When it comes to the Robertson clan, they often reference their family motto: Faith, family, and ducks. But there is another pillar of strength that contributes to their success: Food. The episodes are full of Robertsons and their friends eating. In fact, Miss Kay, the matriarch of the "Duck Dynasty" bunch, often bribes husband Phil, her sons, and various members of the Duck Commander warehouse crew into doing her bidding with the promise of one of her dishes (such as her famous Sweet Potato Pie, used to prompt son Jase and the crew to string up her Griswoldian collection of Christmas lights). And the shows always end with at least two dozen of the Louisiana clan gathered around the dinner table. Yes, food is an important aspect of Robertson life.
And being the generous kind, Willie Robertson and company (particularly Miss Kay, whose kitchen wizardry is legend and often highlighted on the show) have no problem extending a few of the family recipes for everyone to enjoy.
For example, when it was decided to write a book about the Robertsons, the family made certain that it was at least a partial cookbook. Of course, the recipes in the book aren't free (you have to buy the book to get them), the family and A&E did provide a taste of southern cooking by offering an excerpt from the cooking section of the book online. At AETV.com, fans of the show and those interested in cooking like a Robertson can find three recipes from The Duck Commander Family, including one for beans and rice (which reads a lot like a jambalaya concoction), a staple of the Robertson family for decades.
Willie and his wife, Korie, also supply family dishes that have tie-ins with the show. There's one for Duck Wraps, a family creation using (what else?) duck breasts, cream cheese, and jalapenos tied up with strips of bacon. And there is also a recipe for Garlic Frog Legs, no doubt inspired by Jase's total commitment to the delicacy (see the episode "Frog In One").
The show itself almost always has at least a peripheral storyline or setting where food is involved, whether it be a doughnut eating contest, Miss Kay making squirrel stew, or a half-baked competition between family members as to who can cook the best turkey. And Miss Kay is almost always seen in an apron in her kitchen during each episode. There was even one Season 1 episode, "Leave it to Beavers," where Miss Kay took over a local restaurant for a day, sort of a trial run on her dream of running a restaurant of her own. After dealing with a logistical nightmare, not to mention irresponsible suppliers (the male members of her family) and staff, she soon found refuge back in her home kitchen.
Miss Kay's cooking being one of the major themes of the show, it should be no surprise that she would offer a few samples of her cooking style. The "Duck Dynasty" website delivers a Swiss Steak, a Quick Biscuits, and a Banana Pudding set of recipes, all with a Miss Kay twist. Fans will recall that it was Miss Kay's banana pudding that convinced Phil to return an old battered barbecue grill for a new one on "Drag Me To Glory." Of course, with someone like Uncle Si left in charge of securing the grill in the back of the truck, something was certain to go wrong. When they arrived at the store, they did so without the grill, so they had to backtrack to find it. Long story short, the brothers simply returned to Phil's house, used a bit of redneck engineering to get the grill operating properly, and Phil eventually got his promised banana pudding.
So if you've ever wondered how "Duck Dynasty" became such a hit, it can be broken down into a simple recipe. They appeal through a family-sized serving of faith. There is a generous amount of family fun and drama, just enough to spice things up with the varied mixture of ingredients. There are the ducks, the hunting of which is a way of life and the source of the family's income, without which there would never have been a hit show with such a cohesive and unique flavor. It is entertainment with a little food for thought. Call it all "Duck Soup for the Soul." Serve deadpan.
"Duck Dynasty" airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. (EST) on A&E Television.
(photo credit: Duck Dynasty, AETV)