I’ve learned anything in all my years, it’s that children don’t cook with just ingredients—they cook with their hearts. It’s a lesson we all could benefit from.

Read More From Blogs.

Read More From Paula Deen.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

54321

Hi Paula. I just wanted to say how wonderful I think it is that you are "back in the saddle." You been missed. I this it's a shame and a disgrace what you had to go through. Smithfield and Food Network should be ashamed of themselves. I have stopped watching the Food Network since they did what they did to you, as have many of my friends. I won't touch a Smithfield product with a 10 foot pole since they shunned you. The packaging looks so bare without the picture of your beautiful, smiling face. Good luck with your new business venture. All the best, Biagio Ambrosino

By Biagio Ambrosino on February 25, 2014

54321

Hi Paula. I just wanted to say how wonderful I think it is that you are "back in the saddle." You been missed. I this it's a shame and a disgrace what you had to go through. Smithfield and Food Network should be ashamed of themselves. I have stopped watching the Food Network since they did what they did to you, as have many of my friends. I won't touch a Smithfield product with a 10 foot pole since they shunned you. The packaging looks so bare without the picture of your beautiful, smiling face. Good luck with your new business venture. All the best, Biagio Ambrosino

By Biagio Ambrosino on February 25, 2014

54321

I had the honor of meeting you this past fall, and what a gracious lady you are. With all that you have been through, you still took the time to come to your gift shop and greet everyone. What an inspiration you are and I truly felt like you cared for each and everyone of the fans that you met that day, including myself. I will always remember talking with you and feel so lucky that I had the chance to meet you in person. I will wear my autographed apron with pride and think of you every time I use butter in a recipe!

By Linda Behrens on February 10, 2014

54321

Paula! My grandma loves you and will always love you! She always sends me to the book area to find a book of yours! So for her birthday and her Christmas gift im determined to find her a cook books of yours and I finally found some! She will be turning 77 and still likes to cook from your recipes and as far as me, you are amazing! I wish you can come meet her.

By Brittany Cruz on December 13, 2013

54321

Paula, You are and always will be one of the best cooks that I've ever watched, I truly miss you and your shows!!!! Everyone makes mistakes and just because you were a well loved lady you don't deserve the treatment Food network and others have given you. We all love you, Paula!

By Robin on December 07, 2013

54321

Thank you Paula for all you do. we love and believe in you. You have brought smiles and laughter to many! May God bless you! Debi

By Anonymous on November 09, 2013

54321

You sweetheart! Thank you giving us so much of you! I can't compete with those cute kids but want you to know how much company you have been when we lived in very remote areas. You were "at my kitchen table for coffee" many times. Thank Thank you for being so full of love, for us and for cooking!

By trudie on October 30, 2013

54321

Hi Paula, just a note to tell you I Love You, and can't believe what the media did with your situation. I'm not predjudice either, but we have ALL said things at sometime in our life that everyone was not supposed to hear, and was none of their business. Stopped watching Food Network, and the Food channel except for Bobby, and Jamies two shows. Love Always, Jana xoxo

By Anonymous on September 20, 2013

54321

Paula, I'm so glad the judge through out the lawsuit. I never understood the media making such a big deal out of nothing. Martha Stewar came back and so can you!! Hold your head up high and know there are people who care and sympathize for you. Be strong.

By Sue Holsapple on August 12, 2013

54321

Hi there Miss Paula! I didn't know which blog to pick to post my post 2 cents worth, so I hope that this one is appropriate(I also hope that that post actually gets read by part of Paula's team)(and ONE MORE THING, I promise, I hope that I am not offending the original writer of the blog post--if so, I apologize) Okay, enough of that! I just want Paula to know that she has my complete and total support! As she said in her interview, everyone, at one point or another, has said something that they wish they could take back(paraphrased.) Considering the circumstances (gun to head, etc.,)I think ANYONE would say or do ANYTHING out of complete and total terror. It is completely unfair to judge and then punish someone based on a response uttered out of complete terror while having a GUN HELD TO THEIR HEAD!!! Oh, and let's not forget to mention that this was 30 years ago. This is long enough of a period of time for her or ANYONE'S thought patterns to change. Maybe the "N" word was said more frequently, especially with younger people, because that was how they were brought up, and it did not occur to them that this was a racial slur and could hurt feelings. No, I am not trying to hide ugly and hateful racism behind feelings of warm nostalgia. I am just saying that perhaps, in this case, Paula was terrified, and the *N* word was the only thing that came to mind. My point, and yes I do have one, is that Paula is UNFAIRLY being persecuted due to the fact that she uttered one racial word THIRTY YEARS AGO while being terrorized with a gun to her head. Modern-day Witch-hunt.

By Debbie on August 06, 2013

54321

Paula, I just want you to know,, that I just visited your rest. in Savannah and my daughter and I just loved the food and atmosphere!! She bought me your measuring cups and spoons that I have wanted forever!!!! I don't watch food network anymore,, anyone that is that stupid and closed minded I don't need any of their recipees or imput into my life!!! Who did you piss off anyways!! LOL...I will always be a loyal fan of yours. I use all your recipees,, and my family knows that if I made something from Paula Deen,, it will be fabulous!!! Hang in there,,, I believe God isn't done with you yet!!! Love ya Paula!!

By Vickie House on August 04, 2013

54321

Hi Paula, I signed up for your newsletters BECAUSE people have been so mean and unforgiving. Why? Because I knew you had to be out here in internet land somewhere independently. I know you aren't what some people think. Your spirit and the way you raised your boys shines through! God Bless you and keep you and yours! Robin Chardon, Ohio

By Robin on July 29, 2013

54321

Hello Paula: I know you have received support in many ways regarding comments what you've said in the past. What people need to realize the past is just that and to forgive is the correct thing to do since we are humans and make human mistakes. It's funny how people can stand in judgment of others without looking in their reflection. Today I can say I forgive you without judgment because it's my understanding the good Lord and God shall be the ones that stand in judgment only to forgive those who stand up and say sorry for what I've done and ask for forgiveness. I believe you have shown us the true side of yourself and I'm proud to call myself a supporter of Paula Deen. Thank you my Friend William Fale Supporter P.S. My wife loves you to.

By William Fale on July 27, 2013

54321

Dear Paula, there are a few things I would like to touch on: first point is that if you don't want to tell people about health issues that is your choice; second I have always loved your shows, books, site, etc. I made a pork loin roast from your Celebrates cookbook for a man who thought he hated pork and could not get enough of this dish. I can not believe you are being chastised for something you said over 30 yrs. ago after a bank robbery! We all make mistakes and deserve a second chance, who has it in for you? In addition to your cookbooks I also have the book you wrote on your life several years ago. Like you suffered in the book I too suffer from social anxiety combined with deep depression after losing my partner of 20 years. Your book has helped me when I pull it off the shelf and reread it. I think you are being railroaded, but your true fans will stand along side of you. Look at what happened to Martha Stewart and even after jail she came back bigger and stronger then ever. Love you and take care of yourself; you are in my thoughts ofter. Mary

By Mary Cawoski on July 22, 2013

54321

Hi Paula, I have watched a number of your shows whenever I can, as well as Bobby's shows. Your entire family is an inspiration to us all to want to cook. Cooking with any loved one makes a special memory you will never forget. I used to cook with my grandma, she passed away over 15 years ago but 3 days ago someone in our family found some lost recipes. I can't tell you how much I meant to me to have my grandma's recipe in my hand from a piece of paper that her hands touched. I know you were especially close to your grandma too so you know what I am talking about. I love watching you and your family and whenever you are on a show you can be sure that I will be watching. I am a HUGE fan and I hope to someday meet you and your family. You see I have a big family, our immediate family is 65 people, so our Christmas's are quite chaotic. YIKS! I hope all is well with you and your family and may god bless you all. We love you.

By Annie on July 21, 2013

54321

Paula, What has happened to you is a disgrace. As for the food newtork and all your sponsers that have pulled out are cowards. There is not one employee of food network or your sponsers that hasn't used the "N" word, and if they say otherwise. they are liars. For some reaon they are wanting to make an example out of you and that is just wrong. Hang in there. I no longer watch food network because of what they have done to you. I really miss your shows. Nancy

By Nancy Wise on July 07, 2013

54321

I DO & ALWAYS ADORE YOU!!!!! The past is the past, keep on living! I KNOW they will recognize the mistakes that were made & make change their point of view. You have so many fans that are behind you & I know that victory will prevail in the end. You are one steel Magnolia!!!! Keep on rocking what you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Marianne Coleman on July 05, 2013

54321

have never used a 'blog' before, hoping you get this message......I'm sure you have a ton of supporters and lots of folks cheering you on, I just need to say this because I am so incredibly frustrated with all the recent events. I used to be a food network addict, have not watched one minute since they d/c'd your show, stopped my qvc shopping and i will absolutely not go to wallmart. So here's my hope for you....that you remember the strength and determination you had to create Bag Lady and you gather up that same strength to find new challenges....find other networks if you still want to have a cooking show. Don't get too 'unbusy'....keeps you young and healthy to be busy....and most of all, I hope you have the legal counsel to file slander suits of some sort. Seems unreal that something said in the privacy of one's own home 30 years ago that you were honest about results in 'shame on you for being honest'....the N word should be slanderous and unforgiveable if directed at someone that causes them emotional or subsequent physical harm. Instead, shame on you for having an angry discussion about that someone who caused YOU harm!! Give all these companies the one finger wave, hold your head high and do not let them think you needed them.....that their discrimatory actions have caused you any more tears. Be the strong southern gal that we all know and love.....

By cathy on July 03, 2013

54321

Paula girl, My heart aches for you ! You hang in there sweetie! When God closes a door he ALWAYS ALWAYS opens a window!!! Perhaps this gives you a chance to spend more time with family! Always a pick me up! Nothing can beat the joy family brings! I know you are very connected with yours. Don't forget that your fans are your " outside family" holds you up in our hearts & prayers! You have brought such love of food & family into many many homes & you will be blessed! Your TRUE heart shows & love for ALL shines through with every show & appearence you make! Anyone that cannot see that is missing out! The haters clearly are not familiar with you or your kind Christian sole! You cannot fake that! God Bless you and your precious family!! Kathy XOXOXOX

By KathyCudar on July 02, 2013

54321

Het Paula, I have hEard all of te trash that everyone who doesn matter is talking about you....well I want you to know how much you are loved nd appreciated. You are a breath of fresh air in is tooooo stuffy world. Please do not give up your friendly and loving attitude. Love you bunches and I am praying for you! Irene

By Irene Burckek on July 02, 2013

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 9:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 7:22 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 3:31 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 10:05 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 10:03 pm