Library of Congress

National Book Festival

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Food Network star Paula Deen started her career in food in 1989 as The Bag Lady, delivering, with her two sons, bag lunches to customers in Savannah, Ga. This business eventually became a catering service and led to the opening of The Lady & Sons restaurant. Deen is the author of many best-selling cookbooks of Southern food, and her latest is "The Deen Family Cookbook" (2009). "Paula's Home Cooking" and "Paula's Party" are seen regularly on the Food Network.

Previous National Book Festival Appearances

The Scoop

From the 2009 National Book Festival

You have written many cookbooks. Where did you get your inspiration for your new title - Paula Deen’s Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set?

Well I already wrote a book for younger children. It just made sense to write a book for older school age children. I wanted to give them ideas how to make good school lunches.

You began your career as a cook, caterer and restaurant owner? How did these experiences lead to writing cookbooks?

I just started pooling my recipes together so that I can keep track of my family favorites. Then I decided to self-publish my recipes. Before long someone from a publishing house picked up my book and offered to publish it. See, you never know where life will take you!

What tips or advice can you share with young students who hope to start writing?

Just do it! Just let those words and ideas flow out of your head and onto the paper! Don't be so worried about what people will think. Just let the ideas flow!

Can you suggest a fun writing topic to get them started?

Why I love my favorite sandwich! Tell me why it's your favorite sandwich. Tell me how it tastes, what's in it. Do you have a special memory sharing that sandwich with a friend or relative? Most of the time, a favorite food is associated with a happy memory.

Do you have any favorite children or teen books?

Any book I read to my grandson Jack is a favorite.

What is your advice to parents for passing the joys of reading on to their children?

Its not so much what you read but the special time you take to do it. Reading to your child is more valuable than any gift you can buy them.

Do you have a website where young people can learn more about you and your work?

Yes, pauladeen.com.

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Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunch-Box set

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paula Deen's My First Cookbook

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