Paula Deen is Not a Racist Y’all

Me and Paula hanging out in her gift shop in historic Savannah, Georgia.
Me and Paula hanging out in her gift shop in historic Savannah, Georgia.

I’ve never met Paula Deen, but this I know: She is not a racist. I write this post on the heels of yesterday’s breaking news–that Food Network will not be renewing her contract.

Paula Deen’s Hashbrown Casserole

Like many of her fans, I too am from the South, her native state of Georgia. We share a love for Southern comfort food, seafood and the coast. For years, I’ve cooked from her cookbooks, eaten at Savannah’s The Lady and Sons, visited her gift shop and looked forward to Saturday mornings when I could sit down and learn from her as I watched Food Network. I’ve spent many an hour in the kitchen following her recipes and laughing with my Grandma over how long it took me to bake her lemon cake, and how easy they made it look on TV. I can’t count the number of times I’ve eaten a delicious cake or herb-roasted pork tenderloin with the family, and upon that first bite of pleasure uttered the words, “It’s a Paula Deen recipe,” as everyone tasted in agreement. I’ve read her book It Ain’t All About the Cooking and have found myself in her as I admired her rags-to-riches story. I’ve tasted some of the best food I’ve ever put in my mouth from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible. Paula Deen is a nationwide household name. As fans, we feel a connection to her, relate to her and associate good memories with her food and her name.

Just this week before the news was revealed, I made known my ambitions to cook with Paula on her Best Dishes Food Network show. She has been a huge inspiration for me in the kitchen and without her, I wouldn’t be the cook I am today. Paula paved the way for many Southern TV food personalities that have come and are coming after her. For that, I’m thankful.

I believe Paula Deen is a kind-hearted, generous and caring woman. Her fans–black and white–are loyal. Those that know and love Paula admire her courage. I believe her apologies were sincere. When reading the fan’s reactions to the news on Food Network’s Facebook wall just yesterday, one comment said it all: “Leave my Paula alone. Yes, I am African-American.”

Paula, Michael, Jamie and Bobby…if any of you read this, know that this morning we sit around our breakfast tables saddened. We’re wondering how this will affect Jamie and Bobby’s Food Network shows, how we’ll ever be able to watch the network again without hearing Paula’s laugh and seeing her familiar, friendly face. No matter what lies ahead, we love you all and will always be fans. Know that our thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

Paula Deen is not a racist, and that’s just the truth y’all.

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My Year in the Blog-Sphere

Some Kinda Good is one. Happy Blog-iversary to me!

I began blogging at a time in my life–the year was 2011, the month was November–when I needed to be fully engaged in something. It’s amazing how the landscape of your life can change in a year’s time, and who would’ve thought blogging about crab legs and barbecue would’ve filled a hole I never knew was missing?

Blogging allows me to combine many of my favorite things like eating, food and cooking but also writing, taking pictures, being on camera and sharing my personality and passion for coastal culture and the South. I really didn’t have any expectations when I set out to blog, other than not being one of those people on Facebook that share nothing but food pictures–because unknowingly, I was that girl for a long time. The moment became very real to me when a friend commented on one of my food pictures with this: “Facebook: Rebekah’s Food Diary.” I thought, ‘Wow, he’s right. There’s a better way.’

Enter Some Kinda Good.

Some Kinda Good’s original design by my friend, Amanda Hudson.

With a background in web writing and PR, I had all the skills in place. I set out to learn WordPress and gathered up some photos of the food I’d cooked. Not surprisingly, I had plenty of content at the ready, as though it had been stockpiled for its moment in the sun.

Some Kinda Good has evolved over the year, and I’m kind of embarrassed at some of my earlier posts. You’ve got to start somewhere though. As one of my favorite quotes says, “The expert in anything was once a beginner.”

Some Kinda Good’s current design by my friend, Tori Sprankel.

Throughout the year, I’ve built relationships with restaurant owners, food and beverage connoisseurs, food writers and other bloggers. I’ve gotten to meet notable cookbook authors, culinary producers, well-respected chefs and colleagues at food & beverage public relations firms throughout the Southern seacoast.  I’ve also subscribed to Bon Appetite Magazine and become a sort of amateur kitchen expert among friends and family. I’ve worked with ingredients I once considered foreign like, heirloom tomatoes and pimiento-cheese. I’ve sampled restaurant dishes I thought I would never order like fried chicken and waffles or an open-face whole egg omelet topped with goat cheese, sautéed shrimp, spiced pecans and arugula….for breakfast!

I’ve learned to be true to me, that you can’t pursue a food trend because it’s a trend. When I did that, I only did it for the sake of being popular, to show that I too was up-to-speed with food on a stick, kid food for adults and all things local and organic. While it was fun to experiment, those ventures lacked passion.

And we all know without passion, the fire dies.

All along, my philosophy has been guided by one thought from Julia Child who said, “Find something your passionate about, and keep tremendously interested in it.” I’m a firm believer that it’s never too late to do the things you love, and when you do the things you love, success comes.

Some Kinda Good was ranked #2 on Urbanspoon’s Leaderboard of Top Georgia Food Blogs September – November 2012.

These are the successes I’m celebrating…a few highlights from my year in the blog-sphere:

Most Popular Posts:

Most Searched Post:

Favorite Search Term:

  • Faulk Some Kinda Eating

Accomplishments:

  • Held #2 spot on Urbanspoon’s Leaderboard of Top Georgia Food Blogs: September – November 2012
  • Currently ranked #3 on Urbanspoon’s Leaderboard of Top Georgia Food Blogs
  • Featured as an Editor’s Pick of the Day on Bloggers.com
  • Featured as a Tweep of the Week on Atlanta Dish, the company blog of Melissa Libby & Associates
  • Becky Sue Hits the Big Time: Special feature on Kudzu Dad Blog
  • Featured in numerous editions of Paper.li, an online newspaper
My Farmers Market Fun and One Souped-Up Strawberry Shortcake post was featured in The Atlanta Moms Daily on April 30, 2012.

Relationships I’ve Built as a Result of Blogging: 

I got to meet Nathalie Dupree (bottom right) at the Inaugural Saint Simons Island Food & Spirits Festival in September 2012.

Without sounding too much like I’ve won a Grammy, I couldn’t celebrate my successes without acknowledging a few special folks:

Thanks to my mom and best friend Charity, who without fail were always the first to comment on my posts, even when the content lacked interest or when no one else cared. Thanks to my graphic designer friends, Amanda and Tori for giving my blog the exact look and feel I envisioned, as it progressed throughout the year. To Angela and Jennifer, my other best friends, thanks for all your encouraging words…your affirmation often kept me going. To my former co-workers and friends in the PR department at Floyd Medical Center, your belief in my abilities blows my mind. Thank you for your constant reassurance, for calling me out when my posts aren’t well beyond expectations and for holding me to the Class of Style standard.

And finally, my favorite Twitter friends: @Golden_Isles, @VisitSavannah, @ClassicGeorgia, @Grocerize and @ChefCourtney13–y’all are always faithful to retweet my posts and I’ve gained many followers as a result of your influence. Thank you, really.

With nearly 15,000 hits and a healthy following through social media, I’m pretty stoked. Not too shabby for my first year in the blog-sphere. Some Kinda Good is bringing my dreams to life. Maybe year two will include The Cooking Channel or Food Network. Dream big or go home!

Follow @SKGFoodBlog on Twitter or find me on Facebook.