The Pioneer Woman comes to Atlanta

Ree Drummond charms her fans at the three-day Country Living Fair
Rachel Hardage Barrett, left, with Ree Drummond

Ree Drummond may be a New York Times best-selling author, Food Network star, and author of, which attracts more than 20 million monthly page views; but her fans know her best as wife of The Marlboro Man and mom to Alex, Paige, Bryce, Todd, and, of course, Charlie the Bassett Hound. Today, when she spoke with her fans at the Country Living Country Fair at Stone Mountain Park, one of the first questions was “How is Alex doing at college?” (“Well,” it turns out, though Mom is having a rough time) In fact, there were as many questions about Drummond’s family as about her new cookbook, which just came out this week. But then, Drummond’s candor makes her feel like everyone’s best friend. “What was the question?” she mused at one point. “My tombstone is going to say, ‘I digress.’”

The newly released book is The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime: Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-Minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper! (William Morrow). She believes dinner is really the daily challenge facing most home cooks. And, juggling a busy family and ranch chores, Drummond has learned keys to getting a meal on the table.

In a quick conversation after Stone Mountain presentation, she told us her favorite thing to eat in Atlanta was sushi. But she also noted, “Too much take out kind of removes that smell of dinner when people get home. We underestimate how powerful it is to walk in the door and have your mom or your dad fixing dinner—the smells and sounds of dinner cooking.”

This the sixth year that Country Living has hosted its Country Fair in Atlanta. And readers were out in force to hear speakers like Drummond, visit more than 200 antique and artisan booths, and enjoy downhome treats like corn on the cob. “It’s so great for the magazine editors to be out with our readers,” says Rachel Hardage Barrett, editor-in-chief. “It feeds back in the magazine. We get to see what everyone’s talking about and what are the new antiques that everyone is looking for. We get inspired too.”