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Military spouses host Deen brothers

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POSTED: April 21, 2013 4:00 p.m.
Photo by Emily C. Harrison/

Marne Community Club President Michelle Garnica, First Vice President Jennifer Autrey and Historian Kelly Dudley pose with best-selling cookbook authors and cooking-show stars Jamie and Bobby Deen during the club’s April luncheon on Fort Stewart.

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The Marne Community Club, Fort Stewart’s all-ranks spouses club, hosted best-selling cookbook authors and cooking-show stars Jamie and Bobby Deen for an April luncheon.
The sons of legendary Savannah restaurateur  and Food Network celebrity Paula Deen joined the women for lunch as an expression of their appreciation for military members and families. The duo has joined the MCC ladies for luncheons on several occasions.
“They came out last year and we had a great time, so we invited them back again this year and they came,” MCC Historian Kelly Dudley said. She worked with coordinators at Paula Deen Entertainment to book the Deens for the event.
“We’re happy to have them. They are so willing to serve where they can and they passionately support our soldiers and their families,” she said.
The menu featured healthy selections The Marne Community Club, Fort Stewart’s all-ranks spouses club, hosted best-selling cookbook authors and cooking-show stars Jamie and Bobby Deen for an April luncheon.
The sons of legendary Savannah restaurateur  and Food Network celebrity Paula Deen joined the women for lunch as an expression of their appreciation for military members and families. The duo has joined the MCC ladies for luncheons on several occasions.
“They came out last year and we had a great time, so we invited them back again this year and they came,” MCC Historian Kelly Dudley said. She worked with coordinators at Paula Deen Entertainment to book the Deens for the event.
“We’re happy to have them. They are so willing to serve where they can and they passionately support our soldiers and their families,” she said.
The menu featured healthy selections of chicken wraps with fresh fruit, grilled tuna over fresh salad greens and sherbet for dessert.
The brothers signed cookbooks, chatted with attendees and posed for photos before lunch was served. They put in appearances at each table to judge handmade centerpieces, which club members put together using an assortment of random materials. Each team had five minutes to create a masterpiece.
Luncheon attendee Ferba Lofton, who was visiting from Springfield, Mo., came to the event with MCC member and friend Cindy Hairston.
“[Meeting the Deen brothers] was absolutely fabulous. This was quite a draw to come and visit,” she said. “They were so friendly!”
Due to time constraints, Jamie and Bobby Deen didn’t have much time to address the group after lunch, but each spoke for about 10 minutes. They expressed appreciation for troops and the families who support them.
“My brother and I travel a lot, and any time I think about complaining, I think about you girls who go a year without your partner and raise the kids. It’s such a big challenge. You all should be standing up here and I should be sitting eating ice cream listening to y’all,” Jamie Deen said.
He noted that he and his brother always have had a love for food and family.  Since their mother was diagnosed with diabetes last year, the Deen family has focused on eating better and preparing healthier versions of their favorite dishes. Jamie Deen said his mother lost 40 pounds while adjusting to her new lifestyle.
He stressed the importance of making dietary changes before health issues arise. Those who already are facing diet-related health issues can turn struggles and challenges into positive experiences, he said.
“If you make the changes, you will look back in a couple of years and say, ‘what a blessing,’ because you will look better and feel better than you have in a long time,” Jamie Deen said.
When his son Jack started with table food, Deen cooked for him and was inspired to change his diet, which helped him lose 40 pounds. The elder Deen brother said he opts for more fresh foods, eats earlier in the day, avoids food after 6 p.m. and chooses healthy snacks.
Although eating healthier does require more planning, people should see it as an opportunity to make small, positive changes in their daily diets instead of going for a complete lifestyle overhaul all at once, he said.
Jamie Deen touched on the importance of inviting children into the kitchen to cook with adults, making meals a family affair and teaching little ones to eat healthy.
“We want kids to eat only good things,” he said.
Bobby Deen said Monday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon reminded him that the world is becoming a dangerous place. He expressed gratitude for everything soldiers and their families do to keep the country as safe and free as they can.
Bobby Deen said his mother’s diabetes diagnosis taught him that people with the disease are encouraged to eat a diet that everyone should follow. It involves more fruits and vegetables and “getting closer to the earth.”
“I think we’ve become accustomed to overeating and over-seasoning our food,” he said.
Being unmarried and geographically separated from his girlfriend, he talked about the challenge of having to cook for one person all the time.
“I try to eat as fresh as I can. I’m in the local grocery store every day,” he said.
Bobby Deen offered suggestions to those who may be cooking only for themselves or their children while their spouses are deployed. His top tip is to stick to things that freeze well, such as soups and gumbos; picking up single pieces of fish, steak and chops; and planning and preparing fresh meals that are easy to create, such as salads and leafy green side dishes.
The brothers, who received cheers and applause throughout the event, received tokens of gratitude from the club before they headed back to Savannah.

 

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