• This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," Dec. 10, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Everyone knows Paula Deen for being a superstar celebrity chef. But when we met Paula here in Washington, she's in town for another reason -- to deliver more than 100,000 servings of protein to the food bank. Paula is working with Smithfield to help feed the homeless from coast to coast. She told us all about it, and she talked about her life.


    VAN SUSTEREN: It is unbelievable how many people in this country go to bed hungry. You got to the edge.

    PAULA DEEN, FOOD NETWORK CHEF: It is disturbing, yes. And I've been there before. I've been there where when my aunt Peggy showed up at my door with sacks of meat. I didn't know what I was going to do. Yes, it is amazing. In a country as rich as America, I just feel like it should not be.

    VAN SUSTEREN: There are a lot of people with good hearts like your own, Smithfield is another example. Some don't know where to help or how to help. Smithfield.com is a good place to get started.

    DEEN: Absolutely. We've made a commitment to feed over 20 million over the next two years. And we are at our halfway mark right now. We are probably at somewhere around 10 million people. That's from one side of the country to the other.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Have you always wanted to cook?

    DEEN: Yes. When I got married, I was very busy as a teenager. I didn't have time to cook.

    VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not going go there.

    DEEN: I was cooking in other ways honey.


    VAN SUSTEREN: I was smart enough not to go any further.


    DEEN: Yes, I had a very active social life and was busy with my cheerleading and my sports and all my activities. But, I got married at 18.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Why so early?

    DEEN: Because southern girls just did that back in the 60s. If you weren't going to go to college it was not abnormal or usual. I did, I my high school sweetheart. So when my mother didn't show up to start cooking, I said well I guess I'm going to have to do it in this house.

    And I found that I just loved it. I just loved it. And then the premature death of my mother and daddy caused me to go on a 20 year ride with agoraphobia.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Really?

    DEEN: Yes. Now I have reverse agoraphobia, I can't go home.

    VAN SUSTEREN: for 20 years, seriously? What did you do?

    DEEN: I cooked. I was what I consider -- and I'm no expert on it, I can only speak for myself. But I was what I would think a functioning agoraphobic would be. Some days I wasn't all right and some days I wasn't.

    VAN SUSTEREN: You did go to the grocery store?

    DEEN: No. I would try and run out hyperventilate leaving my groceries.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Look how much your life has changed.

    DEEN: People say that cannot be as much as you love people. I was that way before it hit. It is not like I became this new person. I've kind of come full circle. I'm as close to that 18-year-old girl today as I will ever be. I like this one a little better.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Cooking, can you learn it?

    DEEN: I tell everybody, if you can read, you can cook.

    VAN SUSTEREN: My husband would disagree with you on that, because I can read pretty well.


    DEEN: But I think you've got to have some type of instinct for it. Some women love to get in and done give them a recipe, they love to express themselves. Those kind of women stay away from baking. Baking is a formula. If you don't follow that formula, there's a good chance you are going to have a mess.

    So, like I said, some people hike to formulate their own food as they go. Some like to go right by the book.

    VAN SUSTEREN: When you go out to eat, what do you order?

    DEEN: Usually steak and potato. I'm a meat and potato girl. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and collard greens -- yesterday, what did I cook? I cooked fried pork chops and hoe cake cornbread and red beans and rice and fresh broccoli. My husband and I almost ate ourselves to death it was so good. I wish you could come to my house and let me cook for you.

    VAN SUSTEREN: I might need a forklift to get out.

    DEEN: You might. But I didn't cook that way every day.

    VAN SUSTEREN: What do you usually cook?

    DEEN: Well, like yesterday for lunch, I had a half of a BLT sandwich and a big salad that was green from my garden.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Do you go through peers where you want to eat very eat light?