Bobby Deen is coming to Houston, and he's excited about it.
"I love Houston!" he enthused over the telephone. "I have friends in Houston and I love it -- I love Texas! I was just in Houston a few months ago, in fact, and had a lot of fun."
Tickets are on sale now for Deen's February 12 appearance at Brazos Bookstore to promote his new cookbook, Bobby Deen's Everyday Eats. The Food Network host and author (and son of Paula Deen) is eager to share his new work with the fans who made his first cookbook so successful.
"Taking these traditional Southern recipes and lightening them up is a concept that really resonated with people," he said. "Not only did it work in book form; it works in television form. My television show is really based on these very same principles, and it's really well-received."
The latest Deen offering presents 120 brand-new, health-conscious, easy-to-prepare recipes that he promises can all be ready in 30 minutes or less.
Finding his niche as a healthy cook came around the age of 30 for Deen, who says his recipes are informed by the way he lives his life. "I'm an active guy. I love to run, and lift, and work out. This approach to food is really 'me.' I obviously grew up in a family where food was at the forefront, but when I turned 30 I didn't like the way I felt, and made an effort to go back to the gym. When I began to exercise, it changed my relationship with food."
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Making the connection between the way he eats and the way he feels didn't mean Deen was ready to deny himself the pleasurable aspects of eating, however. "It's not that I don't enjoy eating, because I do, but food is fuel for your body, and when you embrace exercise, it does change the way you look at food."
The key, says Deen, is in keeping things simple. Everyday Eats features recipes for beginning- to intermediate-level cooks, and all the dishes can be created in 30 minutes or less. "We wanted to have very healthy recipes that were easy to prepare; I want people to be able to find the list of ingredients at their local grocery store, and to do it affordably," he said.
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The cookbook is perfect for busy families or for home cooks who are ready to incorporate healthy changes in their lives. "I want folks to be able to look at every page [of the cookbook] and see the calories, the sodium, the carbs, so people are aware of what they are putting into their bodies," he said. "I think it's very important. You know, I have some really beautiful cookbooks on my shelf that I do not use because I cannot find the ingredients, or the recipes are super, super complicated. My recipes, and the ingredients, are really accessible."
Deen isn't just talking the talk, he's walking the walk -- after all, he has another healthy cook sharing his kitchen these days. The new husband loves to cook with his marathon-running wife, and he says their evenings together in the kitchen are his favorite part of the day.
"[My wife is] a triathlete, so sometimes I find myself cooking one meal for myself and one for her, because she's extremely disciplined! She really cooks for performance because she runs marathons and runs triathlons. We both share a passion for food, and we both see it as fuel and enjoy it as well. To create a decadent meal that is still low in calories and fat -- that's an accomplishment for us."
Tickets are on sale now for the Wednesday, February 12, book signing with Bobby Deen at Brazos Bookstore. The $22 ticket price includes a copy of Bobby Deen's Everyday Eats; tickets will be exchanged for books on the day of the event.