Wednesday, January 20, 2010

True Confessions of the Pioneer Woman

If you’re ever in the position to need information on the history of pioneer women, maybe for a 6th grade report or something, don’t expect to find your primary authority on the first page of a Google search. Instead, you’ll find links directing you to Ree Drummond’s wildly successful blog, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, and to hundreds of sources where you can buy her best selling cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Green Acres Meets Harlequin Romance

Drummond’s rise to fame has all the makings of a modern cyber fairytale. Or as the Pioneer Woman herself puts it, Green Acres Meets Harlequin Romance. Former big city gal marries “Marlboro Man,” moves to a ranch in Oklahoma where she lives the life of a ranch wife and home schooling mother of four. She started the blog, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, in 2006 as a way to share photos, stories and recipes with her long distance friends and family. After posting instructions on how to cook a steak with step by step photos, the blog started to build some serious traffic. Soon after that the site won top honors at the Weblog Awards (also known as the Bloggies) in 2007 and 2008 and last year it took the top prize for Weblog of the Year. Drummond's first cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, was published in October 2009 after reaching the top spot on Amazon's preorder list.

The story of Drummond’s “accidental” success is a continuation of the unassuming and accessible writing style found on her blog. We all want to believe in fairytales, whether it’s about getting swept off our feet by a prince in tight wranglers or getting swept into the center of a media frenzy. In real life, even cyber life, fairytales with 13 million page views don’t happen by accident.

If I had to choose one word to explain what makes the Pioneer Woman blog a success, it would be inspiration. The internet is loaded with sources of information that we can search in specificity, but the most successful sites are reader destinations. Readers go to these sites to be inspired by whatever they happen to find. As I was researching PW’s site for this post, I happened upon a recipe for cinnamon rolls and...

2 Hours Later…

Now my kitchen is buried in flour. Had to reset the smoke alarm. And, I’ve consumed about 5000 calories of delicious cinnamon rolls. Thanks Pioneer Woman.

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

Ree paints a picture of her life as a big city gal who traded urban life to marry a cowboy and live on a secluded ranch in the boonies of Oklahoma, a/k/a Green Acres. Marlboro Man happens to be a fourth generation cattle rancher. The Drummond ranch is one of the biggest in Oklahoma and at one time, the Drummonds were listed among the country's top 100 landowners. This Green Acres comes with running water, indoor plumbing and a kitchen that looks like this.

photo via

Ree actually grew up in Bartlesville, OK, population 34,914, which is located just 25.5 miles away from Pawhuska, the nearest town to her Green Acres utopia. While she might adore a penthouse view, her hometown is nowhere near Park Avenue. 

Ree declares both on her blog and in the introduction to her new cookbook, that while she wishes otherwise, she does not employ a staff of assistants to help her manage her blog, write her cookbook, cure cancer or whatever else she's up to. So, that would officially make her better than Martha Stewart. Unlike Martha, however, it’s impossible to hate Ree Drummond. I want to hate her. I should hate her for setting the bar so ridiculously high and making it all look so easy. But, then I go to her site and see that she’s added a printable photo archive so her readers can download her photos for free. Does Martha give away free stuff? I don’t think so.

Given the Pioneer Woman’s popularity, it would be almost blasphemous to find fault with her. That doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to dig up some dirt. So far, my in-depth research has yielded nothing more on Ree or the Drummond family than a few traffic tickets. Seems her father-in-law has a bit of a lead foot. He also has more power than God in Osage County, so the authorities, for the most part, look the other way as he travels the county roads at warp speed. Big woop. If anything, I'm disappointed in the Drummond family's upstanding behavior as it fails to perpetuate the ranching family persona portrayed so accurately by J.R. Ewing.

She Cooks With A Laser Beam

Absent any skeletons in the Pioneer Woman’s ample, walk-in closet, and without any proof that Ree has a full staff on the payroll, I can only conclude that Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman is, in fact, a gynoid. Similar to a cyborg, a gynoid is a humanoid robot designed to look female. Her (its) purpose is to attain perfection, making her (it) among the most dangerous and feared non-human species in the galaxy. I believe the name Ree is actually an acronym for Remarkable Efficiency Engineering. You want evidence? Here it is. 

Photo via

See? Replacement parts. You heard it here first. 

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  1. I am obsessed with the Pioneer Woman since I discovered her a few months ago...and have been through tons of butter since that....but I ADORE your column, and I tell people I know someone famous!


  2. Hi Amy. You can be "famous" too. It takes about 10 minutes to set up a blog. If you wrote a blog, I have no doubt it would be hilarious and I would be a devoted fan. Think about it, k? And thanks for reading!