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food blog for thought May 2009: Pioneer Woman Cooks

May 10, 2009
Prairie Woman website
Prairie Woman website

May’s food blog of the month is so much more than a food blog: Pioneer Woman Cooks: Plowing through country life, one calf nut at a time.

Pioneer Woman, the mother site if you will, was started in May 2006. If you want to know about the author, Ree Drummond, you could start reading her hilarious posts about cooking and about the life of a former L.A. city girl who moved to a ranch and loves it. Kinda Green Acres meets Harlequin Romance (as she puts it) with four kids, no Hungarian accent and a husband referred to as “Marlboro Man”.

Here’s something dated March 26, 2009, from the Ask Pioneer Woman section of her site, in which Drummond answers a passel of questions ranging from culinary to curiously personal.

Her Confessions of a Pioneer Woman series called Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, about the beginning of her ranch life with “MM”, is lovely and hilarious. There are also pages devoted to her homeschooling, photography and home and garden.

But what about the food?

She’s a regular gal, meaning there will be no snobby assumption of Cordon Bleu credentials, but her “cowboy friendly” food choices are solid.

It’s the attitude I love, flipping from playfully threatening to self-deprecating. In a recent pancake recipe, she promises to help you make from-scratch pancakes that actually taste as good as the from-the-box variety (you can admit it, homemade is virtuous, but flat). But she warns that the slightest deviation from her instructions will be met with a cast-iron frying pan to the head, but then:

“You must trust the Pioneer Woman. Please, for one moment just forget that she really has no idea what she’s doing.”

She has a great post from April called The Lost Tamale, where she starts out by admitting that she forgot to write down the recipes, so basically guesses at her method based on her trademark great food photos. It’s a great chance for her to spell out her motto for the food portion of her Pioneer Woman website: “… the greatest challenge of having a cooking/recipe website: translating my haphazard, freaky cooking into real recipes with precise measurements. It’s not usually how I roll.”

But she melds a good palate with the aforementioned photos and great, fun writing.

Plus she recently gave away five Cuisinart food processors!!!

This is not a site I go to for a quick recipe or meal idea, although I could because it has a handy monthly archive. But I go there to be amused and enlightened. Food just happens to be the top at hand.

Denise Duguay

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