Last weekend, Mom and I went up to Harrah's Casino in Cherokee, NC, for a night on the town. I had procured last row seats for us to watch a live cooking demonstration by the charming and butter loving Queen of Southern Cuisine, Miss Paula Deen. Mom and I weren't totally in the back row (3rd from the back)but we were far enough away that you had to watch one of the large projection screens to see what was happening on the stage.
I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but I was definitely surprised at what I got. Somewhere between calling a few ladies in the audience "Bitches" to discussing "things" that she blew with her son, I began to squirm and feel uncomfortable in my seat. Mom noticed I was uneasy after another colorful off the cuff remark and said, "Ain't she funny. I heard she was raunchy."
Raunchy. My mother just said the word raunchy. I'm no prude by any means but is raunchy really the word you want to hear your mother say? What about funny? What about What's she cooking next? Maybe even I love it when she says, Hey Ya'll? But, definitely not raunchy.
And so the show must go on. Me, in a state of total disbelief that my favorite TV chef was no longer the Queen of Southern Cuisine but had morphed into the Potty Mouth of the South. Mom, sitting upright, erect with nose peeled to her binoculars totally transfixed by the sights and sounds emanating from her hero, Paula Deen.
Paula didn't do any cooking. One of the chefs that work for her prepared the meal while Paula paced the stage and took questions from the audience in a Carol Burnett Show fashion. It was a three-course meal prepared for a few lucky folks that got to sit up on the stage. Several of her family members were there including her Aunt Peggy; brother, Bubba; husband, Michael and son, Bobby, and they all sat on the stage shaking their heads as the TV chef peppered the audience with as much fire that is found in her signature hot crab dip.
One of the highlights of the show was when Bobby spoke about a couple that he had met the night before in the new Paula Deen Kitchen restaurant. The man, having been injured in an accident was now wheelchair bound and relied heavily on his girlfriend of many years as he continued his recovery. Paula asked the couple, who were seated in the row right behind us to come down to the stage. Once there, the man proposed to his girlfriend (she accepted) and they got to sit at the table with the other guests. It really was an awesome moment!
Later, as we stalked Paula around the casino (she was hanging out in the high roller section) and were waiting in line to eat, we overheard a group of seniorly, cackling old bitties complaining about the fact that she hadn't cooked and had used such salty language. Mom, who had removed her Walkman to listen just shook her head in disgust. "I don't understand what was so bad about it," she said. "Them women been blowing stuff probably their whole married lives. Friggin' prudes!"
Whatever you say, Mom!