Liz Williams, director and president of the New Orleans-based Southern Food & Beverage Museum, took to the museum's blod yesterday to "weigh in" on the Paula Deen diabetes kerfuffle. Here's why "not enough people have really discussed the core of the issue. Paula Deen is us. Her popularity is based on the fact that she cooks the way most of America wants to eat."
She continues by writing that Deen "represents those people who came through lean times and who are happy that today they can afford to eat enough of the foods that they like." This is the essence of Williams' argument: that Deen's is the Southern way of life. And that Deen eats the way "we"?meaning, presumably, the average Southerner-at-large?eats.
And here she is on why Deen is popular, giving a pretty strong take down of Deen's critics in the process:
People can identify with her. She is not a snob. She is not a finger-wagging fundamentalist. All of the righteous talk about her cooking, about her decision to first withhold and then make her illness public, about her decision to represent a drug comes from the elite cognoscenti.This is a return to the Dean, class and region conversation that has more or less been missing from the mainstream coverage of her diabetes announcement but that has been simmering beneath the surface.