My colleagues and I are generally unimpressed by celebrity food habits. We simply aren’t interested, regardless of whether the celebs are gushing about what they eat in a day or strolling the streets of Los Angeles snacking on a raw bison organ. I have two exceptions to this policy. First, I very much enjoy paparazzi photos of celebrities leaving restaurants in tiny miniskirts. Second, I’m convinced that Dolly Parton is the celebrity food entrepreneur that will save our nation.
Remember last year, when Parton teamed up with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and sent consumers into an absolute tailspin? Parton’s limited-edition flavor, Strawberry Pretzel Pie, was made with layers of salty pretzel streusel, cream cheese ice cream, and strawberry sauce. When I say “tailspin,” I mean that Jeni’s patrons stalked the ice cream brand’s website to get their hands on the limited pints, then turned around and hawked them on eBay for as much as $1,000, TMZ reported.
Proceeds from the flavor’s release benefited Dolly’s Imagination Library, a book gifting program that gives free books to youngsters. A Southern-inspired ice cream that also benefits children’s literacy? I mean, come on. The woman’s an angel.
More recently, Parton teamed up with Duncan Hines to release a line of baking mixes inspired by Parton’s favorite southern recipes. The Dolly Parton x Duncan Hines baking line includes two cake mixes: Southern Style Coconut Flavored Cake Mix and Southern Style Banana Flavored Cake Mix.
Not only are Parton’s collaborations delicious; they’re also affordable, practical, and generally accessible. Parton also has a way of keeping it real when it comes to broader food conversations, a refreshing approach that you don’t often see with celebrities.
Parton has gone on record several times to describe her tasty, Southern-inspired food habits. Instead of promoting crash diets or waist trainers, Parton sings the praises of glorious carbs like cornbread and chicken and dumplings. Sure, Parton’s self-professed food habits bolster her personal brand, but I’d rather have a celebrity boast about eating cornbread than boast about adhering to some impossibly expensive, restrictive diet.
Parton is also a noted fan of Taco Bell, joining the call for the chain to return its discontinued Mexican Pizza to the people. In an interview with Insider, the superstar noted her T-Bell faves, including soft-shell supreme tacos, rice and beans with mild sauce, and, once upon a time, Mexican Pizzas.
Finally, Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, has won Best Food from the Golden Ticket Awards—the gold standard for global theme parks—four times since 2012.
Celebrities in the food space, take note. Parton’s public approach to food is simple, delicious, and friendly. In a sea of alarming diet trends and gold-crusted steaks, we’d rather snack on Strawberry Pretzel Pie.