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The View from My Kitchen

Benvenuti! I hope you enjoy il panorama dalla mia cucina Italiana -- "the view from my Italian kitchen,"-- where I indulge my passion for Italian food and cooking. From here, I share some thoughts and ideas on food, as well as recipes and restaurant reviews, notes on travel, and a few garnishes from a lifetime in the entertainment industry.

You can help by leaving comments on posts and by becoming a follower. More than a hundred thousand people all over the world have viewed the blog and that's great. But every great leader needs followers and if I am ever to achieve my goal of becoming the next great leader of the Italian culinary world :-) I need followers! I promise, I'm not going to spam anybody. I'd just like to know who's out there and what your thoughts are on what I'm doing.

Grazie mille!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Giada De Laurentiis: Don't Hate Her Because She's Beautiful

You know, what Alan Jay Jay Lerner wrote of Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady" could, under normal circumstances, easily be said of me:
"I'm a very gentle man, even tempered and good natured who you never hear complain,
Who has the milk of human kindness by the quart in every vein,
A patient man am I, down to my fingertips, the sort who never could, ever would,
let an insulting remark escape his lips. A very gentle man."


But...this is an open letter to all you wide-bottomed, flat-chested, 300 pound ugly women and to all you drooling, staring, impotent, ED geeks: back off and leave Giada De Laurentiis alone!

I'm so sick of seeing snarky crap posted on the Internet; “she's got such an enormous head,” “her nose is so ugly,” “why does she always have to show off her boobs,” “she's not really a chef.”

You people are pathetic. Let's face it, dudes, it's not that her head is too big; it's that your cazzone is too small. You could only be with a woman like Giada in your salacious dreams, and so you hate her just for being beyond your class. Get a life! I'm sorry that not everybody on the planet measures up to your exacting standards of beauty. I'm sure you think your buck-toothed, pimply-faced, scrawny cousin is the hottest thing on – or off – two feet, but to the rest of the civilized world, Giada is a knockout.

And you flat-chested, ugly chicks should just scale back the breast envy, okay? What do you people want? That she should wear a burqa on TV or put a bag over her head? If you jealous heifers don't like her cleavage, go slap her mama and daddy. It's not like it's her fault that she's not a 32-AA. Just because she's got the body you wish you had doesn't give you the right to plaster cyberspace with smarmy comments about her bustline. “But why does she have to show them off the way she does?” Three words: because she can. And because she's comfortable. Just like you are in that cotton mumu by Omar the Tentmaker. I'll bet you prudes had spasms when Pamela Anderson or Bo Derek used to run on the beach, right? Maybe you'd like her better in duct tape and baggy flannel, but the rest of us think she's fine just the way she is.

I've met, performed with, interviewed or otherwise become acquainted with a lot of “celebrities” over the years. You know what? Giada's not one of them. I'm not writing this because we're bosom buddies – and, yes, that was intentional. Funny, huh? Instead, I'm writing in support of somebody that I think is really remarkable. Not that she needs my support, but here it is.

She could have taken life's easy route. Her grandfather, Dino, is a Hollywood icon. Her aunt, Raffaella, the “Aunt Raffy” who sometimes shows up in her TV kitchen, is pretty noteworthy, too. Between them, they have produced a few movies you might be familiar with: La Strada, Anzio, Barbarella, The Battle of the Bulge, The Valachi Papers, Serpico, The Shootist, Death Wish, Three Days of the Condor, Halloween II, The Dead Zone, The Bounty, Hannibal, Red Dragon, U-571, Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer, Dune, Prancer, Kull The Conqueror, Dragonheart, Backdraft, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Black Dog, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and The Last Legion, just to name a few.

But Giada didn't want to trade on the family name. (Her name, by the way, means “Jade” in Italian and is pronounced “Jah-dah,” not “Gee-ah-dah.”) She wanted to be her own person and stand on her own merits in a career of her own making as far away from the “family business” as she could get. Growing up as she did among the Barrymores and the Sheens and the Douglases and the Fondas, that's a pretty remarkable ambition. Grandfather Dino or Aunt Raffy could have made her a star in a heartbeat, but that's not what she wanted. Whatsamatter, haters? Something there for which you can't pick her apart?

Food was a big part of her upbringing. Before he became world famous as a Hollywood producer, her grandfather sold the spaghetti his father produced in their home province of Naples. He also operated a restaurant in California, where Giada spent a lot of her time as a kid. So, eventually she decided to embark on a career in the food industry.

“She's not really a chef.” You know, there were a lot of peabrains who thought that Food Network had hired a shill when Giada first went on the air, and that she was really a model trying to “pass.” Do your homework, peabrains.

After she graduated from UCLA with a degree in anthropology, (not bad for somebody who's nothing but boobs) Giada went to Paris and studied at Le Cordon Bleu.

Gee, isn't that the same place Julia Child went? I guess she wasn't a chef, either. Or maybe, because she was six-foot-two, homely, gawky and she talked funny, she was the right kind of chef. The non-threatening kind. The kind that reminded you of your mother instead of the hot chick next door.

Now, Julia opened her own cooking school before she went on TV, so I suppose that gave her enough street cred to call herself “The French Chef.”

Giada, who has never referred to herself as any kind of chef, only worked in the kitchens at the Ritz Carlton and put in time with Wolfgang Puck at Spago before she started her own catering company. Why would any of that qualify her to stand next to such luminaries as Rachael Ray or Paula Deen on TV? I mean, how can Le Cordon Bleu match up with Rachael's experience as a cooking demonstrator at a grocery store? And I guess self-taught Paula's catering business, “The Bag Lady”, gives her better credibility than classically trained Giada's “GDL Foods” catering business?

I've even seen haters pile on Giada for the way she talks. “I can't stand the way she says 'spa-gay-tee'.” Well, ninny-whiners, while “spug-et-ee” might be more in keeping with her California upbringing, “spa-gay-tee” is more appropriate for her Roman birth. At least she comes by it honestly. I never figured out how California girl Julia Child ever picked up that Oxford accent she always affected.

I know! Maybe Giada needs a little raunch to make her more likeable. After all, she's just so boring, what with her being married to her longtime sweetheart and having an adorable little daughter with him. Maybe she should post some hot, sexy love letters between herself and Todd. Or maybe a naked shot of the two of them in a bubble bath? Both devices worked for Julia and Paul. Or perhaps she should talk about feminine hygiene products at her live appearances. If Paula can keep her audience in stitches with tales of ill-fitting adult diapers, Giada could probably slay 'em with talk about tampons or something.

If you think I'm exaggerating about cyber bullies ganging up on Giada, check out these sites:
or this Facebook gem http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2218687167 that proclaims “Giada De Laurentiis is quite possibly the worst human who has ever lived.”

These pitiful people are out there among us and they're all equally ignorant and uninformed.

“She thinks having an Italian name and studying in Italy automatically makes her an amazing Italian cook for the ages.”

So her name should be what, Kowalkski? I guess Batali, Chiarello, DiSpirito and the rest of the Italian name brigade better run out and change their names to please this bleating idiot. And Giada studied in France, not Italy. She was only born in Italy. Moron.

“I hate her phony, teethy grins.” Jeez-us! Now they're baggin' the woman for smiling?! Yep. Here's a whole page devoted to criticizing her smile: http://community.southernliving.com/printthread.php?t=1929&pp=40

I'm seldom at a loss for words, but I can't come up with any way to describe the way I feel toward these sad, sorry, pathetic, hapless, miserable, wretched, execrable, deplorable, woeful, lamentable, piteous, distressing, misguided fools (told you I was at a loss for words) who have so little in their lives that they have to fill their time with hateful drivel expressed toward a person they have never met.

As I said, I've never met her either, but let me tell you what she did for me and why I'll always love and admire her.

I am an unabashedly proud mama's boy. Mom was the greater part of my world and I of hers.

I've always been a pretty good cook. Mom taught me when I was just a kid. Food was my mother's only vice. As she spent five years dying of an oral cancer that slowly robbed her of her ability to eat, we used to joke, “Well, you don't smoke, you don't drink, and you don't run around. Now that you can't eat, maybe it's time for you to try the other things.”

After a period of some dormancy, having let my cooking skills backslide to packaged and frozen foods, I started ramping up again to try to help her find things she could eat and enjoy. It was tough. Besides the actual mechanical difficulties the cancer was causing, the radiation treatments had damaged or destroyed her salivary glands and her tastebuds. I was so frustrated sometimes, I just wanted to scream. And I often did.

I was totally adrift after she died. I needed something to do, something to focus on, before I went completely off the deep end. What was one of the ways I'd always gotten a smile out of Mom? Food. For years, right up until a few days before she died, Saturday dinner at my house and Sunday dinner at my sister's was Mom's regular routine. She didn't cook as much as she used to, but she was always there to help out. And whenever I had a recipe question, she was my first source of information. Whenever I cooked something she really liked, I'd get a smile and a thumbs up.

So, in honor of my mother, I decided to make food my focus in getting on with my own life without her. We always enjoyed Italian food. Spaghetti suppers were among her favorites. She loved lasagne and seldom turned down pizza. So, Italian food, maybe?

I was channel surfing and came across something called “Everyday Italian” on the Food Network. Giada taught me tips and techniques in that first episode I watched that just amazed me with their simplicity and clarity. “I can do this,” I thought.

I made one of Giada's recipes for my wife that evening. She loved it. I told her about Giada and her simple, everyday approach to Italian cooking. My wife started watching, too, and soon we were both hooked.

Well, from there I began a serious study of Italian cuisine. And then of more general techniques. And then of a wider variety of food and ingredients. Members of my family on both sides had run restaurants in years past, and I had some brief kitchen experience when I was a teenager. Now I've reached the level where I have done a little catering and professional cooking and even as I now write about food for various sources and outlets, I continue to learn more everyday.

And every time I cook something new – or even an old favorite – I can't help but smile and think, “Mom would have loved this.”

It's all for Mom. And it's all because of Giada.

Thanks, G.

5 comments:

  1. You are either a complete idiot, delusional or related to the aforementioned Giada. Your blinded love for the grimacing bobblehead Giada De Laurentiis has apparently resulted in mental illness. You have made the absurd assumption that all who have expressed a dislike for your beloved Giada are either obese or "flat chested". I fall into neither one of those categories as I am sure many other Giada"haters" do not as well. As an extremely trim and very attractive and educated woman in my own right, I can say that it is damn sure not jealously that fuels my dislike for De Laurentiis. De Laurentiis has a smile that could easily scare off wild animals when she bears those teeth. Not to mention that freakishly large head of hers and her obvious need for male attention. Those pushup bras she struts while cooking ain't for the ladies my dimwitted friend and fyi, I am definitely not lacking in the boob department just in case you're wondering. Your demented and long-winded diatribe makes you sound more like a potential stalker than an actual fan. Get help!

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  2. Wow. Congratulations on leaving me almost speechless. Almost. The pathos engendered by your vitriolic harangue prompts me to leave it posted for awhile just for the comic benefit. But allow me to respectfully suggest that I am not the one in need of "help," mia tesoro.
    In the first place, before you rant on and on about the level of your education, please learn the difference between "bear" and "bare." Giada does,indeed, bear teeth. Probably 32 of them. And I suspect she would bare them over the blustering fulminations of a self-identified "hater."
    Before we discuss my "mental illness" may I point out that hating someone over superficial physical attributes is none too healthy? Have you ever met Giada or spent time in her presence? I didn't think so. I have, even though I am not a relative or a bosom buddy. (Pun intended.) She's large-breasted. Wow. What a reason to hate somebody. Does Dolly Parton -- another busty acquaintance of mine -- make your hate list, too? Giada's head appears to be too large for her small frame. That should certainly cause an "educated" person to hate her. And most egregious of all, she smiles too much. My God! Off with her bobblehead!
    I don't limit or cheapen myself with a ridiculous focus on physical characteristics. I'm not as fixated on "boobs" as you seem to be. Neither a brainless Neanderthal fanboy nor a "potential stalker," I simply appreciate Giada's personality, talent, and ability. Those are the things that make her "beautiful" in my estimation. I have made the effort to look beyond the construct of Food Network executives and producers and see the person underneath as somebody I enjoy watching, learning from, and knowing.
    I talked to Giada once about "haters." Her take on the subject was simple: "I think that people will talk about you regardless, and it doesn't matter whether you're doing great or you're not doing great, up or down, there's always going to be haters and there's always going to be people who like you and you just can't please everybody." And I don't think she wastes too much time trying to please the likes of you.
    I will bring yet another long-winded diatribe to a close with a final question: the word "demented" is defined as "driven to behave irrationally due to anger, distress, or excitement." Based on our respective comments, which of us does that more accurately describe?

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  3. you r a freak! giada does not just have an ugly fake smile, but her nose is ugly. i dont like her whole face. now she runs a cooking show so i normally would not care how she looks but.....since you brought it up. she is very unattractive, and i dont like her. i remember her saying somewhere that it is hard for her to buy clothes that fit cuz she is so tiny but has such BIG boobs???big boobs paleeeeese! she has boobs pulled so hard together with a push up padded bra...that is it. her head and body make her look like a bowling pin! ugh! i have never cared for her food. i dont like her tv presence, and i think you are the only one who thinks she is beautiful. i would love to watch a beautiful sexy woman cook, but she is not that person! just saying....

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  4. I am not a freak. Read the previous comment; I am a delusional, demented, idiot. I must be because I look past teeth, noses, and boobs when I define beauty. And if you require further proof of my obvious mental incapacity, notice that I spell and punctuate properly and am capable of constructing coherent sentences. U r rite.....i r a freak.

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  5. I suppose that Farrah Fawcett had her smile and boob haters ..at least Giada can cook AND read script

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