So a few months back I tried to win an eBay auction for an early printing of Charleston Receipts by the Junior League of Charleston, SC. It was a fifth printing and I figured that was one of the earliest editions I’d come across. Needless to say, I ended up getting outbid right there at the end.
A few weeks ago, I was doing a search on eBay and came across another listing for a Charleston Receipts, but this one actually said “true first edition.” Hmmmmmmm. Really? Is that even possible? This didn’t come up in my usual search, it was listed at the bottom of the page—which meant it was listed slightly differently, enough so that I wouldn’t have come across it normally.
I clicked on the images and saw an inscription that was dated 1950. Unbelievable! It really looks like a first edition, first printing. The opening bid was a little on the high side, but if it’s the real deal, I could consider this a birthday present for myself and plan on a little extra padding on the maximum bid.
And then it happened, the auction ended and no one bid against me. Seriously? Was this listing so off the beaten path that no one else saw it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy that I won it without having to blow my bank account.
The seller was up in Raleigh and the package arrived very quickly, within two days. When the mail arrived, I was on my way to the grocery store so I took the package with me. As I sat in the parking lot of the Food Lion, I couldn’t wait any longer. I opened up the box, unwrapped the layers of bubble wrap and tissue paper. As I opened up the cookbook, there was a smaller booklet tucked in.
Well…..that wasn’t in the eBay description. It’s a cool “nice to have” item, looks like a small booklet with recipes. The back cover has spaces for mailing addresses. So this is some kind of souvenir recipe booklet mailer. And then, to my dismay, I looked at the inscription:
My heart sank. It’s the wrong one. I looked at the page with the publication dates….not even close to an original printing:
Oh no. I bet the seller accidentally mailed out mine first printing to the person that was meant to have this version. My mind started racing, that person would open up their package and notice that they got an original first printing…know exactly what it was and keep it. Ugh….
When I got back home, I logged on and went to the seller’s page. And there was another listing for a later edition Charleston Receipts with a booklet, the one that was at my side. So, maybe this was just an accident of shipping out the wrong one—not that both were sold and I’ll never get the one I won.
I sent an email to the seller and let them know what happened. They emailed back very quickly to apologize and said they forgot about having more than one copy of Charleston Receipts. And to my surprise, said to keep the one I had. What? I offered to ship it back so that they could still have the opportunity to sell it again but they said to keep it to make up for the disappointment I must have felt when I opened up the box only to see the wrong cookbook.
How nice, that was really generous!
Two days later, another box arrived and there was the inscription:
And when I got to the list of publication dates…I saw a lot of empty space:
It’s like the cookbook version of a unicorn! I didn’t think it actually existed but here it was! I feel like I’ve got a major addition to the collection here and I am so relieved to finally have it here.
When thinking back over my Mom’s cookbook collection, she had a ton of SC First Lady Cookbooks that were published for years as an American Cancer Society fundraiser. I think those started in the 1970’s? Imagine my surprise when, by chance, I saw a listing on eBay for a First Lady Cookbook from my hometown of Florence, SC…from 1939!
How exciting! Now this couldn’t be the same type of First Lady cookbook because the ones my Mom had were meant to be from the governor’s wife, the state’s First Lady. So, where’s this cookbook coming from?
Notice that all the ladies are listed by their husband’s names? I know it was the way things were done back in the day…but I just wish the ladies who ran these organizations (for women) would’ve put their own names on the title page.
The lady listed for the Florence Art Association has the last name Rainwater. My grandmother, a cook, had a client by that name. Every Christmas, my Grandma made chocolate covered peanut butter balls and cheese crisps and delivered them to her very posh home near a park. Throughout my childhood, I got to accompany my Grandma on several of these deliveries. I wonder if this is the same lady?
What a nice way to start off the birthday month: the gift of a cookbook from my church.
How awful is it that I actually missed church this Sunday? Luckily, the guys were nice enough to bring it home to me. To keep it from becoming part of the clutter, I bet they thought twice about it.
I’m already intrigued by their Chinese Pork Fried Rice and Chicken Satay recipes.
Thanks to the Birthday Ministry at my church! It’s been a rough year for me and this was a really unexpected, uplifting and thoughtful gift.
Quick post to talk about a great trip to a local Habitat for Humanity ReStore recently. I found these two gems in the local section:
Bob Timberlake’s Recipes from Home (Bob Timberlake) and A Plate Full (Davidson College Presbyterian Church).
Think I’ll start watching the Bob Timberlake website to see the next time he’s doing an autograph signing session at one of his galleries. And take a look at the name of this dish from the Davison College Presby cookbook:
Fall to Your Knees Mac & Cheese? Good gracious, is this Velveeta Shells & Cheese level of goodness?
(Now that the home is on the market, I figured I needed to post about this amazing experience from last year before she sells the house!)
Around the same time the Paula Deen Live! event was getting ready to happen, I got an invite to the Paula Deen Network Launch Party in Savannah, GA. I wasn't sure why I got an invite, but I was really thrilled to get it. Sounded like a great time and if I could stay at the in-law's condo on Hilton Head Island, then it would only cost gas money and a few meals for the whole adventure.
I accepted the invite and was really looking forward to a nice weekend.
As the time for the event got closer, I started to get some interesting info:
—No cell phones, a photographer would be on hand to take pictures
—We'd be taken to the event location in groups by buses, so be on time
—I would be in the final group
Interesting…but I hope we can find a parking space in downtown Savannah on a Saturday night!
The condo was already spoken for that weekend, but the hubby found an inexpensive hotel in the area and we drove down Saturday morning. We checked in, changed clothes and started on our adventure.
We checked in at Ort Hall and there were a few others waiting as well. As we waited to get on the shuttle buses, we relaxed with some amazing sweet tea and snacked on the very best ham I've ever had along with apple slices dipped in a delicious Orange Blossom Honey.
Our destination was still unknown, but my best bet was that we were heading to a private dining room at another restaurant owned by her company. As we boarded the bus, we heard someone say, "Have fun at Paula's house!," but weren't really sure if they were joking.
Now buses aren't known for being quick transportation, but after a while, we ended up in an actual neighborhood. So no private room at a restaurant, we were at somebody's house. Lots of whispering with the others on the bus…were we really, really at Paula's house?
Our bus was waiting on two other buses to exit the driveway, so we were stuck there for a few minutes. Then the door opened and Hollis (Paula Deen's chief of security) walked in and said he'd walk us onto the property.
SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! We're really here!
The property is gorgeous and the house is just stunning. (And yes, I walked by the guest house where Oprah and Gayle stayed.) We lined up and went inside. The living room was huge and spacious and elegant and everything you'd want your living room to be. And at the other end of the room was the Lady herself, Paula Deen. Her husband, Michael, was there with her as she smiled and spoke with each guest. There was a professional photographer snapping away—thank goodness she'd be there to capture my humidity-induced frizzie hairdo.
Our wait in line gave us more than enough time to admire the living room. Now that the home is listed for sale, you can go online and see just how beautiful it is…my words couldn't do it justice.
When it was our time to meet Paula, one of her little dogs had jumped up on the sofa in front of her. I said, "Don't you just want to rub that little belly?" She bent down, kissed the dog and rubbed his belly. It was such a nice moment seeing her so relaxed and happy.
And then, she reached out her hand and pulled me towards her.
We had a conversation about the live event in Charlotte and finding out that I have the same birthday as Lee Greenwood. Michael chimed in and said, “He’s a bit older than you!” Then, we turned toward the camera and got this shot:
It may have only been a minute or two, but she made it feel like we talked for much longer.
After we met with Paula and Michael, we made our way over to the doors leading outside. Bobby Deen was standing there talking with some people. He saw me and I got a quick hug. Super-super nice guy! When we made it outside, we saw huge platters of fried chicken and biscuits being served. The patio area had this unbelievable outdoor kitchen and the chicken was being fried in batches. We each got a fried chicken breast and a flute of champagne. And let me tell you, that was some fantastic chicken! I never got a biscuit, but that’s okay—what a wonderful evening—and it wasn’t over yet!
After she finished greeting the rest of our group and enjoyed some time outside with everyone, she called us all back inside.
We all gathered back inside the living room and she spoke to us about dealing with last year's controversy, the fallout and how she found strength in the fans that still believed in her. I can tell you that, to me, every word felt honest and heartfelt. There was a palpable yearning that she wanted us to understand how much the fan support meant to her personally—to her core. You sensed that she made it through the storm to prove, without any doubt, that she wasn't the person being portrayed in the press.
It was a compelling moment from someone who was speaking deeply from their heart. She bared her soul to a room full of strangers and I was moved by her tremendous spirit. Standing before us was a woman who has—now TWICE—worked her way through seemingly insurmountable odds.
I can’t imagine the stress she was under. But you could tell that the tide had turned and she was ready to take charge of her comeback when she realized she had supporters who were there for her all along. And once she was recharged, she took a good long look at where her brand could go and then it was game: ON.
Without having to rely on a traditional cable cooking channel to broadcast her programs or sharing their digital portals and apps with other chef personalities, her brand smartly evolved into the digital realm to become its own content generator and provider. If you want Paula, her Paula Deen Network has all of it there for you: familiar shows, new cooking segments, new recipes—it’s all there and it’s all in her signature style and spirit. It’s that same spirit and spirited personality that jumped through the TV and grabbed fans in the first place. Now, her content delivery is more nimble and can be accessed through all digital devices: laptop, tablet and smartphone. Given another broadcast outlet, she could easily repackage the content into a show. With the Paula Deen Network providing a solid platform full of content, she’s found her footing and is back on the road to rebuilding an empire.
Add to that, the lessons learned from the fallout. And just like anyone who has experienced disappointment or failure, those lessons end up becoming tools that help you move forward. Paula Deen now has the tools, the means and drive to be unstoppable.
Remember the old saying that everyone deserves a second chance? Watch out world—because Paula Deen is making the most out of this one.
A thousand apologies to the lady who emailed me looking for a Betty Feezor recipe for Vegetable Beef Soup. I went to respond and could not find the email anywhere!
Then, I got an email from a former colleague, David, who was reaching out to me about the same recipe. Turns out, John Carter, anchor at WBTV, had received the request and asked David if he could help find it.
I searched through all three volumes of Carolina Recipes with no luck. Then, I found the original, Betty Feezor’s Best. There was one soup recipe that could fit the bill: Saturday Vegetable Soup. I hope this is the one!
Here's the recipe:
Saturday Vegetable Soup
1 soup bone (leftover ham bone, beef or other)
Or 1/2 pound ground beef, browned
1 quart tomatoes
1 quart (or more) water
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 large onion, cubed
3 carrots, scraped and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Savory or thyme to taste
Any other leftover vegetables in your refrigerator (peas, corn, beans)
If using leftover roast or meat bone, place in large pot cutting any pieces of meat from the bone. If using hamburger, brown in large pot in its own juices. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and let cook for at least 2 hours.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
So, to cover all the bases, I’m posting the recipe here and I’ve sent it on to John Carter at WBTV. Hopefully, between the blog and his broadcast or email—we’ll have this covered!
I recently missed a Saturday for garage sales because I wasn’t feeling well. Whenever something like this happens, I check out the Craigslist offerings in hopes of making up for the lack of yard sale action.
In going through the online sales, I spot a nice chunk of books for the low, low price of $25. It’s been there a few days, so I send an email and ask if they’re still for sale. That’s a really great price for the number of cookbooks in the pictures. If I can snag these, that’ll be a great haul.
A little while later, I get a response. They’re still available and they can meet me in about half an hour.
The cookbooks are one town over from me, so it’ll take me most of that half hour to get over there. We meet in an apartment building parking lot and when I pull up, I’m greeted by a lady, her husband and their daughter with four US Airways bags.
If you’ve ever taken a flight with US Airways, then you’ll recognize these bags from when the attendants take up the drinks and trash near the end of the flight. Those bags can hold a lot of aluminum cans and plastic cups. And I’m hoping these four bags will hold a ton of cookbooks.
Let’s take a look at what I’ve got:
(Bottom to top) Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2002, The Best of Country Cooking 2002, It’s in the Bag!, Bake and Freeze Desserts (Elinor Klivans), Family Circle Big Book of Christmas, Eva’s Kitchen (Eva Longoria with Marah Stets), Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cookbook, Green Thumbs in the Kitchen (Green Thumb), The Cookie and Biscuit Bible (Catherine Atkinson with recipes by Joanna Farrow and Valerie Barrett), Apple Cookbook (Olwen Woodier) and Smoothies & Ice Treats (Lindsay Barnes and Amy Shawgo).
That Green Thumbs cookbook is by an organization that focuses on providing training opportunities and meaningful community service jobs for low-income older workers. I love the quote on the cover of the cookbook: “When It’s Smokin’ It’s Cookin’ & When It’s Burnt It’s Done.” Sounds about right to me…
(Bottom to top) Pillsbury: The Complete Book of Baking, Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly (Phyllis Pellman Good), Express Lane Meals (Rachel Ray), The Kids’ Holiday Baking Book (Rosemary Black), The Dead Celebrity Cookbook (Frank DeCaro), Favorite Brand Names Incredibly Easy Silly Snacks, The Pizza Gourmet (Shea MacKenzie), The Donut Book (Sally Levitt Steinberg), Kraft No Oven Summer Sensations, Secrets of Fat-Free Baking (Sandra Woodruff, RD) and Good Home Baking (Diana Peacock).
(Bottom to top) SLAR 1998, Gooseberry Patch Christmas 6, Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2004, Great Cookies for Kids (Joanna Farrow), America’s Favorite Brand Name Light Cooking, The Pleasure of Herbs (Phyllis Shaudys), Put ‘em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling and Cupcakes (Shelly Kaldunski).
(Bottom to top) SLAR 2001, Baking (Dorie Greeenspan), Crazy Plates (Janet & Greta Podleski), Fit-It and Forget-It: Kids’ Cookbook (Phillis Pellman Good), 365 Great Cookies & Brownies (Joanne Lamb Hayes and Bonnie Tandy Leblang), The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions (John E. Thomas & Danita Pagel), Cupcakes from the Cake Doctor (Anne Byrn) and Totally Muffins Cookbook (Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham).
Pretty awesome finds! I asked the lady offering up the cookbooks why she was getting rid of all these. After all, she’s parting ways with a quite a few. With a smile, she says that her husband told her that if she could get rid of some, then she was allowed to get some more. Spoken like a true cookbookaholic. She’s freeing up some space to make room for some new ones!
A few weeks before the Paula Deen Live event, I got an email asking if I wanted to attend a meet and greet that would be held after the show was over. How awesome would that be? If the crowd is too large, I may not get to meet her—but maybe I can at least see Paula Deen up close.
The after-hours event would be about an hour after the show ended, so I’d definitely be in for a long night. I’d be home well past my bedtime. But, I responded “yes” to the invite. Let’s see what happens.
When I checked in at Will Call, I was given my ticket to the show and a special pass for the “After-Hours Social.”
As I wrote in an earlier post, the live event was very energetic and you could feel the excitement in the theater. Paula is back and the fans have been ready for her return.
After the show was over, I sat around in some comfy chairs in the theater lobby. There were several other people hanging out as well. To pass the time, I took out my tablet and did some quick Bing searches.
One search on Lee Greenwood showed that he and I shared the same birthdate: October 27th. Now that’s interesting!
At some point, all those people disappeared and I found myself alone. I could hear music upstairs on the Mezzanine level—and that’s where the party was starting. One table was set up serving flutes of champagne and another table was serving sweets. And there were a lot of people waiting on Paula!
Lee Greenwood and his wife made and appearance. A few people gathered around and took some photos with him. When it was my turn, I told him that I had just discovered that we had the same birthday. “I think I’m a little older than you!,” was his response.
Then, you begin to notice others are starting to trickle in. Graham Elliott is here:
I snag a moment with him long enough to tell him that I remembered watching him on Good Day New York when I briefly lived in NYC. “You must’ve been an infant!” What a charmer…
If I’m not mistaken, I’m seeing the Deen Brothers walking around. Jamie and Bobby are chatting and posing for pictures with the crowd.
There’s no way Bobby would remember talking to me during his book signing a year or so back. But when I get my chance, I say, “Dude! I blogged about you then you wrote another cookbook and didn’t tell me when you came back to Charlotte!” He laughed and gave me a big hug. We took a photo together and he noticed the picture came out very dark. He took my phone and started to see how he could adjust the brightness. Not much luck, but here’s the photo…
And then, I spotted his brother, Jamie. I mentioned that I had been live tweeting during the show. He said, “Did you mention me in one of them? Because I thought I saw someone had tagged me in a tweet about the show.” How awesome is that?
We talked about his recent cookbook and I now I've got to find a copy for my collection. Not to mention that second cookbook that Bobby just put out as well.
And then she arrived!
The elevator opened and you could see her husband, Michael Groover, first and then you see the hair. Paula Deen has arrived to the party. The room we’re in is circular and she starts on the less crowded side and makes her way, person to person, until she reaches the crowd. Her security guard, Hollis, announces that she’ll take selfies with individuals very briefly, but it’s gotta be quick.
I’m not inclined to jump into that crowd. For the moment, I’m happy to stand back and watch the madness.
I’m near the bar and when I turn to left, I see Michael Groover. “Hey, you held your own up there on stage!” He was very nice and I was able to grab a picture with him.
Now, I’m just watching Paula Deen work the crowd. She’s great at it. Big smile, big laugh and happy to see every single person. It’s quite an amazing feat to see how she gives attention to each person.
It takes a while, but she gets closer to me. And when she’s right in front of me, I say, “I logged on the website this afternoon and it looked great.”
She threw her hands up in the air and shouted, “Hallelujah!”
I then told her that I had live tweeted throughout the show. “I’ll read them all while we drive up to New York City!” Really? I’d be thrilled if she did. But I think she’s got bigger things to do. Her new digital network is now officially launched and she’s on her way to reclaim her empire.
But before she left, I snagged this photo…
A few weeks back, I was given an opportunity to get a free ticket to attend the Paula Deen Live show in Charlotte. I decided to accept the offer so this is full disclosure that this post about the live show was made possible by a free ticket.
Now, as date for the event got closer, I noticed that it was the same day for the launch of her new, fully online Paula Deen Network. Wouldn’t she want to make a big deal about the launch day in a bigtime town? Perhaps one of her live events—surrounded by the warmth and admiration of her fans—is exactly where she needed to be. And maybe, Charlotte is earning its way as a bigtime place?
At any rate, I made it to my seat on the mezzanine level and had a pretty good view of the stage.
In each chair throughout the 2,100 seat theater was a branded Paula Deen Network tote bag, 9 inch round cake pan, one copy of a Paula Deen magazine and what’s this? An autographed copy of The Lady & Sons, Too! cookbook. Oh hell yeah….
I must admit, I’m interested in how the show and the rest of the evening will go. The Paula Deen brand has spent the better part of this past year in rebuild mode. An investment, to the reported tune of $75 million, by a venture capitalist has given the Deen team some deep pockets. This new digital channel is a bold move. I’m looking around the Belk Theater and seeing a lot of older people—is her fanbase tech savvy enough to make it work? Or, will getting the Deen branded cookware and other products back out on the market help get that ship moving in the right direction?
As we’re waiting for the Queen of Southern Cuisine to start her show, a band comes out and plays a few tunes. The lead singer addresses the audience in between songs with tales of meeting and getting to know Paula. He speaks about “who her heart is” and I’m beginning to feel some spin. It’s pretty obvious that the auditorium is filled with supporters and admirers. I’m not sure that any spin is necessary—especially not so early on.
As she takes the stage with her husband, Michael, she’s met with thunderous applause and quite a few give her a standing ovation. There’s an uber-fan sitting right behind me shouting, screaming and whistling. My right ear won’t be able to hear as well for a few hours. When the crowd settles and takes their seats, a few shout out, “We love you, Paula!” and “We missed you!” She responds in kind, but you can tell from the quiver in her voice that she’s already getting misty.
She starts the show off talking about the new digital Paula Deen Network and says that her team wanted to be in Charlotte to officially launch it. The website will offer all of her old shows (she recently purchased the rights to them from Food Network), newly filmed cooking segments as well as game shows and other lifestyle pieces. We get to view a video up on the big screen—the first of many. Then, she gets down to what she knows best: cooking. But first, she announces that she’ll need help in the kitchen and brings out her sons, Jamie and Bobby.
You would’ve thought all those women in that theater had lost…their…minds.
Now, we’re on to the cooking. She’s making a Peach Trifle with custard (Bobby’s making one without the custard) and talking about life (“We’re ordinary women doing extraordinary things.”) and coming through her recent storm (“I realized everything is going to be okay”). Another cooking segment only using five ingredients and prepared in ten minutes. On her digital network, it’s a feature called “5 & Dime.” Then, we get a game show featuring Bobby “Chewbanks” (Bobby in a bad wig) called “What Did Paula Deen Just Put in My Mouth.” Here’s a hint—whatever it is, it’s not good.
Tonight’s show is, essentially, a live version of the digital network’s offerings. Look for regular versions of her cooking, side by side with a lighter version. And even though she’s prepared a very light, grilled chicken and arugula salad, she’s still got plenty of room for the fare that made her famous. “The butter’s down there darlin’! I didn’t come here without no butter!”
Country music star Lee Greenwood makes a brief appearance. He talks about his work with Helping A Hero, a charity that works to provide homes for wounded soldiers. He introduces a soldier in the audience, who will soon receive a home, and he gets a standing ovation from the entire theater. It’s a deeply moving and Paula announces that her home furnishings line will help upfit the kitchens and some additional rooms in several of the donated homes.
As the evening comes to a close, there is no doubt that the audience is happy to have Paula Deen back. You can tell that she has been missed, the energy in the theater is almost palpable. Plus, she’s in the unique position of being able to refill the void that was left during her time away from the spotlight. And there’s no wondering why. She has always seemed accessible and genuine. Her meals have always seemed to be more practical than those with the buffed-to-perfection Southern Living sheen. And now, she’s ready to give us more.
And let’s face it. She has weathered a storm that would’ve had other personalities closing up shop and retiring under a rock. But not her. She has had to, once again, reach deep down and grab hold of the resolve and pluck that originally pulled her out of the house and on the road to success. And now she emerges, hopeful, stronger and wiser, leading her brand into the digital realm and answering to no one but her investors and subscribers.
She is ready to get back to her waiting fans and up for the challenge of winning more over. With her digital network now up and running, she declares to the world, “The Bag Lady is getting back on her feet! Her toes were stubbed for a bit.”