How 9/11 Launched Paula Deen's Food Network Career

There is no denying that September 11, 2001 ignited major change throughout our country. On that day of multiple terrorist attacks, a collective shift took place throughout the United States and the world at large. Insider notes the world changes, including the US military's presence in Afghanistan, tightening of airport security checks, and an increase in religious biases based on the believed culprits of the attack. Closer to home, they note the US established the Department of Homeland Security, and as KQED points out, there was a significant change to immigration and deportation policies as well as surveillance.

These are all fairly well known, but on the more comforting side, 9/11 sparked something we didn't know we needed: Paula Deen and her southern comfort-food classics. Believe it or not, 9/11 was the impetus that pushed Deen's show through the various executive hoops at the Food Network and onto our television screens. Here's how.

Americans wanted comforting, in the form of food

Southern comfort is more than just an alcoholic beverage. As Thrillist puts it, "if you're an American, comfort food almost always equals Southern food." Deen had not been an unfamiliar name in the food world, but despite her ace recipes and successful Savannah restaurant, she was having trouble gaining enough good grace from the Food Network to be taken seriously as a prospective host. As Salon puts it, due to her older age and overtly southern style, she wasn't seen as a serious candidate for national exposure as a food expert.

But when 9/11 hit, there was a shift from fine dining to more comfort-based foods, opening the door for Deen to enter. Her first show, "Paula's Home Cooking," was a hit. The network quickly realized they could shift to tastes outside of just the coasts, and the public would, for lack of a better term, eat it right up. And although her recipes are now being made slightly healthier on occasion, she's managed to maintain that Southern charm for her loyal fans.