Bestselling author, television star and Web celebrity Ree Drummond was the keynote speaker at this year’s Power of the Purse luncheon in Amarillo.
Event emcee Jay Ricci sat down for a one-on-one interview with The Pioneer Woman about life on the ranch, life in a fishbowl, and secrets to a happy and healthy life.
Q: Where do you find the time to do all the things that you’re doing?
A: That’s probably the main question I get asked everywhere I go. First of all, I have a great husband. He’s like having another one of me. He helps me with absolutely everything — totally supports me with the kids and you know my other answer is, I just do the things that I enjoy. And I really enjoy blogging and doing the cook book and the show, so I seem to be a lot more efficient at those things, but you should see my laundry room sometime. It’s not pretty.
Q: When is there time for Ree time?
A: Well, when I’m with my kids, it’s Ree time. When it’s blogging it’s Ree time. Every night my husband and I have time in front of the TV where we watch bad reality shows. I have periods of time where I’m really, really too busy, usually when I’m traveling on a book tour or something, but other than that life on the ranch – it’s busy even if I wasn’t doing what I was doing, it would still be crazy.
Q: Homeschooling the kids – how important is that choice for your family?
A: You know, it has really worked for our family. I don’t think homeschooling is something that everyone should do; everyone has to do. It just fits with our lives. The kids have been able to experience ranch life much more up close and personal than if they are out of the picture for nine months of the year. With my schedule, with work, it has just turned out to be the best decision we’ve ever made.
Q: There must be something on that ranch you wish would go away but you know it’s never going to. What comes to mind when that question comes up?
A: One thing I wish would go away is the wind. No disrespect to my home state of Oklahoma where the wind goes sweeping down the plain, but I just want to turn it off sometimes. Go outside and have it be perfectly still.
Q: Talk about Lad. Why is he called the Marlboro man and what importance does he have in this whole picture?
A: When I started blogging in 2006, I called him Marlboro man as a nickname. And that came about years earlier, I was having a baby shower for my friend, and a bunch of ladies came over and my husband was sitting on the porch with his feet up, and I heard someone come in and say, ‘who is that Marlboro man on the porch?’ I teased him about it, the cowboys tease him about it sometimes, so it’s really just a fun nickname. He is integral to everything I do. He’s always understood the blogging, he’s always understood the cookbook and the show, he’s content to sit and let me do my thing and help me along the way.
Check out more from our interview with Ree.http://youtu.be/MKHonESVAIw?list=UU4msQdAdupFfO4afqH0AQsA
Q: All these things you do – is there a one most remarkable thing out of this whole list of things that you’ve accomplished and you’re doing every day?
A: I was always the kid that started needlepoint projects and then I’d quit after the pretty design was done — I didn’t want to do the white background, so, I think that I’ve finished cookbooks and seen these projects through to the end, my mom might say is remarkable. But you know, I don’t think anything I’m doing is necessarily remarkable, I’m just writing about things I love and that I’m passionate about – my family, food — and I think passion shows through when you pour yourself into it.
Q: All those recipes that you’ve dealt with, you’ve conjured up yourself over all these years – if I said which one would come to mind right now, very first recipe that would come to mind; top of mind, which one would that be?
A: Stream of consciousness: Cajun chicken pasta. I’m in the mood. I don’t know what it is. Migas – don’t get me started. I’ll take a cinnamon roll right now.
Q: How does a USC graduate and somebody who wanted to go to law school in Chicago end up being the person who represents the pioneer woman?
A: This is really cliché, but I just followed my heart, what can I say? The world didn’t need another lawyer. They sure didn’t need one in me. I cannot imagine living anywhere other than where I live now. And it’s crazy to think that my life was on a different path.
Q: Speaking of paths, of all the places that you’ve visited, what do you think is the ideal vacation spot, or your ideal vacation spot?
A: I love Colorado. Some day I guess I’d love to see the world, but to me ,getting in the car and driving to Colorado is all I need to recharge me.
Q: Joseph is one of your top 10 boys names in your little conjurings of things. How did you come to those 10? What kind of criteria did you use?
A: I have no idea. I have no idea. Every now and then when I hear a name I love, I jot it down. Thank goodness for smart phones, because I have all these meaningless lists. I’ll probably never have a baby again, yet I have a top 10 list of baby names. Well, Joseph was a pretty cool character in that old Bible, you know. And I love Joe, it’s a good name.
Q: This all started as the confessions of the pioneer woman. Do you think these kinds of confessions been good for the soul?
A: I think so. I’ve kept my confessions, you know, they’re family friendly for the most part, and I haven’t written anything that I’ll look back on and I will regret, so I call it ‘confessions,’ that seems a little bit, oh, that’s scary, but I think I’ve kept it pretty family friendly, I don’t know how else to describe it.
Q: Back to the ranch — How do you feel about chaps and how are your branding skills?
A: I believe in chaps, I support chaps, I’m a proponent. How are my branding skills? Not bad. Now, roping is another story. I will brand if they need an extra brander, but I’m usually the one that gives shots, because that’s more straight forward.
Drummond signed books after the Power of the Purse luncheon.
Q: You’re here because of a women’s health issue today, what are your three most important tips for healthy living?
A: Oh, gosh, I don’t want to act like I’m the voice of healthy living, but I do think staying active is probably the most important thing that I have found. When my jeans have gotten tight or I haven’t felt great, it’s because I’ve been sitting working on a project for weeks at a time. So I think keeping moving is the most important thing – being active. Limiting sugar is probably big. And I think contentment and joy and happiness. I know that sounds a little silly, but just finding contentment in everyday life helps the stress melt away and kind of helps you get into a zone where you’re not in a high gear all the time with stress.
Q: How surprising to you is it how popular you became so quickly? How did that make you as a person, as a woman, feel?
A: On one hand, it does seem like it happened quickly, but on the other hand, it didn’t happen overnight from my perspective. I blogged for years and years before my first cookbook, and then I had cookbooks for years before my show, and so it has been gradual to me, and you know, I don’t look at it as all about me, it’s really about the things that I write about the things that I love and appreciate, and the people who enjoy my site and my show and my books are people who love family, friends, just having a good time, good food – real food that their husbands or brothers or uncles will eat. Because we live in a part of the country where you can’t smear a Thanksgiving turkey in wasabi and get away with it.
Q: Being in this fishbowl, dealing with the madness of a book tour, and blogging, and television show and also being a wife and a mother, it kind of makes the stuff that we’re doing with our lives pale in comparison. It’s like if you can juggle this, why can’t other people juggle it at the same time? Do you have any words of wisdom for dealing with those things and becoming a good family person whatever you’re doing?
A: I wouldn’t say anything anyone does pales in comparison to what I do. Again, you need to come and look at my closet sometime. I have stuff all over the floor. Every corner of my life isn’t spick and span and spotless. I think having a husband who is a rancher helps because he doesn’t leave all day to go to an office and come home at night. We’re together 24 hours a day. Having the support of your spouse or your significant other is so important. I think one thing I would say is I’m not type A I’m type L. Meaning I’m fine going to bed at night with a lot of loose ends and if you can sort of relax the hold on things being perfect you can probably get more accomplished.
Q: Is the movie about you actually going to become a reality?
A: I haven’t had an update lately. I think the screenplay is being written, and I’m just looking at it as if it happens, it’s going to be fun. But I don’t have any updates.