Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Larry King Live

Interview With Paula Deen

Aired August 06, 2007 - 21:00   ET



PAULA DEEN, TV COOK: I see a piece of bacon trying to peek out.


KING: Paula Deen, the sassy, brassy down-home dame who cooked her way to fame and fortune after overcoming a bad marriage and panic attacks that kept her prisoner in her own home for years.


DEEN: So, I said, Paula, what can you do.


KING: From the time a bank robber put a gun to her head to the day she took charge of her life and turned it around with only $200 to her name. It's all on the kitchen table with the Dixie diva Paula Deen, the mom who has made millions who is here with her two sons.


KING: What's a hokay (ph).

DEEN: It ain't the girl on the corner, I'll tell you that, Larry.



It's a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, Paula Deen, the Emmy winning host of Food Networks "Paula's Home Cooking" and "Paula's Party."

Her "New York Times" best selling book, "It ain't all about the cooking" has been rising up the charts. And we've been looking forward to this for a long time especially to find out who she is. "Forbes" magazine included her on its list of 2007's most powerful celebrities. You feel powerful?

DEEN: No. No. That blew me away, Larry.

KING: I know a lot of people ...

DEEN: Blew me away.

KING: A lot of people tune out their past. When they do a little bio they skip over some bad things or things they may not -- why is this warts and all in this book?

DEEN: It's just important that I be truthful. The truth will set you free.

KING: Was it hard to write?

DEEN: A little bit. I did a lot of crying and a lot of laughing, too. Sherry Cohen worked with me on my book, and she's just my little Yankee sister, you know. She lives in New York, and she came down to Savannah. We crawled up in my bed, and we wrote a book.

KING: She captured your voice.

DEEN: She did such a good job. She actually says y'all and thinks she's a southerner and she had her sons start calling her mama.

KING: People who would have known you years ago wouldn't have bet you would have bet that you'd be sitting here tonight.

DEEN: No, honey. In fact, to my English teachers out there that said ...

KING: You're going to be a television personality.

DEEN: Said I was gonna write a book, this is what I say. Yeah. They said I couldn't spell, much less write.

KING: Now you describe your childhood ...

DEEN: Yes.

KING: ... as delicious.

DEEN: It was.

KING: Explain.

DEEN: It was just wonderful.

KING: Because?

DEEN: Well, because I've had two parents that gave me all the security, gave me everything I needed. I actually grew up in my grandparents' business. They were in the lodging and restaurant business and we lived at River Bend and it was a motel, taverns, skating rink, swimming pool, restaurant.

KING: Doughnut shop.

DEEN: We didn't have a doughnut shop but I'm sure my grandma was making doughnuts, and then my mother and father owned the service station across the street, and we lived in the filling station, in the service station.

KING: And it was delicious because?

DEEN: Because I had the swimming pool. I had the skating rink. I had my aunt Trina who was just three years older than me and we were big buddies. I had my playmate and life was good. We had everything that we wanted, and on Saturdays we would take the Trailways bus into town and go to Cresses (ph). Life was good, honey.

KING: Were you a young cook?

DEEN: No, but I was a young eater.

KING: But you had no interest in the kitchen?

DEEN: No. I mean, food was very, very important. Of course, I was in my grandmother's kitchen, and, of course, my mother's kitchen, and my Aunt Peggy's kitchen, but I didn't start cooking until I married, and that was -- I was 18 years old because I had a very busy social life.

KING: Married at 18?

DEEN: Yes, can you imagine?

KING: That's pretty typical in the South though, isn't it?

DEEN: You know, back in the '60s, yeah, it wasn't all that unusual. I don't recommend that anyone do that, but I have two fabulous sons.

KING: We're going to meet them.

DEEN: Yes, I can't wait. They are my best work.

KING: And you married someone named Jimmy Deen.

DEEN: Jimmy Deen.

KING: Was that prophetic.

DEEN: I mean.

KING: Did he make sausages?

DEEN: No, no. He was this beautiful, beautiful young man, and ...

KING: What did he do?

DEEN: Let's see, what did he do? He actually was in the car business, but when I met him, he worked at a gas station, at a filling station.

KING: Stealing or owning?

DEEN: No. He just worked there -- he actually worked as a mechanic.

KING: I meant with the cars. Little pun.

DEEN: Sometimes I'm slow, Larry, and you have to explain things.

KING: That marriage didn't go well?

DEEN: Well, you know -- it last for 27 years. I was so in love with that man. Like I said, he was just beautiful, the love of my life, but we -- we just couldn't see eye to eye on certain issues, and he loved us, and it was just too bad that a family was lost.

KING: He was a good father?

DEEN: He was a good father.

KING: Is he living?

DEEN: Still is, yes, yes, and my children see their father regularly.

KING: When did things go south for you?

DEEN: Well, I knew kind of early on that there was probably going to be some problems, but I was raised, you know, that if you made your bed, you lie in it, and ...

KING: So you struggled through?

DEEN: Yeah, yeah. I was constantly trying to fix things, you know, and make things right, and I'm a slow learner, you know. I finally figured out at 40 years old that you don't have the capabilities of changing the other person.


DEEN: That really the only thing that you can change is yourself, and -- but, like I said, I'm slow. Academically I was not at the top of my class.

KING: Your parents passed away during this time?

DEEN: Yes, they died very, very early. I was 19 when my daddy died, and he was only 40, and the most beautiful man. Everybody that knew my daddy just loved him.

KING: What did he die of?

DEEN: He actually had rheumatic fever they think as a child, and daddy was kind of one of the guinea pigs at Emory Hospital, Emory University Hospital.

KING: In Atlanta. DEEN: In Atlanta, yes, in the '60s when they were replacing that star valve (ph) and, of course, I remember going up there -- and it was mainly men that were going for the surgery and they were dropping like flies.

KING: And still at this point no cooking except cooking at home?

DEEN: Well, I had started cooking by then.

KING: But for the family, right?

DEEN: Yes, yes.

KING: No idea of being a professional cook?

DEEN: Oh, honey, no, no. I was -- I was 42 before I did that.

KING: No kidding.

DEEN: No kidding.

KING: When did the panic attacks occur?

DEEN: They started the night my daddy died.

KING: So you were young?

DEEN: I was young, when I was 19.

KING: Describe them. What's a panic attack?

DEEN: Unless you have had one, Larry, it just -- it sounds like you're telling people that you've just stepped in from Mars. It sounds so bizarre, but all of a sudden a fear overtakes you. Your heart is beating so fast and so hard you know you're going to have a heart attack. In my case my arms would go numb.

KING: How do you treat that?

You don't?

DEEN: You know, I think through therapy.

KING: Did you have therapy?

DEEN: No, couldn't afford therapy, you know.

KING: How often would you get them?

DEEN: It depended on what situation I was in. If I was in situations that I was real frightened, I could get them fairly often, but as long as I was at home in my little safety zone ...

KING: More on that in a minute. Paula Deen is our guest, the delightful star of her own show on the Food Network. She's become a cultural phenomenon. More after this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEEN: I'm gonna -- I wanna make sure I wash my hands real good because heaven forbid should I accidentally pick my nose. The front of my face will catch on fire.


KING: Our guest is Paula Deen. The book "It Ain't All About the Cooking" and as you've discovered so far it sure ain't all about the cooking. What did you do when you were having these attacks?

DEEN: I would pray a lot.

KING: How long would they last?

DEEN: I could usually get them under control in a few minutes, but I never went anywhere without a brown paper bag because when you breathe in the bag, it circulates whatever it is that calls you down, and my -- my children remember especially one day I had taken them to J.C. Penney and they said all of a sudden they looked around and their momma was crouched down behind a rack of clothes breathing in my bag, you know. I never knew when they were going to hit me, but it's the most terrifying, uncontrollable feeling.

KING: Did it eventually go away?

DEEN: It did, it did. But I treated myself, and it took me 20 years.

KING: and you became an agoraphobic, right.

DEEN: Oh yes, it eventually led into full-blown agoraphobia.

KING: Before we talk about that. We have some questions on our King Cam. We ask people to ask you anything they want so let's watch a King Cam view for Paula.

DEEN: Where do we watch?

KING: Just watch.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Paula. (Inaudible) I have a question for you. What is the most exotic dish you've ever made?


DEEN: Oh, my goodness.

KING: OK, most exotic dish.

DEEN: The most exotic dish. KING: By the way, can you watch it over there, too.

DEEN: The most exotic dish ...

KING: Southern and exotic don't exactly go together.

DEEN: No, no. My husband loves it when I cook him oxtails, so to some people that may be exotic, but, you know, I found, Larry, as I got out into the world that we ate exotic as I was growing up for breakfast. My grandmother would prepare rabbit and squirrel, and she would cook the most wonderful fish roe. Doesn't that sound yummy?

KING: Oh. Rabbit in the morning.

DEEN: With grits, honey and biscuits.

KING: Big squirrel, I loved it.

DEEN: I mean, my daddy would go out before he went to work in the morning and hunt for rabbit and squirrel, and he'd bring them back to the restaurant and grandma would skin 'em and fry 'em up.

KING: So that's exotic to you?

DEEN: Well, you know, I can go to New York now and I can see oxtails on the menu, and I can see rabbit.

KING: Yeah. They serve rabbit.

DEEN: Mm-hmm.

KING: What is -- agoraphobia means you don't leave the house, right?

DEEN: Well, agoraphobia if we looked it up in the dictionary it would probably say something like a fear of open spaces, when in reality it's your fear of leaving your safety zone, and most time that's for people that they relate that with their home.

KING: How long did you stay inside?

DEEN: Well, I could come and go.

KING: And how were you ...

DEEN: I was a functioning agoraphobic. If I was in the right situations, and I switched all my security from my daddy to my husband, and I could do a lot of things as long as he was with me.

KING: You wouldn't go out alone?

DEEN: Sometimes, like I said, it was -- I was what I considered a functioning agoraphobic.

KING: Because ...

DEEN: I could put up an act, honey.

KING: Meaning?

DEEN: Meaning that I never let people know. I didn't share it with anybody, the fear that I had, and the fact that I may have to go into the bathroom and breathe in the paper bag to get myself under control, and then I went through a spell where I couldn't leave the house.

KING: I've heard of people who are agoraphobic who haven't left the house in 30 years.

DEEN: There is ...

KING: They make appointments and then break them.

DEEN: Right, right, and they get their children to do their grocery shopping, but -- and I have gone off and left many a buggy of grocery sitting there in the grocery store because all of a sudden the attack would hit me, and I would have to run, but like I said, I went through -- I went through about two years of really, really hard down stomping, I just knew I was going to die the fear was so bad.

KING: And how did you beat all of this?

DEEN: Well, you know, this is going to sound so simple, but my husband had moved us to Savannah. I was 40 years old, and when he came home and announced that we were going to Savannah, I said what the hell do you mean? I can't hardly ...

KING: You're a house wife with panic attacks and agoraphobia.

DEEN: Yes.

KING: So he moves to you Savannah?

DEEN: Yes, he moves me to Savannah, and I said -- I went to bed for two months. I went to bed and I did nothing but cry. I would get up to eat and go to the bathroom and go back to bed, and one day I got up and I said, Paula, you are gonna die. You are gonna die if you don't get yourself together, and, Larry, that morning I can take you right back to that room. I can take you right back to where I was standing when the Serenity Prayer went through my head, and I had heard that Serenity Prayer for years, but that morning I understood it. I understood what I was supposed to be asking God for.

KING: What does that say?

DEEN: It is the ability to accept the things that you cannot change and the courage to change the things that you can and the wisdom to know the difference between the two.

KING: And that did it?

DEEN: And that did it.

KING: That moment.

DEEN: That did it. I accepted my mother's death, my father's death, the death of everybody that I loved. I accepted my own death because I couldn't change that, you know. None of us are going to get out of this alive.

KING: Did you get divorced?

DEEN: Yes, yes.

KING: Our guest is ...

DEEN: Two years down the road.

KING: Our guest is Paula Deen. We might call her the queen of the Food channel. What a mark she's made in American media, and she's the author of "It Ain't All About the Cooking" and we'll be back with more right after this.


DEEN: All right. Just help me mold this pie.


DEEN: What, baby?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of ice cream are you using?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind am I using? What kind am I using?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that coffee, mocha?

DEEN: Coffee.


DEEN: Mmm. Get it, lick it.

Look on his nose, y'all. Look on his nose. This stuff is so good.



KING: Back with the delightful Paula Deen. You're also a smoker? Still smoke?

DEEN: Yes, but I'm trying to quit.

KING: OK. How much do you smoke?

DEEN: A pack and a half.

KING: Does it affect the taste of food?

DEEN: You know, I don't think so.

KING: But you don't know. I was a smoker. How do you know?

DEEN: I don't know but I say if it tastes any better I'd weigh 500 pounds.

KING: Then you also had an affair with a married man?

DEEN: I did.

KING: After you were divorced?

DEEN: Yes.

KING: How long did that last?

DEEN: Ten years.

KING: And still you weren't a cook then?

DEEN: Oh, yes, honey.

KING: You started cooking.

DEEN: Oh, yes. I started cooking when I was 18 years old, but I turned professional when I was 42 years old. You know, I knew, Larry ...

KING: Professional meaning?

DEEN: For a living.

KING: You worked in a restaurant?

DEEN: No, I worked for myself. When I was 42 years old, I took responsibility for myself, you know. I knew that I needed to make changes in my life, and over the years off and on I had been a bank teller. Well, I think my check every two weeks was like $379.16, and I could not take care of myself on that kind of money, so I said, Paula, what can you do? You were not listening in school. You have no talent. You can't sing or dance. What are you going to do, girl? And I -- I had become a pretty good cook, so I turned to the one thing that I knew to make me a living, and that was my stove, and I would lay in bed at night and think about how I could turn that into a living, and so I decided that I was going to open this business called the Bag Lady.

KING: The what lady?

DEEN: The Bag Lady, and I was going to ...

KING: Brown bags.

DEEN: Back to the bags. I don't get too far away from them even today, Larry.

KING: What would the Bag Lady do to make money?

DEEN: The Bag Lady made wonderful little lunches.

KING: And sold them where?

DEEN: I sold them in businesses. I had these two precious sons.

KING: And they went around in the car.

DEEN: Yeah, and I kind of pimped them out. I said because the girls in offices would -- I know they will love the food and they will love the boys dropping in on them every day so I -- much to their dislike momma drug 'em in, and I had them going all over Savannah selling the food that I was preparing.

KING: And that did well?

DEEN: It -- I could pay the rent. I could pay the mortgage.

KING: Was this at the same time were you in this relationship?

DEEN: No, not then.

KING: After.

DEEN: I was 42 when I started the Bag Lady.

KING: And when were you in the relationship?

DEEN: I was probably 45 years old, 44, 45.

KING: How did you handle that for 10 years?

DEEN: It was so hard.

KING: Were you in love with him?

DEEN: I was very much in love with him. Something about him reminded me of my daddy, you know. It goes back to that. All I did was work, and my days were anywhere from 16 to 20 hours a day seven days a week.

KING: What did he do?

DEEN: He was an engineer, an electrical engineer.

KING: Ten years.

DEEN: Ten years.

KING: How did it end?

DEEN: I met my husband. I met my husband. It was like that was the only -- when I would see him, and he treated me really bad, you know.

KING: The married guy?

DEEN: Yes. I could get down on my knees and I could beg people never, never do what I did.

KING: Did his wife find out?

DEEN: I don't know if she knew or not. I don't think so.

KING: Is he still around?

DEEN: I guess. I don't know. I don't know.

KING: You told your husband about it, though, when you met?

DEEN: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. My children knew. I told my children because I -- I don't lie well. I don't lie well at all. And I am so ashamed at the fact that I would sit around and wait for someone else's crumbs. Never, ever, ever do that.

KING: Was it hard to break off?

DEEN: No, not really. I'll tell you -- I'll tell you something, Larry. I was so needy. He was the only thing that I had outside my work, and I looked so forward to the times I was with him and just laugh and forget about everything, but, you know, as most people are in those kind of relationships, I was used, but -- and I knew that, but it was like I couldn't help it. I didn't care.

KING: Do you feel bad for his wife?

DEEN: Yes, yes. I felt bad for everybody, for everybody, and I certainly wasn't raised that way. It was -- it was against everything that I was taught.

KING: Thank God you met Mr. Right.

DEEN: Listen, one night I came home from work, from the restaurant, and it was about midnight, and I said I'm so lonely.

KING: Is this how you met him?

DEEN: No, but this is how it all started.

KING: All right. Hold on.


KING: This is called a grabber.


KING: We've got lots more to go. We'll be right back with Paula Deen. The book, "It Ain't All About the Cooking." We're even going to talk about cooking in a little while. Don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEEN: We're going to put these in the oven at 350. We're gonna let them bake until they are nice and brown. Look there. I love -- I love my oven here at "Paula's Party."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't that great. Y'all have to cook it a little longer than five seconds.



KING: We're back with Paula Deen. We're going to meet her sons soon.

So what happened that night?

DEEN: So I was coming home and all I had was my animals, and I turned to prayer. You know I was walking in my front door and I said, "Lord, send me a neighbor because all I did was work." I said so maybe I could meet somebody when I'm getting in my car in the morning or meet somebody when I'm getting out of my car at night. So that night I went upstairs and crawled in my bed, said my prayers and at the end I said, "And, Lord, please send me that neighbor." I prayed that prayer, Larry, for three years every night at the end of my prayer.

KING: And?

DEEN: And I decided to move. I got up one day and had this wild hair that I wanted to live on the water. So I got in my car, went out to Wilmington Island, pulled into Turner's Cove, bought the first and only piece I ever looked at. And it was row houses that were designed after downtown Savannah. There were six right on the water, and there was one left, and I said "I'll take it."

Well, I moved in, moved my cats, my dogs, my birds. We all moved out to Wilmington Island. And as soon as I moved in, I started writing "The Lady and Sons Just Desserts." So I was kind of on a hiatus from the restaurant. And I had been working on the book about eight or nine months. And we lived in this gated community surrounded by big concrete walls or -- not concrete, but they had those shells in them and all. It was pretty. And these came all the way up to the water except for about a space this big. Well, I always took my dogs out, and we would go to the right, go to the square, go to the bathroom. Well, this particular day we walked out back waterside and they turned around and looked over their shoulder, turned left and running. And here I am chasing behind them begging them to please stop. They go around this wall; I shimmy around the wall so I won't fall in the creek. And I see that someone has captured their attention at the house next door. And there's this man propped on his fence talking on his cell phone. And my dogs run up to him and greet him, immediately start pooping, you know, right under his nose. And here I come in a baseball cap and jeans and I've got desserts all over my shirt where I've been cooking. And I run up and I apologize to this man and say, "I'll be happy to clean this up." And he said, "No, don't worry about it. I like dogs. It's people I'm not too sure about." And I thought, you know, this man had shaggy hair and a shaggy beard. And I said he is like the ax murderer and I've got to leave here quickly.

So I scoot scoop my dogs up, and I was running home and I stop and I look up and I said, "Lord, that wasn't my neighbor, was it?" And I couldn't get home quick enough. Well, two weeks passed. The dogs did the same thing.

KING: Don't tell me this guy winds up...

DEEN: The man was still propped on his fence talking on his cell phone.

KING: And that's your husband?

DEEN: And that is my husband.

KING: What does he do?

DEEN: God sent me my neighbor.

KING: What does he do?

DEEN: He's a harbor pilot.

KING: Wow!

DEEN: He's got the most interesting career. He docks and sails those huge ships that come into our port.

KING: Harder than Hanna...

DEEN: Yes.

KING: You found it, the vamp from Savannah.

DEEN: The vamp from Savannah.

KING: We have another King Cam question for you. Just look right in there and we'll throw it up. Go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Paula. I'm Margaret from Washington, D.C. I love cooking but I love your hair. Do you have a recipe for that?


DEEN: Thank you, Barbara. Let's see. The recipe is I think undergo a lot of stress and I'm what you call one of God's blondes. No, I don't do a thing with it, Barbara, thank you very much. I just use that purple shampoo.

KING: You are a hoot. Do your sons, and we'll meet them in a moment, do they still work with you? DEEN: Absolutely, absolutely.

KING: By the way, country superstar Toby Keith, his new album is called "Big Dog Daddy." He's a good friend of ours.

DEEN: "Big Dog Daddy."

KING: He sent us a question for you. He said, "I have an awesome fried bologna sandwich that's a huge hit at my restaurants. Are there any dishes you've created that turned out to be a lot more popular than you expected?"

DEEN: Yes. And it's probably my ho cakes.

KING: Ho cakes?

DEEN: My ho cakes.

KING: What's a ho cake?

DEEN: Well, it isn't the girl on the corner, I'll tell you, that Larry. A ho cake is a pan-fried cornbread.

KING: Go ahead.

DEEN: It looks like almost like a pancake, not quite as big. And we have bread stations on the ding room floor at the Lady and Sons, and we have somebody out there on the griddle cooking these ho cakes. And we cook them in butter, well, actually a clarified margarine and they are so good with pot liquor from our collard greens and then at the end of your meal with syrup, they are just out of this world.

KING: Well, you ought to try Toby's fried bologna too.

DEEN: I would love to try his fried bologna.

KING: Toby, send her some.

How did you get the Food Channel show?

DEEN: It's another miraculous story. I met a girl in a restaurant that had moved to Savannah that had worked and lived in New York. Her name is Carol Perkins. She moved to Savannah to start a new business called Harry Barker's. And she was a Victoria's Secret model in New York so she kind of traveled in the business circle. And she used to come in the restaurant all the time and one day she said, "Paula, do you know Gordon Elliot." And I said, "No, I don't know him." I said, "Of course I know of him." She said, "Well, he's one of my closest friends, and he's coming to Charleston to do a door- knock dinner show." And she said, "I just think the two of you all need to meet."

KING: I'll tell you what; we're going to take a break anyway. And we'll pick up the story and your sons will join us as well. We'll be right back with Paula Deen on LARRY KING LIVE. The book, "It Ain't All About The Cooking." Don't go away.


DEEN: The kitchen, the kitchen, you all, is the heart of our home. It is the heart of our home. It's where everybody wants to be. And, you know, you should really get in that room with your family or the people that you love and have fun. You should set aside a certain time of the day to just laugh and have fun and not take yourself so seriously.




DEEN: Yes, darling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you get a man to cook for you?

DEEN: How do...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't get mine in the kitchen.

DEEN: I'm still trying to figure that out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought you could help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're trying to make your husband to cook for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do I really need to tell you how you can get your husband to cook for you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a couple of different ways.


KING: We're back with Paula Deen joined now by her sons, Bobby Deen in the middle and Jamie Deen on the far right-hand side. Before we pick up with the boys, Paula was telling us how she got the gig at Food Channel.

All right...

DEEN: So Carol told Gordon to come to Savannah. He did, and two years later...

KING: They came to you with a...

DEEN: Yes. He kept promoting the show to Food Network and they finally bought it. KING: Now you do the show out of your own home?

DEEN: Yes. "The Paula's Party" show is shot out of our seafood restaurant, Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, mine and my brother's restaurant. But "Paula's Home Cooking" is definitely in our own home.

KING: And did that show take off right away?

DEEN: Yes, it kind of did, Larry. It was a time when -- right after 9/11 had taken place. And I think people were open and anxious to anything that reminded them of momma or home.

KING: Now before we bring in the boys I want to get to you respond to this and I want to get it right that you've gotten some flack for your endorsement deal -- you have an endorsement deal with Smithfield Food, a very famous company.

DEEN: Yes.

KING: The union that's tried to organize its North Carolina plant says the company's got a record of anti-worker activity, safety problems, unions of orders that have asked you to meet with the workers and end your ties with Smithfield. Former Senator John Edwards, actor Danny Glover among the big names who have called for increased safety measures at Smithfield. Why don't you meet with them?

DEEN: Well, I'd be happy to but I've been to the plant. I've met with workers with no one around but me and the workers. It's a beautiful company and safety is a big issue there.

KING: They won't let them unionize?

DEEN: Oh, yes, yes, yes. The employees actually voted.

KING: To union?

DEEN: To not.

KING: Not to union.

DEEN: Not to union.

KING: So why do they still want them to -- so what's the big deal in meeting with them?

DEEN: I don't know. I don't know.

KING: You would meet with them?

DEEN: Oh, yes, absolutely, I would. Smithfield is a good company. It's a good company. And these people are so happy to have their jobs, good benefits and, you know, they're happy.


DEEN: They are happy.

KING: But you will meet with them if they want to meet with you?

DEEN: Absolutely.

KING: Because -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we'll do it right here.


KING: Now we've got a question that brings the boys right in. It's from Martina McBride, the country music queen.

DEEN: Wow!

KING: "When your boys were younger, how did you get them to try new foods? I have three young daughters. What would you suggest?"

All right, how did she get you to try new foods?

BOBBY DEAN, PAULA DEEN'S SON: Well, you know what, for me, she had a hard time. There were things I liked and things I didn't like it. It took a long time for me to get to a place where I liked things like onions and tomatoes. But I think as you get older your taste changes. I don't smoke so I taste everything really, really, really well. It's funny I've gotten to where I have...

KING: Does it bother you that she smokes?

B. DEEN: Yes, tremendously.

KING: And what about you, Jamie?

JAMIE DEEN, PAULA DEEN'S SON: She just put it in front of me.

KING: And you ate it?


KING: That's it? If you don't eat it, you don't eat.

J. DEEN: Well, growing up in the south, all of our foods there are just something that I really took to. And it's neat now when we get to travel and try different things. But I have a pretty easy palate.

DEEN: I think it was onions and celery that you all were opposed to. But I got where I was so good at disguising it. I'd chop it so fine.

KING: Are you in the business, Bobby, by your own choice?

B. DEEN: No. It's a series of events. I never would have guessed -- I would not have told you when I was a young man that I was going to be in the restaurant business. In fact, it's ironic. The very first restaurant I ever worked in I owned technically. I had no money but it was my restaurant and I was scrubbing those pots. KING: What do you do now?

B. DEEN: My brother and I own and operate The Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, which is -- it's operated directly by Dustin Walls, who is our general manager.

KING: Does your mother cook for that restaurant?

B. DEEN: Not anymore.

J. DEEN: She did.

B. DEEN: But she did for a long time. There was a time when if you came in the restaurant, Mom and Jamie would have been preparing your meal. I would have seated you and I would have served your entire...

KING: Is she too big, Jamie?

J. DEEN: She's just too busy.

KING: She's too busy.

J. DEEN: Yes. I've seen her three months' schedule in there and there's only two or three days that she's home. And with a new grandchildren, I know it's tough for her. But...

KING: You have a child?

J. DEEN: Yes, sir, my wife and I.

DEEN: Yes.

KING: We'll be right back with the Deens, Paula, Jamie and Bobby. Don't go away.


DEEN: You look like you could stand a little weight on you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my goodness. I'm going to love this. Are you going to give it to me?

DEEN: What do you mean am I going to give it to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. Are you going to feed it to me?

DEEN: Do you want me to?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am. Oh, my goodness, a tease. Oh, my gosh, that's good.

DEEN: Isn't that yummy?





DEEN: You're too nervous to...

B. DEEN: Momma's on "Oprah" today.

DEEN: Oh, God! Turn it off. Turn it off!


KING: We're with Paula Deen and her boys. She of the Food Channel, they of the restaurants, and famous food involvements that have made them all live in this incredible concept that has developed for this family.

What an incredible -- what a story. What was it like for you, Bobby, when momma was going through all the difficulties?

B. DEEN: It was extremely difficult. I was -- you know, when I was young, I wondered why -- I couldn't go to baseball practice or -- I didn't have a full understanding of it until right towards the end of it for my mom as she started to, you know, there was no therapy, as I think you said earlier. You really overcame it yourself basically, strongest person.

KING: For the kids though it had to be...

B. DEEN: It was very difficult to see your mom hyperventilate in a brown paper bag and not have any idea what that means or what -- I didn't have any idea.

KING: We have another King Cam question for Paula Deen here with Jamie and Bobby. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Paula. I'm Edward, the culinary coordinator at our school here in Sterling (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Arlington, and our students love you. What I would like to know is what is more challenging, running a restaurant or being a TV food star?


DEEN: Hey, darling, you're as cute as pie. What is the toughest?

KING: Of the two.

DEEN: I think running a restaurant. I think running a restaurant.

KING: Because? DEEN: It's hard. It is so hard because you have to rely on a lot of different people, and, you know, that's hard to do.

KING: You also, I've been told, I know a lot of people in the restaurant business, you don't get a second chance.

DEEN: You don't.

KING: You give a bad meal and they don't come back.

DEEN: You're only as good as the last meal that you served. And we're so fortunate, Larry. We have one hell of a team at The Lady and Sons and Uncle Bubba's. And -- but it took us years to put that team together and they take a lot of pride in what they do and thank goodness.

KING: Is it difficult preparing a Food Channel show all the time? Like I saw one of you were cooking beer and a chicken.

DEEN: Beer in the rear, baby.

KING: Beer in the rear.

DEEN: Beer in the rear, just stuff that can of beer up that chicken.


KING: If that chicken could talk.


DEEN: He wouldn't be saying nice things to me.

KING: Would you say you're a southern cook?

DEEN: Yes.

KING: Your cooking has a southern slant?

DEEN: Well, I am...

KING: You don't do French coq au vin?

DEEN: Once in a while. I have made coq au vin. I actually made that for the restaurant one time. It was a special. So I can. But when my family and I go to sit down to eat, you know, we want our roots food.

KING: Do you guys cook?

J. DEEN: Yes, sir.

B. DEEN: Love it.

KING: Yes? B. DEEN: I grew up cooking and cooked at restaurant, and cook for my family. And it's a great time for, you know, friends to get together.

J. DEEN: I love it.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with the Deens. Don't go away.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, come out with your lid and layered all those apples.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There we go. All right! OK. There we go. You like that?

DEEN: I'm speechless. It's obscene.



KING: We're going to close it with some e-mails; one from Sue in Bossier City, Louisiana, "Which of your mother's dishes is your favorite?"

B. DEEN: My mom for me every year on my birthday cooks me a dish called goulash.

KING: Hungarian.

B. DEEN: Well I don't know if it's Hungarian but it's my momma's goulash and it's basically a glorified beefaroni.

KING: You?

J. DEEN: I'll take some fried pork chops with turnip greens and dry cornbread dumplings.

DEEN: Yes!


KING: I loved that in Bensonhurst growing up. That was one of my favorites.

E-mail from Pamela in Poteau, Oklahoma. "My 4-year-old granddaughter loves you. I had a special apron made for her because she wants to cook like Paula. Do you ever do cooking shows just for kids?" DEEN: You know I have not but I'm just starting this week on my first children's cook book and I'm so excited.

KING: Did you see "Ratatouille?"

DEEN: No. What's that?

KING: The movie about the rat that cook in France.


KING: The concept of that...

DEEN: "Ratatouille."

KING: Well, you've got to go see it. You haven't seen it?

B. DEEN: I'm familiar with it. I've not seen it.

KING: Well, it probably hasn't come to Savannah yet. No, it's -- I'm only kidding. I love Savannah. It's a great movie, "Ratatouille," but its premise is anyone can cook.

DEEN: Yes.

KING: Do you believe that?

DEEN: Yes, absolutely anybody can cook. If you can read, you can cook. And you know what; I wish it was a southern rat because I want to be a voice in a movie.

KING: Oh, would you be a voice. After this show...


DEEN: Do you think there's a need for a southern rat?

KING: See "Ratatouille." See "Ratatouille."

One more e-mail from Stephanie in Jasper, Georgia: "I went to The Lady & Sons once and loved it, but there's nothing like it where I live. Have you thought about a chain of restaurants?"

B. DEEN: You know...

DEEN: We thought about it and then we went to bed until it passed, right?

B. DEEN: The one that we have keeps us so busy. It would really be hard to duplicate what we do.

KING: It's hard to manage two of them?

B. DEEN: Well, not that. It would be hard to duplicate our food because the people that prepare our food have been with us for -- a lot of them have been with us for nearly the entire time we've been open. And we prepare the food fresh and we do it the way that you would do it in your own kitchen. It's not coming out of a box. So it would be difficult to open up another one and just zap it and...

DEEN: It's hard to formulate our style.

B. DEEN: It took years to get our restaurant where it is.

J. DEEN: We're trying to figure out how to run one.

KING: You guys are terrific.

DEEN: Oh, Larry, it was such an honor to be...

B. DEEN: A pleasure.

KING: Thank you, Bobby.

DEEN: It was such an honor to be...

KING: My honor.

DEEN: ...interviewed by the king.

KING: The king.

The book is "Paula Deen: It Ain't All About The Cooking."

A quick reminder to check out our website, You can send an e-mail or a video question to upcoming guests, participate in a quick vote about food or download our newest podcast. It's all at

Tomorrow night, we'll have an exclusive with Roe Messner. He'll tell us about the life and times of the late Tammy Faye.

Anderson Cooper is next.