Cooking With Paula

As many of you know from reading this blog, I love to cook. It's one of my all-time favorite things to do, besides eating! I've always been a believer that food and the art of feeding someone is the best way to connect with people. Especially in the south, we use food as a way to celebrate marriages, mark the arrival of new babies and heal the hurt from the loss of a loved one. As I remember my Memaw saying once, "If you don't know what to do for someone, then cook." Food is a universal language.

All my life, I've been surrounded by great southern cooks; my Memaw (which is my dad's mom), my Mom, my great grandma Ruth, the amazing little ladies at my home church in Heber Springs, Drew, Mrs. Holifield and the list goes on. Cooking inspires me to try new things; not just in the kitchen, but in all aspects of life. And I have an inspiration/idea that I want to share with ya'll...

I simply cannot wait to see the new movie "Julie and Julia" in theatres. The movie is about a young woman named Julie Powell who, after being unsuccessful in her career, decides to cook her way through Julia Childs' cookbook and blog about it. I like the concept of undertaking a project like this and sharing tips and tricks along the way.

Now, I admire Julia Childs' ambition just as much as the next gal, but I gotta say, Paula Deen is my hands-down favorite celebrity cook. She even calls herself a cook, not a chef. She seems down to earth, warm and southern to the core and the simplicity and deliciousness of her food is somewhat of a trademark.

So...drum rolll please...I've decided to "cook" my way through the Paula Deen "Savannah Country Cookbook." I chose her cookbook because it can be found at most bookstores and on her website, so if any of you want to join me, the book won't be hard to find. Her ingredients are also cheap and easy to locate (you can get them at any Walmart) and feed lots of people in a cost-effective way.

I'm giving myself some rules (I do better with guidelines) that way ya'll can keep me in line if I start to slip up:

1. I have 1 year from Wednesday, August 12 to "cook" my way through Paula's "Savannah Country Cookbook."

2. Sauces, dressings, beverages and salads are exempt, because you really can't make a meal out of a sauce. Or a salad.

3. I'll rate each recipe on a scale of 1-10 in difficulty and taste, (1=easiest, 10=most difficult), and provide an estimated cost of each recipe with each posting. Since I'm a girl on a budget, the cost estimate will be essential to other young women out there who need to adhere to a food budget.

Don't worry, this is not going to be all I blog about. In fact, I'll probably combine the posts into one big post and set up another blog address where you can find the recipes. I realize some of you may not enjoy cooking, so I'm keeping that in mind as I plan my posts.

I'm really excited about this and I know I'll be a better cook as a result. Hope you'll join me along the way! Now the first order of business is to make sure I look stylish while I cook...I'm loving this apron from etsy.com and it's fabulous. So cute!

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