The Players: Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential, Medium Raw and host of Travel Channel's No Reservations; Paula Deen, Southern darling of the Food Network and host of Paula's Home Cooking and Paula's Party, and Paula's Best Dishes
The Opening Serve: In a TV Guide interview posted yesterday, Bourdain laid out his criticism of the Food Network's Southern star. "The worst, most dangerous person to America is clearly Paula Deen. She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she's proud of the fact that her food is f---ing bad for you," Bourdain said. "If I were on at seven at night and loved by millions of people at every age, I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it's OK to eat food that is killing us. Plus, her food sucks." He continued his rant on his Twitter feed yesterday. "A cheeseburger between donuts is no kind of 'Southern' cooking. It's just bad cooking," he wrote in reference to Deen, who fills Food Network's Southern food niche. "If deep-fried butter ain't a communist plot, I don't know what is...What was Jesus's position on gout...I love red beans and rice. Do I need it between pancakes?" he added in later subsequent tweets. Another gem: "Damn unpatriotic feeding people that shit during wartime! Gotta be fit and ready when Al Qaeda comes swarming across the border!" Bourdain also tweeted a link to Deen's Lady's Brunch Burger recipe, which he deems "horrific"--the recipe incorporates a pound and a half of ground beef, six slices of bacon, three eggs, and six glazed donuts, serving three. "This erodes our military readiness!" he added.
The Return Volley: Deen fired back in The New York Post last night. "Anthony Bourdain needs to get a life," she said "It’s not all about the cooking, but the fact that I can contribute by using my influence to help people all over the country. In the last two years, my partners and I have fed more than 10 million hungry people by bringing meat to food banks." She added, "I have no idea what Anthony has done to contribute besides being irritable." Deen continued, "You know, not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills . . . It wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling to feed my family, too." Deen also appeared on Fox & Friends this morning and said, "Listen. Come to my house, I'll cook you a meal and if you still feel that way about me, so be it." No word yet if Bourdain has accepted Deen's invitation. But he did seem to be over the backlash. Via Bourdain's Twitter: "Resolved: Next time I'm asked (for the millionth time) who the worst cooks on Food Network are, I'll just shut up. Who cares," he wrote. "My comment was actually 'worst, most dangerous to America cook on FN [Food Network],'" he clarified--i.e. not simply the "worst, most dangerous person to America."