It could have been a turning point in America’s war on obesity. Tuesday morning on the Today show, Food Network star Paula Deen — the queen of deep-fried Twinkies — admitted that she had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. But when asked whether fans should cut back on the “yummy, fattening” recipes she promotes, she told Al Roker: “Honey, I’m your cook, not your doctor.”
Deen’s position is hardly a surprise. This is a woman known for fried chicken and broccoli “salad” that includes sugar, mayonnaise, cheese and bacon. Deen knows that even a mention of healthy, responsible eating could undermine her multimillion-dollar television-and-cookbook empire built on the glories of sugar and lard.
Still, it was a grand disappointment. While everyone from Anthony Bourdain to Frank Bruni have called Deen a menace to a healthy society, I always believed that Deen, or someone like her, might be the key to change. Everyday Americans, including a large number that struggle with weight and diabetes, like Deen. They listen to her. As I wrote in a piece for The Atlan... Read more