By Rae Wagoner
Kentucky Soybean Board
Ree Drummond would make a great friend. After meeting her at the Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show in Rupp Arena this past weekend, I truly think she is someone that most of us would enjoy getting to know.
During the “meet and greet” that I attended, Ms. Drummond was warm, witty and genuine. Onstage, she was no different.
In the opening remarks of her live afternoon show, Ree confessed (before she even began cooking), “I’m wearing Spanx … and I’m really nervous.” See? She’s my kind of girl.
During the course of the next hour, in addition to preparing pork chops with apple sauce, collard greens and cheese grits, Ree over-shared a rather disgusting story about her toenail and made several references to cow poop.
“It’s everywhere. We live on a cattle ranch. There are literally cows everywhere, sometimes in my yard,” she said. “If I plant something, a cow will immediately come and poop on it.”
In addition to being a great cook and a highly successful blogger/chef/TV personality/author, Ree is married to the “Marlboro Man” and has four children. She lives on a ranch in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, transplanted there from her non-farm, country-club upbringing. Ten years into her marriage, she started her blog “Confessions of a Pioneer Woman” in 2006 and immediately had one follower, her mother. Her first recipe post was a step-by-step tutorial on “how to cook a steak,” and she has come a long way.
Her stories about her husband, family and country living paired with her visually descriptive recipes and elaborate food photography proved popular with readers.
“Confessions of a Pioneer Woman” won honors at the Weblog Awards (also known as the Bloggies) in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2009 and 2010, it took the top prize as “Weblog of the Year.”
It was also named best food weblog in 2011 and was a finalist in 2012 before shooting back to the top of the category in 2013 and being a finalist for the lifetime achievement award in 2014. The Pioneer Woman was also named to the “Bloggies Hall of Fame” in the Weblog of the Year category after winning top honors three times.
As of September 2009, Drummond’s blog reportedly received 13 million page views per month. On May 9, 2011, the blog’s popularity had risen to approximately 23.3 million page views per month and 4.4 million unique visitors.
An article in The Globe and Mail Toronto described it as “[s]lickly photographed with legions of fans . . . arguably the mother of all farm girl blogs.”
She is the author of several cookbooks entitled “The Pioneer Woman Cooks,” including “Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl,” “Food from My Frontier,” and “A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations.” She’s also written several picture books for children about “Charlie the Ranch Dog.”
Drummond closed the cooking show by singing Ethel Merman show tunes and taking questions from the crowd.
In relating why she chose the recipes she used at the Incredible Food Show, Drummond confessed, “I love grits, because that word can have one, two or three syllables, depending on where you’re from,” she said. “Cheese grits are my life, my religion, my passion.”
She also altered her pork chop recipe to include Kentucky’s staple, bourbon, after realizing that this product is, indeed, a very big deal. She swears she’ll never make this recipe without bourbon again!
By Rae Wagoner