Sometimes people who come from completely different backgrounds in life can share just one common thing that binds them together. For “The Pioneer Woman” Ree Drummond and Valerie Bertinelli, it’s food and cooking.
Both women host their own Food Network TV shows and both have written NYT best-selling cookbooks. Drummond’s “The Pioneer Woman” has been inspiring and entertaining audiences since 2011, while Bertinelli’s Daytime Emmy-award-winning “Valerie’s Home Cooking” has done the same since 2015.
And is it a coincidence that both ladies specialize in “home cooking”? Let’s find out.
‘The Pioneer Woman’s Past
Though she grew up in Oklahoma, Ree Drummond didn’t picture herself living the rest of her life as a country girl. Instead, she moved out to California for college. She planned on moving to Chicago to study law not long after she graduated. But during a trip home to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Drummond ran into the man who would change her life.
Drummond married cattle rancher Ladd in the mid-90s and moved onto his ranch in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. About ten years later, she started a blog based on a nickname her friends and family had given her: The Pioneer Woman.
“Confessions of a Pioneer Woman” didn’t start gaining major traction until she started posting recipes, according to an article from Mashed. By 2011, Food Network was offering for “The Pioneer Woman” to become its own show.
But Drummond wasn’t always as comfortable on camera as she is now. During a 2017 interview with Delish, the Pioneer Woman confessed she almost said no to doing the show.
“When I first talked to Food Network about doing a TV show, I was a food blogger. I was very much behind the camera. I’m definitely not someone who ever thought about being a TV personality or anything like that, so when we first started discussing the possibility of my having a cooking show, I did balk a little bit,” the Pioneer Woman said. “I decided to give it a try when they offered to come out to the ranch. When I realized it wouldn’t be me traveling and going to a studio somewhere, I thought, I’m never more comfortable than I am at home in my home kitchen, so I’ll give it a try.”
Valerie Bertinelli, on the other hand, loves being in front of the camera. The actress got her big break on “One Day at a Time” back in the 1970s and hit sitcom “Hot in Cleveland” in the 2010s. In 1981, she also married rock singer Eddie Van Halen and had a son with him, Wolfie. Bertinelli is no stranger to the spotlight.
When “Hot in Cleveland” ended in 2015, Bertinelli decided to pivot to a more personal passion of hers. It’s one that’s also shared by her Italian-heritage family members.
“All I remember is my nonna making a cup of tea and her serving it to me fresh. And my mom, our cute little kitchen was her office; She just did three meals a day, no microwave, using fresh, fresh ingredients,” Bertinelli told Good Housekeeping. “But I think they had a passion for it too. And I learned from them. And now I have a passion for it, too.”
At the end of the day, whether they came from a Hollywood background or Oklahoma ranch, both Bertinelli and The Pioneer Woman love to share their cooking with others. It’s a way for them to say, “You belong to my family now” and “Welcome home.”