Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: The Pioneer Woman--Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond

When I was an undergrad, my roommates and I had a long conversation (one of many) about what we liked in a man.  I could say, pretty emphatically, that I was attracted to the Marlboro Man--minus the smokes.  Seriously.  Maybe it's the whole growing up in Idaho, around farmers and ranchers, that has me super attracted to a hyper-masculine, Wrangler-wearing man?  Or, it might be that darn scene from Man from Snowy River.  You know the scene I'm talking about!  Remember when he saves the girl and rides through this breathtaking panorama of mountains with her on the back of his horse, ending the scene with a kiss on said horse.  Be still my beating heart! (By the way, if you haven't seen this movie before, go NOW and find it.  You will thank me.)

Whatever my attraction to Mr. Marlboro Man, I got teased about it endlessly.  Because of that, my best friend from college told me I HAD to read Ree Drummond's autobiography about how she met her husband.  So, while on vacation in Costa Rica last October, she hauled a copy of the book down there and gave it to me as a late birthday present.  It took me until February to then get to it, and I'm still kicking myself that I waited so long!  Now it's be still my beating heart, but because of a super romantic story.

Synopsis:  Ree Drummond is the queen of food blogging--in a big way.  Her blog, "The Pioneer Woman," is a real show of her strengths:  food, family, and photography.  Having drawn million of readers with her stories of the hunky Marlboro Man (her husband Ladd) and their ranch, raising four kids and a thousands of animals, it all sounds so quaint.  In Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, we learn about how that story came to be by hearing her story of how she and her husband met and started their family. 

Review:  I can't say that I was a frequent visitor to the Pioneer Woman's blog before reading her book, but I had visited it a couple of times and felt a type of camaraderie with her.  Growing up in "meat and potato" land in southeast Idaho, her recipes from her ranch in Oklahoma certainly resonated with me.  Her food is hearty, "down home," and very geared toward the comfort foods that many of us grew up eating.  Little did I know, however, that she really grew up in the city and had lived in Los Angeles for a number of years--not necessarily in the same vein, food wise, as an isolated Oklahoma ranch.

Ree's story about how she met her "Marlboro Man" (as she calls him) in a smoky bar in Oklahoma is super intense and super sweet.  Ree only meant to meet up with a group of old friends for a drink, on a short stop-over at home before moving on to Chicago to head to grad school.  Little did she know that she would meet the man of her dreams in that bar and start up a whirlwind romance that would change her entire life.

I absolutely loved and adored this book!  Although it's autobiographical, it reads like a super-romantic, super-clean romance.  Ree is very good at capturing the ups and downs in her emotions, including everything from the giddy elation to absolute fear.  In a lot of ways, their story is most amazing because of the depths of honesty between the two.  I fell in love with her husband too when she showed how forthcoming he was about his feelings and thoughts.  He didn't come across as a man who was overbearing or aloof.  In fact, he sounded patient, smart, and head over heels in love with Ree.  What woman wouldn't want that?

Whether you're familiar with Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, or not, you really should check out her book.  She has an honesty in her writing that is both captivating and funny, and that really captures who we imagine her to be.  From what I hear, she is writing another book to follow her first, and I assure you that I will be quick to grab a copy!

By the way, I'm now a much bigger fan and adore her Food Network show, "The Pioneer Woman."  It airs here on Saturday mornings, but check local listings for the day and time.

*FTC Disclosure:  This review was based on a personal copy of the book.


  1. The Man from Snowy River! It's been forever since I thought about that. We had to read to the poem in middle school and I loved it, but I was majorly disappointed in the movie. The poem was just a lot more romantic.

    I also grew up with ranchers and cowboys, but I never was that attracted to them. They were always spitting their chew into the water fountains at school. Gross! If I did marry a rancher, there'd be a definite moratorium on tobacco.

  2. Okay, I'm sold. When I was young, I had a Marlboro man fascination myself--we Westerners have no choice really!

    I've visited Pioneer Woman blog a few times, and never seen the show, but it's on the list of things I mean to watch.

    But, now, I just have to read this book. Sounds like a really fun read.