Ree Drummond — the Pioneer Woman — jokingly labels herself a mixture of Vivien Leigh, Lucille Ball and Ethel Merman.
“There’s a little bit of the drama queen in me,” Drummond said of how she resembles Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind.” Drummond admires Scarlett. “I think she’s the best character ever — so strong and such a mess all at the same time.”
Drummond, a talented speaker, chef and bestselling author, has just released a new cookbook, “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier,” and is coming to Wichita to share her talents.
A mother of four, who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma, she likens herself to Merman because of her ability to project her voice and Ball because of her clumsiness, passion for fun and ability to make others feel at home.
Growing up with playmates always at hand, then graduating from the University of Southern California and loving city life in Los Angeles, Drummond had no idea that she’d end up back in Oklahoma — and living on a ranch. But she met the man of her dreams, Ladd Drummond, whom she labels “The Marlboro Man,” and ended up homeschooling her two boys and two girls on a ranch filled with hundreds of cattle and the nearest grocery store way out yonder.
Although this was not what she expected, she adores being out in the country and sharing her photos and recipes with millions of bloggers, readers and television watchers on her Food Network show “The Pioneer Woman.”
“Everything along the way has been a surprise for me,” Drummond said. But, she noted, a happy one.
Like in her first book “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl,” most of the recipes in her recently released book “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier,” are what Drummond labels comfort food. It is food that is meant to warm the soul as well as satisfy the palate.
“The food in this cookbook is still very accessible and familiar,” Drummond said. “There’s nothing here that’s high-gourmet.”
Drummond has put in recipes such as her mother’s cauliflower soup, her great-grandmother’s chicken fried steak, classic drip beef, pork chops with apples and grits and glazed donuts. Along with the homespun recipes, Drummond has affixed her signature step-by-step photos with explanations of the cooking process. This easy-to-follow, fun formula helped propel Drummond’s first cookbook to No. 1 on the New York Times best sellers list.
This second cookbook, unlike the first, has fewer stories and more recipes. Although there are still pictures of the prairie at sunset, the Marlboro Man in chaps atop a chestnut horse, her boys passing a football and several ranchers rounding up cattle, most of the book consists of recipes and gorgeous full-color renditions of the process and the finished product. (Find a few of the recipes in Wednesday’s Eagle.)
“The first book was like my first love,” Drummond explained. “The second book is my fun best friend.”
Throughout March, Watermark Books and Cafe served up many of the recipes from her latest book.
Beth Golay, marketing manager for the bookstore and cafe, said that the food produced at the restaurant from the recipes in the new cookbook was delicious. Watermark is thrilled to be bringing Drummond to Wichita.
“We’re not turning anyone away,” Golay said. “Drummond just wants everybody to meet her if they want to.”
Living just one state south, Drummond is happy to be driving up to Wichita.
“I feel very relaxed about it because it’s close to home,” Drummond said. She corresponds with many bloggers from the area and plans to meet up with several of them before her appearance.
Drummond is surprised by her success, but feels gratified about helping others.
“When I first shared my very first recipe online, in no way did I realize that it would lead to a second recipe, let alone a book,” Drummond said. But although this homeschool mom, award-winning blogger and television personality is busy, she is content.
“I have to credit country life for calming me down and centering me.”