Friday, June 8, 2007

Savannah & Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin'

Mercer House: Setting of the murder in Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil

I stayed here at the Eliza Thompson House. It's a really neat B&B.
These pics are all from my visits to Savannah several years ago.

Hey ya'll....said in my best Paula Deen voice! I don't normally endorse a lot of books, but just had to mention this one. I just finished reading Paula Deen's new memoirs, It Ain't All About the Cookin', and thoroughly enjoyed it. I really didn't know the story of how she got started & how she ended up where she is now, but it truly is a remarkable story of tenacity & courage during the hard, tough, lean times she had getting started during her early beginnings. Did you know that she got started out of her house making lunches & had her sons selling them to businesses? Her first business was called The Bag Lady. I've visited Savannah a few times, but somehow missed out on going to The Lady & Sons restaurant & I sure wish I'd have gone. I had just started to hear her name when I was there several years ago. I think I'll have to go back again to Savannah & make a special point to visit her restaurant. I was there just after the book Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil came out & did pick up a signed copy of it while I was there. Took the tour of the Bonaventure Cemetary & the historic district too. If you've never been to Savannah, you must go! Truly a delightful Southern city. After I read her book, it really made me want to visit again.

You will laugh & cry right along with her. She came from a very closeknit, but somewhat poor family, married at a very young age & had her 2 sons. Their story is really all about the American dream & what you can do if you put your heart & soul into something. Paula is a little bawdy, but downright lovable, admitting her failures & mistakes right out there for everyone to see. You can just see yourself sitting down & talking to her. Of course, as I was reading the book, I heard her voice saying all the words. That so-so Southern accent of hers is just contagious. I'd love to meet her one day! I wonder if any of you have been to her restaurant? If so, what'd you think??
A great beach book or summer read...hope you get to enjoy it too. I checked it out at the library & couldn't put it down!

Happy Summer reading!

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Nicole said...

Oh I just "LOVE" Paula. I have three of her cookbooks and just love them. Her recipes our so southern and sooooo yummy. Not good for the waist line LOL....but just delicious. I watch her shows everyday. I love her personality and who she is as a person (down to earth.) Any who, I gotta check that book out. Thanks for sharing it. Happy Reading! Nicole from Cedar Creek TX

Southern Heart said...

My mother loved that book, too, and we both enjoy her show. Your photos of Savannah are lovely!

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

RealEstateGirl said...

I ADORE Paula Deen! We first went to her restaurant about 4 or 5 years ago and got to meet her (privately) and had our picture made with her. Her son Bobby took us up to the third floor of her restaurant where she was working on the financial books and she was just the sweetest thing. I have the picture in my kitchen and everyone thinks it's my mom cause they say we look alike (?).

Anyway, we've been to her restaurant several times and EAT WAY TOO MUCH! I just love Savannah.

I have her new book (not read it yet though) and all her cookbooks and I subscribe to her magazine.

I'll have to post that picture...

Isn't Savannah just the neatest place? All the moss in the trees, the river, etc. I love it!

the feathered nest said...

That's where we're going on vacation this summer! Her restaurant is on my list of things to see - let me know if you can think of other must see places since you've been there.

I love her cooking show - all that butter! Makes me gain weight just watching it!

I'm on the list at the library for that book. Can't wait to read it!


The Decorated House said...

It was nice to read your post about Savannah. We are booked for a trip to Charleston in Aug, and I keep thinking we need to check out Sav, too but wondered if we would just drive over and not stay there.
My sis hates the city for being so unsafe and dirty near the same areas which are touristy. That is just one opionion, I know! Lots of people say good things about the place. I just didn't know if we wanted to stay there, or just run over from Charleston.

So I'll check out the place where you stayed and some others and try to decide before it's too late to get a nice place.

Suzanne said...

I'll have to look for her book, I read an article about her in a magazine a few months ago. She seems like a very tenacious person. Thanks for the beautiful photos too. I visited Savannah many years ago.

linda t said...

I have been wanting to read Paula's book and now I really want to! She's a favorite!
My husband and I dream of traveling through that area someday! And by golly, we WILL!
Sooo enjoyed your lovely photos Rhoda!

Deb said...

Such a great post Rhoda. I absolutely love Savannah (enjoyed a vacation there many years ago) and Paula Deen! I am looking forward to finding the book & reading about her life.

Betty Jo said...

I absolutely adore Savannah. When we lived in GA, we visited Savannah several times a month. We have friends who live there. The husband is a river boat captain after his father, and grandfather before him. I haven't been to Paula's restaurant either. I understand you can wait in line as long as 3 to 4 hours! That's a bit much. I think I'll just cook her dishes at home. Must read her book; I'm sure it is good. She's a riot, and I enjoy her so much. xoxo

Anonymous said...

We go to Savannah every year for our vacation (we rent a cottage on Tybee Island) and plan on moving there in a few years. Savannah is so close to my soul - it's my favorite city and the beauty of the squares is just amazing. I've eaten at the Lady & Sons many times - wonderful! If you go check out Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House - also wonderful southern food, as well as the Olde Pink House, a restaurant where we celebrate our anniversary each year. I agree, Paula's book is terrific!

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

I know lots of people who've read the book and it's on my l-o-n-g list of books I want to read (someday!). I love her show and watch it nearly every Saturday morning. I've always found it fascinating that she overcame her fear of being out in public and today seems so social & outgoing.

Sandy said...

Hey, thanks for the great book review.
And Happy Weekend to you!
For Reluctant Entertainers

lucinda said...

I just finished this book too. Don't you know you could sit a talk all night w/Paula Deen. She puts it out there flaws and all. I love her spirit! Really makes me want to visit Savannah.

KLKinFLA said...

Loved the Savannah looks so romantic! Have a great weekend!

DebraK said...

Ok I'm gonna have to check out Paula Deen. Guess I never paid much attention to her show or her books. If you recommend it,it must be good.

I was never in Savannah but would love to really visit the south. I mean a nice long vacation because there must so many fascinating things to see and do. We were in Goose Creek. GA and Charleston SC for a short visit several years ago and I about died from the heat and humidity. How do you southern gals handle it?

Beautiful pix.


Rosemary said...

I was wondering about that book. I love Paula. She is so much fun to watch.
Those pictures are amazing.
Thanks for sharing,

Cindy @ My Romantic Home said...

Ya mean ya'll in the South don't have an accent like hers?

I love her too. I think her sons are so wonderful the way they helped her out. As a single mom myself I have so much respect for how hard she worked to support those boys.

PAT said...

Just popping in, between the book fair and the lake, to tell you...this is a wonderful post. As soon as I opened it and saw the Mercer House...I knew "where" you were! Loved "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" it more than once!

Loved the post and "It Ain't All About the Cookin'", too.

Back Porch Musings

Lallee said...

I lived near Savannah briefly, but it was before Paula was discovered. I so want to go back and visit her restaurant. I've heard nothing but great reviews about her book. Thank you for reminding me I need to add it to my way to tall summer book stack....just ONE more ;-) Have you read Midnight in the Garden of Evil? It's one of my all time favorites.

cityfarmer said...

I NEED to be reading and I'm not right at the moment....been falling asleep at the wheel, I'm so tired

Gina said...

Love those photos, absolutely beautiful.

Susie Q said...

Paula is the best...and we LOVE Savannah. It is one of my favorite places to visit.
We stayed in Inns there and in Charleston and they were heavenly.
Thanks for sharing the pictures...

The book is so enjoyable and she is truly an inspiration!

Have a sweet weekend dear Rhoda.


Mrs. U said...

Paula's restaurant is delicious!! I couldn't eat there everyday (goodness gracious, just think of the POUNDS!!!!), but it is good- especially the hoe cakes! YUMMMMMM!!!

Have you seen that Michael has a line of coffee out now? They are quite the entrepreneurial family!!

Your blog is very lovely!!!

Mrs. U

Anonymous said...

Hi Rhoda,
You have such a lovely figure i can't believe you cook! Well you must be cooking the right foods.

I don't know anything about Paula Dean, but I am going to read her book now.
And I know a women from Savannah. She told me the garden has always been a little scary. That all of the locals know the house and the garden very well, even before the
crime and the book was written it was infamous.

Anonymous said...

We adore Savannah -- the wonderful homes along the squares -- the gardens -- and the shopping! Out favorite restaurant is in The Pink House -- the She-Crab soup is delicious! Love Paula Deen -- she is certainly a wonderful ambassador for the city! Thanks for sharing such gorgeous photos -- and your notes on her book! :)

Jan xox (teacats!) at a very hot and humid day at Rosemary Cottage

Daisy Cottage said...

I want to get this book too Rhoda! Huge Paula fan here! I hope to visit Savannah one day and go to her restaurant - was there a long time ago. Great post, as always! Loved seeing your pics!

Felicia said...

I guess I'm the only person in the United States of America who has never seen her show! I did eat at her brother's seafood restaurant in Savannah last year. Food was great :)

Sadie Olive said...

Wow! I want to go to that B&B! How beautiful!

cherry menlove said...

This is why I love a visit to your blog. I have never heard of her but I love a touch of bawdy now and again and I love folk that make a dream a reality. Thank you so much for sharing I shall have a look for the book online.

Love Cherry xx

Tonja said...

Love visiting Savannah. It is the most interesting place. Hope to go again soon. It is always lots of fun to watch Pauls Deen. She's amazing.

Niesz Vintage Home said...

I watch Paula all the time! She makes food that I would actually eat.

Gorgeous photos of Savannah. I'd love to go back soon.

Oh, and I really like your leopard border!

Lynne said...

I love Savannah. Dom and I went there a few years ago and I really want to go back.

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

You have done an awesome job! I could spend the day in Savannah...we could even stop at the Lady and Sons.
I first met Paula Deen years ago~ she reminds me of mom at the cafe!

OldBagNewTricks said...

If you ask me Savannah is the best kept secret of the south-- keep New Orleans, I'll take Savannah. You done a loverly tour here for us; Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Great, love Paula she cracks me down to earth !!! Will have to put that book on my list. I heard that she didn't come out of her house for years when her sons were small, she is one tough lady to overcome that phobia !!! Does she talk about that in the book??

We are thinking about a trip in the Fall.

Thanks again....

Kathy =)

ps Just finished reading "The Secret" have you read ???

justabeachkat said...

Hi Rhoda
Love the photos. I haven't been to Savannah in a long time, but love it and was just thinking the other day about it and wanting to go again soon.

I love Paula. We saw her back in January. She's a real "hoot". Very personable and so down to earth. Here's two of my post about our trip with photos too.


Carol said...

Rhoda, I'm so glad you mentioned this book, I saw it recently and wondered how it would be. I beleive I'll go back and get it. I love her story, you don't hear of many ladies "pulling themselves up"w nowadays!Check my blog out, I think we have the same black and white plates in our homes!

Tammy518 said...

I have been through, but not really to, Savannah or Charleston. We're thinking of maybe going to one or both this summer, and your post makes me want to go all the more.

I'll have to check out the Paula Dean book. I love to read. I just finished a really great book, "Redeeming Love," by Francine Rivers. If you've never read it, Rhoda, you might want to check it out.

Jen @ The Cottage Nest said...

Thanks for the recommendation. It will go on my must read list. I love Savannah and have visited a few times. Sadly, it was before I really became aware of Paula so I haven't yet had the pleasure of eating at her place.

Baby_Tease said...

Read it, loved it. I cried constantly too. Then again, I cry at the drop of a hat... I really respect this woman. Now Michael has a brand of coffee, she has her name on other products, not to mention all of her sons' business opportunities she has created. I think they are all getting what they deserve for their hard work invested. She had a lot of guts to move forward, but I think we all know she has those. I have not had the opportunity to visit the restaurant, living in NYC, but I've been watching since the pilot, and probably saw her on Ready, Set, Cook and don't remember. Oh, and thanks for the pics. Regards, Kim.

Deborah said...

Hi Kim! Happy to find another Paula fan! I've been a fan of hers for several years. I also love, love Savannah. What a gorgeous place! We got to eat at Paula's old restaurant and got to meet her and had our picture made with her. She was very gracious and just put us at ease. She went to several of the tables while we were there and sat and just talked to her customers. Oh yes...the food was absolutely amazing! You gotta go there!

Rosa said...

I have this book but haven't started it yet. Now I will. Found you through DC's blog, I think.

Rambling Girl said...

Oh I love Paula also. She is such a hoot and fun lady. One day I hope I can go to one of her party's. I have heard she is just the same in real life as on tv. Also I see my father's church in the background of this pic. He was a Methodist Minister at Wesley Monumental Church. Hope to visit you a lot more. I have been checking your page and just joined this site and love it.