Don’t get me wrong. I love technology and the joys and efficiencies it brings into my life. But I just don’t get warm fuzzies when I curl up in my most comfy chair to gaze into my laptop or smartphone. What really relaxes me is spending some quality time with a real magazine or cookbook—one that I can actually hold, thumb through the pages, look at the pictures, and read recipes like some read novels. And I’m not alone. I have talked and corresponded (yes, by email) with hundreds of women that feel the same way. Do you like to get away from it all with a magazine or cookbook, too?
Like you, my days are hectic—I work full-time and am married with two kids, ages 18 and 21. So I regularly schedule a grown-up “time-out” with one of my favorite beverages and a good magazine to peruse. At work, I try to create the same experience for our readers, and that goal keeps me charged at my job.
My job? It’s super cool, but when you work for a magazine, a constant state of flux is pretty common. Like today, for instance. We are reviewing proofs of our July-August issue, routing early rounds of Paula’s Holiday Baking special, and shooting food photography for summer 2012, plus planning content for 2012 through infinity and beyond.
Here’s a more detailed example. Last fall, after a flurry of fan requests for a Deen family recipe for crisp, juicy down-home fried chicken, we asked Paula to write a story called “Fixin’ Fried Chicken.” Within the week, she wrote up her reflections, including some of the most enduring tips she remembers gleaning from her Grandmother Paul. Within another week, we were cooking up batches of Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and before you know it, a cover recipe was born. It’s out there now on the newsstands in the May-June issue. (The recipe is on page 98.)
Another example? Below is an image we took in summer 2010 after a conversation I had with Paula about figs. She loves their old-fashioned appeal and the revival they have enjoyed in contemporary cooking. So we got hopping while figs were in season and developed the recipes that will appear in our July-August 2011 issue. Fig Preserves, Upside-Down Fig Cake, and Layered Fig Dip with Pita Chips were the Deen Food Team’s favs.
Besides the exposure to the most amazing food in the world, the energized business at Cooking with Paula Deen magazine has even more upsides. Here’s an image of Paula, Michael, and our magazine team, taken in late summer 2010 as we traveled to an amazing culinary destination in Alaska! The food & travel feature appeared in January-February 2011, and as Paula said, “It was a dream vacation!” I couldn’t agree with her more. We ate the freshest food, saw the most unbelievable natural sights, and experienced almost instant decompression.
So, I suppose the chaos of the magazine biz is worth it. And I love to think about giving our readers, at whatever stage they are in their lives, moments of peace as they hold our magazine, taking in page after page of glorious succulence. It may just be whenever they can grab a few minutes, whether in the carpool line waiting for the kids, on a lunch break, or in between meetings. Or perhaps it’s on a well-deserved vacation or while enjoying that ultimate planned escape—a bubble bath. Are any of you like that?
To subscribe to Cooking with Paula Deen, visit cookingwithpauladeen.com.