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Just a spoon full of butter helps the medicine go down.
January 18, 2012 2:44 PM   Subscribe

The Evil Marketing Genius of Paula Deen, the New Face of Diabetes. Paula Deen has announced she has Type 2 Diabetes, has started a new web site "Diabetes in a New Light", and is now a paid spokesman for Novo Nordisk's diabetes medication Victoza. Naturally she minimizes any influence diet might have to do with her disease, but prefers to focus on the treatment side of things. Anthony Bourdain weighs in.
posted by Eekacat (319 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Isn't is supicious that Bob Dole didn't announce his ED until he became a shill for Viagra?

Or is this somehow different?
posted by muddgirl at 2:50 PM on January 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


She should call the book "Butter Shots in a New Light". Seriously.


Aside from that, though, my heart goes out to anyone diagnosed with diabetes. As a caregiver for my diabetic stepdad for years, all impulse to blame people for bringing it on themselves (if I ever had that impulse) has surely been scoured from me. I wish her well.
posted by darkstar at 2:51 PM on January 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


Step 1: Be pre-disposed to type II diabetes
Step 2: Get diagnosed with diabetes
Step 3: Profit?

TRULY MALEFIC GENIUS!
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:51 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Or is this somehow different?

I don't think Bob Dole had a TV show and entire empire dedicated to the kind of food that could very well pre-dispose someone to ED.
posted by tommasz at 2:52 PM on January 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


No one suspected Dole of ED since while in Congress he fucked over the American public.
posted by Postroad at 2:52 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Shame on both their houses. No one comes out smelling too sweetly in this story.
posted by crunchland at 2:53 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like Anthony Bourdain is a paragon of healthy eating.
posted by hydrophonic at 2:55 PM on January 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


This is not surprising at all. I dislike Paula Deen. I dislike her tarted up caricature of the South. And yet I find her fascinating. She seems to generate a large amount of vitriol and anger from the masses. There are plenty of other chefs who push unhealthy foods and a lifestyle that is less than ideal who do not garner as nearly as much attention and focus as her. What is it about her that focuses so much rage and hatred? Is it that she's a larger woman? Is it her performance?
posted by Fizz at 2:55 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bob Dole didn't go around chopping off people's dicks.
posted by awesomebrad at 2:55 PM on January 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Paula Deen causes diabetes by merely cooking fatty foods on TV?

I don't deny that there is a correlation between obesity and Type II diabetes, but I don't see how the correlation to Deen's career is anything but circumstantial.
posted by muddgirl at 2:56 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think that Amanda Marcotte has a pretty good take on things.
posted by sotonohito at 2:56 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bourdain's new food-moralist persona is really weird to me. I mean, he uses the fact that he's a recovering smack addict as some sort of badge of authenticity, and we're supposed to be shocked and outraged that someone cooks with butter?
posted by craichead at 2:56 PM on January 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


Anthony Bourdain lives in a glass house and is mighty chipper about throwing stones. I mean, how dare she make all that awful food full of but...OH HEY SOME ALCOHOL.
posted by custardfairy at 2:56 PM on January 18, 2012 [24 favorites]


Bob Dole didn't go around chopping off people's dicks.

Does Paula Deen go around shoving her food into people's mouths and holding their nose till they swallow?
posted by muddgirl at 2:57 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Bob Dole didn't go around chopping off people's dicks.

As far as we know.
posted by kmz at 2:57 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Does Paula Deen go around shoving her food into people's mouths and holding their nose till they swallow?

This fall on the Food Network...
posted by Fizz at 2:57 PM on January 18, 2012 [23 favorites]


I thought the whole "bad diet causes type II diabetes" myth had been killed. Unless I have my facts mixed up, being pre-disposed to type II diabetes and having a terrible diet will not help, but eating a bunch of unhealthy food isn't going to just end with "and suddenly, diabetes".

Am I wrong?
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:59 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Bob Dole didn't go around chopping off people's dicks.

As far as we know.


But I wouldn't bring up the subject in front of Jack Kemp.
posted by box at 3:00 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Does Paula Deen go around shoving her food into people's mouths and holding their nose till they swallow?

Yes how can she possibly be held responsible for people making and eating the recipes she shows on TV and publishes in her books and on her website.
posted by theodolite at 3:00 PM on January 18, 2012 [35 favorites]


I think maybe Anthony is just upset he can't find a sponsor and cash in on his public drunkenness, overuse of the word "unctuous," and crybaby attitude that he is too old to cook in a professional kitchen anymore.
posted by crunchland at 3:01 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ooh, Ortolan and Fried Butter in a grudge fight?

I don't wish ill health on either of them, but honestly? If I were listing off chefs whose food I long to try, it'd be a long time before I got to either of them.
posted by tyllwin at 3:03 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


she doesn't just cook with butter, she deep-frys the entire stick and melts cheese on it.
posted by ninjew at 3:04 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wow, the snark is cutting through here like a hot knife through, well, you know.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:05 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, it's just bad luck that Pfizer hasn't approached Bourdain about endorsing Lipitor. Stupid generic drugs.
posted by crunchland at 3:06 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


she doesn't just cook with butter, she deep-frys the entire stick and melts cheese on it.

...and with that, i have my diner planned. ;)
posted by usagizero at 3:06 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The comparison is so ridiculous. Almost every time Bourdain eats something over-the-top artery-clogging, he mentions his high cholesterol. No one can say the same of Deen. Bourdain isn't a shill for Lipitor. Deen prides herself on cooking food for "regular folks"; that Bourdain is an elitist. It's laughable to say the same thing about foie gras poutine.

Deen is cashing in by shilling for the disease and the cure. If that's not a double-edged conflict of interest, I don't know what is.
posted by supercres at 3:06 PM on January 18, 2012 [72 favorites]


Whatever Bourdain's personal faults, he is right as rain about how sleazy it is for Paula Deen to sponsor medical treatments for an ailment caused — not exclusively, but increasingly — by the same willfully self-destructive lifestyle she also sells on her Food Network shows and in her numerous cookbooks. The increase in type II diabetes incidence and increase in obesity rates is not accidental, and she makes money from both ends of this disease. That's disgusting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:06 PM on January 18, 2012 [76 favorites]


Yes how can she possibly be held responsible for people making and eating the recipes she shows on TV and publishes in her books and on her website.

I'm fat and I've never made a single one of Paula Deen's recipes. Who do I get to blame?

Is the contention seriously that Deen is tricking people into cooking her recipes by claiming that they are healthy? And then profiting by marketing Diabetes drugs to the victims of her nefarious scheme to hide the fact that butter has fat in it.

To be less snarky, I do not believe that a single person in the entire United States watches Deen's show and thinks, "Wow, that looks like such a healthy meal!"
posted by muddgirl at 3:08 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


I thought the whole "bad diet causes type II diabetes" myth had been killed. Unless I have my facts mixed up, being pre-disposed to type II diabetes and having a terrible diet will not help, but eating a bunch of unhealthy food isn't going to just end with "and suddenly, diabetes".

Obesity and a bad diet are two of the most obvious risk factors for type II diabetes. I encourage you to do any googling whatsoever.

Now, it's a little problematic to say that they 'cause' diabetes, but they certainly don't help. Being in a car doesn't 'cause' you to be in a car accident, but it definitely ups the odds quite a lot.
posted by TypographicalError at 3:09 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Makin' love to my tater.
posted by Kabanos at 3:09 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


he is right as rain about how sleazy it is for Paula Deen to sponsor medical treatments for an ailment caused — not exclusively, but increasingly — by the same willfully self-destructive lifestyle she also sells on her Food Network shows and in her numerous cookbooks.
I don't really know what is causing Americans to get fatter, but I'm pretty sure it isn't traditional Southern cooking.
posted by craichead at 3:09 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't have a position favoring Bourdain over Deen, per se, but I do think his snarky zingers are much more entertaining!
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:10 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Place burger patties on English muffins or buns, and if desired, on glazed donuts, as the buns.

This is frightening to someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest.
posted by Danf at 3:11 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


traditional Southern cooking.

Fried butter and the use of donuts as bread in sandwiches are not traditional Southern foods.
posted by tyllwin at 3:11 PM on January 18, 2012 [52 favorites]


I don't know what Paula Deen is doing on her show with donuts and burger patties, but I'm pretty sure it isn't traditional Southern cooking. I'm also pretty sure that the diet that Deen promotes isn't conducive to a healthy, diabetes-free lifestyle.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:12 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


> The increase in type II diabetes incidence and increase in obesity rates is not accidental,

That can be true without them being related in a causally correlated function.

The increase in obesity is complex and not all that well understood.
The increase in type II diabetes also is complex and not all that well understood.

For all we know Paula Deen is completely innocent of any bad faith towards her fans.

(I am certainly not one of them.)
posted by bukvich at 3:12 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Unless I have my facts mixed up, being pre-disposed to type II diabetes and having a terrible diet will not help, but eating a bunch of unhealthy food isn't going to just end with "and suddenly, diabetes".

Am I wrong?

From everything I've read, and several of the quotes from researchers and doctors in the articles linked in the main post, yes.

See also: How Obesity Increases The Risk For Diabetes

So yeah, she is pushing some of the unhealthiest crap I've ever seen on TV, constantly pushing canned and pre-processed packaged foods. And that's going to influence some people, maybe not anybody in this thread, but it normalizes the behavior.

And then she turns around and sells the solution to the problem she helped create. Brilliant really.
posted by formless at 3:12 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


"This is frightening to someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest."

I live in portland and I am pretty sure you can get at least three variations on the Luther burger here in town.
posted by sourbrew at 3:13 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the article that sotonohito linked to has it right in this: "I think Deen makes everyone uncomfortable because she's profiting from both sides of the equation."

It's sleazy. The fact that she's known for three years puts it over the line for me.
posted by ob at 3:13 PM on January 18, 2012 [18 favorites]


I think maybe Anthony is just upset he can't find a sponsor and cash in on his public drunkenness, overuse of the word "unctuous," and crybaby attitude that he is too old to cook in a professional kitchen anymore.

I'm not as big of a of Bourdain as I once was, but isn't that pretty much what his Travel Channel shows are?
posted by kmz at 3:15 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought the whole "bad diet causes type II diabetes" myth had been killed.

American Diabetes Association:
Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories, whether from sugar or from fat, can contribute to weight gain.
So she has been pushing a diet that increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes (for example: deep-fried chocolate-covered cheesecake) while, apparently, being aware that she has developed type 2 diabetes. I wonder what her doctor says about what she cooks? Can she eat her own cooking?
posted by pracowity at 3:15 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


How many people have diabetes because of Paula Deen? 10? It's like blaming $hollywood_actress for people having sex.
posted by michaelh at 3:15 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Paid spokespeople for drugs are already kind of icky (aren't doctors supposed to making these decisions based on facts?). Her previous involvement, and long pause while she knew what she had and continued pushing the same diet, is only butter cream icing on the buttercake.
posted by DU at 3:16 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.


----------

Risk factors
By Mayo Clinic staff

Researchers don't fully understand why some people develop type 2 diabetes and others don't. It's clear that certain factors increase the risk, however, including:

* Weight. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
* Fat distribution. If your body stores fat primarily in your abdomen, your risk of type 2 diabetes is greater than if your body stores fat elsewhere, such as your hips and thighs.
* Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
* Family history. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
* Race. Although it's unclear why, people of certain races — including blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites are.
* Age. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45. That's probably because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults.
* Prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Left untreated, prediabetes often progresses to type 2 diabetes.
* Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms), you're also at risk of type 2 diabetes.

posted by rtha at 3:16 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I definitely don't have a dog in this fight, but I have to ask: does anybody who is serious about food and cooking even watch Food Network un-ironically?

Seems to me there are two types of Food Network watchers:

1. Folks who watch it because it's on
2. Budding foodies/cooks

The first category will watch it forever. It's just another form of entertainment. Skinemax for food. My wife's brothers are like this. They have zero interest in cooking or even eating at any restaurant that requires you to sit down for longer than half an hour. They love Food Network because they have a tangential relationship to eating (mostly canned chili and velveeta, but hey it's food! network!) and because they love the zany-ass competition on display in most of Food Network's reality programming. They'll watch it forever, but Food Network and Paula Deen have very little impact on their diets.

The second category might be hooked in for ahwile, like I was. But invariably if you're interested in cooking and eating good food you'll move on. Why? Because you're interested more in food than in TV. Maybe you'll pick up something be Harold McGee, or start reading some food blogs like Serious Eats, or start taking local cooking classes. Doesn't matter how, but one day, if you're in this second category, you'll wake and realize that you've outgrown Paula Deen and the Food Network, hopefully before the diabetes kicks in.

I used to like Paula Deen the first time I saw her. But eventually her "fuck you healthy food" attitude just became obnoxious, and I changed the channel.

Bourdain gives her too much credit.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:17 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fried butter and the use of donuts as bread in sandwiches are not traditional Southern foods.
I'm not seeing those things on her top food network recipes.

I'm a very virtuous size four scrawny person, and I occasionally make chicken pot pie or chicken and rice casserole. It's probably not a good idea to eat that stuff every day, but it's really not going to kill you to have it occasionally.
posted by craichead at 3:17 PM on January 18, 2012


Paula Deen having diabetes -- none of our business.

Paula Deen having diabetes and cooking/promoting food that (possibly/probably) causes diabetes -- to me, not a problem (see the whole "absence of a gun being held to anyone's head forcing them to cook Paula Deen recipes" argument).

Paula Deen cooking/promoting food that (possibly/probably) causes diabetes and shilling for a diabetes medication -- that I do have a problem with, because that's where the conflict of interest sets in. It's not only a problematic position in itself (Big Pharma making big bucks pushing medications for ailments that would be far better prevented through eating and lifestyle improvements), but unethical and certainly unseemly.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:18 PM on January 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Why Paula Deen Makes Me Sick
posted by vidur at 3:18 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This reads like two people playing characters on TV fighting with each other as the characters they play on TV.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:18 PM on January 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


So many logical fallacies in the comments of this thread that I don't know where to start.
posted by pez_LPhiE at 3:18 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I defer to an authority in matters such as this:

Cookies are a sometimes food. -Cookie Monster
posted by LastOfHisKind at 3:19 PM on January 18, 2012 [28 favorites]


- Popular entertainer promotes cigarettes while receiving kickbacks from cigarette companies
- Popular entertainer gets lung cancer
- Popular entertainer continues to promote cigarettes for years
- Popular entertainer comes clean about lung cancer, then promotes particular chemotherapy treatment but downplays effect of cigarettes on lung cancer

This is not a problem?
posted by schroedinger at 3:20 PM on January 18, 2012 [27 favorites]


I live in portland and I am pretty sure you can get at least three variations on the Luther burger here in town.

This must be what crack feels like.

Which is actually relevant to this discussion.
posted by formless at 3:20 PM on January 18, 2012


constantly pushing canned and pre-processed packaged foods

I think you're thinking of Sandra Lee.
posted by muddgirl at 3:22 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I feel like I should add that for all the hate on Deen, much of which I fundamentally agree with, hating on her as the worst thing to diet and nutrition is just ridiculous when shows that actually have titles like "Man vs. Food" and "Epic Meal Time" exist.

Paula Deen makes terrible, unhealthy food, but at least she enjoys it and encourages you to enjoy food. That seems far less horrific in a world where half the population is starving to death and we have people in this country who think an oversized meal is an obstacle to conquer.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:22 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


FWIW - I said "causes", not "contributes to". I stated as much in my comments. Thus far, I've yet to see any proof that eating 100 cookies a day is going to give you diabetes. It might contribute to obesity which, in turn, contributes to type II diabetes -- especially in those already pre-disposed to the condition. (A condition which is still a big unknown, in many respects.)

Actually... I have a better question.... Are threads about obesity / diabetes one of those games you win by not playing?
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:23 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


deep-fried chocolate-covered cheesecake

Yes please.
posted by Malice at 3:23 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is not a problem?

C'mon! You know this is MetaFilter. You need to prove everything and have citations to studies establishing causal links before you can say that something might just be a problem.
posted by vidur at 3:25 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


(and not be called out on it)
posted by vidur at 3:25 PM on January 18, 2012


there's a lot of hurf-durf (butter eater) about bourdain, but he is honest about his flaws and doesn't sell out to a drug company.

gawker called her a Greasy Villain today. I lol'd.
posted by ninjew at 3:26 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bourdain's got no reason to feel superior.
posted by crunchland at 3:28 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not seeing those things on her top food network recipes.

True. That sample is relatively traditional. And, glancing at those specific recipes, I'd shrug and say that I often don't cook any more healthily than that myself.

But those, I think, are the recipes she's featured that people actually make, and represent neither the extremes she sometimes goes to, nor the foods she's best known for.
posted by tyllwin at 3:28 PM on January 18, 2012


It's surprising she developed Type II diabetes.

It is extremely surprising that she hasn't keeled over from a heart attack.

I've lived in Savannah, Ga for close to 10 years, usually within a few miles of her restaurant. Never eaten there. Yet I have Type II diabetes. What's up with that?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:28 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, snow in Seattle is a great reason to start drinking hot toddies at noon. So this may be an overreaction but,

I'm despairing that all parts of us can be bought off with big money. It's everywhere. They're in the schools, they're in the hospitals, they're in the police stations and the congress. And it really makes me sad. It's infecting the people, changing them. Who could we become if there wasn't this corrosive system? What does it make us do that we might be ashamed of, if we had a different viewpoint? After all, You don't function very well when you're starving.

Let's assuming this was intentional. It was inevitable, really.

With that, let's review:
1. Paula Dean gave herself diabetes.
2. Paula Dean encouraged her wide audience to eat a diet that would increase the likelihood of diabetes.
3. Paula Dean profited by marketing diabetes medicine and diabetes meals and recipes.

So: a woman corroded herself, and her entire community for the sake of fucking money. She betrayed her own body, and sacrificed her people's health and livelihood. I've been playing too much Skyrim - this is a sacrifice to the Evil Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon.

I wonder if this was thought up in some consulting firm, or if someone got a bonus because of this plot. The streaming opportunities for marketing are really outstanding. Or maybe Paula Deen is a sign that I need to meet more Evil Genius Southern Women.
posted by justalisteningman at 3:29 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think you're thinking of Sandra Lee.

You are correct, it's Sandra Lee who mostly pushes the packaged foods. I was getting my celebrity chefs messed up.

And like others have said, it's not like Bourdain is a saint. I love No Reservations, but hardly a scene goes by without some alcohol in it. And his obvious distaste for killing animals and then turning around and mocking vegetarians seems.. overcompensating or something.
posted by formless at 3:30 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Deen is cashing in by shilling for the disease and the cure. If that's not a double-edged conflict of interest, I don't know what is.

My grandfather and his family used to run both the ambulance service and the funeral home.

"Once more around the block and we've got another client!"
posted by ODiV at 3:31 PM on January 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


I often don't cook any more healthily than that myself... But those, I think, are the recipes she's featured that people actually make,

But I thought Deen is evil because she tempts people into a donuts-on-everything lifestyle?

2. Paula Dean encouraged her wide audience to eat a diet that would increase the likelihood of diabetes.

I think this not only uncharitable, it's dangerously false. Deen's recipes are, on the whole, no less healthy than 99% of the Food Network. The only reason she is being singled out here is, frankly, because she's a fat woman.

If Emeril had Type II diabetes, and 'shilled' for diabetes drugs (the way nearly every celebrity with a disease 'shills' for their drug of choice), would we be having this same conversation?
posted by muddgirl at 3:33 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


muddgirl: To be less snarky, I do not believe that a single person in the entire United States watches Deen's show and thinks, "Wow, that looks like such a healthy meal!"

True, but we live in a world where there are nutrition labels in fast food restaurants. I'm not saying each recipe should be lead off by a reading of nutritional facts, but even a casual word of warning could help her image. "Hey y'all, I know this looks delicious, but y'all may want to save this one for special occasions."

There's a difference between promoting health food and promoting food you should eat sparingly.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:34 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wilford Brimley doesn't receive half this much contempt.
posted by crunchland at 3:35 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's because Our House was only metaphorically too sweet.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:36 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


we live in a world where there are nutrition labels in fast food restaurants

When you get something from a restaurant, you don't generally have to go out to the store and purchase ingredients, each with their own nutritional labels.

Hey y'all, I know this looks delicious, but y'all may want to save this one for special occasions.

Does anyone on Mefi actually watch her show enough to say whether or not she does this?
posted by muddgirl at 3:37 PM on January 18, 2012


Wilford Brimley doesn't receive half this much contempt.

Let us know when Quaker makes deep fried oatmeal, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:37 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


True, but we live in a world where there are nutrition labels in fast food restaurants. I'm not saying each recipe should be lead off by a reading of nutritional facts, but even a casual word of warning could help her image. "Hey y'all, I know this looks delicious, but y'all may want to save this one for special occasions."
The thing about home cooking is that you know what ingredients you're using. It's hard to imagine someone pouring a cup of cream into a sauce and thinking "I bet this is a really low-fat option!" Part of the problem with fast food is that when people don't cook, they get really distanced from their food.

And yeah, I think Bourdain has some pretty big honking masculinity issues and that a lot of the contempt for Deen is because she's a fat woman.
posted by craichead at 3:37 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could you summarize Emeril's cooking style as "add some butter"? I know it's a crass caricature of Deen, but when you deep-fry butter, it's a hard image to shake.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:38 PM on January 18, 2012


Seems to me there are two types of Food Network watchers:

1. Folks who watch it because it's on
2. Budding foodies/cooks


The Food Network is actually a venue for really out there performance art. I mean clearly no one is learning how to cook from that channel; Alton Brown was the last instructive host on the network and he turned into a ringmaster on more than one occasion. A live television show is about the worst possible medium for a cooking program; the hosts outline the necessary ingredients in real time and as the go (surprise! I hope you had scallions!); the cooking process is abbreviated; things are constantly popping in and out of the ovens (always multiple). Anyone who really wanted to learn how to make Rachel Ray's Easy Peasy Nice and Please-y Pasta (Cheesy!) would be better served by the website, YouTube or a god-forbid a physical cookbook. Don't get me started on Sandra Lee's "try not to get cigarette ashes and tears in my Midori Sour" signature cocktail, or the Barefoot Contessa's "Get thee to a cheesemonger" cheese plate, both of which are basically elaborate shopping lists performed aloud to a disinterested viewership.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:39 PM on January 18, 2012 [15 favorites]


If Emeril had Type II diabetes, and 'shilled' for diabetes drugs (the way nearly every celebrity with a disease 'shills' for their drug of choice), would we be having this same conversation?

As far as I'm concerned? Absolutely.

I don't doubt that there are people judging Paula Deen for her health problems because she's a fat woman, but to me the legitimate criticism is of her promoting a medication to treat a disease that is linked to the way of eating that she promotes through her show and books.

This is not the same situation as most other celebrities with diseases that shill for Big Pharma, because most of those celebs aren't actually in the primary occupation of selling/promoting the things that lead to the disease that they're being paid to sell drugs for.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:43 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Bourdain isn't interested in America, he's interested in Bourdain. Another attempt at lifting a falling star...

Come on people, if you don't know that fried butter balls aren't bad for you, you have bigger problems than obsessively watching the food network.
posted by smidgen at 3:43 PM on January 18, 2012


But I thought Deen is evil because she tempts people into a donuts-on-everything lifestyle?

I don't think she's evil. (Others may, of course) I just think she's a mediocre cook, and I don't want people to think her stunt dishes are traditional Southern food. Her top rated Food Network recipes are, more or less.
posted by tyllwin at 3:44 PM on January 18, 2012


I know it's a crass caricature of Deen, but when you deep-fry butter, it's a hard image to shake.

I know that's a popular recipe to mock - I probably mocked it at some point.

But frankly, I don't see anywhere in that recipe where it says, "Consume, alone, in one sitting." I calculate that each ball has roughly 65 calories - no worse than the chocolate truffles the 'Dude likes to make for special occasions.

is linked to the way of eating that she promotes through her show and books.

And I categorically reject the notion that she promotes a uniquely unhealthy way of eating through her show and her books.
posted by muddgirl at 3:46 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Food Network is actually a venue for really out there performance art.

The Food Network has to do with food what TLC has to do with learning. Ever since Scripps took it over in 1997 it's been slowly merging towards the gray goo of MEH that so many cable networks have become such as A&E, History, TLC, Discovery, HGTV, Travel, CMT, MTV and VH1 to name a few.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:47 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Food Network has to do with food what TLC has to do with learning. Ever since Scripps took it over in 1997 it's been slowly merging towards the gray goo of MEH that so many cable networks have become

Next on The Food Network: Hoarders: The Recipes, followed by the premiere of Storage Locker Cooking!!
posted by tyllwin at 3:50 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


What I want to know is how Giada De Laurentiis manages to stay that skinny with all the stuff she cooks.
posted by crunchland at 3:50 PM on January 18, 2012


There's an implicit accusation that Deen and anyone with Type II diabetes could have avoided getting the disease. That's true in a way, if people had understood the impact of nutrition and exercise and put those lessons into action, then they're be a lot less fat and diabetic people in the US.

But American society has shifted itself towards cheap, unhealthy food in large quantities while we also shifted to being a more sedate populace. Most of us spend a huge amount of time sitting at desk and working longer hours more and more cheaper food was shoved at us. Add in the social interaction that usually occurs with food and it's not surprising that the American South, with its high fat and sugar diet, is leading the way in obesity and diabetes.

Paula Deen isn't the problem, she's just a symptom.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:50 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


If Emeril had Type II diabetes, and 'shilled' for diabetes drugs (the way nearly every celebrity with a disease 'shills' for their drug of choice), would we be having this same conversation?

Yes.

It doesn't matter that Food Network recipes are mostly all trash. It doesn't matter that the other hosts also market unhealthy foods. SHE is the only one who has stepped over that (to me, quite black and white) line.

And she did it years after being diagnosed with TII diabetes to boot, pushing the craving taming, belly inflating shit the whole time. The gall of that woman...

As an aside, this is near identical to Speaker Boehner trying to kill fuel efficiency standards while standing to profit greatly from the XL pipeline bringing in the very stuff he's encouraging us all to burn more of. Needlessly.

Better yet, the tedious tale of one, Dr. Wakefield. There's the equal opportunity outrage you're a questing for.
posted by Slackermagee at 3:51 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


What I want to know is how Giada De Laurentiis manages to stay that skinny with all the stuff she cooks.

No, you don't.
posted by Danf at 3:52 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


do what i do and just eat hair
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:53 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


And I categorically reject the notion that she promotes a uniquely unhealthy way of eating through her show and her books.

Appetizer
A pack of bacon + 2/3 cup sugar

Salad
6-8 slices of bacon

Dinner
One stick of butter

Dessert
Two sticks of butter + a package of cream cheese + whipped cream (optional)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:56 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wilford Brimley doesn't receive half this much contempt.

That's because Our House was only metaphorically too sweet.


Dude was trying to get our cholestorol down with oatmeal a few years back. Dude 's been a codger long enough to get me to buy Cocoon.

Bourdain doesn't sell cures but he is unapologetic about promoting an unhealthy lifestyle for money. When his disease gets him we'll all say "yeah," fifty years from now. He may be too ornery to kill, though his pulchritude of late says otherwise.

I have a hard time looking at Paula the same way. How could she face the camera and not feel like a diseased porn star about to have unprotected sex? That's not homey, that's co-dependent.

Both could stand to upsell better examples as they should find it easier than most.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:58 PM on January 18, 2012


No, you don't. -- Tapeworm?
posted by crunchland at 4:02 PM on January 18, 2012


I think this not only uncharitable, it's dangerously false. Deen's recipes are, on the whole, no less healthy than 99% of the Food Network. The only reason she is being singled out here is, frankly, because she's a fat woman.

I call bullshit on both these "points," speaking of "dangerously false." For one, I watch a lot of Food Network, as well as the food shows on Travel Channel and Bravo and while a lot of the shows do promote crazily unhealthy food, especially on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and Man vs. Food and the like, I don't recall too many other recipe shows featuring fried butter balls or doughnut-bunned fried egg and bacon hamburgers.. I'm sure they exist, but 99%? That's utterly ridiculous even for using hyperbole.

Secondly, Deen is hardly the only celebrated fat woman with a presence on cooking shows. Somehow we've managed not to find a reason to excoriate them since we are looking for an excuse to bury fat chicks.

You're right, no one who watches Paula Deen thinks her food is healthy. We are all responsible for our own decisions. That doesn't make it any less scummy that she'd had diabetes for three years, it's WIDELY accepted in the medical community (granted, not proven, but see many links above) that the kind of food she cooks and eats contributes greatly to diabetes, and she only comes out with it once she has an endorsement deal with a diabetes medication that costs 500 bucks a month.

But yeah, we're all just piling on because she's a fat chick, you have us mefites pegged. What an appalingly offensive conclusion -- a conclusion that you started with and worked your way backwards, using logical fallacies.
posted by mreleganza at 4:02 PM on January 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


awesomebrad: "Bob Dole didn't go around chopping off people's dicks."

Oh man, I see a macro meme starting... "Bob Dole didn't..."
posted by symbioid at 4:04 PM on January 18, 2012


I don't deny that there is a correlation between obesity and Type II diabetes, but I don't see how the correlation to Deen's career is anything but circumstantial.
...
I think this not only uncharitable, it's dangerously false. Deen's recipes are, on the whole, no less healthy than 99% of the Food Network. The only reason she is being singled out here is, frankly, because she's a fat woman.


Some of us really aren't targeting Paula Deen because she is fat. We are targeting her because she is a part of the culture of consumption in our media and entertainment that is contributing to a national crisis. And that includes almost all of the other chefs on the Food Network.

Look, in a conversation about Fox News, we would have no problem saying that people like Glenn Beck were contributing to a dangerous conservative culture and ignorance in the US. And we would have no problem seeing how Fox contributed to a shift in mainstream media coverage and techniques (look at CNN, MSNBC, etc. now.). In the same way Deen is just one of many contributors to a similar shift in consumption and food presentation on TV. Instead of an Overton window, we have an Over-a-ton window. Ok, that was really bad, but the point is that while people may not individually make her recipes, her show and shows like it become the new normal. The behavior is normalized.

You can say that you don't think anybody looks at her show and says, "Wow, that looks like such a healthy meal!", but I'm sure people could have said the same thing about Glenn Beck . And we got the Tea Party from that.
posted by formless at 4:06 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Paula Deen is a manufactured personality marketed by Food Network execs in an attempt to attract viewers.

Anthony Bourdain is a personality who, while maybe not manufactured by television executives, must publicly maintain a certain set of personality traits in order to continue to attract the same set of viewers.

There is absolutely no difference between them, except for their respective levels of self-awareness (or lack thereof) regarding the fact that each of them consciously maintains and perpetuates a specific kind of schtick.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:06 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


So she has been pushing a diet that increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Pushing a diet? Has she been saying "Hey everyone eat like me and be healthy?" Because I never saw that.

Are people with shows about wine and beer responsible for alcoholics who watch them? What if they themselves struggle with alcoholism?

She had a show showing you how to make food that was sometimes cartoonishly bad for you. Many people who watched it loved that aspect..."Oh my god, did you see how much sugar she just put in??"...but as with most cooking shows, I'm not sure a lot of people actually went out and made those recipes. But if they did, it's not like there was any confusion about their status as health meals.

She didn't break any laws, she didn't force anyone to watch her or eat her food, and she was not morally obligated to tell anyone else about her health status. She doesn't owe that to you or me or that guy over there. She's a lady with a cooking show. Who now has diabetes. She's not the Symbol of All That's Wrong With America, she didn't cause obesity or diabetes or the death of the rainforest.
posted by emjaybee at 4:06 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Appetizer
A pack of bacon + 2/3 cup sugar
12 - 15 servings
Salad
6-8 slices of bacon
6-8 servings (is 1 slice of bacon going to give me Diabeetus?)
Dinner
One stick of butter
4-6 servings, IN THE SAUCE
Dessert
Two sticks of butter + a package of cream cheese + whipped cream (optional)
6-8 servings!
posted by muddgirl at 4:07 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Has anyone directly linked the video of Deen's glazed donut/hamburger/fried egg/bacon sandwich yet? Because it's fucking awesome in its horribleness.
posted by mediareport at 4:07 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is how Giada De Laurentiis manages to stay that skinny with all the stuff she cooks.

I read an interview with her, and it basically boils down to "She doesn't eat what she cooks, and when she does, it's REALLY small portions."

I actually really like Giada, even if I do make fun of her for making every dessert "Italian" by topping it off with a glob of mascarpone.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:08 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kabanos: "Makin' love to my tater."

I'm just gonna drop this ol' comment of mine... here.
posted by symbioid at 4:08 PM on January 18, 2012


mediareport: "Has anyone directly linked the video of Deen's glazed donut/hamburger/fried egg/bacon sandwich yet? Because it's fucking awesome in its horribleness."

Umm, you didn't do the wolfgore version! For SHAME!
posted by symbioid at 4:09 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was getting my celebrity chefs messed up.

I learned today that Paula Deen has never cooked with, let alone seen whole cardamom cloves before. She ain't no chef (of the celeb variety or otherwise).
posted by raztaj at 4:11 PM on January 18, 2012


I don't think Bob Dole had a TV show and entire empire dedicated to the kind of food that could very well pre-dispose someone to ED.

But he did have strong links to the tobacco industry, whose products significantly increase the possibility of ED.
posted by biffa at 4:11 PM on January 18, 2012


She's not the Symbol of All That's Wrong With America

She is sort of an interesting symbol of where modern mainstream American culture might be going, though, which is interesting.
posted by Forktine at 4:12 PM on January 18, 2012


1. Paula Dean gave herself diabetes.

Did you seriously write that? In text? With words? Because that's quite possibly the most offensive thing I've read in the past month, and I've read a lot of crap spewed by GOP candidates.

It's just as accurate to say that Freddy Mercury gave himself AIDS, and JFK gave himself lead poisoning.


...there’s no evidence that a high-fat diet plays any role in causing type 2 diabetes. The best demonstration of this is provided by an eight-year-long, randomized, controlled dietary modification trial involving nearly 50,000 American women, which cost $415 million, making it one of the most rigorously designed (and most expensive) health studies ever conducted. Nearly 20,000 of these women followed a strictly monitored low-fat diet, while the rest continued to eat the typical diet they were consuming before entering the study. The former group ended up consuming about 30 percent less fat, 40 percent less saturated fat, and 25 percent more fruits and vegetables than the women in the latter group. They also ate an average of 364 fewer calories a day than they had been eating prior to the study.

After eight years, there was no statistically significant difference in the rate at which type 2 diabetes occurred among women in the two groups. (The women who reduced their caloric intake weighed an average of four pounds less than they did at the beginning of the trial.)


...Indeed, diabetes is primarily a genetic disease. If one identical twin doesn’t develop diabetes, the odds are less than 1 percent that the other will, while if one such twin does have the disease, the odds are better than 75 percent that the other twin will develop it as well.
posted by Foosnark at 4:12 PM on January 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


There is absolutely no difference between them, except for their respective levels of self-awareness (or lack thereof) regarding the fact that each of them consciously maintains and perpetuates a specific kind of schtick.

Except that one does Victoza, while the other does cocaine, LSD, shrooms, heroin and assorted other things.
posted by Foosnark at 4:15 PM on January 18, 2012


Paula Deen does not make money if nobody has an interest in eating/preparing her kind of food. Sure, she can say "I'm not forcing anybody to eat that way, it's just something to look at" but she has 13 cookbooks for sale on Amazon (plus one in paperback). If nobody buys them she doesn't get paid to write more of them.

And her take on food is famously bad. Her reputation is built on fried butter and donuts for bread. That's her brand, it's how she made a name for herself.

And her endorsement deal will not be renewed if people stop eating the way she has always made money from. She is a chef who has a financial interest in people having diabetes.
posted by Adventurer at 4:17 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


6-8 servings!

It is kind of beside the point if it is 6 to 8 servings. Just about everything she makes and publishes recipes for is unhealthy. Put another way, there is virtually no realistic way to eat a healthy, balanced diet from any of her recipes, other than to avoid them wherever possible.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:18 PM on January 18, 2012


Anthony Bourdain doesn't seem to have signed an endorsement deal with any rehab centers.
posted by Adventurer at 4:18 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Overweight or obesity was the single most important predictor of diabetes.

We conclude that long-term intervention in the form of diet and physical exercise is feasible even on a large scale, and that substantial metabolic improvement can be achieved which may contribute to prevent or postpone manifest diabetes.
posted by perhapses at 4:19 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fat? Is she that much heavier than Anne Burrell? Who doesn't get any of this kind of flack?
posted by tyllwin at 4:19 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, guess what? It also turns out Victoza has its own problems: Paula Deen Hawks a Dubious Diabetes Drug:

In fact, Deen's favored Big Pharma diabetes product might be as questionable as the meat she promotes. The FDA approved the drug in January 2010, but it did so amid strong evidence of a link to thyroid cancer. In April 2009, the FDA's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 12-1 that rodent findings linking the drug to thyroid cancer could apply to humans. The committee got hung at 6-6 (with one abstention) on whether the cancer risk was ground for FDA rejection. The drug eventually won approval anyway.

And then last June, reported MedPage Today, the FDA "issued a warning about the risks of thyroid cancer and pancreatitis associated with the diabetes drug liraglutide (Victoza)." The agency "directed drugmaker Novo Nordisk to send out a 'Dear healthcare professional' letter after determining that some primary care providers were not fully aware of the serious risks," MedPage reports. Because of the cancer concerns, FDA ordered that Novo Nordisk include a so-called "black box" warning (PDF) on the drug's label. Black boxes are the agency's strongest warning, used only when grave side effects are at issue. The drug "causes thyroid C-cell tumors at clinically relevant exposures in rodents," the warning states...

What do Victoza users gain for taking on risk of cancer and other troubles? Here's the kicker: Some medical authorities question whether drugs designed to bring down blood sugar for Type 2 diabetes patients provide any benefits at all. University of North Carolina professor of medicine Nortin Hadler is a particularly fierce critic. He penned a blunt 2008 paper in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology declaring them essentially useless, because, he claims, lowering patient's blood-sugar levels does not deliver any tangible benefits...In a phone interview, Hadler told me that all the drugs designed to do what Victoza does have "significant side effects" and "have never been shown in years of study to provide any benefit."

posted by mediareport at 4:20 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Put another way, there is virtually no realistic way to eat a healthy, balanced diet from any of her recipes, other than to avoid them wherever possible.

What? Sure there is, if you're not eating her food three meals a day 365 days a year. I mean, I don't know that any of her food has ever appealed to me (and anyone who knows me knows I love bacon, and I love donuts, and in fact I had a bacon donut just this morning), but if you made some wacky dish of hers once in a while it can absolutely fit into a balanced diet.
posted by rtha at 4:21 PM on January 18, 2012


Here's what churns MY butter. On the three-year delay in announcing her diagnosis:
"I made the choice at the time to keep it close to me, to keep it close to my chest...I felt like I had nothing to offer anybody other than the announcement. I wasn't armed with enough knowledge. I knew when it was time, it would be in God's time."
So, the launch of her new paid spokes-campaign just happened to coincide with God's time? What are the chances!?! Then she caps it off with this:
"I have always encouraged moderation," she said. "I share with you all these yummy, fattening recipes, but I tell people, in moderation... it's entertainment."
I'd be eager to see a clip from one of her shows of her advising moderation, and/or telling people you're not really supposed to eat the recipes she demonstrates (or puts in her cookbooks or serves in her restaurants), she's just putting on a show for "entertainment."

I don't think she's the cause of distorted attitudes about food. But I sure don't think she's helping.
posted by argonauta at 4:23 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


1. Paula Dean gave herself diabetes.

Did you seriously write that? In text? With words?


Yes, they did and if you'd re-read the comment, you'd understand it was sarcastic. Hopefully.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:24 PM on January 18, 2012


Billie Jean King has type 2, so was she eating at Paula's? BB King has an endorsement deal--where was all that outrage?

But a fat white Southern woman is pretty easy to poke sticks at.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:26 PM on January 18, 2012


STTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP

...there’s no evidence that a high-fat diet plays any role in causing type 2 diabetes.

Which doesn't address in the slightest what the impact is of consuming 1.5x to 2x your daily calorie requirements.

Its not about fat, its about free sugar in the blood instigating a continuous, overwhelming insulin response that gradually (over many decades) 'turns off' insulin receptors and/or insulin production. Fat can become sugar but ITS NOT THE FREAKING FATTY FAT FAT BURGER that I'm worried about in that doughnut burger sandwich. Its the immense mass of sugar from the doughnuts that's working its deadly little magic in the blood stream.

Sugar from cakes, creams, treats, muffins, cookies, cereals, breads, milk, soda, ice cream, EVERYTHING.

Its not about the fat, its what you've wrapped around the fat, what you had to eat in great quantities before the fat, and what you plan on eating after the fat.

Fat can become sugar when its needed (like when you decide to go for that long awaited run). Sugar WILL become fat when you have too much sugar. Its an easy, basic (harharhar the irony), and common process that happens when your body wants to stockpile food.

So, once more: ITS NOT THE FAT, its the overeating and the huge portions.

posted by Slackermagee at 4:27 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I would have a lot more respect for Paula Deen if she would have:
- announced that she had diabetes as soon as she found out
- presented her story as a cautionary tale
- changed her ways
- used her media power to encourage healthier eating

Conversely, she hid her diabetes for 3 years, continued to make a living encouraging unhealthy eating, and now she comes out as a spokesperson for diabetes medicine? Unconscionable, no matter how much she weighs.
posted by Daddy-O at 4:28 PM on January 18, 2012 [13 favorites]


"Bourdain is such a pathetic loser."

But lets face it, Bourdain is a much more entertaining, honest, and downright lovable pathetic loser than either of us will ever be.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:28 PM on January 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


And I categorically reject the notion that she promotes a uniquely unhealthy way of eating through her show and her books.

I know nothing about these people, but this is pretty frikken ridiculous.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:31 PM on January 18, 2012


Some of us really aren't targeting Paula Deen because she is fat. We are targeting her because she is a part of the culture of consumption in our media and entertainment that is contributing to a national crisis. And that includes almost all of the other chefs on the Food Network.

Look, in a conversation about Fox News, we would have no problem saying that people like Glenn Beck were contributing to a dangerous conservative culture and ignorance in the US. And we would have no problem seeing how Fox contributed to a shift in mainstream media coverage and techniques (look at CNN, MSNBC, etc. now.). In the same way Deen is just one of many contributors to a similar shift in consumption and food presentation on TV. Instead of an Overton window, we have an Over-a-ton window. Ok, that was really bad, but the point is that while people may not individually make her recipes, her show and shows like it become the new normal. The behavior is normalized.

You can say that you don't think anybody looks at her show and says, "Wow, that looks like such a healthy meal!", but I'm sure people could have said the same thing about Glenn Beck . And we got the Tea Party from that.


So you're really, truly saying "Someone cooking unhealthy food on TV is just as bad as Glenn Beck's advocating the death of our democracy and the demonization of anything right of the KKK."

You're really saying that.

As for the culture of consumerism, do thin people consume less? Less sugar, maybe. But presumably they still drive cars and perhaps they buy lots of lowfat foods or low-sugar smoothies. Or cigarettes and cocaine, whatever works for them. Perhaps kale milkshakes actually use more petroleum than a doughnut would to create...I have no idea. Do thin people or fat people use more electricity, or water?

I know it's fun and compelling to conflate the fatness of some Americans with the fact that we use too many resources as a nation, but they're not the same thing. At all.

Extra points for the fat joke too. Nice touch.
posted by emjaybee at 4:32 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wilford Brimley doesn't receive half this much contempt.

As a former rural mail carrier, I have met Mr. Brimley and delivered mail to him. He is actually one of the nicest, friendliest, and most respectful people I have ever met.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 4:32 PM on January 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


"Fat can become sugar when its needed (like when you decide to go for that long awaited run)."

Mammals are actually incapable of this, which is the source of rabbit starvation, because of a quirk of how our central biochemistry works. You can turn sugars into fats, but mammals cannot do the other way around.

This does not however discredit your central thesis. The diet that Paula Deen has involved a lot more than butter, and consuming fat is a very easy way to ingest more calories than you need, which does contribute to the metabolic syndrome at the heart of both of our epidemics of obesity and type II diabetes.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:34 PM on January 18, 2012


Salad
6-8 slices of bacon


And a cup of mayonnaise. A cup!!!! For one head of broccoli!!! Not to mention the cheese.
posted by Go Banana at 4:34 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder who has watched her show? I have (only a couple), and I think she is really disgusting. One show was an audience participation thing, making milkshakes. Put ice cream in blender, add more sugar, half and half[ plus heavy cream. Gross!!!! This seems to be fairly typical of how she cooks. I saw her add an entire extra stick of butter to a macaroni and cheese casserole. We have been poking fun of her for years in my house, because of those. It was even funnier a few years ago when I saw the big box stores carrying her jumbo butter warmer. Who needs a quart of melted butter?

At any rate, I think she has brought the shitstorm down on herself. She is clearly being disingenuous, because she has a huge amount of money at stake. Waiting to announce for years seems highly suspicious to me. She, of course, has a right to privacy about her health, but the announcement is clearly about the profitable deal from the drug company.
posted by annsunny at 4:35 PM on January 18, 2012


As for the culture of consumerism, do thin people consume less? Less sugar, maybe. But presumably they still drive cars and perhaps they buy lots of lowfat foods or low-sugar smoothies. Or cigarettes and cocaine, whatever works for them. Perhaps kale milkshakes actually use more petroleum than a doughnut would to create...I have no idea. Do thin people or fat people use more electricity, or water?

So because I'm thin, I have to work to be thin? I must be a food hipster of immense proportions to be thin?

Boot, see other foot.

As an aside, its not about kale milkshakes or regular milkshakes. Its not about diet soda, regular soda, or froofy aloe water. Its about eating an appropriate portion and NOT eating sugary crap my dentist would kvetch at me about. See my post above.
posted by Slackermagee at 4:36 PM on January 18, 2012


But a fat white Southern woman is pretty easy to poke sticks at.

Great, another person making baseless accusations of truly ugly ulterior motives for those of us who have a problem with Paula Deen's actions.
posted by mreleganza at 4:36 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fat can become sugar when its needed (like when you decide to go for that long awaited run)

Sorry, it was way easier to say that then that fats can become acyl-CoA and loop back into the various metabolic cycles/pathways. For the sciency guys about to kill me... I had good intentions!
posted by Slackermagee at 4:37 PM on January 18, 2012


Bourdain's full interview with Eater.com is pretty enlightening if folks haven't seen it yet.

But really, the issue I have with the Paula Deen thing is it is just pure corporatism. The Food network isn't about the Food, its about selling you food based products for which you can consume, unquestionably, and now if you get sick from it, here is a product she recommends to help you deal with it. Deen loves the money that comes with what she is doing, and will keep doing what optimizes her getting more money.

Bourdain is all about what goes into the food, how it is made, and who are the people who make it. That is what I enjoy about his shows, and about his writing. Food is more than something you buy in a store, and good food is a product of passion, because making it is more blood than joy in most cases.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:39 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Its about eating an appropriate portion and NOT eating sugary crap my dentist would kvetch at me about.

It seems to me like it's about never EVER eating an 'inappropriate portion' and never EVER eating sugary crap. Which is, frankly, an unrealistic expectation for 90% of the American population, which is why this is less about health and more about our American obsession with pious self-denial.
posted by muddgirl at 4:39 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, the launch of her new paid spokes-campaign just happened to coincide with God's time? What are the chances!?!

Again, I think this criticism is off-base unless we are also suspicious of other celebrities who don't 'reveal' their disease until they are payed to. Like, as I mentioned before, Bob Dole.
posted by muddgirl at 4:42 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


It seems to me like it's about never EVER eating an 'inappropriate portion' and never EVER eating sugary crap. Which is, frankly, an unrealistic expectation for 90% of the American population, which is why this is less about health and more about our American obsession with pious self-denial.

You can eat a sugary thing. I do all week. But once a day all week.

Want to know what the absolute biggest culprit is though? What the one thing that is really driving us all to double airplane seats?

Soda. Just soda, at the end of the day. If you have a healthy balanced meal three times a day with three to four glasses of soda each day... you're still heading for a world of pain.
posted by Slackermagee at 4:43 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, guess what? It also turns out Victoza has its own problems

Shhhhh. It's phase 3 of her plan. Just keep it quiet until 2019, when Paula Deen gets to sell thyroid cancer and pancreatitis medications!
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:44 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Serious questions for those skilled in the dark culinary arts: What is the benefit of adding butter? Specifically, what makes it preferable to lard or shortening?
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:44 PM on January 18, 2012


Well, I hope Anthony Bourdain will remember
A Southern woman don't need him around anyhow
posted by perhapses at 4:46 PM on January 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Me and pips made Paula's crab dip a few new years eve's ago. It was really tasty. I like Tony Bourdain, too (met him once, he was nice), but he tries too hard sometimes.
posted by jonmc at 4:47 PM on January 18, 2012


It's weird that Paula Deen dyes her teeth the same color as her hair.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:48 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


But once a day all week.

How do you know this isn't true for Paula Deen? My BMI is 31.5 and I actually eat little to no 'sugary crap.' I don't have a sweet tooth. I eat an appropriate portion at every meal (I could probably do to have more than coffee and a snack for breakfast).

Obesity is, frankly, complicated. I have some good links in my profile.
posted by muddgirl at 4:49 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Appetizer
A pack of bacon + 2/3 cup sugar

Salad
6-8 slices of bacon

Dinner
One stick of butter

Dessert
Two sticks of butter + a package of cream cheese + whipped cream (optional)
If you go to the recipes section of Emeril Lagasse's website, you get this recipe with four cups of heavy cream, 1.5 cups of whole milk, two eggs and three egg yolks, and that's before you make the caramel sauce and the chocolate sauce. There's this recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches which includes a stick of butter for six sandwiches. (Plus, does anyone really need a recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches?)

There's a lot of delicious, repulsive food out there. I'm not sure why one would single out Paula Deen.
What is the benefit of adding butter? Specifically, what makes it preferable to lard or shortening?
Butter tastes buttery. But lard and shortening have their uses.
posted by craichead at 4:51 PM on January 18, 2012


Great, another person making baseless accusations of truly ugly ulterior motives for those of us who have a problem with Paula Deen's actions.

That's what gets me. Her actions are clearly horrible, but it's like her apologists are scrambling to be even worse, in these specific ways.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:52 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Butter is an animal fat. The solids in butter when browned correctly add a nutty flavor. Butter can thicken a sauce. Buerre noisette (noisy butter, so called when the solids fry in the fat) adds a certain flavor that you really can't find anywhere else. Buerre blanc is a basic sauce created with butter emulsifying white wine or vinegar.

Butter is a basic tool for any chef. Butter is not needed many dishes, but it certainly will enhance most dishes if used along with other oils such as olive oil.

Occasionally a dish will call for what might seem like an excessive amount of butter. But nobody eats an entire batch when that is what is called for.

And then there's what Paula Deen makes.
posted by Splunge at 4:52 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wish people would lay off the butter-bashing. There's an interesting book calls Fats that Heal Fats that Kill which goes deep into the chemisty of different fats. And the TL:DR of the book is that butter is fairly neutral on the scale of good and bad fats. Also, it is fucking delicious. (that's my commentary.)
posted by vespabelle at 4:53 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Southern Deen
Better keep your pan
Don't forget
What your cook book said
Diabetes
Gonna come at last
Now your butter
is burning fat
Southern Deen

(with apologies to Neil Young)
posted by Renoroc at 4:53 PM on January 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


Butter is good. Southern cooking is good. Paula Deen is not good.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:54 PM on January 18, 2012


A website that is pretty interesting is Diabetes 101, written by a lean woman who has type 2 diabetes. I have a genetic predisposition to the disease, so it's kind of scary to read. However, not everyone in my family develops it and I'm going to do everything I can not to. I've been reading my friend Dr. Stephen Guyenet's series on the MANY causes of insulin resistance and it's pretty interesting. I don't think people with the relevant SNPs are doomed. I think diet, activity level, sleep, micronutrient consumption and many other things can be hacked to reduce risk. Most twin studies on the subject are flawed because twins typically have similar upbringings and lifestyles.
posted by melissam at 4:55 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's a lot of delicious, repulsive food out there. I'm not sure why one would single out Paula Deen.

Because on the other side of unhealthy food, Paula Deen is selling medication indicated for a disease that has an obesity risk factor associated with its prevalence. That's why she's being singled out.

And the TL:DR of the book is that butter is fairly neutral on the scale of good and bad fats.

In moderation. The problem isn't the tonic, it's the volume of tonic. Good fats and bad fats do not even each other out forever, at some point sheer volume of calories intaken comes into play.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:55 PM on January 18, 2012


She's not the first fat Southern food celebrity who had to alter the marketing plan because of diet-related health problems - Paul Prudhomme changed his menus and sold low-sodium spice mixes, but as far as I remember he never shilled for a blood-pressure company.
posted by gingerest at 4:56 PM on January 18, 2012


Again, I think this criticism is off-base unless we are also suspicious of other celebrities who don't 'reveal' their disease until they are payed to. Like, as I mentioned before, Bob Dole.

Bob Dole wasn't making money selling and publicly consuming/endorsing products that are implicated in erectile dysfunction the whole time that he was not publicizing his diagnosis.

Making splashily unhealthy dishes is specifically how Paula Deen distinguishes herself from other cooking personalities. And it's all well and good to say that everybody should know better than to consume very much of what she promotes, but it is in her financial interest that they consume as much of it as possible. Surely she doesn't want everybody to buy just one of her 13 cookbooks.
posted by Adventurer at 4:57 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because on the other side of unhealthy food, Paula Deen is selling medication indicated for a disease that has an obesity risk factor associated with its prevalence. That's why she's being singled out.
Except that the whole Bourdain vs. Deen grudge match predates the revelation that she had diabetes. The whole anti-Deen discourse started well before she started shilling diabetes drugs.
posted by craichead at 5:01 PM on January 18, 2012


That fried cheesecake thing looks delicious. Hazardous. But delicious.

Think I will skip.
posted by bukvich at 5:02 PM on January 18, 2012


Bourdain vs. Deen grudge match predates the revelation that she had diabetes

The grudge match like all of Bourdain's grudges is shtick designed to get people to watch his shows. The level of rage in this thread is hilarious.
posted by jonmc at 5:03 PM on January 18, 2012


IMNSHO Paula Deen is a symptom of the concept of the food channel. When they were first a thing you'd see chefs from four star restaurants cooking. That's it. Then the saw that chefs cooking got ratings. The next iteration was name chefs getting their own shows. Pepin, Julia, Emeril, Batali, Hubert Keller, Bourdain etc.

Then they took off. And you saw not so famous chefs cooking. Tyler Florence, Bobby Flay, the whole Iron Chef thing. Not bad chefs, just not famous until they got a shot at a show.

And then you saw the descent into madness that is now food channels. Rachael Ray. Paula Deen, Guy Fieri. The next Food Channel star. Contests. Bullshit.

I may have the timeline wrong at a few points, but to me the ratio of cooking to bullshit is now off the charts.
posted by Splunge at 5:08 PM on January 18, 2012


> It seems to me like it's about never EVER eating an 'inappropriate portion' and never EVER eating sugary crap.

The biggest revelation I got from reading Why We Get Fat is that WHAT we eat determines more about if we gain or lose weight, than HOW MUCH we eat. We are complicated organisms, and hormones appear to control a lot of how our body functions, so it makes sense that an increased presence of insulin in the blood stream, which is already shown to cause fat cells to enlarge, as a result of eating foods high in sugars and especially high in simple sugars, seems to make more sense than I simple ate more calories than I burned in a day.

Once you look at it from a hormonal balance perspective, then things like why skinny people stay skinny, and fat people stay fat, it makes more sense. It is not some simple aspect of willpower, or people are of an inferior moral stock with no self control, but that peoples genetic backgrounds produce different levels of tolerances for hormones and insulin specifically. It's not an issue of willpower, it's an issue of finding a diet that is suitable for what your body can handle, and it appears pretty universally (based on the increasing levels of type 2 diabetes) that diets high in sugar aren't good for you. Historically sugar was a luxury, but now it is in the cheapest forms of mass produced food, so the lower classes are the ones showing the largest growth in obesity, because their daily diet consists more of sugar and carbs than anything else.

So then the fix to obesity epidemic in this country isn't to chastise fat people for being fat and not controlling their portion size. It's to work to make local, organic meat and vegetables affordable for everyone, to remove the idea of corporate control of the food supply, and to have real nutritional education available to everyone and not dictated by groups that also lobby to have pizza considered a vegetable.

Paula Deen gets under my skin because she represents a lot of that corporate food consumer mentality, which is pretty much conforming what people should eat to maximize corporate profit, instead of encouraging healthy nutrition. I wouldn't say no to trying a doughnut burger, something that I've know of before she made it famous, because I would want to try it for the bacchanalian sake of the thing, knowing full well that it was going to cause my blood sugar to spike and make me feel miserable the next day. It's the same reason I drink cocktails, I know full well what I am getting into when I am doing it. In a way Deen encourages the burger without saying "this will probably make you feel like shit if you actually aren't already in a half dazed mood from eating crap food all day anyway."

> Except that the whole Bourdain vs. Deen grudge match predates the revelation that she had diabetes.

Bourdain is pretty much on the record that he hates shitty food, and shitty corporate shenanigans. It's the same reason he dislikes Rachel Ray and most of the folks at Food Network, they aren't about Food in his sense of the word.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:11 PM on January 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


craichead: "Except that the whole Bourdain vs. Deen grudge match predates the revelation that she had diabetes. The whole anti-Deen discourse started well before she started shilling diabetes drugs."

Bourdain doesn't like Deen (or anyone else he's criticized---he's been pretty consistent about this) because he thinks her food is offensive as food, and fraudulent in principle. Now he finds her behavior ethically bankrupt.

I have a way easier time believing Bourdain's opinions are sincere and come from a lifelong passion about food, than I do believing Deen's recipes and endorsements come from a lifelong passion about food and, now, healthy living.
posted by danny the boy at 5:14 PM on January 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


I like Bourdain. I don't like what he's become. I've read his books. Kitchen Confidential is still great. His latest stuff sucks. If the word you're looking for is integrity, he's lost some. But I don't begrudge him his money. He paid his dues. And he's right about Deen and most of the rest.

I don't give a flying fuck at a rolling donut filled with a greasy hamburger about Deen et. al.

But I still catch Pepin and Batali if they are on.
posted by Splunge at 5:16 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


With all the commentary on Paula Deena's cooking, I thought I'd point out that Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook is quite good and I highly recommend the coq au vin. I'd far rather eat the occasional terrifyingly bad for me dish he suggests than anything from Deen. The difference in quality is astounding.
posted by combinatorial explosion at 5:20 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


So you're really, truly saying "Someone cooking unhealthy food on TV is just as bad as Glenn Beck's advocating the death of our democracy and the demonization of anything right of the KKK."

No. It's worse. People will actually make the food.
posted by Splunge at 5:29 PM on January 18, 2012


Bourdain doesn't like Deen (or anyone else he's criticized---he's been pretty consistent about this) because he thinks her food is offensive as food, and fraudulent in principle
Fraudulent in what sense? And who exactly appointed him the arbiter of authenticity?
posted by craichead at 5:29 PM on January 18, 2012


People that know food. Next question.
posted by Splunge at 5:31 PM on January 18, 2012


I mean... Les Halles fer christ sake!
posted by Splunge at 5:33 PM on January 18, 2012


I'm confused when people say there's a conflict of interest. It seems to imply that Deen ever represented an interest other than her own. Do people really expect entertainment icons to keep others' interests at heart when they make bank?
posted by cheburashka at 5:33 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


For the love of food! People forget that Bourdain has roots that go back to being a child in France and cutting his baby teeth on live shellfish when some of us were eating Lunchables and drinking Capri Sun.
posted by Splunge at 5:37 PM on January 18, 2012


my god, how the money rolls in
posted by crackingdes at 5:39 PM on January 18, 2012


Anyone who thinks that Paula Deen is uniquely pushing enormous portions has never watched Bourdain's show all the way through. Even if you leave out the alcohol, the way it's edited together it looks like he consumes about 4,000 calories a day.

Don't get me wrong, I have a season pass to No Reservations and I've never seen Deen's show. But Bourdain is not pushing some sort of low-fat low-sugar small-portion lifestyle.
posted by KathrynT at 5:40 PM on January 18, 2012


The way it's edited. And there you go.
posted by Splunge at 5:41 PM on January 18, 2012


I'm out of here. Yall have fun.
posted by Splunge at 5:42 PM on January 18, 2012


I can't figure out if Splunge is for real or joking!
posted by craichead at 5:43 PM on January 18, 2012


> Anyone who thinks that Paula Deen is uniquely pushing enormous portions has never watched Bourdain's show all the way through.

I don't see Bourdain pushing obscene portions, I see him being in a city for a few days and trying everything that is good in the damn place. I eat like that when I'm visiting a new place and I want to try all the varieties of food I can get my hands on while I'm there.

Nothing that he does in his travel shows is espousing eating foie gras on poutine once a week, or giving recipes that let you consume massive amounts of sugar daily. He's on the travel network, and he talks about amazing places to eat while traveling in these places, in essence, suggesting things that are at their base, not a daily food choice or option. Deen's recipes are more in the line of "add these to your rotation of meals!" than him talking about foie gras.

And the stuff he enjoys eating and makes a point in seeking out are the offal and tripe, and the organ meats, things which are actually pretty good for you, compared to just a steak.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:48 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm confused when people say there's a conflict of interest. It seems to imply that Deen ever represented an interest other than her own. Do people really expect entertainment icons to keep others' interests at heart when they make bank?

The more people have diabetes, the more Paula Deen profits. The job she already has before she made this deal gives her a unique platform from which to do as much as a single person can do to encourage behavior that is known to promote diabetes, and from what we have seen of what she sells and how she sells herself, this is exactly what she has been doing, although you would think that was incidental up to this point. Granted, she's not a public official, so she doesn't have a responsibility to look out for the public health. But if this isn't a conflict of interest, it's hard to see how any individual or corporation (and Paula Deen is a kind of company, at least; she certainly supports a number of employees) could ever have one. In that case it would only be unethical, hypocritical, and probably disingenuous.

And how Anthony Bourdain's credentials could make Paula Deen's actual actions better or worse is unclear to me. If Glenn Beck were calling her out on this stuff he'd be right. For the first time in his life.
posted by Adventurer at 5:49 PM on January 18, 2012


This thread is funny.
posted by jonmc at 5:50 PM on January 18, 2012


We're... repeating the same handful of arguments now. No, Bourdain is not pushing some sort of low-fat low-sugar small-portion lifestyle. Bourdain is also not pushing a commercial endorsement that could be seen as an ethical conflict to what he is best known for. That is the point of the post, not whether or not you prefer one cook's attitude over the other.

I don't know how to respond to the comment about why this could be seen as an ethical conflict without spending several pages explaining the basics of ethics, though some have already tried up-thread. You may disagree, however it is not an unreasonable thing to think.

And by the way, Deen has a COOKING show on the FOOD NETWORK. Bourdain has a TRAVEL show on the TRAVEL CHANNEL. Yes, he samples a lot of different dishes. It would be pretty dull to show one meal average sized mean per city. They will also often show or imply the rest of the crew sharing the meal he just presented, which if you'll notice, he only ever takes a single bite or two of.
posted by danny the boy at 5:55 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Paula: "Here, this is delicious liquid I have for sale. It's a little toxic but you can drink a lot of it before it's a problem. Oh, here is some more delicious liquid. And another way to consume this delicious liquid. I talk about this delicious liquid a lot. Oh, no! You drank to much! Well, I happen to have some antidote for sale. While you are taking that, I'm going to talk to you some more about this delicious liquid."
posted by Foam Pants at 5:56 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


It is so funny that it reminds me of that bike helmet fracas. You know the one.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:57 PM on January 18, 2012


> Fraudulent in what sense?

That in essence, what she claims is food isn't really food. Yes you can eat it, and technically it won't kill you immediately, so it could be called food. But to a chef whose job it is to think about what exactly makes up a meal, an entree, or a dish, I'd imagine that those recipes look like shit and aren't anything they immediately think of when they want to make something for themselves or other people.

Is food just fuel, or is there something more to it? And if there is something more to it, what are those characteristics? Depending on how you answer those questions, Paula Deen's recipes are for food or for crap, and the same goes for Bourdains and anyone else's cooking.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:57 PM on January 18, 2012


Anthony: "Here, this is delicious liquid I am going to try. It's toxic but I can have a lot before I pass out. Oh, no! You drank to much! Well, you shouldn't be a stupid fuck, I told you it was toxic."
posted by Foam Pants at 5:58 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


What I want to know is how Giada De Laurentiis manages to stay that skinny with all the stuff she cooks.

It all goes directly to her head. (Literally, have you SEEN the size of that dome? She should be in a circus.)
posted by tristeza at 5:58 PM on January 18, 2012


> offal and tripe, and the organ meats, things which are actually pretty good for you,

That stuff might be good for you, but it most surely ain't good for me. It is a scientific fact that puking is not a healthy activity.
posted by bukvich at 6:00 PM on January 18, 2012


Fat does not make you diabetic. Sugar helps. But what really does it is long-chain carbohydrates such as those found in potatoes and rice. At least that's what my glucose meter tells me; I might hit 180 mg/dl after eating a slice of cake but if I eat half a potato it will be 240 for a few hours. Every minute above 140 chronically poisons your nervous system and pancreas -- the latter of which makes the control problem worse, which is why people go for years without apparent problems and then suddenly catastrophically collapse.
posted by localroger at 6:00 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


craichead: "Fraudulent in what sense? And who exactly appointed him the arbiter of authenticity?"

Well presuming you actually want to know, rather than just trying to score rhetorical points, the short answer is that his influence is strong with a certain set of people who can be said to care about food. Deen's influence is strong with a different set of folks.

But the leitmotif to his cranky cook persona is that people settle for lazy, shitty food way too often. The fraudulence part is that food media, like the Food Network and its star chefs, have convinced many people that it's too hard to make better food, or better food isn't as tasty, or that better food is too 'fancy', or expensive. Basically, he wants people to eat better food.

You may disagree with his definition of better (and no, it's not about 'healthy' at all), but he has been very consistent with his messaging.
posted by danny the boy at 6:01 PM on January 18, 2012


> This thread is funny.

Historically, what you can eat is second only to who you can fuck, in terms of cultural baggage and taboos. In a lot of ways, it is what has shaped us as a cultural species. And in depending on the circumstances, what you can eat took precedence over who you could fuck when politically desirable (see leviticus).
posted by mrzarquon at 6:01 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll just pop in here and be the typical non-American and say how the hell is it legal to gain sponsorship from and endorse a prescription fucking drug? Welcome to the room, Dumbo!
posted by Jimbob at 6:01 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dietary fat *facepalm*
posted by localroger at 6:02 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Splunge: "I mean... Les Halles fer christ sake!"

Are you seriously suggesting that Brasserie Les Halles is in some way an eating establishment that is superior to USA-Today-acclaimed The Lady & Sons? What other preposterious claims are you going to make? I suppose next you're going to tell us that Chairman Kaga not a real Chairman of food who realized his dreams of culinary excellence by having a kitchen stadium built in his castle.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:03 PM on January 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


Also, alcohol lowers blood sugar and can help if you are diabetic. Glucose meter does not lie. Odd that the same websites that list "low blood sugar" as a side effect of dat demon alcohol also tell you it raises your blood sugar. If you are low-level pre-diabetic and non of the prescription diabetes drugs can bring your levels in line, a glass or three of wine in the evening can do the trick.
posted by localroger at 6:05 PM on January 18, 2012


That in essence, what she claims is food isn't really food. Yes you can eat it, and technically it won't kill you immediately, so it could be called food.
Jesus Christ.
posted by craichead at 6:05 PM on January 18, 2012


Nothing Deen is doing is espousing eating this way every day, either. And I love me some offal, but it's often CRAZY high in cholesterol.

Again, I'm no fan of Paula Deen. She's a shill and she barely cooks things that are barely food. But y'all are acting like she's the only one who adds butter to anything, and that's just not true.
posted by KathrynT at 6:07 PM on January 18, 2012


Mammals are actually incapable of this, which is the source of rabbit starvation, because of a quirk of how our central biochemistry works. You can turn sugars into fats, but mammals cannot do the other way around.

Minor point: rabbit starvation is caused by a lack of fat, not a lack of carbohydrates/sugars or protein (hence people on the Atkins diet, for example, don't die of rabbit starvation).
posted by wrok at 6:08 PM on January 18, 2012


nb. Les Halles actually isn't very good and they've been riding Bourdain's celebrity for many years now. It's all tourists and bankers who don't know better. Avoid.
posted by danny the boy at 6:08 PM on January 18, 2012


wrok: it's not a minor point. There are essential proteins and essential fats, but there are no essential carbohydrates. If you eat nothing but protein and fat, your body can make the 70 grams of carbs it needs per day to keep your brain alive. In the reverse situation, where you eat protein and carbs, you will die in a few months.
posted by localroger at 6:10 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Jesus Christ.

What? Bourdain doesn't think Deen's food constitutes anything close to what he considers food, so her calling it food is in a way fraudulent from his point of view.

Do you consider dog meat food? Group A does and eats it. Group B doesn't and doesn't eat it, and they would consider it unethical or fraudulent to be served dog meat in a meal, because it in essence it isn't food.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:16 PM on January 18, 2012


Also, alcohol lowers blood sugar and can help if you are diabetic.

This is not true for me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:17 PM on January 18, 2012


Bourdain doesn't think Deen's food constitutes anything close to what he considers food, so her calling it food is in a way fraudulent from his point of view.
So what exactly constitutes food in Anthony Bourdain's world?
Do you consider dog meat food?
Yes, of course, when people eat it. It's not food that I'd want to eat, but it's not fraudulent, anymore than bacon is fraudulent food just because many people I know would consider it a really gross thing to eat.
posted by craichead at 6:20 PM on January 18, 2012


Also, alcohol lowers blood sugar and can help if you are diabetic.

This is not true for me.


Please post details or PM me if you would rather not talk about it here. I tell people this all the time and I'd really like to know if there is counterevidence for people whose metabolisms might not be like mine.
posted by localroger at 6:22 PM on January 18, 2012


Somewhere at the Food Network, an exec has a plan for the Paula Deen Funeral Extravaganza. After a tasteful burial at sea inside a giant deep fryer, Giada and her forehead will sing a lovely duet and Sandra Lee will try to explain away Kwanzaa cake again. A distraught Guy Fieri will run up on stage and consume Paulas earthly remains while exclaiming "dude, that's outta sight!".
posted by dr_dank at 6:23 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Please post details...

Ok.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 PM on January 18, 2012


I've never seen Paula Deen, but at the end of every Good Eats re-run I have to see a few seconds of Guy Fieri, and that guy pushes about every one of my buttons. Seriously, does every dish have to be Rockin' or Kickin'? He's like a grown-up Bart Simpson.
posted by Huck500 at 6:28 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Brandon, that's not evidence of your own. That page is extremely wrong in several ways that my actual physical glucose meter tells me. And there's a lot of politics behind WebMD. I asked for you to post details of your own experience. If you have no such details you may omit to reply.
posted by localroger at 6:32 PM on January 18, 2012


I asked for you to post details of your own experience.

The page matches my experiences.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 PM on January 18, 2012


But y'all are acting like she's the only one who adds butter to anything, and that's just not true.

She is the only one I've seen who deep-fries cheesecake and puts hamburger meat, egg and bacon between two glazed donuts, though.

I mean, come on. That Paula Deen has upped the ante and put herself in a uniquely Indulgence-Permitted zone isn't really in dispute, is it?
posted by mediareport at 6:36 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Then instead of linking thier page full of corporate shill why don't you actually post your experiences? What were your mg/dl readings after drinking or not drinking? I have burned up several hundred test strips quantifying those effects. What have you, personally done?
posted by localroger at 6:36 PM on January 18, 2012


The idea that Bourdain endorses drinking all the time because he drinks on his show is pretty stupid. I don't think he even endorses travelling all over the globe and eating the weirdest shit imaginable, he does it because it's a travel show about Bourdain eating crazy stuff. The entire show is an outlet of unchecked wanderlust which is entertaining precisely because it's outside the realm of average human experience. AKA a travel show. Now, in his books, he is pretty explicit about his substance abuse problems, but the picture he paints isn't pretty. If you're eager to join with the exciting lifestyle of professional cooking after reading Kitchen Confidential, you're completely insane. The book is not food romance, they're food horror and gore.

The closest he's come to advocating substance abuse is saying that everyone is talking about how important hallucinogenic drugs were to make him the person he is today, which puts him in such company as The Steve.

Paula Deen's show's message is pretty clearly "indulge yourself and make this at home." In fact, that's most of Food Network's shows (athough they do have some travel shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives which are pretty clearly, like Bourdain's show, "look at this insanity.")
posted by mek at 6:45 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Then instead of linking thier page full of corporate shill why don't you actually post your experiences?

Why do you, as a diabetic, insist on making blanket statements about all diabetics? You should know that there's a bit of variation in how we react to food, drink and exercise. For you to just start preaching, especially about alcohol, without a warning to test and validate the results for themselves is pretty irresponsible.

I have burned up several hundred test strips quantifying those effects. What have you, personally done?

The same. Whether you choose to believe that is up to you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:45 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


danny the boy: "nb. Les Halles actually isn't very good and they've been riding Bourdain's celebrity for many years now. It's all tourists and bankers who don't know better. Avoid."

When Bourdain and Les Halles began it was the food that defined an era of food. This is what I was talking about. Prove me wrong. And yes, I'm serious.

Eric Ripert was a hero of Bourdain's. Now a lot of places have gone bad. But Bourdain in his hey day was one of the best chefs in the damn world.
posted by Splunge at 6:46 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's obvious how all that sugar could lead to diabetes in those predisposed to the condition.

It's mystifying, however, that people keep pointing at the butter and bacon.
posted by callmejay at 6:48 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first time I read about Paula Deen's fried butter, I thought it was satire. Then I read about it on this thread, and I still thought it was satire. Then some commenters kept talking about it, so I had to go check. Poe's law and all, you know?

Ok, you naive skeptics like me, who may have ben mistaken in thinking that it couldn't possibly be, I give you... Paula Deen's fried butter balls recipe.
posted by kandinski at 6:52 PM on January 18, 2012


The idea that Bourdain Deen endorses drinking eating sticks of butter all the time because he she drinks cooks on his her show is pretty stupid.
posted by crunchland at 6:55 PM on January 18, 2012


I'll start answer.

Before I made the mistake of taking three of the twelve dexamethasones I was prescribed, my morning blood sugar tended to be around 90 and would peak around 120 after a low but not toally non-carb meal. On the theory of keeping it all below 140, I lost 40 pounds and became healthier at 42 than I had been at any point in my 30's.

After the three pills, I made the unpleasant discovery that if I stopped drinking the gout (one of the original symptoms) returned. I didn't know at first why; I just went back to the liquor store. On the next attempt to dry out I happened to be monitoring because, heh, my Mom was overprescribed for test strips and she gave me some and what the hell. So on no-alcohol day it was, by day, 95, 105, 115, 130, 140, 160. At which time I went back to the liquor store.

I am now 47 and I drink about a bottle of wine or equivalent a day. There are times I'd rather not, but it's medicine. As with any medicine I can skip once in awhile, even for a few days. But the prospect of gout keeps me in line.

It would be nice if there were a medicine with less side effects that could keep my condition in line, but none of the available diabetes drugs really promise to keep it below 160 AT ALL. I tried Metformin for 6 months at the maximum dose and it didn't do shit. If I go tetotaling on the alcohol I WILL have a gout attack within 3 weeks.

The diabetes treatments that control my blood sugar to the extent I need all have "death within 15 minutes" as a possible side effect because of the possiblity of hypos.

I'll keep medicating with the alcohol. And recommending it to others in my situation.
posted by localroger at 6:58 PM on January 18, 2012


Bourdain in his hey day was one of the best chefs in the damn world. --- Bourdain is famous because he wrote an expose about what went on in the the kitchens of New York restaurants. He was a decent cook, but even his ego wouldn't make your claim.
posted by crunchland at 6:58 PM on January 18, 2012


It's mystifying, however, that people keep pointing at the butter and bacon.

Why?

1) Butter and bacon are extremely calorie dense.
2) Eating lots of calorie dense food often leads to weight gain.
3) Being overweight is a serious risk factor for diabetes.
4) Endorse diabetes medication.
5) PROFIT!!!
posted by Justinian at 7:03 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


crunchland, if Bourdain's show was him guzzling pints of whiskey on a daily basis, you might have a point. But first you'd have to watch it to make an informed statement - a challenge, I know.
posted by mek at 7:17 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


crunchland, how do you feel about Bourdain?
posted by ninjew at 7:20 PM on January 18, 2012


With struck-thru "bourdain," "drinking," and "drinks" edited out, for I am on a phone:

The idea Deen endorses eating sticks of butter all the time because she cooks on her show is pretty stupid.

Drinking on shows isn't what Bourdain's brand is based on, it's not how he sells his cookbooks, he doesn't stand to make more money if his viewers/readers drink more.

This is where I would put another paragraph of what I already wrote, but Paula Deen is inspiring me to learn about restraint. So far it's pretty boring.
posted by Adventurer at 7:23 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bourdain is famous because he wrote an expose about what went on in the the kitchens of New York restaurants. He was a decent cook, but even his ego wouldn't make your claim.

He's been pretty explicit about how he was, at best, a solid guy who could hold is place on a line. So, yeah, this.

Bourdain's show was him guzzling pints of whiskey on a daily basis, you might have a point. But first you'd have to watch it to make an informed statement - a challenge, I know.

I've seen every minute of television the man has ever made and read every word he's written I could find. I could be fairly called a "fanboy"--and I don't know the man personally so I can't speak as to whether he's sincere about it--but a lot of his "indulgence" takes the form of trying to be a polite guest. When someone takes the time and effort to host you, and *especially* if they kill something in order to do it, you eat and/or drink whatever they put in front of you because that's just the right thing to do. (Again, don't know the man, but I'm pretty sure all of his anti-vegan/vegetarian rants you might have seen stem from this belief. And it's one I agree with.)
posted by Cyrano at 7:28 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


crunchland: "Bourdain in his hey day was one of the best chefs in the damn world. --- Bourdain is famous because he wrote an expose about what went on in the the kitchens of New York restaurants. He was a decent cook, but even his ego wouldn't make your claim."

This shows your ignorance of the subject that you attempt to discuss. Stop now before you make yourself look more foolish. Do some research. And maybe come back when you have something that makes sense.

Or better, give up.
posted by Splunge at 7:36 PM on January 18, 2012


> So what exactly constitutes food in Anthony Bourdain's world?

I'm going to have to eat crow here, as I got to caught up in the fluidity of food and what defines it.

I was listening the rest of Bourdain's interview on the WTF Podcast, and he goes pretty indepth on what he doesn't like about the donut burger, and while not mentioning Paula Deen directly, the fact that she calls it "Southern Food" is what pisses him off. It starts around the hour and two minute mark in the podcast, but the whole thing is worth listening.

> This shows your ignorance of the subject that you attempt to discuss.

You should also listen to the podcast, as by his own admission, Bourdain was a mediocre chef and nothing special. He just managed to not overdose and by happenstance get a lucky break with his writing that let him get out of the cooking world.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:44 PM on January 18, 2012


Oh, Paula Deen has taught me nothing, Cyrano, I'll bite: if you're saying it's rude for a vegan or vegetarian to refuse food despite what may be very strong personal beliefs, ok, but what about the possibility that meat is literally going to make them feel sick? It may be psychosomatic, but that doesn't make it less real; when I tried some ham that would have seemed perfectly delicious to me two years prior I didn't want it to smell and taste like dog food to me, because I was in Spain where the best and even some of the supposedly vegetarian dishes have ham in them, but that's what my dumb brain-body complex said about it. Ditto for the time much earlier when I thought I should find out what Langer's pastrami sandwiches tasted like and then woke up at 7 am and threw up all the pastrami, which the other pastrami-eaters did not do. But I promise that if you invite me over for dinner I will eat extra portions of the sides. P.S. My defense against charges of rudeness does not apply to guests who do not inquire as to the availabilty of vegetarian dishes beforehand.
posted by Adventurer at 7:47 PM on January 18, 2012


It's not enough that three of us are saying that you're the one talking out of your ass, is it Splunge?
posted by crunchland at 7:51 PM on January 18, 2012


Adventurer: NoNoNo I get that. And that's fine. Ditto if there's a religious reason for not eating something. I'm just saying, if everything else is equal, you should err on the side of hospitality. There's a certain amount of responsibility to be a Good Host too. I just think the travel show nature of Bourdain's shows put the onus more on him, and thus makes it more likely that it will look like he's indulging. Not that he isn't enjoying it, just that he knows he's in a special situation were it would be rude to turn something down.
posted by Cyrano at 7:54 PM on January 18, 2012


I was listening the rest of Bourdain's interview on the WTF Podcast, and he goes pretty indepth on what he doesn't like about the donut burger, and while not mentioning Paula Deen directly, the fact that she calls it "Southern Food" is what pisses him off. It starts around the hour and two minute mark in the podcast, but the whole thing is worth listening.

I made it to the end of this thread to recommend the WTF podcast, with which I'm currently just about finished. Yes, I acknowledge his outsize ego, but I think he tempers it with his "hey man, I was just a line cook who made it" thing which I actually buy. He's annoying on occasion, but in the WTF longform format I really think he shines.

And I think he's pretty consistent. He basically says that the shit that Deen peddles just isn't food. I don't know how you can argue with that. I've worked with her on several morning shows and she seems to think what she comes up with is pretty funny.
posted by nevercalm at 7:56 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


By his own admission, X was not so great at Y because I was just lucky.

X= person speaking
Y= anything
posted by Splunge at 7:59 PM on January 18, 2012


crunchland: "It's not enough that three of us are saying that you're the one talking out of your ass, is it Splunge?"

Three? Heh. What the fucking hell are you talking about?
posted by Splunge at 8:03 PM on January 18, 2012


Megan Amram ftw
posted by bardic at 8:14 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, food porn is food porn. I can't blame Paula Deen for making barrels of cash off of fatty, disgusting, nasty, oily crap.

But taking money from a pharmaceutical company to cash in on a disease that's ravaging her and her fellow Americans?

Jesus Christ, what an asshole.
posted by bardic at 8:16 PM on January 18, 2012


Not to jump in the middle of this Splunge/crunchland thing, but I've read two of his books, watched endless hours of his television, read many many interviews and worked directly with him. By his own admission in many many arenas, he's pretty far from world class. Sure he went to CIA, but he always states that he went with the money and sacrificed his technique. You can get 30 people to say different, but his own words don't agree. His own FAME doesn't agree. He's not known on the level of a Ripert or Achatz or Dufresne or whoever else (he drops the names all the time), he's known as a decent chef who could write.
posted by nevercalm at 8:16 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, the amount of butthurt surroding Mssr. Tony Bourdain is amazing.

Dude wrote one really good book, is kind of an interesting personality, but admittedly has become a bit mediocre.

But I'm pretty sure he never raped your puppy. If he did, I'm truly sorry.
posted by bardic at 8:17 PM on January 18, 2012


If you mean chef centric cooking and french cuisine, I think I would give more weight to the French Laundry and Thomas Keller who started it in 94, four years before Bourdain started working at Les Halles. You have Batali starting his own place in 93, and so on. Bourdain was a chef of an era of transition, but he was not in a key player in shifting the tastes and menus.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:20 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, have you ever read one of Bourdain's novels?

Not too shabby, if you're into Pelecanos-type thrillers.

Bad guy gets his face chopped off by a meat slicer at the end. Pretty damn awesome.
posted by bardic at 8:20 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Also, have you ever read one of Bourdain's novels?

I was planning to until you decided to tell me about the end.

posted by mrzarquon at 8:22 PM on January 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


Buerre noisette (noisy butter, so called when the solids fry in the fat)

I can't tell if you're kidding, because it's kind of cute and clever if you are, but beurre noisette translates as hazelnut butter and is a reference to the nutbrown colour of the solids frying in the fat.

As for Deen, arguments about what causes diabetes are beside the point. What is true, however, is that part of how you manage diabetes is by modifying your diet to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. So, the real crime as far as I'm concerned is that her oeuvre, coupled with the three year old diabetes diagnosis and drug shill, sends a message that you can continue to eat exactly how you always have and just take a pill instead.
posted by looli at 8:22 PM on January 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Bourdain was a chef of an era of transition, but he was not in a key player in shifting the tastes and menus."

As mentioned, this is a non sequiter. Bourdain has never claimed he was a great chef. Quite the opposite, actually.

He's famous for being a writer and a TV personality.

He's guilty of many sins, but he's usually quite honest about himself (which is why I like him so much, admittedly).
posted by bardic at 8:22 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, this is what I keep thinking during this whole thing:

Let's say you're Paula Deen. You have made your entire living, career, and reputation on cooking deep fried butter ball-esque food. This is your business that you live off of, and your family lives off of, and whoever the hell you hired makes their living off of.

Then you get diagnosed with diabetes. Which is pretty much guaranteed to utterly trash your entire career, your job, and everyone else that works for you's jobs. Plus makes Bourdain go NAH NAH NAH NAH TOLD YOU SO.

What do you do? No, seriously. How do you deal with a serious medical condition (which everyone is going to say "you brought it on yourself, fat bitch," like they are right now) AND still continue to have any kind of career?

Options that I can think of are:

(a) Give up. Come out immediately as diabetic, take your punishment lumps like is happening right now. Possibly/probably lose the Food Network gig and any publishing gigs you might have had once people find this out and you have no idea what to do after that. Go into seclusion with your new diet, stop having a career, put people out of work.

(b) Come out as diabetic, also attempting to switch the entire terrain of your career by becoming a diet food maven. Problem with that is that (a) doesn't seem like this is your natural inclination/area of expertise anyway, (b) frankly, people might find that really effing hard to swallow coming from you, (c) it totally fucks up your existing brand and the reason why you are famous in the first place, and probably at the very least means that people may not want to watch reruns of your show or buy your old cookbooks. Plus there will be plenty of bitching about "what does SHE know about diet food, anyway?" and odds are your career will still probably kinda tank, still losing you the Food Network and future publishing gigs.

(c) Hide it for as long as you goddamned well possibly can until you get outed. Answer to this one: 3 years.

(d) Attempt to find some way to turn it to your financial advantage by making a lucrative drug deal, rather than attempting to become a diet maven. Because really, drugs makes of money, you'd probably rather take drugs than lay off the fun food, and again, who'd believe you as a diet maven anyway? At this point you "kinda" have to make a nod to that sort of thing, but again, it dilutes your previous brand to suddenly do a 180 on your cooking style. Even if you're freaking diabetic.

That's all I can come up with. What do y'all think she should have done instead of (c) and (d)? What would have worked better or made people less disgusted? I seriously can't think of a good way to handle her health vs. her career, from her perspective.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:29 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


"But, is Bourdain a good chef? As Ripert put it in his interrogation of the be-chaired Bourdain: “Have you ever worked a more than a day in a good restaurant in your entire life?”Bourdain had no choice but to smile sheepishly and admit that unless two hours in El Bulli count, then he is out of luck." -- A Night with Anthony Bourdain, The Nexus

"At the time that I thought I was going to be a great chef, I was not willing to do that kind of work. I wasn't willing to go to France and take a pay cut for a year and let somebody kick my ass. I thought I knew everything. I was in it for the girls and the cocaine, and the free booze. I was in my 20s and didn't know any better. I look back at my own life and the way I am, and I don't know that there's any point in my life that I would have been willing or even able to hack two years of apprenticeship in Gordon Ramsay's kitchen or Marco Pierre White, or any of them. I fell in love with the lifestyle first. The professionalism snuck up on me later. A lot of what I love about this business is anathema to somebody like Keller. I like volume, okay, that gives me a rush. Volume is bad for food. The more volume, the less quality. I like banging stuff around, I like cooks. The difference between me and a lot of these guys is given a choice between disappointing a customer and disappointing a cook, that's a tough call for me sometimes. Most of the time I think I'll come down on the side of the cook, and that's not good. Nobody's going to be a great chef making that kind of decision regularly." -- 21 Questions With Chef Anthony Bourdain, AskMen
posted by crunchland at 8:33 PM on January 18, 2012


She's welcome to profit from the downside of her lifestyle.

We're welcome to mock, shun, scold, and belittle her.
posted by bardic at 8:34 PM on January 18, 2012


And while I'm at it :

“Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” -- Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
posted by crunchland at 8:35 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


But I'd expect you to eat the puppy!

Kidding!

I just want to make sure I was as perfectly clear as I can get: I cook for people a lot. Not professionally, but as a hobby. I'm fairly decent at it. I get requests to cook meals as birthday presents. I'm confident enough that if you give me the ingredients, equipment and a recepie I can pull almost anything off (except Asian-centric cuisines. I dunno what it is. Western pallette maybe, but I can't wing it and correct mistakes with those style dishes as easily. Or with Thai food at all. Which sucks because I love it. But I'm working on it.)

(And I don't bake. That's a whole 'nother level of crazy.)

I had an uncle who died a few years back from a nut allergy. Went to a fairly prominent chain restaurant. Something had some kind of nut oil in it. He was good about asking about it but someone fucked up. Then *blam* dead in a Wal-Mart parking lot because that's where they pulled the car over on the way to the hospital when it looked really bad. (And I wasn't there. And we were "see you once a year" close so I'm not trying to make this sound like something that has scarred me for life. Other than the fact that...) The first thing I ask if I'm cooking for someone I don't know is, "Are there any food allergies I need to know about?" The it rolls down to the religious stuff (a few of my lunch buddies are Muslims and Jews, so I'm used to thinking about that) then it goes "Any vegetarians?" Which I'm fine with because, hell, I really don't eat that much meat. I like it, but it's just easier to eat peppers and hummus for dinner most nights if I'm all by myself. I've got a half-dozen-at least-vegetarian cookbooks because if I have to cook for a strict one I want to be able to do better than, "I made you a salad..."

So, I guess, if you came over and I made you something and I tried the best I could and put red peppers in it--and red peppers weren't going to fucking kill you dead--but you don't really like red peppers? One or two mouthfuls then you can push the rest around the plate. I'm trying, so you should try too.

Bourdain has to own the veggie rants because those are his words (and I have no reason to believe he would ever claim otherwise) but it also feels like one of those "You know what Bill Hicks said about advertising, don't you?!?1" things that the Internet grabbed and ran with so fast that it might have outpaced what he was trying to say.
posted by Cyrano at 8:45 PM on January 18, 2012


For the umpteenth time, Bourdain has never a) claimed to be a great chef nor b) claimed to be a role model for health.

And c) he's never taken a dime from an alcohol or tobacco company, unlike Mrs. Deen taking cash from big pharma.

Like I said crunchland, sorry about your puppy.
posted by bardic at 8:45 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, you know. I'm not really trying to say Bourdain is a bad guy. Or that he's not fun to watch on his show. I just think that he's not really in any position to judge. All that stuff I pasted was to refute what Splurge insists. I think Bourdain has new DVDs of his show coming out, or he's on some press tour for the new season of his show, and he shot his mouth off about Paula Deen. I think we're all probably investing more time thinking about it and discussing it here than he ever did.
posted by crunchland at 8:52 PM on January 18, 2012


Bourdain has to own the veggie rants because those are his words (and I have no reason to believe he would ever claim otherwise) but it also feels like one of those "You know what Bill Hicks said about advertising, don't you?!?1" things that the Internet grabbed and ran with so fast that it might have outpaced what he was trying to say.

I'm a 20 year vegetarian who .3 agrees and .7 thinks he's being an ass about the vegetarian thing. But he's said it and said it again...I love Bill Hicks, but Bourdain owns the anti-vegetarian/vegan thing way more than Hicks ever would have re:advertising (and I think those in advertising are way worse than vegetarians, obv). I listen to/read interviews with him just waiting to come across the usual stuff he hurls around.
posted by nevercalm at 8:53 PM on January 18, 2012


Jenfullmoon, I think you are projecting big-time with option a).

I'll not presume to say that's what she SHOULD have done, but if she had a big, public, come-to-Jesus moment, and said, "I believe that my dietary habits contributed to my condition, and I will now focus on eating healthier, and work on recipes that are both healthy and delicious so that my fans will have a start on a healthier lifestyle."

...then I would think she'd be lauded for it, Food Network would happily accommodate a change in direction for her show, and would be absolutely castigated if they did not stand behind her. People have had success disavowing their previous successes. It's not unheard of.

But then, you kinda tipped your hand with yet another "fat bitch who deserves it" characterization that absolutely no one in this thread is making.
posted by mreleganza at 8:59 PM on January 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was being sarcastic. Mostly I just kept reading that sort of thing bloody everywhere today. But I'll publicly declare myself an asshole for saying it anyway since I just did that to myself.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:04 PM on January 18, 2012


Yeah, there was a pretty obvious path for Deen to become a health-food advocate, which she clearly chose not to take. "I got diabetes and had to change my eating habits, it was a constant struggle, here is my story and what I learned." Instead she chose to accept even more corporate money to 1) not change and 2) promote a medication which is probably worse than nothing and 3) profit.

That's what's so sad about the whole thing: she could have used her platform to actually interrogate the increasingly poor quality of the American diet, a trend she is undeniably a part of. Repentance and forgiveness are the meat and potatoes of the American narrative.
posted by mek at 9:09 PM on January 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'd been assuming all along that Paula Dean was diabetic. Since I first became aware of her about three years ago, turns out I was right. One of the very first times I saw her was when she used Velveeta on Iron Chef. I determined at that point that any opinion of hers was suspect.

I'm pretty sure that Paula Dean's doctor would have been warning her for years that her obesity would lead to diabetes. It's not as if you just wake up one day and *poof* you're a diabetic. She would not have set out to give herself diabetes, but she didn't do what was necessary to prevent it.
posted by Revvy at 9:12 PM on January 18, 2012


But frankly, I don't see anywhere in that recipe where it says, "Consume, alone, in one sitting." I calculate that each ball has roughly 65 calories - no worse than the chocolate truffles the 'Dude likes to make for special occasions.

Would you check your math? I typed in the recipe. Without accounting for the cooking oil, I got about 150% of your answer. With the cooking oil it could be 200% or more I think.
posted by grobstein at 9:56 PM on January 18, 2012


Sure, donut burgers are unrefined and unsubtle, but you can't compare them to "fuel". Healthy food is closer to fuel. They're an indulgence, no better or worse than the rich desserts served at Les Halles. Heck, they're better from a nutritional standpoint, containing protein in the beef and fried egg.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:59 PM on January 18, 2012


So then the fix to obesity epidemic in this country isn't to chastise fat people for being fat and not controlling their portion size. It's to work to make local, organic meat and vegetables affordable for everyone, to remove the idea of corporate control of the food supply, and to have real nutritional education available to everyone and not dictated by groups that also lobby to have pizza considered a vegetable.

Yes, people should eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods. But to fix obesity, "local" and "organic" don't add anything. Although, you could argue that tastier healthy food will be more attractive to people. Or, you could be one of those people that believe that local, sustainable, grass-fed, hormone-free, etc. meat is appreciably less likely to lead to obesity than cheap meat, regardless of the lack of evidence.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:10 PM on January 18, 2012


> Or, you could be one of those people that believe that local, sustainable, grass-fed, hormone-free, etc. meat is appreciably less likely to lead to obesity than cheap meat, regardless of the lack of evidence.

Grass fed beef is lower in Omega-6 fatty acids than grain fed beef, so that actually is something to consider. So yes, local grass fed beef would be better at treating diseases linked to obesity, while it might not help with the immediate issue of obesity itself.

And considering the entire food industry, from growing, distributing, selling grains and pesticides are all interlinked, if you are going to be able to magically undo one part of it, you might as well keep going and undo the whole thing.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:37 PM on January 18, 2012


You don't eat your way to diabetes.
posted by Danila at 10:37 PM on January 18, 2012


What do y'all think she should have done instead of (c) and (d)?

(e) A Fifth Option, in Four Parts

[1] Take a pass on the lucrative drug promo deal dangled in front of you, knowing that there's an all-but-certain causal link between the lifestyle you promote (and profit from) and the ultimate profitability of the drug company you'd also be working for, whose products make money by virtue of people like you who would continue to provide them with paying customers.

[2] Continue enjoying and living your life; continue doing the food-ish stuff you like doing while gradually easing yourself and your audience into a more sane relationship with food that doesn't look at the notion of moderation as elitist, while still trying to emphasize the qualities your audience likes you for.

[3] Make an announcement on your show, on your own schedule and in your own words. After all, who needs some crusty gourmet chef with a questionable past and an ear piercing speaking on your behalf? Immediately gain sympathy and deepened trust from most of your audience, having succeeded at protecting your brand and your livelihood.

[4] Use the wealth you've accumulated to get the quality of healthcare that some of your audience members will never get to access.

No one said integrity was easy. I enjoy the odd buttermilk pancake, myself, even if I don't get paid by the Dairy Board. It's trivially easy to be bought off, though, and given who is sending her paychecks, it'll be pretty tough for her to unring this bell. Maybe that's the only real life lesson, here, if there's anything to learn.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:42 PM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been following Shakesville's posts on this, which echo my own feelings on the matter and that's all I really can say. I don't eat the kinds of foods Paula Deen supposedly eats (very, very rarely put butter in anything as I am not a fan, and never make anything with creams) and I have type II diabetes. It runs rampant through both sides of my family, thin and fat alike. Plenty of thin people get it, while most fat people don't. Maybe obesity and diabetes 2 are correlated because they share an underlying cause, not that obesity causes the diabetes (it doesn't). And lastly I really don't think this would be an issue if she wasn't a fat woman.
posted by Danila at 10:59 PM on January 18, 2012


obesity causes the diabetes (it doesn't)

Fat cells (adipocytes) secrete a substance called PEDF that increases insulin resistance in the pancreas and liver, and insulin resistance is what leads to type II diabetes. This causal effect has been observed in mice and in human culture tissues. Clinical work shows that obese patients often have raised PEDF levels. It seems like a lot of work has been done that shows the causal link between obesity and diabetes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:16 PM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


BB King has an endorsement deal-

And where's the outrage, you say. B.B. King had been open about his diabetes for many years before doing those ads, as in two decades or so. It wasn't a big secret, exactly. Also, he's 80 frickin' 6 now and, until a few years ago, was playing 200 or so dates a year. I would think that would make me him a pretty good spokesperson.
posted by raysmj at 11:37 PM on January 18, 2012


He doesn't endorse a $500 a month drug anyway, but glucose meters that cost about $30.
posted by raysmj at 11:40 PM on January 18, 2012


If she had a show promoting unprotected sex with strangers (maybe with butter), and then she got an STD, I wonder whether we'd hear a lot of similar defenses. I'm pretty sure there would be people complaining that sex doesn't cause the illness, that nobody made her viewers have unprotected sex with buttery strangers, that the disease is caused by a virus and not butter, that you can also catch this STD through other vectors, and that we wouldn't be complaining about this if she wasn't a fat buttery y'all-spouting white southern woman promoting unprotected sex with strangers.
posted by pracowity at 11:48 PM on January 18, 2012


Danila: "obesity causes the diabetes (it doesn't)."

I can't believe this is still being argued over. The only way your sentence above is true is if you contort to limit the definition of the word "causes" to the strictest technical sense. If you take the meaning that any layperson would use in casual conversation, then yes, obesity is a huge risk factor for diabetes.

Few things are 100% genetic or 100% environmental. That webpage you linked has fine intentions about not shaming diabetics, but focusing exclusively on genetics while ignoring lifestyle factors is just burying heads in a different pile of sand.

You can listen to whatever internet site you want. I will stop believing in the obesity-diabetes connection when my doctor stops telling me that the most effective thing I can do to avoid my family history of diabetes is to stay skinny (and keep exercising).

And I really don't appreciate how the whole "if she weren't a fat woman you wouldn't care about her hypocrisy or ethical corruptibility" canard keeps coming back. It's really not conducive to conversation to keep assuming the worst of people you talk to.
posted by danny the boy at 11:51 PM on January 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


We are in vaccines-cause-autism territory here, with all the comments denying the link between obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
posted by mlis at 11:57 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, MetaFilter. Sorry to see that all the the Dean apologetics boil down to "You hate fat people," and "Tu quoque, assholes."
posted by klangklangston at 12:14 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


He doesn't endorse a $500 a month drug anyway, but glucose meters that cost about $30.
posted by raysmj at 2:40 AM on January 19 [+] [!]


The meters are inexpensive, the strips are not. When you are testing multiple times a day, it gets really expensive quickly.
posted by SuzySmith at 12:21 AM on January 19, 2012


We are in vaccines-cause-autism territory here

It's not quite that.

It is true that you can be thin and eat right and exercise right and still get type 2 diabetes. Not everyone with diabetes got that way because they ate deep-fried butter balls. And you can eat the worst stuff in the world and not develop diabetes.

But denying that there is a definite causal link between diet, obesity, and diabetes is wrong. Not anti-vaccination lunacy wrong, but definitely wrong, like saying smoking does not cause lung cancer because lots of smokers don't get lung cancer and lots of nonsmokers get lung cancer.
posted by pracowity at 12:21 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The increase in type II diabetes also is complex and not all that well understood.

The mechanism is very well understood. Adipose (fat) cells expand as you store fat. As thier surface area increases they add insulin recptors so receptor denisty across the cell membranes remains constant. So you have more insulin receptors. But your pancreas generally doesn't increase insulin production to match. Metabolic response to insulin is a function of the ratio of activated receptors to inactivated. So you need more insulin to produce the same effect, but you aren't producing enough anymore.

There's a lot of play in the variables due to genetics: your upper limit of insulin production, how sensitive you are initally to insulin, how likley this is to lead to a change in the the feedback loops that mediate metabolic response. etc. But the underlying mechanism is, again, well known. Which is why pre-diabetics generally reverse thier problems when they lose weight, and why type 2 diabetics generally improve when they lose weight as well.

The idea that this is some Big Mystery is crap, but it's very profitable crap.
posted by clarknova at 12:27 AM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh please. Overweight people can be healthy (but are more likely to die of a heart attack, you can't deny it).

Sucking down fried butter balls will eventually kill you, even if you're thin.

Paula Deen profiting from a disease she acquired due to her life's work and then cashing in from a company that profits from the diabetes epidemic in America is what people are pissed off about. It has nothing to do with her weight or physical appearance, it's a question of her character.
posted by bardic at 12:29 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


The backwards logic that she had no other choice but to continue to effectively clog arteries lest she give up her entire career (as if her legacy would be shattered and her rabid fanbase gone overnight, no less her royalties halted) is just.. are you serious?

I'm sure her doctors were very aware of how her cooking style affects and promotes the decay of one's body and the decision was made to hold off as long as they could to salvage her $empire and wholesome image$.

She had the opportunity to say, "Oh my goodness gracious, y'all, I just received some terrible news about my health that's really motivated me to focus on a healthier lifestyle. This is a disease that affects more people than we know, and it's important we do our best to help each other manage it together." Hell, she could have even played the card her apologists in this thread are touting; that her recipes don't necessarily equate to the reason why this happened to her.

But she didn't.

Would people have come at her then the same way they are now? To the extent of "Surprise!", yeah sure, but this woman's been a joke since I can remember. It has had zero to do with her weight (I admit I trust a cook more if they're a little pudgy) and everything to do with her ridiculous foods that you know single people are cooking and finishing over the course of a day/few days.

This is a morality debate that hinges on the health and well-being of the hundreds and thousands of people who watch her show and take it at face-value because they don't think twice that a network about food would be host to someone who was effectively profiting off of and promoting an epidemic that is killing this country with a big glossy smile and an adorable accent that they can relate to.

By hiding awareness of her condition, and then trying to justify it with God's "readiness" (LOL), she's really done herself in. She could have owned diabetes the way Brimley has, but she didn't. She chose to stay greedy and deserves to be called out on it.

I would also venture to say that we don't know what we think we know about diabetes, fat, etc. where we can say we have a total understanding of it (re: obviously it is genetics, not her entirely unhealthy and cringeworthy food that even stoners abhor).
posted by june made him a gemini at 12:55 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sucking down fried butter balls will eventually kill you, even if you're thin.
Yeah, no. No it won't. You can occasionally eat fried butter balls and be fine, just as you can occasionally eat those delicious duck fat fries at Hot Doug's, which Bourdain says is one of the thirteen places you have to eat before you die. (And before you say that he obviously doesn't expect you to eat at Hot Doug's weekly, all I can say is that when I lived in Chicago, I knew plenty of people who did eat there often. For less than $7, you can get a fully loaded hot dog and a huge plate of potatoes deep-fried in duck fat. It's a lot yummier than McDonald's, but it's available on a regular basis even to those on a budget, and I don't think it's healthier than anything Paula Deen makes.)

What really will kill you is smoking, but until recently Bourdain did that on TV all the time. Second-hand smoke will kill you, but he's on record opposing smoking bans, because they're the "nanny state." Heroin will kill you, but he uses his smack addiction to prove his edgy, macho credentials. He's all authentic and manly, because he shot up with Dee Dee Ramone! He's a poster child for trashing your body and acting like it's a matter of pride. The idea that someone could look at him and at Paula Deen and think that she's the one who deserves moralizing speaks volumes about society's misogyny and fat-phobia.
posted by craichead at 5:31 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I admit that we're a family who will turn on a cooking show as background noise, so the other night we had the Cooking Channel on and caught one of Paula's sons, Bobby, with his own new show. "Not My Mama's Cooking" - where he takes her recipes and revamps them to be healthier. We came in about halfway through so I can't speak to the entire premise, other than at the end Paula shows up to sample his revisions.

I'm curious about how this all came to be, knowing now that she's diabetic. Initially we thought that it was just a gimmick, him playing off his mother's "add a pound of butter and some oil and mayo too" branding. But now the conspiracy theorist in me suspects that she didn't hold it "close to her chest" as long as she claims, instead using it partially to provide a (another) springboard for her son.
posted by librarianamy at 5:31 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, look! Here's Bourdain singing the praises of duck fat french fries! "The Rolls Royce of fries!"

Have at it food moralizers! I await your condemnation of Bourdain.
posted by craichead at 5:40 AM on January 19, 2012


At the top of her self-selected best dishes list: the diabetes-friendly twinkie pie! Make it while you can!

(& maybe it isn't representative, but frankly she's not looking terribly different from Sandra Lee on this one.)
posted by Westringia F. at 6:50 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sandra Lee is thin though. May or may not be diabetic, but she's thin and thus if she does catch diabetes it won't be because she ate herself into excessive fat cells (conveniently arranged around the abdomen) and wrecked her pancreas. That's what Paula Deen did, it's what she encouraged other people to do while keeping them in total ignorance, and that's why she's evil.

Let me see if I have it straight:

Paula Deen eats a high-fat diet
(we know this because she has a cooking show where she often cooks high-fat foods so that must be all she eats because this is tv and we know everything on tv is how it really is)

Eating a high-fat diet is what makes people fat (Paula Deen couldn't be fat for some other reason)

Being fat is what causes insulin resistance (they cannot both be symptoms of something else)

But only in fat diabetics (thin diabetics got their insulin resistance some other, presumably non-blameworthy way)

Paula Deen knew all this, but ate herself fat and diabetic anyway

Knowing she had done this to herself, she kept encouraging other people to do it because...well who cares, she's evil. Just like all the fat parents who are making their kids fat, we are all Paula Deen's children.

Like many other celebrities, she announced she had an illness when she signed an endorsement deal for a treatment, BUT, she is evil because she made herself sick and kept making other people sick so she could make money.

And finally, of course the massive outpouring of derision and hate for Paula Deen displayed all over the place is because we all just learned the depths of her evil scheme...

And is NOT AT ALL related to the fact that many people hate her and have been making fun of her for years, because she's obviously (read: obnoxiously) Southern, a female chef (I mean, "cook"), fat, self-promoting (not like the other people on tv like Alton Brown or those guys from Mythbusters), seems low-class with a low-class family and cooks low-class food for low-class people.
posted by Danila at 7:00 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


People are fickle about celebrities. Paula Deen is an object of scorn. Adam Savage is not. Jamie Oliver is. Mario Batali is not. I think it's too complex to put the Deen hate down to fat white southern woman. It has to do with the crowd you're preaching to. My grandmother-in-law adores Paula, and I'm sure she's never even heard of Anthony Bourdain.

Neither Bourdain nor Deen come off as the hero in this story.
posted by crunchland at 7:07 AM on January 19, 2012


Jeezy creezy people. This isn't about whether being fat gives you diabetes, or whether Bourdain is a good role model. It's that Deen has a really slimy business model cooked up, so to speak.

Was Bourdain a heroin addict? Yes. Did he romanticize it? Not at all (read Kitchen Confidential, look at his life then versus his life now). Does he have a spokesperson deal with an expensive, for-profit methadone clinic while continuing to romanticize it?

Was Bourdain a smoker? Yes. Did he romanticize it? Well, maybe a little, in A Cook's Tour and early No Reservations. Was he a paid spokesman for Chantix while continuing to be a badass and smoke on his show?

Does Bourdain eat over-the-top things like foie gras poutine and every pork product known to man on his show? Yes. Does he romanticize it? Oh yeah. Does he keep the fact that he has high cholesterol because of it a secret for three years? Does he have a paid spokesman deal with Lipitor after owning up to his high cholesterol, while continuing to publicly enjoy foie, etc?

The statements in bold are the Bourdain equivalents of what Deen is doing. No, he's not an awesome role model, [opinion] but I find him to be a lot more awesome all-around than someone whose claim to fame is pseudo-Southern cooking in the form of fried butter and donut hamburgers [/opinion].
posted by supercres at 7:22 AM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


a female chef (I mean, "cook"), fat

Lidia Bastianich isn't skinny, is a woman, yet is not getting the same scrutiny as Paula Deen, and, still, no one has a problem calling her a (successful) chef. So you'll have to work much, much harder to find better excuses, because dismissing Deen's critics as women-haters is pretty weak sauce in light of facts.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:31 AM on January 19, 2012


I sure hope schadenfreude doesn't cause diabetes.
posted by srboisvert at 7:39 AM on January 19, 2012


Something will kill us all eventually whether or not its duck fat, bacon cheeseburgers on glazed doughnuts, smoking, or whatever. On the other hand, moralizing about the habits of others will live on.
posted by squeak at 7:42 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I sure hope schadenfreude doesn't cause diabetes.

You're in luck, it only causes cancer of the conscience.
posted by localroger at 7:50 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Paula Deen was hit in the face with a ham in 2009. In 2012, she announces that she was diagnosed with diabetes 3 years prior.

Based on my extensive medical training of watching cartoons where amnesia is both caused and cured by blows to the head, I think I have an idea of how to help Paula Deen. In fact, I have just completed an endorsement deal with Honey Baked Ham for a new line of face-ready 6oz hams for the treatment of diabetes. Given that the insulin shots used by many diabetics come from pigs anyways, I consider the weekly ham-to-face procedure to be based on sound homeopathic science.

Side effects of the treatment may include wincing, a momentary feeling of deliciousness after you eat the mini-ham, and, of course, Chinese fire bones. Please consult a medical professional as lackadaisical as myself before starting treatment.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:00 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am a relatively fat white southern woman. I cook (unprofessionally), sometimes even with butter and fats and organ meats and I'm pretty good at it. I find the idea that what Paul Deen does is anything like "southern cuisine" to be an offensive proposition and the vast majority of her recipes to be travesties of taste. I am also a terrible snob. So, take that last part as you will.

That said:

That I find Paula Deen to be a morally repugnant character for hiding her Diabetes until she could maximize her personal profits by shilling for Big Pharma (while still shilling fried butter) has not one damn thing to do with her appearance, gender, geographical provenance or terrible recipes. I would feel the same way if anyone else did it and if I were to ever to engage in something so brazenly sleazy, I would assume others would feel the same way about me.
posted by thivaia at 9:25 AM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Indeed, diabetes is primarily a genetic disease. If one identical twin doesn’t develop diabetes, the odds are less than 1 percent that the other will, while if one such twin does have the disease, the odds are better than 75 percent that the other twin will develop it as well."

However the maternal environment can infleunce the genetics of her eggs-- (as the fathers to his sperm).

What's more how does that compare with unidentical twins sharing the same womb: i.e. how does the the health and emotional state of the mother affect the maternal womb environment and this influence the predisposition?

High levels of stress in the prenatal environment combined with inadequate counter stress measures (relaxation, social support, healthy nutrients in food, etc etc) can severely alter the way the stress system is set up and a lot of research is finding that the way the HPA axis is set up to respond to stress alters circadian rythms, metabolic functions, and basically all kinds of cellular processes in the body. (In addition to high stress, poor conditions in infancy and early childhood. A loving parent does not inherently equal great environment, it's much more complex than that. A loving parent can themselves have high stress reactivity that influences the child while doing everything else right, the diet could be enough to knock everything off, toxins in the environment... etc etc etc)

Paula Deens cooking is not healthy, but butter and fat in moderation are not the cause of diabetes. It's possible that she is highly reactive to stress and the high fat and salt foods are in fact protective. She might have a disease state unrelated to the diet and the diet actually helps certain aspects of that condition.

In general food that is not food (packaged gunk) could probably be best avoided, and higher fresh vegetable content is always ideal. The fat and salt however may be more beneficial for people with high stress reactivity than we realize.

Correlation is not causation. That said, I do wish Deen had taken the opportunity when finding out about diabetes to learn more about it's relationship to food. For ALL of us, we don't want to believe the lifestyles, habits, and foods we love could really be bad for us. I don't think she inentionally is ignoring the facts-- many people who read a lot about this still don't know what the facts are to begin with-- so for her I think it's easier to rest comfortably in the pharmaceutical model and the "genes as cause" of disease because the details of what causes what can be so murky and it's much more comforting and lets's her enjoy doing what she loves. The fact that she is profiting from all this is uncomfortable but if she had come out with depression and decided to be a spokesperson for medical treatment of depression rather than looking at how lifestyle affects depression (even if her show demonstrated she participated in coping methods associated with depression)--

Then I think more people here would be defending her. I think the "genes as cause" and the "pharmacueticals as best cure" model is completely offbase for a majority of disease; but I'll avoid saying the e word.
posted by xarnop at 9:33 AM on January 19, 2012


So I never heard of Paula Deen before today but did anyone else notice in the video where her "recipe" is to chop up a frozen cheesecake and put some chocolate chips on it and roll it up in an eggroll wrapper and deepfry it and then dredge it in powdered sugar, well first of all let me just say that sure I have had some pretty adventurous bong-fueled cooking experiments at two in the morning however there is NOT ENOUGH MARIJUANA IN THE WORLD to make that sound in any way appealing, but anyway that's not really my point my point is did you notice the lingering close up on her not actually knowing how to wrap an eggroll and then accidentally poking holes in it but then just dumping it in the oil anyway so that fucker's just going to fill right up and she'll be serving basically little sugar-covered bags of cooking oil? NOT ENOUGH MARIJUANA IN THE WORLD I TELL YOU
posted by ook at 9:37 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've only watched Paula Deen once and she made this.

Duck fat fries would at least be a tasty way to die. Chocolate covered confectioner's sugar and butter potato eggs and fried butter balls don't even seem appetizing. (I'd probably eat that fried cheesecake once though.)
posted by artychoke at 10:55 AM on January 19, 2012


"He's a poster child for trashing your body and acting like it's a matter of pride. The idea that someone could look at him and at Paula Deen and think that she's the one who deserves moralizing speaks volumes about society's misogyny and fat-phobia."

That seems to be a viewpoint that requires some special pleading or a misrepresentation of Bourdain's comments on substance abuse. He's said plenty of times that if he hadn't stopped the hard drugs, he would have died. I don't think Deen has ever said anything comparable, even "You might want to eat these doughnuts in moderation."
posted by klangklangston at 12:10 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


>No, you don't. -- Tapeworm?
posted by crunchland at 7:02 PM on January 18 [+] [!]


Actually, Trent Reznor released "No, You Don't" as a Nine Inch Nails track on "The Fragile".

Tapeworm was his long awaited side-project, that has been rumoured at various points to feature everyone from members of Tool to Phil Anselmo of Pantera, to just about everyone in between.

Sadly, despite falsely-labeled tracks floating around on Napster or the equivalent, whatever work has been completed by Tapeworm has yet to see the light of day.



Wait, everyone's talking about something else entirely, aren't they...
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:23 PM on January 19, 2012


raztaj: I learned today that Paula Deen has never cooked with, let alone seen whole cardamom cloves before. She ain't no chef (of the celeb variety or otherwise)."

Cardamon is seeds that come in pods. Did you mean whole cardamon pods?

Cardamon works so well with dairy! I bet cardamon-spiced fried butter would be amazing.
posted by QIbHom at 12:45 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I object to the characterization of duck fat fries as somehow less healthy than other french fries (eg. soybean oil cooked fries you are probably eating in any fast food restaurant). The whole "animal fat is worse for you" meme (including butter, yes) is one of those zombie lies. Is it worse for you than premium EVOO? Probably, sure, but don't fucking deep fry with that. Is it worse than palm oil? Definitely not. Is it worse than whatever mystery substance passes for olive oil in the States? Unlikely. Is it worse than margarine? Nope! Is it worse than whatever emulsified-soy-oil non-margarine pseudo-olive-oil monstrosity passes itself off as heart-healthy in a contemporary American supermarket? Nobody knows.

On that topic, I challenge you to find any reliable information on soybean oil anywhere. The stuff has completely co-opted the processed food business following the whole trans-fat scare without a peep, and now we're all eating it daily with our fingers crossed. On the other hand, humans have been eating animal fat since before they thought of themselves as human. I find it remarkable that people are consistently happy to accept the health claims of newly invented industrial oil extractions, even when historically those oils have been consistently demonstrated to have adverse health effects, resulting in the further development of newer, even less understood oils.

So yes, I'll be keeping a jar of duck fat in the fridge and there's nothing you can do about it.
posted by mek at 3:54 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


*sneaks into mek's house and steals the jar of duck fat*
posted by rtha at 4:07 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've only watched Paula Deen once and she made this.

Good god those chocolate covered potato eggs are utterly indefensible. 2 medium potatoes, two pounds of confectioners sugar, plus two cups of melted chocolate? And people find this kind of food defensible and don't see the link to diabetes? Yikes. This kind of stuff is barely providing the illusion of food, in order to accelerate the delivery of refined carbohydrates into your bloodstream.
posted by mek at 4:14 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can we at least find some common ground here?

Let's all agree that Paula Deen, who has been rather famous for years for her over-the-top food porn recipes, got a disease commonly associated with eating such foods, and then announced it in conjunction with endorsing a product to control it that most of her audience cannot afford, is the moral equivalent of Anthony Bourdain, who is a hypocrite for criticizing Paula Deen (as we all are unless we eat *perfectly* ...only the LaLannes may dare speak ill, there is no middle ground), and who contemptuously became addicted to heroin to look "cool" and then pathetically tried to claim it nearly killed him in a transparent attempt to gain some moral gravitas, and if you don't think so, you're a misogynist fatphobe?

Mods, I think we can mark this one as "resolved."
posted by mreleganza at 4:25 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


*sneaks into rtha's house and steals mek's jar of duck fat*
posted by argonauta at 5:40 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


is the moral equivalent of Anthony Bourdain, who is a hypocrite for criticizing Paula Deen (as we all are unless we eat *perfectly* ...only the LaLannes may dare speak ill, there is no middle ground), and who contemptuously became addicted to heroin to look "cool" and then pathetically tried to claim it nearly killed him in a transparent attempt to gain some moral gravitas, and if you don't think so, you're a misogynist fatphobe?
I was going to say that I didn't say that he became addicted to heroin to look cool, but then I did some googling, and actually he says he became addicted to heroin to look cool:
I wanted, very badly, to take drugs from the time I first read about them. When I was 9 or 10 years old, I remember reading about LSD, and Haight-Ashbury, and Jefferson Airplane, and that looked like fun. I wanted that. And when I read about the artists, writers, and musicians who were doing heroin, they happened to be the artists, writers, and musicians that I admired most. So I really had my mind set on becoming a junkie. Not necessarily in a calculated way, but I think it was a predictable part of the story arc. Drugs made me feel good, obviously, but it was a part of the Byron-esque figure that I wanted to be and that I'd imagined myself to be as an insecure, gawky kid. They did make me cool, and they did make me feel good. Unfortunately, they also destroyed my life.
And no, I don't think that "unfortunately, they also destroyed my life" negates the way in which he romanticizes drug addiction. They obviously didn't destroy his life, because by all accounts he has a totally sweet life. They ruin many people's lives, but not his. And in interviews, he really does depict his heroin addiction as some sort of mark of gritty masculinity. Which is bullshit. I can think of nothing more shameful than some rich suburban kid who decided to move to the East Village and become a junkie because he thought it would make him look cool. And he doesn't talk about it as a shameful, humiliating fact about his past.

But anyway. Let's leave aside the heroin. He may (or may not) have quit smoking, but he's never said that people shouldn't smoke because it will kill you, which is a hell of a lot better established than fatty food causing diabetes. Actually, here's what he says about smoking:
I'm amused by food nerds who say, "I'd never eat at a restaurant where the chef smokes." Almost all the chefs I know smoke. That said, I'm also a new father of a 6-month-old girl. I don't want to encourage anyone to quit smoking. In my experience, it really does make you cool. Chicks love it. But after 38 years, I quit.
But hey, telling people that all chefs smoke and it makes you cool and chicks love it is really nothing compared to cooking food that has lots of butter and fat. Of course, Bourdain does that, too. But it's different, because it just is.

(He's only a few years younger than my grandfather was when he died of lung cancer. For the sake of his daughter, he'd better hope those 38 years of smoking don't catch up with him. He's good at playing the I-dodged-a-bullet-and-it-makes-me-awesome guy, but sometimes the bullets take a while to hit you.)

And finally, it's true that he's not shilling for big pharma. But he is selling a persona that's completely dependent on his whole irksome bad boy image. He profits from all sorts of fucked up ideas about masculinity and self-destructive behavior. I don't think he's really in a position to throw stones at anyone.
posted by craichead at 5:59 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


So your objection to Bourdain is that he is insufficiently miserable and failing to be wracked with shame? Gotcha.
posted by mek at 6:35 PM on January 19, 2012


So your objection to Bourdain is that he is insufficiently miserable and failing to be wracked with shame? Gotcha.
My objection to Bourdain is that he is hypocritically calling out Paula Deen for promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, while at the same time he promotes things that are demonstrably more unhealthy than cooking with butter.
posted by craichead at 6:48 PM on January 19, 2012


But he's not selling medication for it.
posted by Adventurer at 7:02 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


But he's not selling medication for it.
And she's not encouraging people to smoke by telling them it makes you look cool and chicks love it.

Plus, he started in on this before she was selling medication.
posted by craichead at 7:05 PM on January 19, 2012


What do those things have to do with each other?

If she's as successful as she can be at promoting the kind of food she is known for, more people become susceptible to diabetes. That means there's a bigger market for the medication she's promoting. This is what has put her above and beyond "offenses against food," which is what Bourdain was going on about before. This is sleazy and underhanded.

If more people start smoking because Bourdain says it's cool -- which is incidental to what he does, he's not a professional smoker, he's not selling cookbooks that teach people to make cigarettes, it's possible to watch his show without being aware that there's a history of hard drugs etc. that goes along with his "attitude" -- he isn't making money off chemotherapy. That is what he would have to do to be a hypocrite here. Sell both the cause and the cure. (Yes "cause" is a simplification and doesn't apply to many people who are diabetic for other reasons, but it also isn't wrong.)
posted by Adventurer at 7:17 PM on January 19, 2012


craichead, you're conflating personal lifestyle choices with actively advocating a lifestyle on a lifestyle TV show. Bourdain doesn't have a show about how great smoking is, and he certainly doesn't have a show about how awesome his drug-addled early years were. Paula Deen has a show that actively teaches the audience how to cook shitty food that will make them sick. Your argument makes the same error as the argument that says homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to teach in public schools: it assumes the private life will somehow taint their day job, causing their immoral character to be transmitted via some unrelated vector; as if watching Bourdain eat a pig roast in Spain will somehow cause me to want to do heroin, because hey Bourdain did once and now he's in Spain! Spain looks awesome! Heroin time! It's exactly what Bourdain mocks in that interview, that people say "I wouldn't eat at a restuarant where the chef smokes." as if that one bad choice makes all the chef's choices immediately suspect.

But the truth is that what the chef is doing outside the restaurant has nothing to do with his performance in it. For Paula Deen to be equivalent to Bourdain, she would have to be eating terribly in private and struggling with diabetes in private, occasionally talking about it in interviews, while making an effort to cook healthy on TV. Unfortunately, there's no comparison.
posted by mek at 7:22 PM on January 19, 2012


If she's as successful as she can be at promoting the kind of food she is known for, more people become susceptible to diabetes.
I don't believe that you honestly think that Paula Deen is a factor in promoting diabetes. For one thing, she's a total throw-back. Her style of cooking, if you look at her actual recipes and not at the few things like deep-fried butter balls that her detractors obsessively harp on, is basically the kind of food that Americans cooked and ate in the '50s. I'm not saying that's a good thing: I personally would not be sad if no one ever used cream of celery soup in a recipe again. But her style of cooking is on the decline, and that's happened at the same time that rates of type II diabetes have increased. She isn't what's causing diabetes, and honestly, I think rates of diabetes would probably go down if people went back to cooking anything, even if it's just the cream-of-whatever-chicken-casserole goop that she promotes.

Bourdain, on the other hand, sells himself as a super-cool guy in a way that makes self-destructiveness seem cooler than the alternative.
Your argument makes the same error as the argument that says homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to teach in public schools
I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you were mortified as soon as you hit "post" and now wish fervently that there was an edit button. Because, seriously, there's so much wrong with that argument, starting with the fact that it equates being gay with smoking cigarettes.
posted by craichead at 7:30 PM on January 19, 2012


Bourdain, on the other hand, sells himself as a super-cool guy in a way that makes self-destructiveness seem cooler than the alternative.

No, he doesn't. If the deep-fried butter balls are out of play because that's not the main theme of Deem's cooking, then certainly an interview soundbite doesn't make Bourdain some sort of antihero James Dean.
posted by mreleganza at 7:46 PM on January 19, 2012


I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you were mortified as soon as you hit "post" and now wish fervently that there was an edit button. Because, seriously, there's so much wrong with that argument, starting with the fact that it equates being gay with smoking cigarettes.

Way to argue right past me; thanks for the benefit of the doubt. To me it's pretty clear that both arguments assume what they're arguing about is a lifestyle choice, which is exactly why the comparison is apt, though the argument itself is completely bunk. I disagree with that premise in both cases (homosexuality is not a choice, but to a certain extent smoking isn't either: cigarettes are addictive as hell and the choice narrative obscures this in favour of moralizing at smokers), but that's beside the point, the structure of the argument is the same:

P1. A chooses to do B.
P2. I perceive B to be bad.
P3. A also does C.
P4. When A does C in public, it causes the public to want to do B.
C. Therefore, I think that As should refrain from doing both B and C.

It's pretty simple and pretty stupid. It's just as dumb when you criticize chefs that smoke, as when others criticize homosexuals that teach. This is why your criticisms of Bourdain in this context, and your attempt to equate him with Deen, make absolutely no sense to me.
posted by mek at 8:35 PM on January 19, 2012


I feel slightly dirty even engaging this point.

When famous people say "hey, I'm gay, and being gay is awesome!" it does, in fact, normalize being gay. When famous people say "I smoked for years and it made me cool and got me laid a lot", it normalizes smoking. (And same thing with smoking a lot on your reality show, which Bourdain did for a long time, and being out on a reality show.) There are two differences. The first is that gay people are going to be gay no matter what, so the gay celebrities don't convince anyone to be gay. They just promote an atmosphere in which already-gay people are less oppressed. You can convince people to smoke or not to smoke much more easily than you can influence people's sexual orientation. And the second, even more important point, is that smoking is bad and being gay is not bad. And seriously, dude, it shouldn't be necessary to point that out to you.
posted by craichead at 9:03 PM on January 19, 2012


Sorry, but I just don't buy into the smoking cult-of-shame. If you can point out the group of smokers that started their habit because they watched a shitload of Travel Channel in high school and became enamored with smoking-sex-idol-Bourdain, fine. But trying to depict Bourdain's cigarette habit as if he's some 30s Hollywood superstar is ridiculous. This is another area in which Bourdain and Deen simply don't compare: Deen's target audience is, in fact, at high risk of diabetes, while Bourdain's audience is not teenagers curious about smoking, it's middle-aged stoners.

Bourdain doesn't glorify smoking on his show, and he certainly doesn't get laid via cigarettes on his show. Once again you're conflating his private life with his public show. Apparently you have difficulty keeping these things separate. The important difference is Paula Deen explicitly endorses and glorifies a high-risk lifestyle in the context of her public persona while simultaneously profiting off it.

I'm not saying Bourdain's a saint. He's obviously chaotic neutral.
posted by mek at 11:12 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sorry, but I just don't buy into the smoking cult-of-shame.
You must be fucking kidding me. There is nothing lethal about eating fat-laden, buttery food in moderation. You can eat a fried butter ball once in a while and be totally healthy in every respect. There is absolutely no evidence that says that eating fatty food occasionally, in moderation, as a special treat, will give you diabetes. On the other hand, there is a huge raft of evidence that smoking will kill you. There is no moderation in smoking cigarettes. People who demonize unhealthy food but not smoking are people who are motivated by something other than concern for public or personal health.
If you can point out the group of smokers that started their habit because they watched a shitload of Travel Channel in high school and became enamored with smoking-sex-idol-Bourdain, fine.
That's funny, because nobody has provided any evidence at all that Paula Deen makes people develop diabetes.
This is another area in which Bourdain and Deen simply don't compare: Deen's target audience is, in fact, at high risk of diabetes, while Bourdain's audience is not teenagers curious about smoking, it's middle-aged stoners.
Right, and I think that's the bottom line. Deen's audience is people for whom many MeFites have total contempt. They're not thoughtful people like Bourdain's audience. They can't be trusted to think for themselves. If they see a deep-fried butterball, they won't think that it's funny and over-the-top but not something they'd actually make or that it's funny and over-the-top and they'll make it once for their Superbowl party, but it's definitely not something they'd eat on a regular basis. Deen's audience are assumed to be people who are defined by their fatness and unhealthy eating habits, and therefore they can't even be exposed to unhealthy recipes without being at risk for developing diabetes. And I mean, are we seriously arguing that middle-aged stoner guys aren't at risk for unhealthy behavior and resulting health problems?
Bourdain doesn't glorify smoking on his show, and he certainly doesn't get laid via cigarettes on his show
Bourdain glorifies his persona on his show. His persona is a hard-drinking, hard-living, adventurous guy who is open to any experience, and that makes him sexy and cool and makes other middle-aged guys think that they can be sexy and cool, too. That's what he's selling: the illusion of coolness that appeals to guys who are afraid they're getting soft and unmanly as they age. One of the ways in which he created that persona was to chain smoke in his early shows, at a time when smoking was pretty much absent in most pop culture. Smoking coded him as a rule-breaking iconoclast. When he gave up smoking, he went out of his way to specify that he was still a hard-living dude who thought that smoking was awesome. He gave interviews where he made it very clear that he wasn't advocating giving up smoking and that he still thought smoking made people cool and sexy. That's because he's selling a persona, and his persona isn't compatible with saying "hey, you know you really should take care of your body." His persona is utterly compatible with bashing some woman whom his target audience is going to despise anyway, but it's not compatible with telling middle-aged stoner dudes that hedonism is self-indulgent and irresponsible. What he's selling is the idea that your hedonism makes you just a little bit rock 'n roll.

Now, I'd like to think that Bourdain's audience are critical consumers of his show and don't over-identify with his persona. But I don't see any reason, except rank prejudice, to assume that's true of Bourdain's audience and assume it's untrue of Deen's audience.
posted by craichead at 3:37 AM on January 20, 2012


"On the other hand, there is a huge raft of evidence that smoking will kill you. There is no moderation in smoking cigarettes."

Two things: First off, that's not the other hand, as there's a huge raft of evidence that diabetes and obesity-related diseases will kill you. Second off, smoking a cigarette as often as you should eat a deep-fried butter ball is pretty much fine (at least according to the doctors I've talked to).

"That's funny, because nobody has provided any evidence at all that Paula Deen makes people develop diabetes."

This is pretty disingenuous.

No one has a problem ridiculing the special pleadings of Frito Lay, McDonalds and Coca Cola when they argue that their products are safe … in moderation. We know that their portions are too big and too laden with dietary risk, especially if they're eaten in the way they're advertised.

That's the core of Paula Deen's brand, and I haven't seen any evidence that she's ever used the word moderation. She does Grand Guignal American comfort food, and is now shilling a pharmaceutical cure for the effects of the core of her brand.

There's no irony to Paula Deen, no self-awareness that might mitigate that charge. And though you seem to be taking Anthony Bourdain as remarkably straight, it's hard to believe that you ever thought he was promoting smoking.

Really, you're coming across as defensive of Deen unjustifiably, in denial about her core brand and the fairly reasonable inferences that can be drawn, while being contemptuous of Bourdain because he picked on your friend.

Deen reminds me here of when Dr. Atkins died of a heart attack, though there's more to the Atkins story than there seems to be to Deen's.
posted by klangklangston at 8:31 AM on January 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Atkins slipped and fell, hitting his head, then died of resulting complications. He didn't die of a heart attack, that's just smug ironic folklore.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:29 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jim Fixx is the famous healthy-living author who ironically died of a heart attack.
posted by localroger at 10:20 AM on January 20, 2012


Really, you're coming across as defensive of Deen unjustifiably, in denial about her core brand and the fairly reasonable inferences that can be drawn, while being contemptuous of Bourdain because he picked on your friend.

Largely agree with this post but I would point out that it doesn't seem to be personal. I don't think craichead is defending Deen because she views her as a "friend," but because she views her as a victim of sexism. I.e., it's possible for a man (Bourdain) to be a "bad boy," embodying bad behaviors but not held to account, while a woman similarly situated is pilloried -- ostensibly for her hypocrisy but actually because she's fat, because healthy-living norms only apply to women, or whatever. I don't agree with this view but that's what I think is going on.
posted by grobstein at 10:25 AM on January 20, 2012


(Well, Paula smokes, too. A pack and a half a day for 50 years (as of October), so maybe that's kind of a wash between her and Bourdain.)

Paula Deen has a lot of charm and she has done a truly astounding job at building a brand and a multi-million dollar business for herself. I don't mind that she found a special niche for indulgent, straightforward comfort food with a regional influence. And I don't care at all what she weighs. Here's what does bother me:

"Deen says that when Novo Nordisk representatives first approached her, they challenged her to make some of her recipes more diabetic-friendly. They didn't know she had the disease, and she said to them, 'How did you know I had type 2 diabetes?' For the initiative, Deen and her sons, Jamie and Bobby, have created lightened-up versions of some of their classic recipes for people with the disease." So, they started doing this, as part of the Novo Nordisk initiative, as early 2009, with the introduction of the "Bobby Lightens Up" recipes on pauladeen.com (see also). And Bobby's new "Not My Mama's Meals" TV show, featuring healthier versions of Paula's recipes, premiered on the Cooking Channel on January 4.

But meanwhile she claims she didn't want to share her condition publicly until "she had more knowledge to offer, and when it was God's time." I do not believe that there was any divine hand in her decision to announce this now, and it appears that she and the others in her family business have had plenty of knowledge to share over the past 2+ years... while she continued to promote and profit from her traditional cooking approach "as entertainment." I believe that the sole factor in determining the timing of her announcement this week was not God, and was not a level of education she had finally attained, but was that the multi-million-dollar Diabetes In a New Light campaign was ready to launch. She says, "But now I'm coming with good information, something that can help and bring hope to other people." Her sons claim that she is going public now "for other people and it's going to help millions of people." So why was the Six Word Memoir she wrote for the February 2012 issue of The Oprah Magazine "Might as well eat that cookie."?

It's understandable that she wants to make money. It's understandable that she wants to make as much as possible. I understand the difference between a TV star and a trained nutritionist. I don't believe that Paula Deen is responsible for increased rates of diabetes. But I am uncomfortable learning that she has been paid by Novo Nordisk for more than two years already, promoting "lighter" recipes that help in managing diabetes on one hand, while on the other still so blatantly working her shtick of live-a-little, eat-a-cookie, and a New Year's 2011 post like "For so many years, I vowed to try to quit smoking, try to lose weight, try to have more fun... but all the same I don’t intend to waste a single second of this blessed new year tryin’ to get myself to do something there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell I’m gonna succeed at."

I believe that she could, and should, have been doing better than this -- or at least not continue to claim that her aim is "to help" when all she's really doing is maximizing the profitability of her empire.
"Naturally I am being compensated, my children are being compensated, because we, like everybody else, have to work."
posted by argonauta at 10:39 AM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't get why "but it's fine if you eat like that in moderation" is supposed to be a relevant defense. Does she ever talk about how important it is to only indulge once in a while? Because she does have all those cookbooks to sell. Casual viewers who can take her or leave her are not what she has to want from a financial perspective. Which is the issue here, profiting from both ends. Like if a more decadent version of Baskin-Robbins also sold diabetes medication. And it seems relevant to note that while sugar may not be addictive it is the kind of food that many people can only learn to stop craving by avoiding it entirely. Her brand is built on something a lot of people can't just take or leave or use sensibly that easily. If she were obviously a CEO, which she in effect is, and not also a friendly person on TV, maybe it would be easier to think of her as somebody who doesn't necessarily want to make only so much money and have only so much job security and then stop.
posted by Adventurer at 10:46 AM on January 20, 2012


Here's an image showing the obesity trend in the US, and another showing the increase of diabetes. The obesity one starts in the 90s and the diabetes one in 2004, but note that the spread of yellow/red states in 2004 on one map tracks with the other.

also note that it seems to be spreading from Savannah, GA....
posted by Challahtronix at 6:13 AM on January 21, 2012


Yeah, I don't particularly care about Paula Deen, although I'll admit that I find Bourdain kind of annoying. I have three issues here. The first is with the food puritanism thing, which demonizes butter and fat and suggests that you have to subsist on a diet of undressed greens or you're doomed to obesity and diabetes and heart disease and misery and doom. And I know that the French paradox is 2003's obesity epidemic meme, but there are plenty of cultures in the world where people don't treat butter like it's poison and nonetheless not everyone is fat or diabetic. And I don't think that French people are required to apologize constantly for the food they eat or to announce at every turn that they are practicing moderation because their food is very sinful and dirty and only to be consumed in very small amounts, very occasionally, with proper feelings of guilt and shame. Personally, I think I do a pretty good job of practicing moderation, and I don't feel the need to announce it constantly.

The second thing is the ugly double standard by which hedonism is considered edgy and awesome if it's practiced by an elite, cool guy, but it's a crime against humanity if it's practiced by someone unsophisticated and/or female. Anthony Bourdain is a total hedonist: he derides the idea of healthy eating and celebrates food that is full of fat and salt. But he was the chef at an expensive New York restaurant and is beloved by upper-middle-class dudes, so he can with a straight face say that he "would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it's ok to eat food that is killing us," even though he told Men's Health magazine that an inexpensive hot-dog-and-fries joint was one of the thirteen places everyone should eat before they die. The difference isn't the food, despite all the differences in their approach to food. It's the people. Bourdain's perceived audience are subjects of American media discussions. Deen's audience are objects of those discussions: objects of contempt, derision, and judgment. The people who run media conversations in the US are people who are likely to identify with Bourdain and to see people they perceive to be like Deen as a problem to be solved.

And the third thing is the kind of unthinking assumption that America's health problems are caused by bad home cooking. That just seems kind of silly to me.
posted by craichead at 6:42 AM on January 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


And fwiw, I found this New York No Reservations episode where Bourdain and Dave Chang go out for hot dogs. Among the things they eat are tater tots dipped in velveeta and a hot dog topped with deep-fried mayonnaise. This is, Chang tells us, good food to eat when you're shit-faced. Now, if Paula Deen suggested people eat tater tots dipped in velveeta, she'd be flayed alive. And we all know how the deep-fried butter went. But this is Anthony Bourdain and Dave Chang: they're rich, famous, sophisticated New York chefs, and that makes it different. Everyone knows what's going on. They're slumming. They're having a little culinary joke at the expense of white trash. Paula Deen, on the other hand, is depicted as being white trash. Food moralizing is a way that the 1% establish their superiority to the lesser scum, which is why Bourdain can appropriate the very foodways that he trashes and nobody will ask whether it's appropriate for middle-aged dudes to encourage their peers to get wasted and eat crap.

I'm not saying that it will kill you to eat Tater Tots once in a while, or that Tater Tots are awesome and everyone should consume them daily. I'm saying that Bourdain is a hypocrite, and his hypocrisy is based on big-time classism and smug regionalism, with a dash of misogyny on the side.
posted by craichead at 8:09 AM on January 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Type 2 diabetes is one of those diseases that is a long term killer, but a short term non-existent thing. Unless it's really acute, there are no symptoms. You can be twice the healthy blood sugar limit and not feel a thing. It's the long term effects of out-of-control blood sugar that do you in. A lot like cigarette smoking.

What I'm saying is that it's incredibly easy to be in denial about it. I know this because I was diagnosed with type-2 about 12 years ago. It took me about 5 years to change the way I lived and get my blood sugar under control. I know several people who have been diagnosed with diabetes, and despite that, they still eat pretty much the way they've always eaten. Is it smart? No. Is it human nature? Yes.

So I'm not particularly surprised that Paula Deen has gone three years in hiding. And as for her becoming a spokesperson -- well, I guess she's decided to make the best out of a shit sandwich. It's too bad that she had to have this "come to jesus" moment after all these years of pushing those unhealthy recipes. But I think instead of castigating her, I'm glad she finally is facing the problems her lifestyle has caused for her healthwise, and the rest of us can benefit from her downfall.
posted by crunchland at 8:26 AM on January 21, 2012


Bourdain practices hedonism, Deen practices (and preaches) gluttony. Man vs. Food bugs me in the same way her show does in that it seems to be about excess for the sake of excess. And not to defend Bourdain, but if you've ever watched his show "classist" is not a term to describe it and I'm not sure "regionalist" fits either. and I'm not sure where the "misogyny" comes from.
posted by Challahtronix at 8:30 AM on January 21, 2012


Bourdain practices hedonism, Deen practices (and preaches) gluttony.
And I'm saying that hedonism is what you call it when you think the person is a good person, and gluttony is what you call it when you think the person is trash.
And not to defend Bourdain, but if you've ever watched his show "classist" is not a term to describe it and I'm not sure "regionalist" fits either.
You can be classist and regionalist and still participate in slumming and cultural tourism.
and I'm not sure where the "misogyny" comes from.
Do women ever fall on the "hedonist" side of the great hedonist/ glutton split? And it's very apparent to me that Bourdain's schtick is totally about masculinity and that his hedonism makes him a real man, in his own eyes. Whereas gluttony just makes a woman gross. How many women are there in Bourdain's awesome hedonist chef posse?
posted by craichead at 8:44 AM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do women ever fall on the "hedonist" side of the great hedonist/ glutton split?

Maybe Nigella Lawson or Ina Garten?

The split you describe may have as much to do with class as it does gender. (Then again, maybe not--I love food, but I don't watch a lot of food television.)
posted by box at 8:59 AM on January 21, 2012


Yeah, you're right about Nigella Lawson, and the popular image is that her hedonism makes her super-sexy, too. Maybe it is more about class. Although I think people would be a lot harder on Nigella if she weren't hot. (That may be true of Bourdain, too, although I don't think that Bourdain's female equivalent would necessarily be seen as hot.)
posted by craichead at 9:12 AM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the real problem here is direct-to-consumer advertising. In Europe, health care advertising is limited to promotion directly to physicians. In the US, we include a lot more "fair balance" than we do in Europe but regulatory requirements are more stringent. In Europe, the regulatory requirements are less stringent but physicians get the advertisements directly.
posted by candasartan at 9:56 AM on January 21, 2012


The other thing that a lot of people are missing is that there's definitely an audience for the fat and sugar laden food porn that, until recently, Deen was selling. If there weren't, then she wouldn't have been on the air, nor sold so many cookbooks that she did. The people looking for that sort of stuff are as complicit as the one selling it.

And don't think that the most sanctimonious of you here are going to be let off any hook when the next gluttonous thread about the wonders of bacon gets posted on the blue.
posted by crunchland at 8:23 AM on January 22, 2012


Whereas gluttony just makes a woman gross. How many women are there in Bourdain's awesome hedonist chef posse?

Julia Child basically invented the genre Deen is working in. Do you think she's "gross"?

there's definitely an audience for the fat and sugar laden food porn that, until recently, Deen was selling

There's also a market for cigarettes, methamphetamines, hollow-point bullets, uranium-235...

And as for her becoming a spokesperson -- well, I guess she's decided to make the best out of a shit sandwich. It's too bad that she had to have this "come to jesus" moment after all these years of pushing those unhealthy recipes.

She's still pushing those unhealthy recipes, as argonata described above: she even spun off the "healthy recipes" to a family member so as to not interfere with her existing persona. The only thing that changed is that she's now also pushing a medication that has been demonstrated to cause thyroid cancer in rats but was approved by the FDA by a 7/6 vote and now carries a warning label; what it has not been demonstrated to do is to improve health outcomes in people with type 2 diabetes. I wish there was a hint of benevolent motive anywhere in Deen's actions, but it seems to be ruthless capitalism at best.
posted by mek at 2:01 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Paula Deen's own publicist has quit after six years, saying that she "could not agree with the new business strategy going forward."
posted by argonauta at 11:00 AM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Do women ever fall on the "hedonist" side of the great hedonist/ glutton split? And it's very apparent to me that Bourdain's schtick is totally about masculinity and that his hedonism makes him a real man, in his own eyes. Whereas gluttony just makes a woman gross. How many women are there in Bourdain's awesome hedonist chef posse?

I think there are women in Bourdain's posse, but they are cut out by the media. I know because I've been filmed countless times and been cut from media too. I know from Bourdains tweets that he has a carnivorous raw meat eating MMA-fighting wife, for example. I also don't see famous NYC chef Gabrielle Hamilton on TV very much and she's the author of Blood, Bones, and Butter, which could definitely be called a hedonist tome. But maybe I'm biased because I write about food and I'm a woman and I've been described as a hedonist.

But as someone who grew up poor and as a Southerner, I do not think this is about class. I've always thought that Deen is promoting the corporate food that has utterly decimated Southern foodways. That's always been at the heart of my disdain for her. Factory farmed meat, crap in boxes...poor Southerners are stuck eating these things because corporations have made sure they are the main foods that are available in the South. Southerners in 1920 were eating as well as Bourdain eats.
posted by melissam at 7:46 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Southerners in 1920 were eating as well as Bourdain eats.
I seriously doubt that was true, even if you take into account Bourdain's hot dog fixation and other unhealthy eating habits. Pellagra, a disease caused by niacin deficiency, was epidemic in the US South in the first two decades of the twentieth century, reflecting the prevalence of malnutrition. (You can google the wikipedia article if you want to see some nasty pictures of what pellagra does to people. It wasn't a pretty way to die.) I'm a historian, not a food writer, which colors my perspective, but I think you're romanticizing the past in a sort of unfortunate way.
posted by craichead at 8:54 PM on January 24, 2012


I seriously doubt that was true, even if you take into account Bourdain's hot dog fixation and other unhealthy eating habits. Pellagra, a disease caused by niacin deficiency, was epidemic in the US South in the first two decades of the twentieth century, reflecting the prevalence of malnutrition. (You can google the wikipedia article if you want to see some nasty pictures of what pellagra does to people. It wasn't a pretty way to die.) I'm a historian, not a food writer, which colors my perspective, but I think you're romanticizing the past in a sort of unfortunate way.

OK, maybe 1920 was too late into industrial monoculture to be correct, since degerming and thus pellagra epidemics started in 1905, with the invention of degerming. Pellagra was another disease of industrialized agriculture and inequality, just one that came at the beginning of the cycle and a good solution was found within the industrial system- fortification. Still, it affected, at its height, maybe 100,000 people. These days, they estimate nearly 300,000 people a year die from complications relating to diabetes.
posted by melissam at 7:02 AM on January 25, 2012


And Paula Deen is public enemy number 1?
posted by crunchland at 6:28 AM on January 26, 2012


Although I think people would be a lot harder on Nigella if she weren't hot.

Or if they looked anywhere lower than her cleavage to see where she hides all the fat that isn't going into her breasts. Those are some serious legs.
posted by pracowity at 2:44 AM on January 27, 2012


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