Adam Avitable interviews Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman

Cooking with The Pioneer Woman: An Interview with Ree Drummond, Plus a Giveaway!

When Ree sent me an advance copy of her newest book, “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier”, about two months ago, I had big plans.  I was going to pick a recipe and attempt to make it, on video, and show the disastrous results.  But, life got in the way and before I knew it, her book was already out on shelves. Plus, the only cooking utensils I own are to-go menus and my phone.  And a microwave, if that counts.  So I decided that instead of making the recipes, I would just interview Ree instead.  And being the gracious person that she is, she also agreed to give away signed copies of her books plus a cool extra!  You can find more details about the giveaway after the interview.

Adam Avitable interviews Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman

I love redheads. They are, by far, my favorite of the Lord’s children. Unfortunately, they’re the Lord Satan’s children. They say that all redheads are crazy. And by “they”, I mean me. A little crazy is good, but sometimes a redhead is too far along the GCS or ginger craziness spectrum, and it gets frightening. Where do you fit along this scale, and how does your crazy manifest itself?

Ree: I am definitely crazy, but not in any fun, fiery redheaded ways. I don’t have a temper, I’m not mysterious or unpredictable, and I’m not demanding or moody or prone to histrionics.

What I am is addicted to Real Housewives and American Chopper, afraid of the phone, content never to leave my house if I don’t have to, and incapable of listening to people eating cereal.

I don’t know – the woman who sat on the floor of a limo and showed that she could lift her foot above her head seems like she can be a fun crazy redhead!

Mayonnaise is one of my four food groups. I have tried Hellman’s Olive Oil Mayonnaise, normal Hellman’s, Duke’s, and have yet to come across the world’s best mayonnaise. Do you make yours from scratch? If so, how? If not, what’s the brand that you prefer? Also, do you judge me for sometimes licking the spoon after scooping mayonnaise onto my plate to dip chicken tenders in?

Ree: You are my brother in mayo. I love it more than most things, and I love a lot of things. I have made my own mayonnaise, but on a daily basis, I passionately reach for Hellman’s. It is head-and-shoulders above any other storebought brand (though I don’t have access to Duke’s) and it completes me. I dip my fries in mayo, then ketchup. It’s important that it be done in that order.

I sometimes swirl the ketchup and mayonnaise together into what Will Ferrell calls “fancy sauce” in Step Brothers, but there’s nothing better than the undiluted taste of mayonnaise on almost any food.

Ree, your book is full of great, easy-to-follow recipes. Since I received it, I’ve been meaning to try out one of the recipes, but I keep getting distracted on my way to the grocery store and end up eating bar food and having a liquid dinner. So I’ve decided to hire a Peruvian housekeeper named Marta who will be preparing all my meals for me, and probably cutting them up and feeding them to me. Which recipe would you suggest we try first?

Ree: I feel a strong urging in my spirit that you would love—and that Marta could easily feed you—my Rigatoni and Meatballs. The meatballs can be easily halved or quartered, and the rigatoni can easily be speared with a fork. And you will have leftover meatballs, which you can heat up the next day, then violently smash between two pieces of bread for a meatball sandwich. And the next day, you can slice the remaining leftover meatballs and lay them on top of a frozen cheese pizza before baking. Meatball pizza is one of the true joys in life.

Plus, there is no end to the immature jokes I can make about balls! You’re a genius.

What’s the worst meal you’ve ever made and how badly did you screw it up? Would you make it again?

Ree: In my twenties, I was cooking a delicious vegetarian pasta sauce that involved shredded carrots, onions, diced tomatoes, and one essential ingredient: white wine. I found I was out of wine, so I used beer instead. It did not work. I still have nightmares about the final result.

I think that “delicious” and “vegetarian” are mutually exclusive words. But you know what’s not mutually exclusive? Me and porn! How’s that for a segue?

I’m not a huge, huge fan of porn, but when I watch it, I like amateur porn. However, your photography of your food is very professional and it’s my favorite kind of food porn. I’m very conflicted. Do you have any advice?

Ree: Could you repeat the question?
Okay, never mind…I’ll try to plow through it.
On the food porn front: I’m glad you like my food photos. They have come a long way. The photos in my early food posts can only be described as grody. But I’ve improved over time. My style of food photography is to get way up in the food’s business, and to take photos from the perspective of the person doing the cooking (as opposed to someone watching someone doing the cooking. Wait…what?) I just cook, picking up my camera and snapping as I go. So I think it gives people the sense that they’re there doing the cooking, too.

I feel funny in my pants. All that plowing and getting up in their business . . . which brings me to my next question.

What would you suggest is the best technique for cooking bacon naked, so as not to have any unfortunate grease burns?

Ree: Hold on. I need to get a mental picture of this.
Okay, I’m back. And I have some advice: Please don’t cook bacon naked.

Well, that’s no fun – who wants to put on clothes to cook? Isn’t the whole benefit of cooking at home that it’s something that you can do naked? I still can’t go to the McDonald’s in Altamonte Springs after Nude Drive-throughGate 2010.

When I finally make it over to the ranch to visit, what meal can I look forward to eating? What is a favorite of your boys that you make more frequently than others?

Ree: I’m looking forward to your visit, and I will greet you with an authentic country feast of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and gravy. It will make your heart both sing and palpitate.

That sounds fantastic. As long as there’s lots of mayo on the side! And now, for a bonus question!

Who’s your favorite male blogger on the Internet today?

Ree: Adam A-VIT-able. I was intrigued with his funny and provocative writing, but meeting him in person and discovering that he was considerate, kind, and soft-spoken cinched it for me.
(By the way, please don’t post that he’s considerate, kind, and soft-spoken in person. He doesn’t really want that information getting out.)

And now I know what kind of crazy redhead you are – the kind who can’t keep secrets and who ruin carefully constructed facades! Thank you for the interview, Ree!

And now for the giveaway! There are several ways you can enter, and each way gives you one chance to win:

1. Leave me a comment telling me your favorite meal to make or eat, and/or;
2. Share this post on Facebook and comment with the link, and/or;
3. Tweet this post and comment with the link, and/or;
4. Email me a photo of you, posing just like me in the photo in the beginning of the post!

On Tuesday, May 1st, I’ll draw names at random. Each of the FIVE winners will receive both of the following:

  • A signed copy of Ree’s book “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier”,

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier

Wusthof Classic Hollow Edge Nakiri 7-inch Knife

Good luck, and thanks again to Ree for taking time out of her schedule to answer my questions.  If you are a blogger who has written a book, I’d love to interview you as well! Contact me through my site for details.

105 thoughts on “Cooking with The Pioneer Woman: An Interview with Ree Drummond, Plus a Giveaway!”

  1. I like any food that involves bacon or mayo….even more if the meal has both.

    P.S. My 4 year old saw the picture of you from the neck down (your lovely face was cut off by my need to scroll) and asked if that was Daddy. You two really do resemble each other!

    Please tell me there will be a 2013 calender and that will be one of the pictures!

  2. Duke’s. Best mayo in the history of ever. The only thing that can even try to compare is Blue Plate, and even it falls short of the glory of Duke’s. I went years without it, and can honestly say it was a crappy time.

  3. If I do #4 I better get a damn cookbook!
    OK I will do the easy thing. My favorite meal is Southern Fried, Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, butttermilk biscuits (more gravy please) and anything else left in the fridge you can fry. FRY FRY FRY! Did I mention I like things fried? And gravy. Please.

  4. My favorite meal to make is actually Ree’s fried round steak and crash hot potatoes. I feel so gourmet when I make it. However, my favorite food to EAT is cheap frozen pizza.

  5. Mama likes that knife. And “all redheads are crazy”? How am I crazy? Just for informational purposes.

    Love to eat: fondue. Love to cook: I guess fondue since you basically have to cook it yourself (but I like that I don’t have to clean up).

  6. Bacon, mayo, and cheese are 3 very important food groups.

    My favorite meal to eat and/or make is hands down Pasta carbonara. It contains two of my favorite things: pork fat and glorious globs of Parmesan cheese.

  7. My favorite meal to cook is Meatloaf, potatoes and steamed veggies. My meatloaf is made from scratch and tastes different every single time, but I am told its ALWAYS delicious. And Im a redhead :)

  8. Holy hell I had to make sure this wasn’t April 1. Luckily your first photo cleared up any bizarro world feelings I was having. My absolute favourite meal is the roast beef, with all the trimmings – yorkshire pudding, garlic mash, horseradish (I’ve made it my life goal to find the best and strongest horseradish, you probably don’t want to kiss me after I’m done this meal).

    If I don’t make my mayo myself then it’s got to be hellmans…not that I’m sure there are that many options up here.

  9. I love to make my own marinara sauce. It’s fun to throw things together and see how they come out! I finally caved and bought a pressure canner too- so now I can store the leftover sauce in the pantry instead of having a million containers in the freezer.

  10. 1. My favorite thing to cook at home are tacos because of the endless variety. I made pork carnitas tacos the other night with homemade pico de gallo and cilantro/lime rice. T’was magnificent. Fish tacos with mango, jalepeno and red cabbage are very nice. Shredded chicken tacos with an Asian-ginger sauce are delicious too. You don’t need to always make boring ground beef tacos. And never EVER use the seasoning packets from the store. Use your own spices. That’s my advice.

    2. Not on Facebook. Not now. Not ever.

    3. Done.

    4. Dude, there are some things you just don’t wanna see. Besides, I would need a much bigger book, if ya know what I mean.

  11. Hey I’m one of those crazy redheads to whom you refer. I belive that fact alone means that I need the cookbook and the KNIFE. Also, Jana who commented above is one of my IRL friends, and I will fight her for both!

    1. And I forgot to add that my favorite meal to cook is breakfast salad. I roast sweet potatoes, cook up some bacon, fry and egg, and throw all that on top of some mixed salad greens. I use Trader Joe’s fat free balsamic vinaigrette dressing to top it.

  12. My favorite meal is beef strogonoff. I love the richness and it is so easy. Seems more impressive than it really is. LOL. It was the first home cooked meal I made Hubs when we were going together. He STILL remembers it!

  13. This is one of the funnest interviews I have ever read. I also love ketchup and mayo on french fries, even chips as they call them here in England and the fish as well. My favorite meal to eat and make is lasagna. It’s got noodles, meat and cheese. What more could you ask for?

  14. Pioneer Woman AND Avitable? Second coolest day ever!
    My fav meal to cook is chili. Why chili? Because my recipe starts with bacon! (No mayo, though. Sorry dude!)
    BTW–First coolest day ever was when I met PW and hubby while I was in Vale a few weeks back!

  15. I have to say the favorite thing for me to make lately is asparagus stir fry.

    OOOH! I have something for you! Next time you eat something with fries, mix mayo with MUSTARD! Holy crapness. That’s some tasty “fancy sauce”.

  16. Ok, first of all, you do NOT want a picture of me posing with the cook book. I’d need about 3 more of them, and at least 2 of her first cookbook to cover up the upper bits.
    Second, I freaking LOVE that you did an interview with Ree. And I love that she reads your site. It feels like she must have a naughty side, even though she’s so darn sweet! ;-)
    And third, of course, the food. I swear I’m not sucking up on this one, but I thought I knew what being in love with food meant– until I made the Butter Chicken recipe from Ree’s site. I could drink that shit with a straw, eat it with every meal, and pretty much make love to it, and it still wouldn’t be enough. Such a great mix of spices and flavors, like a Mexican-Indian love child. YUM.

  17. I shared the link on Facebook, but I like to double down, so I will share that my best dish is banana pudding. I make a really wonderful, smack-your-grandma kind of puddin’. Southerners weep when they taste it (tears of joy, of course.) People beg for the recipe.

    And I like Kraft Real Mayo. Not Miracle Whip. Never Miracle Whip. That shit is from the devil.

  18. My favorite meal to cook and eat is basically anything that turns out looking and tasting somewhat like it’s supposed to and doesn’t set my smoke detector off in the process. So clearly I’m in desperate need of this (and pretty much any) cookbook. It’d be nice to cook for someone without having to serve Pepto on the side ;-)

    I adore Ree and watch her show every chance I get. And I’m a redhead too (does it still count if mine comes from a bottle?).

  19. Love making chili, especially with fresh vegetables from the garden. Yum. Btw, your picture got a number of hoots in the office … although one person said that she’ll never look at a cookbook quite the same way.

  20. I only want a copy of Ree’s cookbook if you promise to rub it against your naked body first. Sorry Ree, I’m not sure this is where you saw this give away going. Or maybe you did.. after all, it is Adam.

    As for my favorite thing to make for dinner? Reservations.
    The girls and I love anything pasta with tons of cheese, anything that includes bacon, and steaks.

  21. oh balls, I love mayonnaise so much. And ranch dressing. Now that I think about it, I don’t know which one I love more.

    Since we’re talking about mayonnaise, I’ll let you in on my tuna melt obsession, assuming you’re not one of the heathens that scoffs at tuna. It’s basically tuna with as much mayonnaise as you can handle, mustard, sriracha, sweet relish, and mashed up doritos, slapped on toasted bread with a slice of cheese on each side. I probably just made someone either vomit or cream themselves after reading that.

    If I win I’ll pose like that with the knife AND the book. Although I’m a redhead so I don’t know if I should be trusted with the knife.

  22. I’ve posed naked before, so with a book? No problem!
    Dree’s Fettuccine Alfredo recipe is one I make at least once a month. I fucking LOVE it. Quick, easy and delicious!!

  23. My favorite meal to make AND eat is probably pizza. I’ve overcome my fear of yeast and can actually make my own dough. I love Ree’s taco pizza recipe though cannot convince the fam that lettuce is an acceptable pizza topping, oh well, more for me!

  24. I am a terrible cook! I can cook about 5-8 things pretty well (edible at least) other than that, my microwave and I have a special bond. I’m working on it though! My fave food of all time is cheese, any kind any way!

  25. My fave meal to make is cheese fondue…..swiss and gruyere….with some whitevwine ( drink the rest). We forget to make it much.

    I sense a hostility to redheads…….. I should probably get a free copy so I keep following and don’t talk smack about you…..

  26. I LOVE REE!!! She is my idol. But I don’t cook much, that’s hubby’s job. Love fried chicken. wish I could make it without burning it. Any hints?

  27. You know that when you interview people you’re supposed to let them have the last word, not get your last word in edgewise, right? In the words of the youTs today: SMDH.

    My favorite food to make is a mahogany beef stew I stole from epicurious, but I hear a lot of good things about Ree’s food. :) And, whoops, I’m trying not to eat meat, so I guess I should change my answer to: my grandmother’s macaroni and cheese.

  28. My favorite meal…that’s a hard question. I mean, I love me some spaghetti. It’s easy to make and an awesome comfort food. Definitely a standby.
    Meatloaf is also a good quick/easy food.
    I think probably my favorite thing to make is MishMash. As in, let’s take the left side of the fridge, combine with two cans of whatever from the cupboard in a frying pan and mishmash it all together.
    It has resulted in some surprisingly good things (and some really bad ideas, but lets not speak of that.)

  29. What do I like to cook? Hmmm… It would probably have to be pasta dishes and risotto. I love the creaminess of a good pasta sauce and a delicious risotto, it’s comfort food at its best for me, and I find it kind of soothing with all the stirring.

    As for eating… desserts. Ok, Maybe you didn’t ask, but I had to share anyway, I LOVE eating desserts of any kind :-)

  30. My favorite meal to cook is a meatloaf I made up involving the usual meatloaf suspects, my homemade barbecue sauce, and bacon – lots of bacon.

  31. My favorite meal to cook is shepherd’s pie. It’s so incredibly easy, but looks to fantastic people are always impressed (especially because they have no idea how easy it is)!

  32. I share your love of mayo (I make my own), and just like Ree, my french fries must be dipped in mayo and then ketchup! Yum.

    My favorite thing to cook? Sweet potato fries. They aren’t complicated, but I love them so.

  33. i knew i adored her long ago, but ree agreeing to let you interview her shows great bravery and skyrocketed my love for her.

    my favorite meal to cook would actually be ree’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes, probably because it gave me the courage to try cooking.

    p.s. i dip fries into mayo, but then just eat them…no adding ketchup to the mix. never tried dipping in both. now i want fries for lunch, but i don’t have mayo here at the office. ugggggh!

  34. If I have to cook, I like to make things in my crockpot. You just dump things in, turn it on, and then at supper time there is a meal. Pure magic! Hmmmm… after reading this, I see that I may be in dire need of a cookbook!

  35. One of my favorite things to cook for Katie is Italian pork tenderloin to which I’ve recently added roasted potatoes. I love it because of the reaction it gets from Katie. She LOVES it, which makes me feel great.

    I’ll tweet this post but there’s no way I’m sharing that picture of you and me cooking naked. That’s for me.

  36. What a great interview! I smirked through it all, from your photo to the end.

    I love cooking, and just made one of my go-to recipes tonight–mushroom risotto. Vegetarian food that IS delicious. I wish I could send you some.

  37. My favorite treat to cook (or rather have my hubby cook as he the baker in the family) is Mango pie. We first had it on a trip to Mexico and guessed at the ingredients, and have finally mastered a wonderful recipe. Its to die for!

  38. I own the book already – so don’t put me in the draw. I just wanted to comment on how funny it is that you two ended up being friends. I love you both so much & this interview was your best by far. So freaking awesome. xoxo

  39. My favorite food to make is probably steak. It’s *always* good and is SO easy to make. My favorite food to just eat is always cuisines that I can’t make myself very well: indian, thai, chinese.

  40. Sweet! I don’t get creative with my cooking often, but there are a few things I make very well. At the top of the “I feel fancy cooking it AND my kids love it” list is rosemary garlic chicken in white wine sauce. YUM.

  41. What are the chances of Ree posing similarly with your new book? Or rather, a Kindle with your book on it? I’d say you win the Internet if you make it happen. ;)

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