I can only hope to cook like Paula Deen

Published 9:43 am Monday, April 25, 2011

Column: Something About Nothing

I love Paula Deen. She is my cooking idol. Of course you know I can’t cook, but if I could, I would love to be another Paula Deen. Paula is funny and witty and makes cooking look like fun.

Recently I took a look at my pots and pans. They looked like I had actually abused them the last few years. This set of pots and pans was purchased in 2007 with a lifetime warranty. I didn’t take the lifetime warranty too seriously because I only paid $187 for the cookware. How much lifetime could $187 hold? The scratches and kinks in my no-stick cookwear looked like I had actually been carving designs in their surfaces.

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I decided to test the lifetime warranty promise, never thinking anyone would actually take this warranty seriously. I called QVC. I had purchased the pans on a special. The gentleman at QVC was able to look up my long ago order. He informed me that I had two options. I could contact the cookware company, and it would refund my money or replace my pans.

To do that, I would have to describe each pot and pan scratch by detail. My other option was to send all of them to QVC with postage provided by QVC, and they would refund all of my money. I did not need to document the scratches. Since I am not into documentation, I decided to take the QVC route.

I figured QVC would take one look at my pots and pans and know that I burn vegetables. I packed the entire set in the box and sent them off. This left me with a frying pan and a pot in my kitchen.

What a good excuse not to cook. My excuses went something like this “I am sorry I can’t cook tonight. I have no pots and pans, and I haven’t replaced them because I am waiting for my refund.”

Of course I put a saddened smile on my face while I would make the remark.

Days passed. I finally heard from QVC, and it refunded all of my money for my 2007 pots and pans. Now I had no more excuses; I had to shop for pots and pans and start cooking again.

Pots and pans do not excite me. I looked, and I looked. I compared and I asked questions, and time after time I would come home empty-handed. Finally the person I share my household with threatened to use Sam’s (my faithful hound) dog bowls to cook our evening meal.

I dragged myself out of the house to a Herberger’s sale. I walked the aisles. I looked at prices. And then I gazed at the face of Paula Deen, my cooking idol. I saw a burst of light surrounding the box, and I knew I had found my cookware. It was fate. I could cook like Paula. The best part was that Paula’s pots and pans were on sale.

I walked into my house excited for the first time about pots and pans. I couldn’t wait to cook. I wanted to interview Paula. I wanted to ask Paula how not to burn vegetables. I could hear her Southern drawl making a funny and witty comment about burning vegetables. Of course, she would have made sure I used plenty of butter, because Paula loves butter, before I burned the vegetables.

I unpacked each pot and pan carefully. I gazed at their surface. I looked at Paula’s recipes that came with the pots and pans. I could hear her voice describing each and every recipe. I could taste the butter and the flavors of her Southern-style cooking. I put the pots and pans on the stove. They fit perfectly. They looked even better. The surfaces of the pans were smooth with no nicks or scratches. I ran my hand over the surface and admired the detail of the colors. Carefully I took them off of the stove and stacked them in the cupboard.

The other day, I fried bacon. I used my old pan. I couldn’t bring myself to take the chance of marring the beautiful surface of Paula’s pots and pans. Why ruin the perfection of Paula’s pans with hot grease and sizzling bacon so soon after their arrival in my household? I don’t want to ruin my chance to cook like Paula.

I can joke about cooking like Paula Deen, but I admire her for so much more. Paula was a single mom who suffered from agoraphobia. Cooking helped her overcome this condition. She started her own catering business and then her own restaurant, “The Lady & Sons.” She became an author and a TV personality. She persevered through tough times. Her story can be an inspiration for all of us. Paula has said, “If you have a dream, follow it.” She did, and we can too.

Soon I will try my culinary skills with Paula’s pots and pans. Maybe I will wait for Paula to call me and give me some cooking tips before I tackle ruining her beautiful pots and pans with my penchant for burning vegetables. Paula if you are out there and reading this, Help!

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at thecolumn@bevcomm.net. Her blog is www.thankfuljoy.com. Listen to KBEW AM radio 1:30 p.m. Sundays for “Something About Nothing.”