June 26th, 2013
04:45 PM ET
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No matter how you slice it, Southern food is complicated. Some detractors dismiss the whole menu as an over-larded, gravy-drenched, carbed-up monolith; they clearly just haven’t been invited to the right homes for supper.

At its core, Southern food is one of the most multilayered, globally-influenced and constantly evolving cuisines on the planet. It’s inextricably and equally tied to the rhythms of the seasons and the lives of the people who cook it the way their grandmother did, and her grandmother before her, and so on.

No one cooks Southern food alone; there’s always a ghost in the corner giving guidance. For millions of people, that’s Paula Deen, a celebrity chef whose sugary, bubbly bonhomie has earned her the moniker “Queen of Southern Cooking” - as well as her share of critics.

Deen has come under fire in the past for promoting aggressively unhealthy recipes, then failing to disclose her diabetes diagnosis for three years before picking up a lucrative endorsement deal for a drug to treat it. Her more recent admission of using a racial slur in the past and that she had once discussed putting on a “plantation-themed” wedding party - complete with waiters dressed in a manner reminiscent of slaves - has proven even more sickening to some.

Internet backlash was fierce and pointed, and at least six of Deen’s major sources of revenue - the Food Network, Walmart, Caesars Entertainment, Home Depot, Novo Nordisk and Smithfield Foods - have cut ties with her and condemned her words. Although many fans have gone out of their way to express support for her online and at her flagship restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, Deen apologized in online videos and in a teary appearance on the Today Show.

But some African-American food and culture scholars find it’s what Deen didn’t say that’s the bitterest pill to swallow. They claim that she has profited off the culinary legacy of African Americans, a group she’s repeatedly failed to credit in her cookbooks or on her television shows. Their contributions to American cuisine are often marginalized in the food world, despite having introduced rice cultivation techniques to the South, along with watermelon, okra, chile peppers and other foods that were already part of the African palate. Representatives for Deen weren’t immediately available to comment on the issue.

In the wake of the controversy, pre-orders for Deen’s cookbook are red-hot, but some feel frozen out.

“We’re burned by this,” says writer and image activist Michaela Angela Davis. “Why does she get all the money and fame around the food that our ancestors created and sweated over?”

Davis argues that minimizing the role of the African-American culture’s contributions to Southern cooking isn’t unique to Deen, but fallout from a cultural system that needed to dehumanize slaves to keep the status quo. “Completely divorcing us from our history, our cuisine, our languages - that's just all par for the course. You can't let people have pride and then have them be your slaves.”

Culinary historian Michael Twitty agrees. “Our ancestors were not tertiary to the story of Southern food,” he says. “Whenever our role is minimized to just being passive participants or just the ‘help,’ it becomes a strike against culinary justice.”

“Paula Deen once did hoecake on her show and never once mentioned that this was the hardtack and daily bread of enslaved people,” he adds. So were, “gumbo, okra soup, red rice, fried chicken, black eyed peas, various greens, sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts, cala, jambalaya, hot sauce, barbecue, the list goes on.”

In Deen’s autobiography, “It Ain’t All About the Cookin’,” Deen touches on her dealings with the African-American community in her hometown, saying, “None of us were strangers to the black community, although they seemed to live their lives and we lived ours. I would say we lived a pretty unexamined life in terms of politics or civil rights."

Perhaps if Deen were just “a cook” and not “the Charles Barkley of food,” as Syracuse University scholar Boyce Watkins argued in a discussion with Davis on CNN’s AC360, that lack of context around her food would be understandable and even acceptable. But as Davis pointed out, “She’s a brand.”

That brand reportedly pulled in more than $17 million dollars in 2012 alone, and Davis ascribes Deen’s lack of connection in some part to that level of success.

“We all related to her when she was at the bottom and worked her way up, “ Davis says. “When you put money in it and you're in a different class, you get all the benefits of being white and privileged. Your sensitivity and need to know about us goes away. There's nothing in your life that brings about the urgency of knowing about the culture you're benefiting from.”

Twitty and Davis are both eager to have some potentially difficult and painful conversations - over a meal.

Twitty is on a mission of reclamation and healing in a project he calls The Cooking Gene. He spent much of 2012 on the “Southern Discomfort Tour,” visiting the former plantations where his ancestors were enslaved, meeting the descendents of the people who claimed ownership over his family, and sharing meals together. Through breaking bread in these haunted locales and having difficult conversations with people of all races, Twitty seeks to dispel any romantic notions of slavery, and begin to heal.

“I think the enduring myth is that slavery was a time when blacks knew their place, didn't make trouble and served as the perfect status symbol of Western superiority and white supremacy. Nothing could be more un-American or untrue,” Twitty says.

“People who worked in the ‘big house’ didn't have it easy. Women and men who cooked and served usually had one of three fates. They were often treated abusively and savagely punished; they could be family figures of great respect and trust or they were autocrats who used their unique role to carve out a special power niche with lines and boundaries not to be crossed.”

Cooking meant power in many cases, Twitty says, and per plantation records, good cooks were often “worth” more than a “plain” or “tolerable” cook.

There’s power in owning your culture’s narrative, Davis says, and it’s painful when a thing that should be a great source of pride and joy is instead used as a vehicle for shame. “Fried chicken is creative. Collards with smoked neckbones is creative,” Davis says.

“This generation gets to say, ‘No! Fried chicken is amazing!’ Everybody gets to participate in it, but let's be clear about whose brilliance made this thing be popular.” It worries her that Paula Deen and Colonel Sanders are seen as “the face of fried chicken,” and sees it as a failure of an educational system that diminishes African-American contributions to history.

“We are the fried chicken makers - everybody's grandma, Sadie, whomever, can make some fried chicken that would make your wig fall off,” she says. “African-Americans being ashamed to eat fried chicken or watermelons is heartbreaking and in complete alignment of the philosophical alignment of oppression and slavery. You're made to turn against yourself and abandon your culture.”

Davis combats that in the kitchen, she says. While she doesn’t fry chicken every Sunday like her grandmother did, she corrals her daughter a couple times a year to show her how it’s done. Her daughter is from the lean-chicken-breast-on-the-grill generation, Davis jokes, but there’s a serious point: “We lose our food, we lose our stories.”

“I would sit in the kitchen while my grandmother told the story about her grandmother made this pound cake - as she's making it and I'm watching,” she recalls. “I remember that she would use the notches in her fingers as measurements.

“It wasn't precise, but there were all these stories and our history was completely folded up in telling these stories as you're sitting in the kitchen and watching your grandmother and your mother cook. This happens with everybody. That's why they call it ‘soul food.’”

And that’s what Davis wishes Deen would acknowledge - that she’s peddling and profiting off the food part, but leaving the soul behind.

Deen writes frequently about learning in the kitchen at her Grandma Paul’s side, and shares that story with a wider audience. African-American food traditions were often shared orally, and only within the community, Davis says. She now believes they need to take control over their own story, document it and spread the gospel. Cookbooks by African-American celebrities like Pearl Bailey and Patti LaBelle are a great start, but there needs to be more, and in cooks’ own words.

“If our stories aren't told correctly and through a proper lens, we get cut out of the narrative,” Davis says.

“In those kitchen moments, my grandmother and grandfather's life became real to me. We have to write it down. We're not living in a time where people are eating fried chicken for four or five hours on Sunday, with anybody. This is the perfect time to take our oral history, film it, write it down so it's not lost.”

Food justice activist and podcast host Nicole A. Taylor, a native Southerner, said in a recent video blog that she’s “done with Paula Deen,” but that the incident sheds a light on the food world needing more African-American representation on Food Network and in mainstream media outlets.

“We need to show that the South is just not Paula Deen,” she said. “The South is me. The South is immigrants who are moving here. We need to lift these people up so that Paula Deen does not become the poster child for what is Southern in terms of food.”

And Twitty would like to sit down and talk about it over a meal. In a much-read open letter to Deen on his website yesterday, he invited the embattled chef to a gathering at a historic plantation in September when he’s hosting a fundraiser for Historic Stagville, a North Carolina, plantation that once held 900 slaves and is now a historic tourist destination.

“I want you to walk the grounds with me, go into the cabins, and most of all I want you to help me cook,” Twitty wrote. “If you’re brave enough, let’s break bread...This isn’t publicity this is opportunity. Leave the cameras at home.”

Davis, too, believes in the power of food to soothe and stitch painful rifts. “Food and music are the foundations of African-American - and American culture. They're a perfect way to talk about race and move forward. And they're a thing that people love about us, and we love about us - but it's been abused,” she says.

Davis continued, “The first thing you have to do is admit that it's happened, talk about it, move on and forgive. Have a conversation over a meal with some music. These conversations: This is the work. This is how we heal.”

Want to know more about African American contributions to Southern cooking? Dig in and let us know what's missing in the comments below:

Books (note: some are out of print, but available through used book stores):
– The African American Heritage Cookbook: Traditional Recipes & Fond Remembrances - Carolyn Quick Tillery
– Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine One Plate at a Time - Adrian Miller (Coming August 15)
– Mama Dip’s Kitchen - Mildred Council
– The Taste of Southern Cooking - Edna Lewis
– High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America - Jessica B. Harris
– Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America - Frederick Douglass Opie
– A Taste of Heritage: The New African American Cuisine - Toni Tipton-Martin and Joe Randall
– The Dooky Chase Cookbook - Leah Chase

Blogs and Websites:
Farming While Black
Food Culturist
The Blacker the Berry Food
Black Culinary History
Southern Foodways Alliance Oral Histories

Paula Deen – From the frying pan to the firestorm
Hugh Acheson: Southern food beyond the butter
The cook who picks cotton: reclaiming my roots
How far has Southern food traveled since segregation?
Old world ingredients you should know and use from the South
Why it's different in the South
Why diversity matters in a restaurant kitchen
Why eating grits doesn't automatically make you a Southerner
5@5 – Overlooked Southern ingredients
Mehepyewpleez? A love letter to K&W Cafeteria
Boiled peanuts
She-crab soup, shrimp and grits, benne seed wafers and the lowdown on Lowcountry cuisine
5@5 – Virginia Willis – Southern is a state of mind
Talk with your mouth full – what is Southern food?
Reclaiming the soul of Southern food
Southern food: more voices from the field

soundoff (956 Responses)
  1. M. Etienne

    Check out" Aunt Marylue's Creole Cajun Cooking & More"- BY author W. Je'an

    March 25, 2014 at 11:20 am |
  2. W. Je'an

    Talk about the power of cooking and the African American cooking experience; check out Coffee Table cook book "Aunt Marylue's Creole Cajun Cooking & More" on amazon. The 440 coffee table cookbook tell the African American story of culinary foods prepared by 3 generations of African American cooks of Southern, Creole, Cajun ,African, American Indian and International recipes . It tells the true story of our foods and the Foods our ancestors created and sweated over. What a replacement this book could be of telling our real stories and foods. The book along with the Grand Madam of cooking Ms. Leah Chase's cookbooks can take the place of Paula Deen's attempt to showcase our foods without mentioning our contributions. Culinary historian Michael, Michela Angela Davis Boyce Watkins ,Nicole A. Taylor ,Kat Kinsman please check out Aunt Marylue's Creole Cajun Cooking & More by author W. Je'an and see what you think.

    March 25, 2014 at 11:18 am |
  3. cakkleshack

    I'm so gad that I have the opportunity to comment on this non-story. Like to do my part to keep crap like this going.

    July 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  4. A Southern Man

    Utter dribble. Give credit where credit is due???? Most southern cooking comes from a history even before slaves. Okra and tomato-Creole, Hoe cake- American Indian, Peach Cobbler- China, Shoofly pie- Pennsylvania Dutch, Chitterlings- All over the world, and so many more. I'll give credit where credit is due. This article is more racist than it is factual.

    July 19, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  5. rburgessfl

    Paula Deen gives credit to other cultures in the introduction to her cookbook, Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible. She specifically mentions African Americans and Native Americans. Perhaps the author of this article as well as the "African-American food and culture scholars" she quotes could do some actual research before commenting. I believe it's what writers and scholars are supposed to do.

    July 17, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • MarilynV

      Absolutely correct. No one race developed 'southern' cooking, and I for one, when I used to watch food network, saw her have guests from every race on her show. Really, the author should have done better research or at least watched Paula's show for years, like I have.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  6. Maurish

    This does come across as political.
    Essentially the argument comes down to Deen cooking soul food without the soul.
    As described, the soul is sitting there with your forebears teaching you their culinary knowledge...somehow that tradition has become an African-American one. But thats how its been done throughout time.

    Soul Food is universal.
    Soul food cooking is the comfort in being taught by someone you trust like your mom or grandma which Paula Deen emulates. That is her success. She was soulful. To say Deen was cooking soul food without the soul as the article does is a completely racist comment.

    July 17, 2013 at 7:29 am |
  7. Alexa

    All this is shameful!!! We need to have a second look and see that Paula Deen is being judged for a "racial comment" said 30 years ago. Please! We can judge that, but ignore all the racial comments in this article. I am not from either side, but it's obvious that a group can be blountly racist while prosecuting the other race, specially those who are successful, for everything they feel is racist...even the smallest and oldest occurences. Not sure what's going on, but one race can attack the other with comments, racist slurs and the law, while the other race has to cross their arms for fear of being judged and loosing everything they worked very hard for. Racism is unacceptable! But it should apply to EVERYONE! This article makes reference to fried chicken, okra and other foods....What about real American Food that is being cooked and enjoyed by everyone....same with the asian cuisine, authentic spanish cousine, mexican couisine, mediterrenean and so on.....We should be happy to share our roots and allow everyone the freedom to cook, enjoy, eat and express themselves without being constantly judgemental and racist.

    July 13, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • NJSTAR

      Amen! Alexa...I feel this whole Paula Deen has been blown out of proportion! First we were talking about something she said 30 years ago! now we are talking about who should get credit for Southern friend chicken!! Has this world gone nuts...they other day Twitter almost exploded because some ignorant fools and uneducated ones as well thought Marc Anthony is Mexican!! Marc Anthony is just as American as apple pie....someone I know was asked if she was a f**cking Puerto Rican or a f**king Mexican simply because she could not locate what the customer needed... Has this world gone nuts! YESSSSSSSSSSS! IT has. The woman(Paula) has apologized over and over again but "NO" that's not enough...why? because it was a southern woman who made the statement about a black person? but yet the person I know "did not even receive an apology and worst of it all...it was okay with her boss...you know why becasue "she's a customer" and she is not, are you ready....Paula Deen!!! Yes folks its all about the money!! I hope and pray we can move on and stop the non-sense already! She made a mistake...she apologized...let's move on!!!

      July 23, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  8. chefman316

    If you think that Southern cooking today resembles anything from the 1970's or even hundreds of years earlier, you are mistaken. If you think what American's know as Chinese, or Italian food actually resembles the true local fair in those countries, you are also mistaken. If Southern style is a broad term derived from many different cultures and time periods, no one deserves credit. This is just another way of someone trying to blow things out of proportion.

    July 10, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Rebecca

      I am from Georgia and have observed the changes in cooking since the 1960's. You are correct that most of the "traditional" methods of cooking have been changed due to health needs.However, it amazes me that people automatically connect Georgia with slavery. My ancestors arrived in the late 1700's and never owned slaves. They lived above Atlanta in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains like so many other settlers. Slavery was rare in that area. So, my grandmother learned how to cook from ancestors that arrived from Scotland instead of slaves. We really need to teach our children more history.

      July 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  9. vdanker

    Why is she still being called "chef"? She's about as far from a chef as you can get. "Average cook" is giving her credit.

    July 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  10. GK

    My family came from farm-stock that worked hard all day long. And as far back as I've been able to trace, never owned a slave. So, the wonderful (although not terribly healthy) food that my grandmothers cooked didn't come from "black slaves," and it included things like black-eyed peas, okra in every form known to mankind, cornbread, hoecakes, fried chicken, etc. This is yet another example of people out to get Paula for the simple fact that she's rich and white and made a mistake 30 years ago.

    July 6, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Zman

      Yes, however many of those foods originated in Africa and were first cultivated by Africans. Had the African-Americans who had come to America so long ago, many as slaves, not taught people about these foods, we would have never had nor learned how to prepare many of those ingredients. So while your family may not have owned slaves, they have them to thank for introducing these foods and sharing the information to other people so that your relatives could learn how to make what is commonly called southern food today.

      July 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • fzkatt

        Fried Chicken is from Scotland. Hoecake and Cornbread from native americans. My ancestors never owned slaves and they managed to figure out how to cook for themselves.

        October 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
  11. Dabigstink

    “Paula Deen once did hoecake on her show and never once mentioned that this was the hardtack and daily bread of enslaved people.”

    Hoecake?!? Ho's gotta eat too....

    July 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  12. letsBfair

    Wait a minute – writer and image activist Michaela Angela Davis says in the article above “We all related to her when she was at the BOTTOM and worked her way up,“ but "When you put money in it and you're [then] in a different class, you get all the benefits of being white and privileged." Is she saying it was acceptable for Paula to be poor and struggling – but when all her hard work paid off and Deen became successful that justifies media attempts to ruin this woman's life by raking her over the coals (Jackson's own depo exonerates Deen of the racism and sexual harassment charges – but now she's crying "abuse of power")? Was that what the media had in mind – to bring Ms. Deen back down to a more relate-able level for the rest of us po' folks?

    July 5, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  13. Robert


    Thank you for the correction. (a shame; ashamed)
    It is rewarding that we have a person of such intelligence monitoring this blog....

    July 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  14. Passing Gastronomist

    All of you people who think black people invented this cooking are simply out of your minds. Please visit Africa (as I have) and you will find that the people eat food that the average American simply would not (including American blacks). Hope you like yams for lunch and yams for dinner. This "southern cooking" is just an adaption of European cooking and nothing more. There is a reason black Americans open so few restaurants and frequent everyone elses!

    July 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  15. Sully

    Another outrageous racial argument from CNN.

    “We’re burned by this,” says writer and image activist Michaela Angela Davis. “Why does she get all the money and fame around the food that our ancestors created and sweated over?”

    How about all the things that white people invented and blacks make a living from today. Should they have to acknowledge that also? Because if so it would be a virtual parade of praise heaped on whites for all the jobs that are done that simply didn't exist.

    July 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  16. Michael Benjamin

    It is highly doubtful that Miss Piggy was attempting to play to the African American crowd. That is not her audience. Any nod to them would certainly offend her white brethren. Raised in a racially segregated society her attitude it is not surprising. Is she a racist? I don't know. She is a fraud that much is obvious.

    July 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  17. Jared

    One thing i have to say that bugged me about htis article was the part on fried chicken, fried chicken is in no way an african dish, fried chicken style dishes go way back to the middle ages in europe. They are a european food first. And paula deen is a chef, she doesnt need to go into history about each recipe she makes or give thanks to whoever originally did it first. I mean do you every time you bake cookies or pies, think about the orignal makers and think they deserve recognition.

    July 2, 2013 at 5:05 am |
    • Diamond

      PD is not a chef and has never claimed to be. She is a self-proclaimed kook, uh, cook.

      July 2, 2013 at 6:55 am |
      • Robert

        You should be a shame to type that.

        Let's hope you're never wrongly accused....

        July 2, 2013 at 7:52 am |
        • BlinkyWinky

          The word you were looking for is "ashamed"

          July 3, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Dee

      Agreed. This is an article on the history of Southern Food. Very Informative. Maybe the writer of this article could have done a bit more research.. All I did was Google "History of Southern Food" and voila la! There is was: http://www.southernfood.com/history.html

      July 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • PK

        I have watched Paula Deen for the entertaining qualites. She is a southern woman and cooks the favorite southern style of cooking. No, she's not a chef as she herself has admitted.
        Being a long time southerner she has admitted to using words that are no longer geing used. She uses the preferable names now. Not only that, but she has had black folks as guests on her show who now have their own shows. I'm afraid that the people who have been tearing her apart never watched more than a few shows, if any. They have just jumped on the racial bandwagon! These people ought to go after some othe southern folk and see if they will admit to using words that are no longer used today because they're ofensive! I think not!

        July 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  18. Robert

    OK..We have to be honest..This is part of CNN.
    Would you expect much less?
    I was surprised to see Andy (Anderson) take a lead on Baldwin's gay rant!
    I was glad to hear it but why is CNN so mum..the real reason for Paula Deen being destroyed?
    Because she refused to simply write a check for more than a million dollars to an extortion attempt.....
    It has nothing to do with the n word..

    July 1, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  19. Robert

    This is extortion and nothing more. When Paula refused to simply write a check they threatened to destroy her with public media and print.
    When she said the N word, it was in the privacy of her own home, to her husband, describing the man that put a gun to her head in an attempt to rob the bank she worked at (after SHE helped him secure a loan no one was willing to do).
    He was interviewed and said he feels sorry he cause this situation for her. If her had never put that gun to her head. He actually broke down in tears talking to Inside Edition....

    By Tom Barton

    Georgia’s history books report that 458 people were lynched in this state between 1882 and 1930, second only to Mississippi.

    Most of the victims — but not all — were black. This carnage left a permanent bruise on the Peach State. It’s a reminder that justice should be dispensed in court, not at the end of a rope.

    Or by money-grubbing lawyers.

    Forget everything you’ve heard or read about Paula Deen the past two weeks. Ignore her tearful apologies for saying the N-word 30 years ago. Dismiss those who believe she’s worthy of forgiveness, like former President Jimmy Carter and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Forget all the good she has done in feeding the hungry and helping the poor, and the jobs and paychecks her businesses have provided.

    None of that matters now. The deed has been done.

    Savannah’s celebrity chef has been lynched — figuratively and publicly in the court of public opinion, and without a full and fair accounting of the facts. Why? Mostly because this 66-year-old woman who impressively built an empire from scratch said “no” to the equivalent of a shakedown.

    When Deen refused to pay $1.25 million in hush money last year to a former employee of her brother’s restaurant — a white woman who claimed, among other things, that Deen’s brother was guilty of racial discrimination — the lynch mob began forming.

    “Exposure of the racist and sexist culture of her corporate and personal life is going to permanently, and irreparably, damage the value of the brand,” Savannah attorney S. Wesley Woolf warned in a Jan. 31, 2012, demand letter to Deen’s lawyer. He stated that “if we are unable to settle, the Complaint will not be quietly filed. I am making arrangements for a press conference on the day of the filing. I have identified the journalist for the New York Times who covers civil rights matters and he will be provided a pre-filing exclusive. A nationwide press release will be issued to the major networks, newspapers, newsmagazines and news websites across the country.”

    And finally, the closer: “I hope that upon full and deliberate consideration of this offer, (your clients) will come to understand that the small price they quietly pay and that my client quietly accepts will allow Paula Deen a chance to salvage a brand that can continue to have value.”

    Woolf was a hangman of his word. Except for one thing. The Times didn’t break the June 19 story about Deen using the N-word. The National Enquirer did. Still, the illusion of the First Lady of Southern Cooking as an unreconstructed bigot spread faster than grease on a hot griddle.

    Today, the celebrity chef that Forbes said earned $18 million in 2012 is being hung out to dry financially. To add insult to injury, the woman behind the lawsuit, Lisa T. Jackson, admitted that she never heard Deen make a racist remark. Or, do anything discriminatory. But when you’ve threatened to inflict “permanent” harm on someone, facts don’t matter. It’s about whipping a mob into a frenzy.

    It’s a lynching for our times. Yes, that word shouldn’t be idly used. But given the injustice, it fits.

    None of this absolves Deen from using a racist slur. It doesn’t excuse her brother, Earl W. “Bubba” Hiers, who’s accused of sexual harassment. But there is such as thing as punishment fitting the crime. This doesn’t come close.

    And what about that lawsuit — the one that spawned the rope used to string up Paula? It’s pending in federal court here before U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr.

    Moore has sent signals that suggest this case is a lemon. It’s no wonder. White people can do bad things. But what is white-on-white discrimination? An opera lover being forced to listen to country music?

    The plaintiff and her lawyers, which includes Atlanta attack dog Matthew Billips, shouldn’t be hoping for a big score. They fired their one bullet. It made a huge noise and caused tremendous harm. But they got zilch. It makes you wonder if they studied law by watching “Night Court” reruns.

    Here’s what Moore said Aug. 23, 2012, about the plaintiff’s legal strategy — it “defies logic and borders on the ludicrous.”

    So does what happened to Paula Deen. These rope burns were undeserved. They could sting for a long time.

    Tom Barton is the editorial page editor of the Savannah Morning News. tom.barton@savannahnow.com.

    July 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Robert

      Correction, typo...
      He was interviewed and said he feels sorry he cause this situation for her. If her (HE) had never put that gun to her head. He actually broke down in tears talking to Inside Edition....
      Also...This was about 30 years ago....She could have lied and said no...She is an honest woman and told the truth.
      The media bit on this and ran....Never mind reporting the TRUTH.................

      July 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Rebecca

      Why do people keep asking if we should "forgive" Paula Deen? What makes us think we are so important that she needs OUR forgiveness? She will make it financially based on approval, not forgiveness.Our country has developed an arrogant attitude that people are not allowed to make mistakes. How many mistakes have you made today and how many people need to forgive you? Enough, people. Get away from your computer. Help the world become a better place, and maybe, just maybe, an individual you have hurt might forgive you.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  20. bt491

    Seriously, this article is just ridiculous. There have been thousands of "southern" cookbooks before Paula Deen and not one of them thanked the AA community but since Paula Deen has not given them credit she is crucified – unbelievable!

    July 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Latter-Day Haint

      Had she even once mentioned that her food came from African cooks in the time of slavery, EVERYBODY WOULD HAVE JUMPED HER FOR THAT! Who ought to be back-handed in this whole thing are the mostly white hypocrites who had their tails on their shoulders looking down on her food as white trash because THEY are the friggin' bigots! And CNN. Bigoted CNN. Dog, how I hate CNN.

      July 6, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • Sassy

      When the author of the article said Paula Deen made it because of white privilege – she lost me. I personally find the term "white privilege" offensive, divisive, and prejudiced. I'm sick of the white people are only successful because of having all the advantages and African American failure is always due to "oppression" . Find a new platform lady. This one is way past its prime!

      July 1, 2013 at 8:09 pm |

        couldnt agree more but what do you expect from Communist News Network CNN its liberal bias all day if they can make something seem racist they will to destroy paula deens charecter. Stay stron paula dont let them shake you down. by the way im spanish but what does it matter im racist now for standing with paula

        July 6, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  21. ruraldane

    Paula Deen should not have to apologize for not recognizing the contributions of African American cooking. Why is she being the scapegoat of the media? This article was by far the worst I have read in a long time. This is political correctness gone to the extreme. We would ALL lose our jobs if our employers could fire us based on comments made during our lifetime, let alone 27 years ago.

    July 1, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  22. Cecelia

    I'm sorry but we "Southerners" were cooking long before the "African Slaves" came over. The Native Americans were here before we were. If we were to contribute anyone on our cooking, I believe it would be the "Europeans" and the"Native Americans". Slavery was a very long time ago, "you" are not in bonds and chains now, get over it!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Judith

      Yes, Europeans were cooking before Africans were enslaved in their kitchens but they were not cooking in the African tradition They had not learned it yet.

      July 2, 2013 at 9:17 am |
  23. POWMIA

    Southern Food is no more a black cuisine than it is a white cuisine. Neither race can take credit for it. Paula Deen is just a qualified to cook southern food as Leah Chase. This article is just dumb. The south is full of people of many races, and while black people contributed to the development of southern cuisine, so did white people, Creoles and Cajuns, and many others, so no single race owns the cuisine. Nobody who cooks southern food has to tell the story of the cuisine any particular way. If its wrong for Paula Deen to cook southern cuisine without giving enough credit to black people, thn you would be guilty of something even worse if you start claiming that black people actually invented it. At least she doesn't make the ludicrous statement that southern food is a white cuisine, or a black one,...its neither. Its southern and that's it.

    July 1, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Cecelia


      July 1, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  24. Khantrek

    Just another white bashing, "we are oppressed still" article from a racist non-white. The same article switching blacks for whites and vice versa would never have been posted.

    If these are black owned food items....then make a cook book, claim it, and shut it.

    July 1, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      - "Just another white bashing, 'we are oppressed still' article from a racist non-white."

      I'm the author, and as it happens, I am white.

      July 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • VladT

        Lol....good job, Kat, for this being the main post you reply too. Not all of the other valid points abut how ludicrous this piece actually is.

        I believe you forgot the term "self-hating" in your sentence before the word "white."

        July 7, 2013 at 4:19 am |
  25. Louisa

    If a lily-white, southern woman gave black people credit for watermelon and fried chicken there would be a backlash of epic proportion. How about leaving that up to the black cooks? Just like the "n" word, the food association would only come across as non-racial if coming from another black. Don't make rules about what whites can and cannot say and then complain when we won't touch a racial subject with a ten-foot pole.

    July 1, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  26. patriottony

    So according to the RACIST Author of this article...if I make Veal Parm, and me being Italian,,,,I'm stealing from my anscestors? The recipes she speaks of are not AFRICAN, Black or anything else,,they were developed in the South based on regional populations, in fact,,,Gumbo, etc,,are FRENCH....!!!!! having been transplanted here when the french settled in New Orleans,,,hence the unique accent.....HARDTACK was developed by the US CAVALRY,,,for soldiers...Beans and Rice....? Really? They don't grow much rice in ARID africa....do they?

    July 1, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • muskrat

      OMG! the french would not even eat irish potatoes, brainless bufoons. european food is bland and tastless, disgusting.

      July 1, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • muskrat

      ARID Africa? The whole of Africa is Arid? 'Gumbo' is a French word?
      How st00pid are you?

      July 1, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • muskrat

      you done messed up my day.
      starvation and disease drove your ancestors into ships. do you know you history?

      July 1, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Pat

      The recipes my mother and her mother before her made did not come from black people, they came from the hills of Tenn and GA and no black people lived there at the time. Sick of this crap.

      July 1, 2013 at 8:37 am |
  27. Viv

    I'm imagining the show in which Deen attributes fried chicken and watermelon to the African-American culture. Yeah, that would go over well. She's a cook, not a history professor.

    July 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Betty Davis

      I have watched Paula Deen from the time she went door-to-door with Gordon Elliot, fixing meals with what was in the frigde and pantry. I saw an episode where she did explain the history of HOECAKE, and about slaves making meals from the leftovers from the "big house" kitchen..scraps, bits and pieces that the women turned into meals to feed the people.
      Paula has had many black/African Americans chefs, cooks, on her show and the guest told of how the food was special to their growing up, watching grandmothers, mothers, aunts, etc prepare the food and cite the history of it. Some guest cooks were from the islands where the guest told the history of a dish they were making, explaining how their parent/parents prepared foods. So there has been a degree of credit to the history of popular Southern foods. Gumbo, hoecake, yams, Island foods, etc. Having a mother and grandparents, etc. from southern Georgia, I found some of her dishes foreign to what I grew up eating, like Curry Chicken Salad...in fact I never heard of that being southern food. Maybe some one should watch every episode of every one of the three shows she had on TV and recollect what she actually said about the dishes she cooked. There was also Paula's Party., another show she had that was made maybe in New York at the Foodnetwork kitchens. She is still on GAC which is televising her very old start up shows. She was honest about saying the word and damage was done financially. Whether she ever rebounds will be in the future. If the lawsuit is dismissed, there will be a new round of Paula Deen on every media outlet.

      July 5, 2013 at 2:48 am |
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