Tasty Tangents

Food, life and other morsels

Celebrity Endorsements

Paula Deen's The Deen Family Cookbook

Paula Deen's The Deen Family Cookbook

So this is one of those tangents the name of the blog allows me to explore. I have to admit I’ve been ignoring the whole Paula Deen kerfuffle lately, but I decided to take a closer look, since the whole concept of the food celebrity is quite fascinating to me.

I you haven’t heard, here’s the story: Deen has known for three years she has Type 2 Diabetes, but recently decided to go public after securing an endorsement deal with a diabetes drug manufacturer.

The thing is, when I heard she got an endorsement deal, I thought well her name is her bread and butter (no pun intended), so it makes sense that she would find a way to turn a serious diagnosis into an income source.

However, knowing that she’s endorsing a drug instead of say, a more heart-healthy margarine or a line of grills or a brand of salad, is a disappointment.

I’m not the first person to point out that she has the potential to use her diagnosis for good. This article on Huffington Post and this one are ones that said it best for me.

And while I’m the first person to say she’s not responsible for the choices we at home make when it comes to food, it still somehow seems like the easy way out. (We’re each responsible for educating ourselves on healthy eating, by the way.)

Endorsing a drug means she doesn’t have to admit her eating habits have ¬†impacted her health, and the health of anyone who now thinks butter should be part of their daily diet.

That would be one hell of an admission too. Imagine learning that something you’ve been doing for decades, that is your entire living, your entire world, could eventually kill you. Not easy.

So I guess I hope she’ll eventually take responsibility. I hope she’ll learn from the experience. Most of all I hope she’ll do what other chefs/cooks have done and move toward healthier cooking or simply teaching that some dishes are only meant for rare special occasions.

And for everyone else, there’s nothing wrong with butter- and sugar-laden recipes on special occasions and at the holidays.

Someone smart quoted a great line to me…it’s not what you eat between Christmas and New Year’s that’s important, it’s what you eat between New Year’s and Christmas.

What do you think? Do celebrities have a responsibility when it comes to choosing what they endorse?

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