What does Dolly Parton typically eat in a day? The legendary singer-songwriter has captured America’s heart, thanks to her remarkable talent, signature femme look, down-to-earth nature, and, of course, her sense of humor. From living a childhood in poverty to becoming an international musical sensation, Dolly Parton has undergone a seriously stunning transformation.
As much as the star has evolved into a glittering diva, however, one thing that’s remained the same — at least, from the looks of things — is Parton’s petite stature and build. Although she’s definitely well-endowed when it comes to her bust line, something she’s often joked about, Parton maintains an enviable small waist line. And as we all know, that’s not always an easy feat!
Still, Parton isn’t one to forsake her favorite foods in the name of staying slim. As it turns out, she has some classic picks that are decadent and flavorful, some thanks to her southern upbringing, and some thanks to her sense of culinary adventure. So if you’re ready to dine with Dolly, keep scrolling, as this is what Dolly Parton typically eats in a day.
This is what Dolly Parton likes for breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as the old adage goes. And when it comes to breaking her fast for her morning meal, one of Dolly Parton’s favorites is a southern country classic. "Well, this morning I made breakfast for my husband and me," she shared in an interview with Marie Claire. "I made some sausage patties, and I baked some biscuits, and I made some milk gravy." That sounds delicious and totally on-brand for the Tennessee native.
Lest you think that Parton jettisons her health concerns seven days a week, that’s actually not the case. "Now, I can’t eat like that all the time," she continued. "But I enjoy eating it when I do." Hey, moderation is a thing because it actually works.
Of course, one way that Parton’s biscuits and gravy are different from everyone else’s is that she always cooks wearing high heels. Yes, she really is that extra.
During the week, Dolly Parton sticks to a low-carb diet
It’s a well-known fact that Dolly Parton is a hard worker. Whether she’s cutting an album, traveling all over the country on tour, or writing songs in the early morning hours, Dolly Parton is not one to rest on her laurels (via The Boot). That means Parton has to make sure she eats healthy in order to power her busy lifestyle. "I try to stay on my low-carb diet during the week," she revealed in a chat with Parade.
However, that doesn’t mean Parton is above a cheat day. In fact, she looks forward to her non-diet days with great happiness. "And then when I know I have a day off, I say, ‘Make me a pan of corn bread,’" she continued. Talk about relatable.
When Parton isn’t on the road, she’ll spend her off-day with her husband just having a good time. "If we’re not cooking, we travel around in our camper, stop at fast-food restaurants, and picnic," she added. "We love that stuff that will harden your arteries in a hurry." So do we, Dolly!
Dolly Parton loves greasy food… and not "pretty food"
Dolly Parton had a pretty rustic upbringing in rural Tennessee, where her family would eat whatever was available. That included game like bear, rabbit, squirrel, and groundhog, so you know Parton isn’t a pretentious eater.
To that end, should you be lucky enough to get an invitation to have lunch at Parton’s home, she’d likely cook you her favorite meal for entertaining. "I love roast pork, especially the fatty part," she told The New York Times. "I can’t help it. The greasier the food, the better." Chances are she’d serve that meal with fried okra, turnip greens, and green beans to accompany the porky main dish.
Given Parton’s preference for hearty, meaty meals and country-style cooking, it’s not altogether surprising that she’s just not that into cute food. "I don’t like pretty food," she continued. "The way I see it, if the food’s too pretty, it ain’t too good."
Dolly Parton may or may not swallow all her food
The reason that everyone loves eating food is because it tastes delicious. According to Scientific American, our bodies are carefully wired to enjoy and appreciate food, which, of course, we need to live.
However, when it comes to Dolly Parton’s appreciation for food, it stops at the back of her throat. "Our taste buds are all in our mouths," she explained. "Once we swallow, we don’t really taste the food." Well, maybe not consciously, as there are taste receptors in some of our digestive organs.
Still, Parton does have a point, in that the joy of eating lies within our mouths for the most part. "The pleasure and satisfaction is in the tasting and chewing," she continued. To that end, Parton makes sure to eat her food mindfully and slowly, taking her time to chew it thoroughly. As to whether or not she actually swallows her food all the time, well, that remains a bit of a mystery (via What Would Dolly Do? How to be a Diamond in a Rhinestone World).
It took a long time for Dolly Parton to appreciate shellfish
Since Dolly Parton grew up eating wild game in rural Tennessee, it’s not surprising that those early culinary experiences shaped her palate. So when Parton left home and ventured into the big city after graduating high school (via CMT), she was introduced to all kinds of new foods. To that end, it’s understandable that Parton was slow to come around to some of them. "It took me years to eat a lot of shellfish," she revealed in an interview with The New York Times. "I was probably 20 years old before I had even seen a shrimp cocktail." We can’t imagine there was much sushi around at the time, either.
Over time, Parton has developed a sincere appreciation for many of the fish in the sea, but she still has preferences when it comes to preparation. "I like oysters, but fried," she continued. "The only things we had at home were frog legs, river fish, and catfish. And it was almost always fried."
This is how Dolly Parton likes her favorite appetizer, clams casino
Despite never having tried shellfish while she was growing up, and only really appreciating the food as an adult, Dolly Parton has truly come to appreciate the taste of the briny food. In fact, when she dines out at one of her favorite haunts in New York City, her absolute favorite appetizer is clams casino. "I like clams but I don’t like them when they’re all big and chewy, so they chop them up for me," she explained to The New York Times. "This way you get the flavor of the clams and bread crumbs all mixed up."
That said, you’re not likely to find a recipe for clams casino in Parton’s first cookbook, Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s. "I still like to try new foods as often as I can," she shared on her website. "But when it comes to cooking for myself and my husband, Carl, and my great big extended family … what we really want to eat is what comforts us most: good, hearty food rooted in Mama’s cooking and those country gatherings of my childhood."
This food always makes Dolly Parton happy
One thing that Dolly Parton is famous for is her profound appreciation of nature’s perfect food, the potato. Whether it’s baked, fried, diced into hash browns, or mashed with gravy, Parton is here for the vegetable in all of its delicious forms. "That’s it," she declared in a chat with The New York Times. "Just give me my potato, any kind of potato, and I’m happy." We can’t think of a single thing wrong with this statement. Who doesn’t love French fries, after all?
In fact, Parton loves potatoes so much that she credits them single-handedly for pushing her off of the wagon, on multiple occasions. "Every single diet I ever fell off of was because of potatoes and gravy of some sort," she continued. "That’s partly how I got into trouble a few years back." And while you might not believe it, Parton says she once gained 45 pounds, thanks (or no thanks?) to her starchy frenemy.
Dolly Parton gave the cabbage soup diet a try
Have you ever heard of the Cabbage-Soup Diet, also known as the TWA Stewardess Diet, also known as the Dolly Parton Diet? If not, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from the name: You eat cabbage soup. A lot of it. And it’s supposed to help you lose weight.
Chances are that’s the diet that Parton was referring to when she came across a diet named after her in a magazine. "It had nothing to do with me," she told People magazine (via Vanity Fair). "But I thought I might as well see if I can lose weight on my own diet."
So if and when Parton gave her eponymous diet a try, she likely ate bowls and bowls of cabbage soup for seven whole days. Additionally, since you’re allowed to have supplemental fruits and vegetables on the diet, those were likely on the menu every day as well. Given that you can sometimes have potatoes on this diet, maybe Parton liked it more than the rest of us!
In fact, Dolly Parton says she’s tried every diet there is
Speaking of diets, Dolly Parton is no stranger to them, and not just those of the cabbage soup variety. As the singer-songwriter tells it, over the years, if there’s been a food plan to follow, she’s given it a shot at least once. "I tried every diet in the book," she’s explained (via Vogue). "I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets." Given how insane some diet plans are, from subsisting solely on protein shakes to eschewing carbs altogether, we’re not surprised to hear that gnawing on a book is a preferable option.
As if you needed further proof that Parton is just like the rest of us, it’s not easy for her to restrict herself when it comes to her favorite things. "My weaknesses have always been food and men — in that order," she continued. Girl, same.
What does Dolly Parton eat when she goes out?
While Dolly Parton is very much at home in her native Tennessee, she also spends a significant amount of time on the road. That means that she has to eat out at restaurants, as she can’t exactly bring her kitchen on tour with her.
But from the sound of things, Parton doesn’t mind getting her meals on the go, as she has quite the expansive palette when it comes to dining out. "I love Indian, Italian and Mexican food," she told The New York Times. "And if it’s a romantic type of thing, I like a good French restaurant. Of course, somebody else has to choose the wine." You would hope Parton’s date would appreciate a fine wine!
However, Parton doesn’t need a restaurant to be highbrow, as she’s also a big fan of little old Taco Bell. "I love their tacos," she revealed in a chat with Sirius XM (via Food & Wine). "They also have little pizzas that I love." Parton enjoys getting fast food with her husband when she’s not on the road, too.
This is Dolly Parton’s signature dish
While Dolly Parton may enjoy dining out when she’s both at home with her husband and on the road with her team, sometimes she’ll bring her own cooking with her on her tour bus as well. "I’ll bring my grits when I travel because I get so hungry on the road," she explained in an interview with Parade. And you know that Parton’s grits are going to be good!
But when it comes to her signature dish, the one that she absolutely calls her own, it’s another southern classic. "Chicken and dumplings," she continued. "It’s all country cooking." Given that Parton herself blessed the 2018 film Dumplin’ with her approval (via PopSugar), we’re not surprised to learn that her signature dish bears the same name. We wouldn’t be surprised if she eats this traditional dish for dinner on the reg.
Of course, Parade made sure to get their hot little hands on Parton’s recipe for chicken and dumplings, so you can try to recreate the dish at home for yourself. Why not, right? It just might make you feel like a queen for a day.
Dolly Parton’s favorite alcoholic beverage is wine
Fun fact: Dolly Parton really enjoys drinking alcohol. While she doesn’t necessarily love the taste of all alcohols, there’s one that she finds herself appreciating when it’s time to have fun. "My favorite drink is really red wine," she revealed in a chat with The New York Times. "I don’t know too much about different kinds. But I know I like the kind that has a little of that dryish feeling at the end — from wood or whatever." So chances are Parton prefers a good cabernet sauvignon or a pinot noir, rather than a port wine or a chardonnay.
However, there’s one issue that Parton experiences when she indulges in her favorite alcoholic beverage. "But there’s one problem I have with red wine," she continued. "With my fair skin and everything, when I drink a few glasses I start to turn all red!"
And when it comes time to start the party with a bang, Parton will throw back a shot of tequila "to get a quick buzz on." Bottoms up, Dolly!
Dolly Parton still makes her family’s classic stone soup
Does your family have a special recipe that’s been passed down through the generations? Dolly Parton’s certainly does, and it’s a recipe she knows how to make to this day. Specifically, the Parton family would eat stone soup when the cupboards weren’t as full as usual growing up. "Mom used to tell us when we maybe didn’t have much to eat in the house, she would send us all in the yard, she said, ‘go get me a rock,’" she explained during a demo for the Hallmark Channel. Once each of the kids had selected the best stone possible, they’d bring it in, wash it up, and Parton’s mom would pick the best one. And that’s where the "special flavor" for the soup would come from.
While Parton certainly has enough money that she doesn’t need to eat stone soup to get by anymore, the recipe brings her great comfort and nostalgia. It also reminds her of her mother, who was a nurturing and caring woman. "Mama had a way of making us feel good about everything," Parton added.
Dolly Parton makes her mother’s recipe for dessert
When it comes to what inspires Dolly Parton in the kitchen, there’s no question: her mother. To that end, when Parton wants to whip up a dessert that summons nostalgia for her childhood, she turns to a tried-and-true recipe. "Mama used to make, it’s like chocolate pudding, really, but you put it in the skillet with flour and sugar and milk and you just make a pudding," she recalled in an interview with People. "Mama used to put it with biscuits."
So whenever Parton is in the kitchen, you can count on the fact that she’s honoring her family legacy. "Mama’s gone now, but she’s not gone in our memory and in our cooking," she continued.
Parton is also a big fan of walnut pie, as she shared a recipe for the confection on her Instagram page. Given that it’s from her first cookbook, chances are Parton’s mother inspired the recipe.