Pioneer Woman

Kayla Aguiar, right, and Spec. Casey Aquiar, Warrior Transition Unit, wait as Ree Drummond, "the Pioneer Woman," signs six copies of her cookbooks at the Clear Creek Exchange, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. Kayla purchased six copies to give as Christmas gifts to "moms, aunts and cousins."

More than 2,500 fans of television personality and author Ree Drummond, widely known by cooking enthusiasts as “The Pioneer Woman,” waited eagerly to meet the at-home chef at Fort Hood on Veterans Day. A line wrapped outside the Clear Creek Shopping Center, where Drummond was signing copies of her most recent cookbook “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime.”

“She’s just so down-to-earth and she cooks things that we all like. It’s not weird things that you need to cook with. It’s down-home food and it’s comforting. ... She’s just as nice as she seems on TV It’s a privilege for us to be able to meet somebody like that,” said Army spouse and Fort Hood resident Kathryn Messerschmidt, who was the first in line to meet Drummond.

Fans came out in droves, many purchasing multiple copies of the newest cookbook, which is the fourth by Drummond and a personal favorite, she said.

“It’s not my first rodeo, but I really think it’s my favorite cookbook in my series. I’ve had a little experience under my belt and I really wanted to pick my favorite recipes to cook my family for dinner, and what I love about it is there’s a lot of variety,” Drummond said.

The cook rose to fame through her blog, which includes recipes and personal stories from her life on a working ranch with her husband and children. In addition to penning cookbooks full of her recipes, Drummond also hosts a Food Network show called “The Pioneer Woman.

Her visit to Fort Hood marked Drummond’s first experience at a military installation, something she said was “an honor.”

“I take Veterans Day seriously. I always have because my dad’s a vet, and he was in Vietnam and I grew up very aware of the time that he spent there. ... It’s special to me not just to be here at Fort Hood, but to be here on such an important day,’ she said.

Abigale Funk, a Navy spouse and daughter of an Army soldier, waited in line for several hours to meet Drummond, and was touched by the author’s visit to the installation.

“It makes you realize that everybody sees the hard work that your husband or your father or your family does for the world, for the United States of America. It’s awesome that (she would) take the time to recognize it,” Funk said.

The proceeds made from sales of Drummond’s new cookbook at the PX during her visit will go toward the nonprofit organization Operation Homefront.

“I’m donating to Operation Homefront because they have programs that benefit military families and wounded soldiers, and it doesn’t get any better than that. I kind of wanted to strip myself away from today and make it about veterans and our troops,” Drummond said.

Contact JC Jones at jcjones@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7464​

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