Food News

Remembering Auntie Fee, the Home Cooking Sensation

March 20, 2017

Last Friday, Felicia O’Dell, the South Los Angeles-based YouTube sensation better known by the name Auntie Fee, died following a heart attack. She was 59. She blazed to fame three years ago with a video posted by her son, “Auntie Fee’s Sweet Treats for the Kids,” wherein she fried up some crescents filled with butter, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. She had the vocabulary of a sailor (so, a warning for the easily-offended: the video is filled with profanity), and this was elemental to her appeal. Her YouTube presence pretty much shouted: I don’t care what you think.

I loved Auntie Fee’s videos. Most home cooks you see in the public realm tend to be so self-conscious and scripted; in this landscape, Auntie Fee was a tonic. She attracted obvious criticism: that she was peddling gluttony, fatty foods, that she needed to conduct herself with more decorum. Instead, it’s clear that food, and the very act of cooking, brought her inordinate amounts of joy, and in some of her best videos, she wanted, simply, to please the peopled she loved through her cooking. O'Dell appeared on The Steve Harvey Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live!; she launched her own line of signature spices.

I'll miss her dearly, though she's left us with a lot of videos to remember her by. Here are a few of my favorites.

What's your favorite Auntie Fee video? Let us know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • melinda
  • FinVoilaQuoi
  • Whiteantlers
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


melinda March 24, 2017
I remember her videos well:) She was in a class of her own I felt like I was with family. She will be greatly missed!
FinVoilaQuoi March 20, 2017
I can't wait for all of the pearl clutchers to comment. Sad to she she's gone.
Whiteantlers March 20, 2017
God bless Auntie Fee! I never heard of her or saw her videos, but they will certainly brighten up my life considerably. I love it when people who cook in the public eye are real and not simulacrums of who or what they think a cook 'should be.' I hope she's in a place that's sweet, welcoming and encouraging of her being her very best self. (Not sure if that is the definition of 'Heaven'...) Thanks for kicking the week off delightfully, Mayukh! : )