My co-workers have labeled me a "foodie";   Okay, they really call me a "food snob", but I prefer the former versus the latter.  I love to cook and yes, I can be particular about my likes and dislikes - especially when it comes to "celebrity chefs".

I like Ina Garten.  Bobby Flay has grown on me.  Guy Fieri I can take or leave.  Giada De Laurentiis has some decent recipes.  I've even learned to look past my initial impression of Alex Guarnaschelli and she now ranks pretty high on my list.  (WIth no offense to Alex, she can be a bit critical at times -- but I guess she's allowed as she's a pretty good cook!)

On the surface, it appears that my tastes in celebrity chefs range towards the "high-end" of cooking-style.  Don't get me wrong - I like a good bacon cheeseburger like anyone;  It's just that when I watch a cooking show on television or read a cookbook, I'm looking for something more.  I also don't like the "cook-off" shows that are trending - or the "reality TV" shows.

That's why I surprised myself this past weekend by watching The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network.  The show has been around for more than a year, but I have put off watching it primarily because I usually don't like "reality-based" TV.  Without having watched the show, I wrongly wrote it off as another "reality TV" show.  Boy was I wrong!

The show centers around food writer and blogger Ree Drummond - who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma, where she and her family raise cattle.  Along with showing viewers a little bit about life on the ranch, Ree allows us into her kitchen(s) (She has one in the house and a larger one in the lodge).  The family seems genuine, Ree's personality is inspiring, and her recipes are a really good mix of country comfort meets high-end.

Here are some facts you might not have known about Ree Drummond:

  • Born in 1969 and grew up on the grounds of a country club
  • Has a varied educational background - including journalism, gerentology, and law.
  • Was planning on attending law school in Chicago;  Met Ladd Drummond - a fourth-generation cattle rancher from Oklahoma.  Moved to the ranch after marriage.
  • Has four kids - Alex, Paige, Bryce and Todd.
  • Home-schools her children.
  • Author of four books:  The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl, Black Heels To Tractor Wheels, Charlie The Ranch Dog, The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  Food From My Frontier.  (Charlie The Ranch Dog is a children's book)
  • Blogs at thepioneerwoman.com
  • Is working with Columbia Pictures on a film about her life.

Source materials for this post were compiled from various online sources, including wikipedia, the subjects website, and Food Network TV.