November 3, 2009 / 4:40 PM / 9 years ago

Deen Brothers branch out from mom's cooking shadow

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Jamie and Bobby Deen have followed in the footsteps of their mother, television cooking personality Paula Deen, and launched their third cookbook.

An undated picture of Jamie and Bobby Deen from the book, "The Deen Bros Take It Easey" REUTERS/Robert Jacobs/Handout

The Lady & Sons, a restaurant the trio opened more than 13 years ago in Savannah Georgia, has become a hot spot to grab a taste of traditional Southern dishes like fried chicken, shrimp and grits and macaroni and cheeses.

Like their mom, the two brothers have had their own television shows and cookbooks. Their latest book, “Take It Easy,” reflects their versions of quick, easy family dining.

The brothers — Jamie, 41 and Bobby, 39 — spoke to Reuters about their love of Southern food and their celebrity mother.

Q: What do you want people to take away from your book?

A: Jamie: “We are not doing anything that’s super-labor intensive or many-stop shopping. People like us because we’re like them. Normal people have busy lives. This book contains recipes that are quick, easy and people will love. We are everyday guys cooking for everyday people.”

Q: Why is cooking at home so important?

A: Bobby: “Our mom said the kitchen is the heart of the home. Really great things happen when a meal is being prepared - lots of great conversation, lots of fun.”

Q: What do you think keeps families from cooking more?

A: Jamie: “The whole process of shopping. When you have a child, you have to be at work until five o’clock and you have to cook by five-thirty, six o’clock. It’s hard for people to plan meals for the week. A lot of people throw up their hands and order out.”

Bobby: “Baking for instance is an art. Your ingredients need to be precise and it intimidating to try to do that.”

Q: How has your mother influenced you?

A: Bobby: “With our mother, what you see is what you get. She’s genuine, funny and fun. To see her blossom and have this great career is incredible. She inspires me. She’s not a bad person to be associated with. I would not want to be far away from her glare.”

Jamie: “Mom does not take herself seriously and neither do I or my brother. We are all birds of a feather.”

Q: What are the must-have dishes at your restaurant?

A: Jamie: “We do a lot of coastal dishes like shrimp and grits and crab cakes. We also have a meatloaf sandwich.”

Bobby: “Get some fried chicken. You will love it.”

Q: Between the two of you, who is the better cook?

A: Bobby: “Jamie”

Jamie: “I’m more experienced.”


Mini Macaroni Pies (Serves four adults)

1-1/2 cups crushed Ritz crackers (about 35 crackers)

2-1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (10 ounces)

4 tbp unsalted butter, melted (1/2 stick), plus

2 tbp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

4-1/2 cups, cooked elbow macaroni (8 ounces uncooked), drained and kept hot

2 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven the 350 degree Fahrenheit. Lightly grease 8 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan.

Mini Macaroni Pies are seen in a handout photo. REUTERS/Ben Fink/from "The Deen Bros. Take It Easy/Handout

2. In a bowl, combine the crackers, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, and the melted butter. Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups and press firmly in the bottom and up the sides of the cups.

3. In a large bowl, mix the macaroni with 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sour cream, cold butter pieces and salt. Stir the milk mixture into the macaroni.

4. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the macaroni mixture into each cracker crust and top with the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and slightly crispy. Allow the pies to cool slightly before unmolding and serving warm.

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Patricia Reaney

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