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For Dolly Parton, cooking is often a solitary activity. As someone who spends so much time in front of cameras, interviewers, and adoring fans, it’s likely nice to experience some peace and quiet. For the most part, though, she has no problem with her husband, Carl Thomas Dean, spending time with her while she cooks. She shared how they collaborate in the kitchen and how she gets him to leave when she wants some alone time.

Dolly Parton wears a black sequined dress and stands in front of a white background. Dolly Parton's husband stays out of the spotlight.

The ‘Jolene’ singer is releasing a line of baking mixes

In March 2022, Parton and Duncan Hines will release a line of baking mixes inspired by the Southern cooking of Parton’s childhood. The line includes coconut cake mix, banana cake mix, buttercream frosting, and chocolate buttercream frosting. While a limited-edition kit had all mixes and frostings alongside a spatula, tea towel, and recipe cards, it sold out in less than a day.

“I have always loved to cook and, growing up in the South, I especially love that authentic Mom and Pop kind of cooking,” Parton said, per NPR. “I am excited to launch my own line of cake mixes and frostings with Duncan Hines, bringing that sweet, Southern-style baking experience I enjoy to others.”

Dolly Parton shared the dynamic she has with her husband in the kitchen

Parton spends a good deal of her time outside the house, but when she’s home, she loves to cook. Her favorite recipe is her mother’s chicken and dumplings.

“I make them like Mama did. I have five sisters, and they all cook, but I’m the only one that everybody says my dumplings taste just like Mama’s,” she told People. “To me, that’s the greatest compliment ever.”

When she’s whipping up recipes like chicken and dumplings, Dean will often join her in the kitchen.

“I like it when he comes. A lot of times he’ll sit and watch me, or he’ll talk,” Parton said. “He’s a pretty good cook. Not a gourmet cook, but I tour so much he’s always, through the years, had to fix things for himself. So he knows how to do that, but he loves my cooking.”

Parton also likes having Dean in the kitchen because he cleans up after her. Sometimes, though, she prefers solitary cooking time.

“I’m a messy cooker, and he’s good about cleaning up for me and keeping the stuff cleaned up around me,” she explained. “But sometimes I don’t want anybody around, so I’ll just say, ‘Why don’t you go to the den, I’ll clean this up later or you can help me later.’”

Dolly Parton and her husband typically don’t get gourmet food on their dates 

Parton and Dean like to go on dates to spend more time together. Often, they’ll pack sandwiches and go on a picnic. If they’re driving somewhere in their camper, they typically stop at fast food restaurants like Taco Bell.

“Carl and I have a little camper, a little RV, and we’re always driving through fast food restaurants to get our stuff,” she said, per Taste of Country. “That’s one of the things we do. I’m always in the front seat. Sometimes they know me, sometimes they don’t.”


Dolly Parton Shared the Star She’d Want to Bake a Cake With: One of the ‘Cutest Guys in the World’

Dean also took Parton to McDonald’s for their first date in 1964. She explained that they don’t feel they have to go to gourmet restaurants to have a good date. They’re just happy to spend time together.

“Date night, we do whatever feels happy and comfortable with us,” she explained. “It’s hard for me to get him to dress up to go to a nice dinner because he’s just a country boy and hates that stuff. We do whatever’s good. We have a good time.”