The Pioneer Woman Talks to Fans on Facebook

By: Sarah De Heer
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Last Thursday, Ree Drummond, better known as The Pioneer Woman, dropped by a Food Network Facebook chat. If you missed it, here are some of the highlights:

Jennifer Waters: What is the best way to season a cast-iron skillet?

RD: Jennifer, I have always generously smeared the skillets with shortening. I then heat them for a long time in the oven. But lately, I've been cheating and getting the pre-seasoned Lodge pans. They're amazing.

Nova Wick: How does it feel to transfer from blogging on the Internet, where you interact and talk to your fans, to getting your own show?

RD: Nova, it's all been such a gradual thing. I love blogging the most; I feel like it's my core. But the show gives me a chance to show a slightly different view/perspective than my still photos and (sometimes weird) writing. To answer your question, it has felt very natural.

Donna Yearyean: What item (bowl, pan, utensil, etc.) in your kitchen are you most sentimental about and why?

RD: Donna, I have a very, very old pewter hand juicer that belonged to my grandmother Ga-Ga. It's the most amazing tool and I haven't found anyone that sells a modern-day version of it. I'll post about it soon.

Meg Marie: When is your second cookbook coming out?

RD: Meg Marie, the second cookbook will be out either March or April 2012 -- I'm excited about it.

Anthony Sorrentino: What's your favorite hot winter dish?

RD: Anthony, because it's been so hot in Oklahoma (112 degrees, anyone?), it's been hard to get excited about stews, roasts, etc. But that's what I look forward to about winter: hearty beef stews that take hours to make. Lately, I like to add beer to stews.

Rhonda Nestor: I make up my own recipes, too, and have never used a cookbook. Do your kids have trouble with eating anything you've ever made up?

RD: I live in a pretty picky household, so I'm used to cooking some things that are met with less-than-enthusiastic responses. So I stick to basic, hearty foods most of the time. Then once every couple of weeks, I throw in something weird and see how it works. My girls are actually becoming much more adventurous, so I finally have some company.

Erika Knapp Barringer: What is your favorite hearty breakfast meal?

RD: My husband would definitely choose biscuits and sausage gravy, but I love migas. Have you heard of migas? It's basically a big skillet egg dish with onions, pepper and jalapenos. But then you throw in strips of corn tortilla and serve it with salsa, avocado and sour cream. It's the most delicious thing you'll ever eat for breakfast.

Kris Lewis Lescinsky: How on earth do you drag yourself out of bed so early and make yourself coherent enough to cook amazing food and blog about it with enough wit and humor to make us all laugh?

RD: What a sweet question. Well, sometimes my husband drags me out of bed and sometimes I go kicking and screaming. And I'm often not coherent. But overall, it helps that we do live in the country and that we homeschool the kids, etc. It makes for a more seamless day in that I don't have to run errands, drive carpools, etc. But I also love cooking and I love blogging and people tend to be more efficient at the things they have a passion for.

Stuart Reb Donald: Do you think the Internet is an untapped source of talent for TV hosts?

RD: In answer to your question: yes. Just look at the incredibly amazing food blogs out there -- I can't even begin to name the talented, creative people who've started food blogs that I read regularly. In fact, I can think of three right now who, if they had their own cooking show, I'd tune in to every single show.

Sara Levine: Hi, Ree! What was it like shooting a show in your own kitchen? How did your family react to all the cameras around?

RD: We shot most of the cooking at the lodge, which is a separate guest house on our ranch. I knew it would never work for the cameras to be in our actual kitchen at our house every day because that would mean I would actually have to have a clean kitchen at my house every day. We did film a couple of scenes at our house and when those scenes were over, I knew we'd made the right decision to film at the lodge. It was hilariously chaotic. Kids and basset hounds everywhere.

Jess Patrick: What is the best dinner and dessert to win a man's heart?

RD: Best dinner to win a man's heart? I hate to be repetitive, but chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy makes a huge, I-care-about-nothing-but-your-happiness statement. It's comfort food to the max. For a slightly less gravy-saturated meal, I think just a beautiful rib eye steak cooked in butter with a big helping of buttery mashed potatoes. For dessert, a chocolate cake sundae or brownie sundae is sure to elicit a kiss or two.

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