Are We Really This Low? Who’s Next: The Girl Scouts?
Last week southern cooking chef Paula Deen revealed that she had type 2 diabetes, and a backlash (including a recent NYT article by Frank Bruni) ensued. Today, Deen’s publicist of six years quit amid the firestorm. The crux of the public outcry seems to be that Deen had a responsibility to let her fans know that she was paying the consequences for eating her own cooking. Really? Is this what we’ve become? The Girl Scouts haven’t warned me that a single sleeve of Thin Mints (which I can eat in one sitting while watching The Biggest Loser) has over 600 calories. Shame on those cherubic cookie pushers for wreaking havoc on my blood sugar.
Paula Deen doesn’t run a healthy cooking show. We watch her because we want an excuse to indulge. We want to slather ourselves in butter-laden and gravy-rich side dishes. America is obese, and though we’d like to blame it on sneaky fast food chains with their 24-hour drive-thrus and subversive advertising campaigns, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
I don’t trust a skinny chef any more than I’d hand my body over to an overweight personal trainer. I’m aghast, and honestly quite fearful that we’ll start making Emeril divulge his cholesterol levels or have Rachel Ray tell us her body mass index. Do we need Paula Deen to tell us that dishes like one of her favorites, a burger sandwiched between two glazed donuts, might not be good for us? Have we really sunk so far as to attack a woman who has made us tremendously happy giving us recipes we love while she’s in the middle of dealing with a health crisis?
I’ve come to the conclusion that we aren’t really angry with Paula Deen for keeping her health problems from us. Quite the opposite: We’re furious she felt the need to tell us. Just like most of you reading this column, I didn’t want to know there were 600 calories in a sleeve of Thin Mints. But, I’m not going to yell at the ten-year old girl who sold them to me or blame her that I have cellulite. Plain and simple, we don’t want to be reminded that we can’t eat fried chicken and cookies every day because eventually it will kill us. It’s the truth. And it seems to me that Paula Deen’s only transgression was reminding us of it.