In 1997, eager to ride the wave of fame the restaurant brought with it, Paula self-published her first cookbook, entitled The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook. The book was a success, featuring a collection of Southern recipes, background information about Southern food, personal stories and witty anecdotes, and even prompted the publication of a second book, entitled The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cooking 2. Since the publication of the first two books, Paula has gone on to release two more cookbooks, Paula Deen and Friends: Living It Up, Southern Style and The Lady and Sons Just Desserts. She has also published a memoir, entitled It Ain't All About the Cookin' and launched a magazine in 2005, called Cooking with Paula Deen.
In 1999, Paula made her first television appearance as a guest star on a number of Food Network shows. Paula introduced herself to the world, serving up a healthy portion of charm and wit alongside her famous Southern cuisine and won the hearts of critics and audiences alike. In 2003, Paula appeared on her own show, Paula's Home Cooking. The show was an immediate success with viewers and she became one of Food Network's most recognized celebrity chefs. Inviting audiences into her home and introducing them to her sons, Paula's show was rich in good-natured, softhearted, homespun values and appeal. Set against the lush Savannah backdrop, Paula provided aspiring chefs and food lovers with mouth-watering recipes and a sense of friendship.
In 2004, Paula married her second husband, Michael Groover, a Savannah tugboat captain and regular on her show. Together with Groover and sons, Jamie and Bobby, Paula continues to turn out scrumptious cooking that is both inventive and exciting. Following in their mother's footsteps, Jamie and Bobby have appeared regularly on the show, helping their mother perfect her recipes, while adding some lip-smacking goodies of their own. The duo have appeared independent of their mother on other Food Network shows, like Road Tasted, a cross-country exploration of food that reveals the brothers' own love of food and individual talents in cooking, possessing unique styles all their own and surprisingly different from their mother's.
On January 17, 2012, Paula revealed to the world that she had type 2 diabetes and had been struggling with the disease prior to the public announcement. The Southern sweetheart, whose food was anything but sweet on the heart, announced that her diagnosis has changed the way she views food, but not her love and passion for cooking, stating on her website, "Of course, I will continue to share my favorite Southern recipes, just like my mama, grandmother, and family shared with me over the years. And now, I'll be adding a little bit of a lighter touch to some of these wonderful dishes." Paula has announced that she will be working with diabetes healthcare company Novo Nordisk to educate and inspire through tasty diabetes-friendly recipes. She will be providing "lightened up" alternatives to a number of yummy, but not necessarily healthy, dishes, as well as offering advice and tips for living with diabetes.
With the support of her family and friends, Paula Deen has, again, proven herself to be steadfast in her determination. Having championed an early life characterized by hardship and struggle, Paula's attitude toward diabetes suggests that she still possess the same fortitude and resolve to overcome, stating, "When I learned I had type 2 diabetes, I decided to approach managing the disease with the same positivity and "go get ‘em" attitude I have every day. In the past, I've heard so many stories of people like me that let diabetes control their lives, but I didn't want to let this slow me down. I wanted to take control and have a delicious time doing it." Always a source of optimism and encouragement, Paula will continue to share her passion for cooking and food with the same upbeat and cheerful, "Hey y'all!"
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