Ree Drummond was a West Coast transplant and vegetarian when she met and married a corn-fed Oklahoma cowboy.
She started writing about her new life on the range on a blog called The Pioneer Woman the name meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but at times not too far from the truth. Like when she lost all water pressure to her house for four months while taking care of her two small children.
I had to learn to haul water in, boil water on the stove and fill toilets, she says in a recent interview.
Plumbing problems, thankfully, will take a backseat on Drummonds new Food Network show, The Pioneer Woman, set at the Oklahoma ranch she shares with her husband and four kids. (It premieres Saturday at 11:30 a.m.). Shell be wrangling horses and trying her hand at a shooting contest when shes not cooking up hearty American classics like chicken fried steak, and biscuits and mashed potatoes with gravy, plus not-so-down-home dishes like penne alla vodka and fig and prosciutto pizza.
Its not about dining here, she says. Its more about refueling.
When Drummond cooks, she thinks about all the energy needed to complete a days work out in the field. And shes not one to shy away from calories, either. On her blog, she says she takes her homemade iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk and half-and-half.
If youre looking for low-carb, low-calorie cooking, my show is not the place to consult, says Drummond, who is once again a meat eater. Its not all gravy all the time, but I definitely dont scrimp when it comes to butter, sugar and flour.
Drummond grew up on what she calls a golf course of a corporate town, also in Oklahoma but far removed from her current home 50 miles away, on a ranch west of Pawhuska in the northern part of the state. She moved to Los Angeles to attend college, studying gerontology at the University of Southern California, then worked for a company that marketed to Baby Boomers. She had intended to move yet again, to Chicago, where her brother lived. All that changed when she met her Wrangler-wearing husband, Ladd, in a smoky bar on a visit to Oklahoma.
Drummonds award-winning blog, thepioneerwoman.com, is a culinary resource and a lifestyle channel, with tips on decorating and gardening, thoughts on fashion, movies and television, and posts about home-schooling (she home-schools her four children), plus gorgeous photography.
Moving to a rural area was instrumental in me finding my creative side, she says. In so many ways, the country kind of grounded me in a good way. It calmed me down and centered me.
Drummond, who has also written a cookbook, a childrens book and a memoir, has plenty of company in the kitchen. Her husband, nicknamed the Marlboro Man, will regularly appear on the show, and the cast also includes her children, ages 7 through 14, her husbands family and several honest-to-goodness cowboys.
Drummond plans to post behind-the-scenes stories on her blog when each new episode airs. But the Pioneer Woman wont be at home on the range to watch the shows premiere. Theres a rodeo scheduled, she says.
Ill have to find a sports bar.
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