Love Affair of the Decade: A Cowboy, A Blogger and a Community

BlogHer Original Post

Harry & Sally. Rhett & Scarlett. Lancelot & Guinevere. Lucy & Ricky. Johnny & Baby. Name famous romantic couples and since 2007, Marlboro Man and The Pioneer Woman deserve a spot in the Top Ten.

Since 2007, Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman has penned (pixeled?) the love story From High Heels to Tractor Wheels, the story of how Ree "went from spoiled city girl to domestic ranch wife in the blink of an eye" that now stretches to Confessions, Cooking, Photography, Home & Garden, Home Schooling and the brand-new community recipe site, Tasty Kitchen.

She wows us with cute punks and close-ups of cattle.

She connects to us with breezy, conversational style, like talking to our sisters, teasing and in tune.

Oh yeah. And she's got a cookbook, too, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.

Oh. And her cookbook just happens to have rocketed to the top of the NYTimes book list. And is #22 on Amazon's best-selling books today.

Oh. And she's doing a national book tour that has hundreds -- HUNDREDS -- showing up to stand in line for hours just for the chance to say hello in person, have a picture taken and get an autographed copy of Ree's cookbook.

(Take THAT, celebrity chefs.)

So maybe the real love story here is the affection shared by Ree and her readers? Just look what women bloggers say.

From Kansas City, My Cozy Booknook ~ Pioneer Woman in Person
"Last night I had the opportunity to go to an autograph signing of the Pioneer Woman's new cookbook. What?! You have never heard of the Pioneer Woman? Well, you simply must check out her website if you are unfamiliar with this blogging phenomenon. She is incredibly witty, offers great family-tested recipes (complete with step-by-step photo demonstrations), gives amazing photo shop tutorials (which I have yet to complete but have on my list to-do before I die), sponsors stupendous prize give-aways (like 5 qt KitchenAid mixers and Nikon 35mm cameras), homeschools 4 youngun's and assists her Marlboro Man on the cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. I think she might be Super Woman in disguise!"

From Little Rock, The Good Life ~ Pioneer Woman Comes to Town!!!!
"Yippee I can hardly wait. Monday at 6:00 PM I will be in line to have my very own copy of "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" autographed by the first blogger I fell in love with. I was hooked on Pioneer Woman from the first bite of her lasagna....If you haven't tried it you really must. I love every recipe of PW's that I have made. I mean I can't say that about anyone else or any cookbook. And to think, I get to meet her tomorrow!!!!"

From Phoenix, Out of Debt Again ~ I Got to Meet Pioneer Woman Last Night
"I have been reading Pioneer Woman’s blog for over two years and when I saw that she was coming to Arizona I felt like I’d won a prize!! I sometimes don’t enter her contests because she has SOOOOO many faithful readers and so many thousands of comments. I have never been to a book signing in my life, but I knew I was going to this one!!"

From Salt Lake City, Food Finery ~ Pioneer Woman Visits Salt Lake City
"We were finally let into the gallery at 6:50PM and thrilled to be in the front row! The gallery was packed and busting at it's seams. Wall to wall women (with a few men sprinkled throughout) squeezing in as tightly as they could to hear this "accidental country girl" talk. Ree arrived and that room came alive! Women were whistling and screaming like mad! It was kind of funny but I am sure Ree is honored to have such a warm response from her readers. She spoke about 25 minutes, answered questions, told jokes, did impressions and entertained the crowd beautifully. She is a real jewel. She is sweet and confident but not in a self righteous, proud way... she is humble and gracious. I am in love with her cookbook (which made #1 on the New York Times Best seller's List! Woo-Hoo!... well deserved), I think she is a smart woman, a loving wife, a caring mother and a very down to earth fun person! I thoroughly enjoyed everything about her that night."

From Denver, Simply Undecided ~ Ree Drummond: Pioneer Woman
"From what I could hear from where I was at, Ree was soft spoken and very gracious. One woman posted she was just as sweet at 1am as she was at 7:30pm. She took lots of time with each person to sign their book, take pictures and visit with them. I can't imagine how exhausted she must have been last night."

And so the stories go, one after the other as Ree steps off the ranch into the community that embraces her like a long-lost friend.

My own favorite story about Ree is told by Lyn from the ever-so-insightful blog about living with and overcoming weight issues, Escape from Obesity. She'd just discovered The Pioneer Woman website.

December 15, 2008 "Today I surfed around and read various blogs, and I came across this one that I'd never seen before I sat and read this blog on and off today and I thought, "Wow. This woman really has a wonderful life. All the pictures are amazing. Look at her handsome, rugged husband who works hard and loves her and their children. What beautiful kids living such an idyllic life. And she is an amazing person with a near-perfect family and she isn't fat..." and I ended up getting upset. Jealous, maybe. I wanted that life!! I wanted to find a man who would sweep me off my feet and adore me, and make gorgeous babies with him, and watch him teach them how to live and enjoy life. I wanted to just be a mom and a wife and love my family out in the country somewhere, watching my kids grow up happy and raising them with their father. I wanted to grow old together with my best friend and laugh on the front porch together with grandbabies on our knees. I wanted it, and it is damned unfair that I got this life where I have been lonely and struggling most of the time, with men who broke my heart."

Read more about Acceptance

The very next day, Lyn updated her site again.

"Last night I slept fitfully, and this morning I woke up in a mental haze. I made my cup of tea and sat down to read my email, which I do every morning as I wake up. Through my bleary eyes I clicked to my mailbox, and the very first thing I saw was an email from.... Pioneer Woman! Yes, Ree from the Pioneer Woman blog which I mentioned yesterday dropped me a line! I was pretty surprised, but I guess she saw the links coming in from here and came over to see what was up. And let me just say, she sent me the nicest, most sincere email letting me know her life is *not perfect* and that she didn't want me to feel bad. She sent well wishes and really it was quite a nice personal email that put me in a much better frame of mind this morning. So although I already wrote her back and thanked her, I want to say it here, too: Thanks, Pioneer Woman. You're a class act!"

Read more about Forging Onward

And you?
And you, what's your favorite story about The Pioneer Woman? Have you met her on her book tour, have you cooked one of her recipes? Tell us all about it (or leave a link to a post or recipe) in the comments!

BlogHer food editor Alanna Kellogg loves that Ree calls the food blog community her 'crowd' and hopes that St. Louis and the St. Louis food bloggers give her a warm welcome tonight.


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