Devotion in Motion: A ‘Dear John’ Letter to Paula Deen

“Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.”  Colossians  4:14 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Dearest, dearest, Paula Deen,

How sad I am that we must now break up. Oh, how I have loved you from afar.  For the past decade (with the approval of my wife) you have been my TV girlfriend, as I watch you each week on Food Network.  I love your blue eyes and your silver hair.  I love your hearty laugh and your bright smile.  But most of all, I love the things that you cook.

I love the way you deep-fry everything—except for the things that you pan-fry.  I love the way you fry chicken and the way you fry fish.  I love the way you fry vegetables, like potatoes (both Irish and sweet), okra, squash, and eggplant.  I love the way you fry things that don’t even need frying, like Twinkies and cheesecake.  I love the way you fry things that aren’t even really food, like green tomatoes. (Have you ever thought about frying a bicycle tire?  If you ever decide to, please give me a call.  I’ll be right there watching you, with little hearts coming out of my eyes. Especially if you roll it in corn meal first.)

Paula Deen, another thing I love about you is how everything you cook begins with three sticks of butter.  Goodness, girl, you are keeping the National Dairy Council in business! I have noticed that your recipes have so much more flavor than the low-fat versions they sell at the store. Is that why you put butter in everything?  Your full-fat dishes are so tasty! You’re the only the only girl I know who says, “Okay, get out  some cream cheese, a Boston Butt, and three sticks of butter—we’re making an angel food cake!”

Paula Dean, one time on Oprah I heard you say, “I’m your cook, not your doctor.” Ah, my sweetest, therein lies the problem. Someone has come between us—my cardiologist, Dr. Bennett.  Paula, he says we can’t “go together”. He says we can’t even be “close friends”. Dr. Bennett says you are not the girl for me—because you’re just no good for me.

First of all, Dr. Bennett says you don’t know how to measure anything. You always measure butter by the “stick”. But, Dr. Bennett says you are supposed to measure butter by the “TEAspoon”. (Incidentally, a teaspoon is about the size of the first joint of your index finger.) And, if you’re measuring butter, it’s supposed to be the soft margarine that comes in a tub, not a stick. And, Paula, my cardiologist says the way you measure mayonnaise (by the cup) is all wrong. Dr. Bennett says you measure mayonnaise by the “TABLEspoon”. (And a tablespoon is about the size of your thumb.) He says that Miracle Whip is better because a tablespoon has only 35 calories–instead of the 90 that you find in the same amount of mayo.

I love you, Paula Deen, but I’ve come to a realization: It’s nice to have a cook, but more important to have a doctor.  It’s even in the Bible.  The Apostle Paul had health problems, and took his doctor with him whenever he traveled.  He even called him, “Luke, the beloved physician.” And if I want to be around to finish raising my kids, I’ve got to do what my doctor says. That’s the most important thing, because I want to stick around with them. (The mamas who read my column need to think about this, too.)  So, I’m leaving “The Land of Milk and Honey” for “The Land of Silk and Sweet’n’Low” in hopes that I can finish the work that the Lord has given me to do.

Don’t worry about me being lonely.  Dr. Bennett has introduced me to a new girl.  I take her to dinner every night.  I am afraid that the church may not approve of her because she is a married woman, and she is not “the salt of the Earth”. Her name is Mrs. Dash.  (She’s a spicy little mama.)

So, Paula, I’ll be seeing you.  I just won’t be eating what you’re cooking.  I’ll eat my low-fat diet to try to keep my heart healthy—and maybe the Lord will keep me around to watch your program for a long, long, time.

Love and best dishes,


Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” *Sing that  title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his third decade of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi.  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 17) and Seth (age 14) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church ( where the preacher’s other new girlfriend is “Olive Oil”).  You should write him at