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.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

More Giada De Laurentiis-Hating Drivel

Hosing Down the Flames of Irrational Hatred

About five years ago I wrote a piece entitled, “Giada De Laurentiis: Don't Hate Her Because She's Beautiful.” In it I attempted to point out the absurdity of hating on a person you don't really know.

Hate is an example of an extreme emotion, one often devoid of rational purpose. It represents a deep dislike directed toward individuals, groups, objects, or ideas. Hatred is often associated with feelings of anger, disgust, and a disposition towards hostility. It is described by Sigmund Freud as “an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness.”

It is an unfortunate reality of modern life that the Internet provides both a haven and an outlet for the small-minded and the big-mouthed, people often described in the vernacular as “haters.” Secure in their anonymity, they bloviate endlessly about the objects of their misguided emotions. Hence, it was surprising to me that it took five years for an anonymous hater to crawl out of the woodwork and fire off a farrago of baseless drivel regarding my defense of Ms. De Laurentiis. In typical fashion, the author took potshots at both my subject and me. She wrote:

“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!”

I rarely rise to such obvious bait. I usually just delete it and forget it. And I probably should have done that in this case, but I didn't. I chose to respond as follows:

“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 thirty-two 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?”

I feel better now, but beyond that, I believe I have yet again validated my point that it is ludicrous to “hate” another human being based merely upon their outward appearance. Isn't that the basis of racism?

I don't particularly care for Sandra Lee. Or Paula Deen. Rachael Ray is not among my favorites. But I don't go off frothing at the mouth about Sandra's figure or Paula's age or Rachael's voice. I've seen them all on TV and I've seen some of them in person and my antipathy is based not on physical shortcomings but on intangible aspects of their personalities that I simply don't like. I know people who think Giada is fake and pretentious. That's their takeaway based on what they see on TV and there's not much that she or anybody else can do about it. You know what opinions are akin to and everybody's got one. But to “hate” someone based on the largeness of her breasts is a sure indicator of the smallness of the hater's mind. And throwing around terms like “freakishly large” and “grimacing bobblehead” and describing a person's smile as being capable of scaring wild animals is petty, narrow, and mean-spirited in the extreme. Certainly not the milieu of an “educated” person. The commenter sings her own praises with her description of her attractiveness and takes pains to point out that she is “definitely not lacking in the boob department just in case you're wondering.” Believe me, I wasn't. But what if, in my own perception, I found her knees to be knobby and her butt to be broad? What if I think she has “freakishly large” feet? Does that give me the right to define her as a person? If there was a sway to her hips that I found suggestive, would I be justified in standing in the midst of a crowd screaming “slut?” Best reexamine your vaunted education, cara, because your pettifogging intolerance is showing.

I like Giada. You want to know who else I like? I like Lidia Bastianich and Mary Ann Esposito. And I damn sure ain't fawning over the latter pair because of their looks. (Hmmmm.......come to think of it, Lidia smiles an awful lot, too. Maybe I have a secret desire to be a dentist.) You can call me dimwitted – oh, you already did – but I don't give a rat's ass about the size of Giada's breasts or her head or the third toe on her left foot. The woman is Italian and she can cook. I'm part Italian and I can cook. In Italian that's an example of simpatico, a word with a lot of meanings but one which generally conveys a sense of liking someone just because. If that makes me an idiot or delusional, well.....guilty as charged.

Bottom line, don't hate Giada or anybody else because they are beautiful or ugly, short or tall, young or old, or because they write blogs. Save your negative emotion for people who are bigoted, trivial, narrow-minded, petty, blinkered, or obsessed with physicality. They are the ones who truly deserve it.


  1. You are so right - thank you

  2. Waste

    I know where you're coming from, but the person who wrote that wasn't actually interested in a response.

    I don't particularly agree with you or your choice of personalities (de Laurentiis) but hey, I don't exactly survive on forcing people to abandon the things they like in favor of things I like -- I think that's caled Naziism, among other things.

    Like you, I tend to react in a somewhat . . err . . . emotional manner towards undeserved diatribes like these, but, probably like you, I'm learning that this is the price to be paid for being a somewhat public figure (you and I have a blog)(!) so we have to thicken our skins to a certain extent.

    These people are often undone by their non-typos ("bear" instead of "bare") and that immediately gives one an idea of the socio-politcal background from which they come, which is frankly, usually quite discouraging.

    The virulent manner in which they seem to want to attack usually seems to have almost religious overtones . . . I'd look into that.

    Again, I don't necessarily agree with any liking of Giada De Laurentiis, but who knows? Maybe you acccidentally met her one day and feel a personal connection. Who am I to judge?

    Anyway keep on keeping on. You're a talented writer and they be few and far between these days


    1. Thanks for the kind words, ChefNick. And for the record, my meeting with Giada was not accidental. My wife and I spent some time with her at a food event a few years ago and found her to be very charming and very real. She has some down-to-earth ideas about food that we have in common, and besides, when I say something to her in Italian, she responds in Italian. :-) That's the basis for my "personal connection."

  3. I enjoy Giada. I think she has some great recipes.

    Women, stop the hate. She's teaching. Learn from her.