Sunday, May 06, 2007

What's Cookin' Volume 3

The Look: I am pretty sure that this is Lidia's home kitchen or someone in her family. It is pretty tight in there and not at all what you'd expect from a set. The fact that she has her family on all the time (especially the kids) and they seem really comfortable and know where everything is adds to that assumption.

The Cast: Lidia is the main character but she is often joined by her almost impossibly old mother, Erminia, who speaks little English and adds to that rich Italian family experience. Her son, Joe, comes on quite a bit as a wine expert and her daughter Tanya who assists when they travel to Italy and need to add a few history lessons. Her daughter-in-law, Deanna and her kids also help out around the kitchen.

Lidia herself is a cooking powerhouse. Unlike a few other female cooking show hosts, Lidia is definitely not on TV because of her looks. Although she is incredibly charming, one look at this balding, bear pawed grandmother and you know she is there to take care of business. I imagine her whacking Joe with a spoon when he fucks up.

What's Cookin': It's hardcore Italian/Italian-American. This lady makes everything from every region. Her heaviest influences seem to come from Emilia Romagna but she also loves Rome and has done a few shows that focus on Puglia where her family vacations quite frequently.

She uses bold flavors although she pushes Grana Padano (I think you might as well be grating wax on your food) a lot more than I'd like as they are a sponsor of the show. Her food is rich but well balanced and she knows how to use a fresh element of the cooked element to introduce multiple levels to dishes.

The food is very approachable and Lidia makes me happy cuz she don't measure a friggin' thing.

Problems With The Show: Lidia's biggest crutch is that she uses the food processor a lot. I don't own a food processor as I am one of those people who think if you want it done right you do it by hand. I assume that a lot of folks out in TV land don't have one either. Not because they are food snobs like me but rather because those things are friggin' expensive. I'd rather she and many other cooks showed people how to do things by hand.

Why I Watch: When I watch the show, I see the motherly cooking mentor I never had. My mom can't cook for shit and my dad only cooked on the weekends and didn't let anyone in the kitchen while he was at it.

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