By Abby Byrd of Little Miss Perfect
Celebrity chef Paula Deen is once again under fire, this time from parents who say she made inappropriate comments to children who attended her cooking camp.
Deen established the camp late last year in response to a public outcry over remarks about slavery. Dubbed “The Deen Free Cooking School For Poor Negroes,” the program enrolled 55 young African Americans ranging in ages from 7-15 years old.
According to Deen, she established the program “to keep kids off the streets of Savannah, and because my publicist said I had to. We also take mulattoes and quadroons.”
The controversy started during the second week of classes, when Keisha Smith, 10, told her mother that Deen had commented on her skin tone. “She told me I was ‘browning nicely,’ which I thought was a little weird,” says Smith.
A few days later, Deen told Smith’s friend Nicole Watson, also 10, that her skin “had a beautiful caramelized color.”
“I’m pretty light-skinned, so I’ve heard ‘caramel’ before,” says Watson, “but ‘caramelized’? Creepy. Then Ms. Paula told me to ‘get on into that oven—I mean apron.’ That’s when I looked around and realized her entire house was made of candy.”
“It all makes sense now, why she was encouraging us to eat whatever we made,”says Smith. “My mom says I have an overactive imagination, but I know that crazy white bitch was gonna eat us.”
“I’m sure as hell not going back there,” agreed Watson, whose mother brought Deen’s comments to the attention of police.
When asked for a statement, Deen held out a tray of sweets and said, “Well, that sounds just like some kind of fairy tale, don’t it? Gingerbread?”
About the Author
Abby Byrd is a teacher, a grammarian, and the poster mom for existential angst. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy/Club Mid, In The Powder Room, BLUNTMoms, Mamalode, The Good Men Project, The Reject Pile, and The Big Jewel, as well as in two anthologies. She is a frequent contributor to MockMom. Follow her on Twitter, on Facebook, and at her blog, Little Miss Perfect.