Last night my girlfriend and I made our 20 mile drive into the City of Detroit to see Paula Deen's first appearance in the metro-Detroit area. Her performance was at the Motor-City Casino Hotel. Yesterday was a chilly [high 40's], overcast day, with a light, late afternoon rain, but when we left home at 5:30 p.m., the rain had subsided, and the clouds began to dissipate, and the temperature climbed to 52 degrees. It was a pleasant drive into the city. Below is a photo of Motor-City Casino.
We allowed ourselves plenty of travel time. The doors of the Sound Board live-performance theater, where Paula was appearing, didn't open until 7:00 p.m.
My girlfriend and I found a couple of chairs to sit while we waited for the doors to open. As I glanced at a nearby wall I noticed two pictures featuring tea, so, of course, I had to photograph them - a Deco tea picture and a Retro tea picture.
A promo photo of Paula near the Sound Board theater.
It was a sell-out performance in the 1,500 seat theater, and security was tight - similar to an airport, with walk through metal detectors and purse and bag inspections. It was a comfort knowing precautions were taken for our safety, but sad that the world we live in today requires such measures. The photo below was taken after we had gone through security, and just before entering the theater.
Our tickets were front row balcony seats. We were able to see quite well, but there were also large viewing screens positioned around the theater. The photo below of Paula was shown on stage as we waited for the show to start. Once the show began no photos were allowed. As you can see by the logo in the photos, the event was put on by St. John Providence Health System.
At each seat was a guest gift bag containing the May/June 2013 issue of Cooking with Paula magazine, St. John/Providence literature, and a raffle ticket to be filled out and returned for a drawing at the beginning of the show. The raffle ticket drawings were for three "tasters" who sat on stage and sampled the foods prepared during the show. There was also a drawing for a weekend stay at the Motor City Casino Hotel, plus a ticket for An Evening with Diana Ross at the Sound Board theater this coming August. Neither my ticket, nor my girlfriend's were drawn.
Paula's husband, Michael, accompanied her. The first part of the show was interview style with Janice Crosby, Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the hospital. She began by asking Paula how she and Michael met. As everyone knows, Paula is a hoot, and she kept the audience laughing as she shared her walk down memory lane with Michael. Michael injected his humorous comments throughout the evening too, and it was evident he is truly her help mate.
The stage was set-up with three cooking stations. At the left station was Dr. Patricia Maryland, President and CEO of St. John Providence Health System. The middle station was Paula and Michael - although Michael did all of the food preparations while Paula talked. At the right station was Leslie Murphy, Health System Board Chairwoman.
[Photo Courtesy of St. John Providence Website]
The two recipes prepared on stage were Beer in the Rear Chicken [a whole chicken placed on a can filled with beer and slow roasted in the oven], and Sweet Potato Chips with honey roasted chopped peanuts. Paula, who is a lover of potatoes, said she has weaned her and Michael off white potatoes and replaced them with healthier sweet potatoes.
Since Paula was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008, she has lost 40 lbs. and wants to lose another 15. Michael has lost 60 lbs. and is striving to lose 40 more. Weight loss has been a joint endeavor - actually a family affair, since her two sons have lost weight too.
Paula talked about her diabetes, stating that she was in denial the first year, and experienced the gamut of emotions from anger to fear. She has accepted the disease now, however, and complies with diet and medication to live a healthy lifestyle.
The last segment of the show was questions from the audience about a variety of topics. One woman brought a letter her little boy had written to Paula, and Paula had her come up on stage to have their picture taken together, with Paula holding the little boy's letter. She truly is a gracious Southern lady!
It was a fun evening with the show concluding around 9:30 p.m. Below is a photo of the casino in night lights.
I searched the Internet looking for a photo of Paula drinking hot tea [being from the south she's an iced tea gal]. I found this photo, courtesy of Prevention Magazine.
The St. John Providence website has a photo and caption that I couldn't resist sharing.
"Drink more green tea. It's antioxidant-rich, lowers heart disease risk, and can even help you find those missing keys!"
Thank you St. John Providence Health System for a very enjoyable evening with Paula Deen and Michael Groover!