Since he grew up in Southwest Georgia in the 1970s, Bobby Deen is no stranger to old-school, traditional food. "I grew up close to my grandmother, my aunt and my mother (Paula Deen). We all learned how to cook from one another. I'm a good cook and I come from a long line of 'em," proclaims Bobby.
In his new cookbook, From Mamma's Table to Mine: Everybody's Comfort Foods at 350 Calories or Less, Bobby remakes 120 Southern favorites and takes them from full-fat and high calorie counts, all the way down to 350 calories or less.
"I love my Southern heritage," Bobby says, "and if my mamma asks me over to eat, I know what I'm going to be eating, and I know I'm going to enjoy it. But you can't eat that way every day."
Excited about his new book, Bobby notes that it goes hand in hand with his Cooking Channel show Not My Mamma's Meals, and with the way he lives and truly eats. "This was a natural for me. I understand the balance between your diet and exercising."
Do the flavors still exist in these adapted dishes? Bobby says that the lighter versions of the heavier-duty, delicious dishes he grew up enjoying are not bland. "There's lot of flavor in fat," he laughs. "Butter tastes good. Mayonnaise, heavy cream, sour cream. They taste good, but they're all high in fat." He admits of his recreations, "You can tell you're eating a lighter recipe, but these are honest recipes. The integrity of the recipe is still there, and there is a lot of flavor in them."
Times change, and Bobby recognizes that people are now more accepting of lighter foods than they were in the past. "I think people understand that the least good foods for you are the most accessible, and the most inexpensive. I think people are searching for alternatives. I'm trying to give people alternatives. I hope this cookbook is helpful. I want people to know they can affordably create dishes at home that they can feel good about feeding their family instead of going through a drive-thru."
"I'm proud of my family and my Southern heritage. I'm not trying to mess with it. I'm not telling anyone how to live, I'm just showing people the way that I live. The food is good!"
What does his mom, Paula Deen, think? "My mom likes my food and sometimes she can't tell the difference between my recipes and the originals," Bobby proudly admits.
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