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Paula Deen inspires young mom

Paula Deen's influence on others
Published: Apr. 10, 2022 at 8:30 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Paula Deen greeted fans at her book-signing event in Panama City Beach Sunday afternoon.

One fan, in particular, said the opportunity was sweeter than she could’ve ever imagined.

“Two weeks ago I prayed that I’d meet somebody who inspired me to get through high school, through middle school to raise them, and she was one of those people,” mother of two Jasmine Caldwell said.

Caldwell recalled having her first child at a young age.

“When I had my son, I was 14,” Caldwell said.

However, having her son in middle school didn’t stop the young mother from giving up on life.

“I was in eighth grade,” Caldwell said. “I dropped him off at daycare and I went to school. I mean, I had to do a lot during the day, and then I went to work after school.”

Caldwell took it upon herself to learn how to cook in her spare time.

“I had nobody to teach me, but that was one of the things I was going to set on my own. I literally sat there and watched her cook every day.”

That certain someone on the screen was Paula Deen.

Caldwell said the well-known chef didn’t just teach her the basics of how to cook.

Deen showed her how to be savvy with how to preserve meals for later, too.

“She’d tell you how to store the food,” Caldwell said. “She’d tell you what you can freeze, how you can freeze it.”

The mother of two said Deen taught her how to live a balanced life as well.

“But with kids, you have to learn how to cook to have a balanced life,” Caldwell said. “Or they are going to eat hot dogs and noodles.”

Caldwell said meeting Deen is something she’ll treasure forever.

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