Anthony Armentano, Global Animal
In the wake of Paula Deen’s most recent controversy, it’d be difficult to find a company or sponsor that hasn’t abandoned the celebrity chef. Target, Walgreens, Sears, The Food Network—none of them seem to like what Deen’s been cooking as of late, and it may only be a matter of time before she’s completely finished, weeping tears of butter into her deep fryer.
Many outlets are discussing what Deen needs to do to overcome her missteps, but the Deen predicament could turn out to be the next big social experiment. How many chances should a multimillionaire get? Why do we insist on keeping her around? Let’s face it, if Deen disappeared, our arteries would thank us.
The truth is, other than her recent contribution of pulp entertainment and high cholesterol, Deen doesn’t offer anything essential to our way of life—at least not anything that can’t be provided by America’s next up-and-coming celebrity cook.
In a Deen-less world, animals rejoice. The majority of her dishes rely on some form of meat in their creation. Regardless of your eating habits and dietary preferences, her style of cooking simply fails to use animal meat efficiently. She batters and fries it to an absurdly unhealthy point. It’s a mystery what the chicken community ever did to offend Deen, but with dozens of recipes dedicated to fried chicken, it must have been pretty awful.
Dietary habits aside, the celebrity chef’s downfall boils down to how she handles offensive situations. When information leaked regarding Deen’s past racial remarks she begged her fans for forgiveness on the Today show—a common theme of hers. Just two years before, the celebrity chef ran to the Today show for help following her diabetic controversy. In the summer of 2010, rumors were out that Deen had been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Nine months later, Deen confirmed the rumors, waiting three years after her diagnosis to disclose her condition to the public.
People have a right to privacy, but as Deen resides in the public eye, she holds an obligation to her fans. A high profile peddler of battered meat and artery clogging treats should adhere some sense of responsibility to her consumers. It’s no secret Deen’s food isn’t the healthiest. Sweet chicken bacon wraps, bacon cheeseburger meatloaf—her recipes sound like an invitation to an early grave. However, her continued promotion of high-risk foods while she was aware of her health condition certainly bends some kind of moral boundary.
Although he’s no saint when when it comes to animals and food, CNN’s Anthony Bourdain perhaps said it best: “When your signature dish is hamburger in between a doughnut, and you’ve been cheerfully selling this stuff knowing all along that you’ve got Type 2 Diabetes…it’s in a bad taste if nothing else.”
Paula, haven’t you heard? Diabetes affects an estimated 23.6 million people in the U.S. And perhaps you should know, U.S. meat consumption has been on a steady decline for four straight years now.
To combat critics, Deen planned to release a healthier compilation of recipes, Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up, but due to her most recent controversy, the book will never see the light of day.
Why delay Paula Deen’s fading celebrity? If the world turns its back on her, she’ll live a comfortable retirement, where she is free to cook what she chooses in the safety of her home kitchen. Deen’s brand is bad for our hearts, bad for our health, and bad for animals. Paula, retirement is calling, and it sounds pretty sweet.