Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Paula Deen and the Rose Parade

Paula Dean, the food host, has just been named Grand Marshal of the next Rose Parade.


As Deen told the Pasadena Star-News:

"We get a lot of folks from California at our restaurant in Savannah, and I can tell you they eat like little pigs. They eat too much tofu and lettuce" at home.

Ahh! How refreshing! Someone who thinks all Californians are health food freaks. Couldn't she mention something about Hollywood? Or maybe throw in a Lindsey Lohan joke?

Maybe she could join Rick Bayless in a tour of restaurants in Southern California. It's irksome to hear these stereotypes because I think most Angelenos know there's a wealth of good food in the South and would never ask, for instance, if Deen has ever cracked an alligator over the head with a banjo. (Note to Paula: we served fried chicken at our wedding.)

Food writer Jonathan Gold got ticked off for a different reason.

"Paula Deen? That's absolutely horrifying," Gold said in an e-mail Tuesday. "Julia Child grew up on Pasadena Avenue, just a few blocks from the start of the parade, and practically everything Ms. Deen has done both exploits and despoils the culinary movement Child did so much to prod into being.

Exciting Off-Ramp Paula Deen Contest -- Count the y'all's in the following entry on her website:

Y’all, I’ve always had a thing for parades. One of my sweetest memories is tuggin’ on my daddy’s pant leg as a little girl, just as excited as all get out, and pointing as he and I watched the floats rolling by in our small hometown parades. I used to dream about being one of the princesses atop those floats, slowly waving to the other little children, wearing a long flowing dress and just grinnin’.

That’s why when I found out that I was elected to be the Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, well, I just about cried- out of happiness of course! You see, believe it or not, this has got to be one of the highlights of my career, and I mean that sincerely. I am so truly blessed to have been honored in such a marvelous way.

Having the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of the parade was so special. I loved every minute of seeing just how the floats were assembled, and y’all- they call it the Tournament of Roses for a reason. There were so many roses and rose petals; it nearly took my breath away!

But y’all, I guess the real reason why it means so much to me is because of my grandbaby, Jack; he calls me Ginny and every time I see him, I just hug him to pieces. I imagine that years from now, when he’s an adult with children of his own, he’ll be looking through old family photos, and he’ll pull out one of me waving atop that float, decorated to the hilt with roses of every color. He’ll remember tuggin’ on his daddy’s pant leg on that day, just as I did, and think to himself, “I am so proud of my Ginny.” That thought alone means the world to me.

Tip of the hat to LAObserved.