By the numbers

Presumably as a gag gift one of my sisters-in-law gave me Paula Deen’s Southern Classics 2012.  On a whim I decided to make a spreadsheet and have a quick look at Miss Deen’s recipes.  Here’s what I found after about 20 minutes of collecting data:


  • Let’s start with the most startling, eye-popping figure:  if you made every dish in this collection you would use 148.5 ounces of butter.  Another way to see that number is to say that you would use 297 tablespoons, or 18.5 cups of butter; put another way you would engorge yourself on 29, 700 caloriesof butter!
  • Recipes calling for straight additions of fat (olive oil or vegetable oil) are few and far between, but they yield another 5500 calories (27.5 ounces).
  • When I started it seemed as if every other recipe was calling for mayonnaise, so I decided to track it.  Disappointingly the use of mayonnaise declined steeply after the first several pages, but still accounted for 5200 calories, or 26 ounces.
  • Total calories just from these ingredients (butter, vegetable oil/olive oil, and mayonnaise):  40,400, or 11.5 pounds of weight added to your body.
  • Shockingly there were only 8 recipes that called for deep-frying as a cooking method.
  • Equally as shocking is that the Southern Classics collection consists of only 2 salad recipes, and 1 of those is for a potato salad, which I think I’m being generous as counting as a salad.

What I didn’t track because I have better things to do with my time, but which I assume would yield some equally horrifying calorie counts:  sugar, sour cream, cream, whole milk, and bacon (and subsequent uses of bacon fat, of which there seemed a generous smattering throughout).

Take what you will from these numbers.  I must confess that a number of recipes did in fact look delicious, but after calculating the above figures I had a great urge to eat a bowl full of lettuce.

I’m not advocating or suggesting that Paula Deen has any obligation to provide healthier recipes, because I don’t believe she does.  However I find myself a little mystified that someone who has type II diabetes would publish recipes like this.  Clearly these are not the recipes Miss Deen is eating, or else she’d be long dead.


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