‘Hey Y’all!’ Southern cooking queen visits NLR

At the insistence of her husband, Larry, she fought off the inclination with the excuse that she was too busy, and with some amount of reluctance, took the plunge “at the last minute” to enter.

Paula Deen – who has sold some 10 million books and has a licensing deal with Wal-Mart – was coming to North Little Rock to the Verizon Arena for the Arkansas Women’s Show, along with Mandisa, Janet Carson, Chris Olsen and Lloyd Boston. There were also countless booths, workshops and shopping. The show helped raise funds for the Arkansas Go Red Women’s movement of the American Heart Association.

The contest winner would be treated to the VIP Luncheon with Paula, photo ops, a booksigning and a whirlwind time with “the epitome of Southern charm.”

Judy quickly fixed her silver hair, donned an apron she made with “Hey Y’all” embroidered on the bib and grabbed several pounds of butter in both hands. For the promotional entry, she proudly takes a huge bite of one of the sticks of butter! It was all done at the last minute and husband, Larry, uploaded the video to the KTHV web site.

To shorten the story, Judy Rains won the contest! Thus began a treat of a lifetime! 
Wanting to further enjoy the time, Judy had two days to construct a “Paula Deen” personality doll to take to Paula as a gift. Quickly the doll was put together with a wooden body, cloth head and “larger than life” body parts. It was completed with hat, apron, a whisk in the pocket and a basket full of sack lunches – reminiscent of the sacks Paula’s sons would deliver in the early days of her restaurant, The Lady and Sons, in Savannah, Ga.

“Besides marrying my husband, having our children and deep sea fishing, meeting Paula was one of the most exciting times in my life,” Judy said. “When we had our turn to get our book signed, and I asked her if she got the doll I left for her at the registration table, Paula stopped the entire proceedings and had the doll brought out to show everyone at the luncheon. She said she was going to take it back to The Lady and Sons Restaurant in Savannah, and it would be on display under glass at the restaurant.”

Besides a close resemblance to Paula, Judy is also a wonderful cook. We’ve included some of her favorite recipes for your enjoyment!


White Chocolate-Almond Pound Cake

(Makes 16 to 20 servings)
Prep: 50 minutes
Bake: 55 minutes
Cool: 15 minutes
Oven: 350 degrees F

4 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup blanched almonds, finely ground
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
4 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. shortening
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan; set aside.
In a small, heavy saucepan, cook and stir 4 ounces white chocolate over low heat until melted. In a medium bowl, combine flour, the finely ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a very large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating about 10 minutes or until mixture is fluffy and lighter in color. Add eggs one at a time, beating about 1 minute after each addition and scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add vanilla, almond extract and melted white chocolate; beat just until combined.
Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream to butter mixture in three additions, beating on low to medium speed after each addition just until combined. Do not over mix. Spread batter in the prepared pan.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan; cool completely on wire rack.
For glaze: In a small heavy saucepan, combine 4 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Spoon glaze over pound cake and sprinkle with the chopped almonds. Let stand until glaze is set.