The Pioneer Woman Captures Cozy Home Life on Her Blog and TV Show
Just take a look at The Pioneer Woman blog or the Food Network show of the same name and you can't help but get caught up in the comfy, cozy ranch life of Ree Drummond, her husband Ladd Drummond, their four adorable kids and their super-cool dog Charlie.
The Pioneer Woman is kicking off its third season this Saturday at 10:30am. On the show, Ree cooks meals for her family, their friends and ranch hands. Those meals are comfort foods like chocolate mint brownie bites and pasta carbonara. It's comfort food fit for her family, hard-working cattle ranchers and suitable for church socials, too.
Ree spoke with TVFirstLook about The Pioneer Woman, teaching herself to take photos and burning down barns.
TVFirstLook: Your husband Ladd and your kids are a big part of the show. How did they get involved in it?
Ree Drummond: I couldn't imagine having a cooking show where I just cook. Food is a such big part of my life. But I don't really cook apart from our lives on the ranch.
I wasn't interested in doing a show about me. That's just a tiny part of the picture.
Plus, I am a blogger, so for years I have blogged about my family and our lives on the ranch. It would have been unnatural to not include them.
TVFirstLook: You mentioned that you're a blogger. You are also a photographer. How did you get started doing that?
Ree: I started blogging in May 2006. It could not have been more of a whim. I had the house to myself for the first time in years. All I had done for 10 years was have babies and nurse, or so it felt.
My husband left me alone in the house one day, so I thought, "I'll start a blog." I didn't have a concept of what it would be about. So, I just started writing anecdotes about my life.
At the time, I knew zero about photography. When I started blogging, I took to the medium. I wanted my photos to look better, so I bought what I call a "big girl camera." You know, where you take a lens off and put another one on.
I just started taking pictures. I took thousands and thousands of pictures. Then, suddenly, I found for every 1,000 photographs I'd have one or two good ones. Then, I'd take 500 pictures to get those one or two good ones. It was a very slow process.
TVFirstLook: How did you end up writing recipes?
Ree: About eight months after I started blogging about family life, I was getting ready to cook a steak. At that point, I had done a lot of blogging where I would chronicle life on the ranch photo by photo.
So, I started taking pictures of the steak, but not only when it was done. I took pictures of it in the package and sprinkling on seasoning and cooking on the grill. I put all the photos on my blog and I did it step by step. "You do this, then you do that."
I had no idea if people would be interested in it, but it turned out that a lot of people liked it. So, I started doing it regularly.
TVFirstLook: Your home looks so cozy and comfortable. Is that how you would describe your style?
Ree: I think my site is a safe, light place to visit. People know that if they visit my website, they're not going to leave agitated or in a political tizzy.
I would say I'm not a very stressed-out or uptight person. I don't sweat things too much. You can probably describe that as cozy, easy and non-threatening. I'm not a chef. I'm a home cook and some people enjoy that.
TVFirstLook: You're kicking off your third season on Food Network. Any changes?
Ree: There's nothing wildly different. Whatever is going on at the ranch, that is what's filmed. And I cook the food around those events.
These aren't big events. One of the episodes is about tearing down a fence. I cooked food for my family so that they'd keep working. On another episode, we tore down an old horse barn. We set it on fire. Then, I cooked food. On one episode, we have Mexican food with friends who our families have known for five generations.
This season, the food is good and it was a beautiful time of year - everything was pretty and green.