Do you ever just connect with someone? It doesn't matter whether it is in person, in a book or on TV. Sometimes we just find a person or character and feel a camaraderie with them. This happened to me one day while I was channel surfing and happened onto The Food Network. It had been months since I had watched as I was both mentally boycotting the channel as well as mourning the loss of my beloved Paula Deen. I felt as if she got a raw deal and that the channel sold her down the river rather than stand behind one of their biggest personalities not to mention biggest money makers.
So this day as I was surfing, a red head with a bright smile, a quirky sense of humor and an amazing kitchen caught my attention and I put the remote down. As I listened to her talk, I caught a bit of an Oklahoma accent that might only be picked up by someone who had grown up with an Okie. Her cooking terms were not culinary terms by any means as she talked about "a good amount of this" and she referenced her family not as her family but as "the cowboys." As she talked she told corny jokes and she seemed completely at ease both on camera and in her surroundings. She should have, after all she was standing in her own ranch house (not to be confused with her actual house which is somewhere else on her property.) So who was this woman that caught my attention and whose kitchen wowed me? Why Ree Drummond of course or better known to her fans as The Pioneer Woman.
Until that day, I had never heard of her but she fascinated me enough that I decided to do some research. Drummond was apparently well known in blogger and writers circles long before The Food Network wisely signed her up. Before that, Drummond did what any wise writer/blogger does....she wrote about what she knew about. Her blogs are full of her life on a ranch in Pawhuska, Oklahoma (see....I knew she was an Okie). Her and husband Lad run a huge cattle ranch that has been in Lad's family for years. She regales readers of early mornings on the ranch, calving, feeding and other mundane ranching jobs that she somehow makes interesting. Perhaps it is because the Drummonds number one ranch hands are their four children whom they are giving a pretty balanced life between learning the ranching business and home schooling. Her husband, whom she refers to as the Marlboro Man (no he dosesn't smoke) and her kids whom she calls "the cowboys," (even though two of the four are girls) are always in some way featured in her blog. AND as if being a ranchers wife, ranching, homeschooling, blogging and being a photographer weren't enough (did I forget to say she is also a photographer? Well she is!) it turns out that she is also an accomplished cook and now has her own TV show in which she films on her own turf. No wonder I find her so amazing.
From that day forward I was hooked on both Drummond and her show. There is an awkward ease in which Drummond cooks and shows off her family, dogs and ranch in each episode. She is every bit the self described homebody, homeschool mom and cook that you might expect her to be and yet every once in awhile we get a glimpse into another life that Drummond might have lived before the Marlboro Man and cowboys came into her life.
Much like watching Paula Deen in years past, I have spent a great deal of time drooling over and on my TV as Drummond prepares rib sticking meals which feature "cowboy favorites" of meat and potatoes and yummy desserts. While her meals are seldom light or Weight Watcher friendly, for her family and their fast paced, metabolically charged life style they are just the ticket after long days on the ranch.
As a blogger myself who loves to have my blog read, I am a bit ashamed to say that I have only skimmed Drummonds blog in the past or read only certain posts that came across my facebook feed and caught my attention. It is colorful though and I keep telling myself that one of these days I will just take the time and read. The other day I took that time as it coincided with a show of hers that I had dvrd. The show was about her big brother Mike. Now Drummond is not shy about introducing the world to her family members and close friends but Mike was not one I had ever seen.
Brother Mike is a little guy, probably a good foot shorter than his sister and it is obvious that there are handicapable issues in Mikes life. Still Drummond, Lad and the kids obviously love Mike and include him in their ranch life and ranch duties as much as possible. It is obvious from his highlighted thirty minutes that like his sister and the rest of the clan he is comfortable in front of the ever present camera's and he has a larger than life personality all his own. As if I wasn't already intrigued and emotionally connected to Drummond, I find out she has a handicapable brother. It almost makes me want to drive to Pawhuska and march up to her door and introduce myself and David. Have I mentioned David is as intrigued and entertained by the Pioneer Woman as I am?
After watching the episode with Mike in it, I scoured her blog looking for posts on him and I wasn't disappointed. Mike is very close to Drummonds heart but like most of us with special needs family members, we seldom refer to them as such nor do we treat them as such. Mike is far more independent than it was ever believed he would be. He has lived on his own for over 20 years and holds down a job. He is a character in ever sense of the word and loves to joke around and tease. Most of all though.....he is his sisters big brother and holds a very special place in her heart. Yep....if I wasn't a fan before, learning about Mike and how she connects with him made me a fan for life.
If you have never seen or heard of The Pioneer Woman, you really owe it to yourself and your palette to tune in to her show. She is on in the afternoons and on Saturday mornings on The Food Network. If cooking shows aren't your thing though and you like a good blog then head on over to her blog. I guarantee you....you won't be disappointed! Oh....and I was just kidding about going to her house. I am a fan....not a stalker! (wink)
Happy Tuesday everyone!