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Everyday Italian in Little Big Head's Kitchen


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#7111

FriedButter

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Posted Mar 17, 2012 @ 11:40 PM

I'm try to neither bashing her nor defending her, but I think that with Giada, it depends on what else she is preparing.

My post wasn't really meant to bash Giada. I know some think comparing someone to Sandra Lee is an insult but I don't think what she does is so horrible. I don't watch Sandra Lee because I find her annoying but she's doing what she was hired to do. It's not like the show is touting her as a highly trained, award winning chef. And health-wise Paul Deen's food is probably a thousand times worse. I was just curious if they would bash Giada for using a box mix. Or bash Rachel Ray. She used rotisserie chicken from the store today. I don't watch Giada all the time because her mannerisms annoy the hell out of me like the claw hands and the accent on Italian words. But I like her and her cooking, just in small doses.
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#7112

wallybear

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 8:05 AM

That wasn't the first time she's used a box of brownie or cake mix and probably not the last. I know that we expect more from a graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris who has certificates in both "general cooking" and pastry.

This is why I don't give Giada a pass on using a box mix of anything. A trained chef who is hosting a cooking show shouldn't be using pre-fab anything, IMO.

Personally, I think it's part of FN's ongoing campaign to convince viewers that actual cooking is too messy, too time-consuming, too expensive, and just not worth it, in order to sell more Hot Pockets, Hamburger Helper, cake mixes and canned soup. Got to keep those advertisers happy!

Unfortunately, I think this has a lot to do w/ it. IMO FN is not about cooking anymore. It's about personalities & lifestyle.

I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen a trained chef other than Giada on FN use a box mix of something, & I can't, but my grey matter ain't what it used to be.
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#7113

tvmovielover

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 8:15 AM

I think Giada started using more shortcuts after she had the baby and that maybe it is an attempt to make it easy on mothers with children and show them ways to cook something at least partially homemade. It may seem more like Sandra Lee recipes because her cooking has changed a bit too and become slightly healthier-she does not seem to add artificial flavor packets as much any more. Using rotisserie chickens has been done on many shows and that is a short cut I like to see. I do not do it much but know I could in a pinch.

I did cook from scratch most of the time even when my kids were small but most moms do not then or now so these shows are for them. I do not use cake or brownie mixes but I will never forget when my kids told me, "Mom, do you know you can make a good cake from a box?" Families do not always want wholesome food. Now both kids do cook from scratch now and then in their own homes so it is a good idea to expose kids to both kinds of cooking. I can live with Giada doing the family thing for now. She did a lot of seasons of the other stuff.
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#7114

foodie100

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Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 9:35 PM

This show is so boring. I used to be such a rabid fan. Nowadays, I tune in to see what she's wearing, and if nothing interests me I delete it from my DVR.
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#7115

LadySadie

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Posted Mar 19, 2012 @ 1:11 PM

I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen a trained chef other than Giada on FN use a box mix of something, & I can't, but my grey matter ain't what it used to be.


I believe I saw Anne Burrell use frozen puff pastry for something once, which didn't bother me. The time involved in making that is considerable, from what I understand, and requires alot of practice to become good at it. But yeah, using a box of brownie mix is pretty weak.

I thought the s'mores brownie bites from Saturday's show looked amazing and I'll probably try them. And the lemon cookies looked good too.
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#7116

chessiegal

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Posted Mar 19, 2012 @ 1:20 PM

I've seen Paula Deen use a boxed cake mix.
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#7117

BooksRule

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Posted Mar 19, 2012 @ 2:57 PM

I caught the end of 'Giada at home' this past weekend (the one with the s'more brownies, lemon cookies and the peach cake). I thought that the peach cake looked really good, but did anyone else think that putting that rich vanilla frosting on it was overkill? If the cake is rich, leave it alone. If the cake is very plain, then a frosting would be great. I thought that the cake looked moist and flavorful enough to stand on its own (maybe with a nice cup of coffee or two to go with it). I'm going to check the FN website to see if the recipe is there--now I want to try it.
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#7118

Baysu

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Posted Mar 19, 2012 @ 3:13 PM

I thought the frosting on the cake was overkill myself, at the most maybe some powdered sugar ??
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#7119

qvole

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Posted Mar 19, 2012 @ 7:14 PM

I'm going to check the FN website to see if the recipe is there--now I want to try it.


I felt the same way until I read the reviews on the website -- only 6 of them, 100% bad. Everyone thought the cake was heavy, dry, & flavorless, while the icing was runny & too sweet. For a change, the written recipe exactly matches the instructions on the show, so the overwhelmingly negative response is puzzling.
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#7120

BooksRule

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Posted Mar 19, 2012 @ 9:29 PM

That's a shame that the reviews weren't good. I have several similar recipes in my 'cook this someday' file. I'll dig one out. Powdered sugar as a topping sounds excellent.
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#7121

JTMacc99

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

That wasn't the first time she's used a box of brownie or cake mix and probably not the last. I know that we expect more from a graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris who has certificates in both "general cooking" and pastry.

My take on this has always been, "If it's okay with a trained chef, then it's okay with me."

One doesn't have to look very far to find more of this discussion, with people taking sides. What I typically see is people like me (the home cook who actually wants to make good food) taking the side of boxed or prepared anything = BAD. Interestingly, what I also see is a lot of professionals who say that boxed cake will do in a pinch, even if they choose not to use them. Here is one example from a baker at http://www.naturalbaking911.com :

"You can't argue with a GOOD ( some are really bad) boxed cake. At our bakery we did a taste test for fun. We used a commercial mix and then did our small batch cake and handed them out as samples. We were so amazed at how many of our die hard customers, loved the boxed cake. Our fellow bakers and pastry chefs all knew that it was a boxed cake, but also loved the texture and taste. The old stand by boxed cakes like Duncan Hinds etc etc have had 90 years to perfect the recipes and that is why that some, do taste good and with a wonderful texture. We will never use a commercial mix in our bakery because that is not our image."

Having said all that, I have no problem with Giada using a boxed mix. Some people genuinely get a metallic taste from something in the boxed mixes, but the vast majority do not. It is not at all unusual for people who bake professionally to say that boxed cake mixes will work in a pinch, and that often people prefer the taste and texture.

I honestly don't think that Giada sometimes uses a boxed mix because she is under some sort of pressure from the network, and that if she were cooking in her own home, she very well might use a good cake mix sometimes. I could be wrong, but that's what I feel. For me, a using boxed cake mix is barely any different that using an ordinary box of dried pasta. instead of making my own. Yes, I can tell the difference, but if I buy a good quality dried pasta, it's still good.

And by the way, I am not disputing the idea that a show like this one should NOT be relying on ready-made food, but rather be using fresh ingredients. I'm just making the argument that the occasional boxed cake mix is far from a crime and not a good example of her bowing to pressure from the advertisers. On the other hand, if I see her consistently using bags of shredded cheese or carrots, a can of frosting, or frozen fish sticks, I'm out.

Edited by JTMacc99, Mar 22, 2012 @ 10:12 AM.

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#7122

whitepepper

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Posted Mar 23, 2012 @ 9:25 AM

Well said, JTMacc99! Interesting quote too.

Have any of y'all heard of the book The Cake Doctor? She takes a boxed mix and then really dolls them up (not SL style... she adds more than just extracts and food color). That was one of the first cookbooks I had ever received as a kid, and while I make the vast majority of my cakes from scratch, my white cake is a box. Nothing I do can beat the taste and texture (like the chef said) so if I need a white cake for something, I go to Duncan Hines. Chocolate/coconut/apple/etc. I can do perfectly well, but not white.

And really, what Giada adds to her cakes/brownies/whatever is easily translatable to cakes made from scratch... Just prepare as usual and throw in the extras. No need to make a fuss.

I'm just making the argument that the occasional boxed cake mix is far from a crime and not a good example of her bowing to pressure from the advertisers.

That's what the Cooking Channel is doing with the "In the Kitchens Of" show and "Cooking with Grace" commercial segments. All advertising. And as an Asian-American, I'm a little peeved that the only time you see an Asian cooking (aside from the badass Ching-He) is an obvious plug for a food company.
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#7123

arkansan

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Posted Mar 23, 2012 @ 11:23 AM

Barefoot Contessa sells a line of mixes that includes cookies, doughnuts, pancakes/waffles, coffee cake, muffins, brownies and cupcakes with frosting. They're not cheap but are actually very good. I buy them at Central Market in Dallas.
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#7124

JTMacc99

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Posted Mar 26, 2012 @ 9:53 AM

I saw an episode of EI this weekend where she cooked up a couple swordfish steaks on a grill pan. Has anybody here ever tried this with a fish like swordfish or tuna? It looked pretty good and really easy. So much so that I might actually try it. (Fish had been kind of phased out in my home, but my kids have been demonstrating willingness to try new things, so Giada got me thinking.)
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#7125

High Tea

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Posted Mar 26, 2012 @ 8:17 PM

I really think Giada's daughter has been the sweetest addition to her show.
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#7126

whitepepper

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Posted Apr 2, 2012 @ 10:12 AM

Did anyone watch Saturday's episode? Olive dip, sangria, shrimp and pasta, and some kind of deconstructed salad with one leaf of lettuce per person. Nothing real exciting.

I'm getting really tired of her talking with her mouth full and/or chewing loudly. I'm glad the food tastes good but we really don't need to hear or see it partially masticated.

Funny thing about this episode was that the ladies seemed particularly catty during the lunch. One woman goes "That's it?" about something (I think the meager salad), Giada tells someone that she "doesn't need THAT much dip," and when Giada complains about not being able to grow tomatoes the other ladies take the attitude that you can either have tomatoes or an awesome view of the ocean... not a hard choice.

Edited by whitepepper, Apr 2, 2012 @ 10:15 AM.

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#7127

Baysu

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Posted Apr 2, 2012 @ 12:04 PM

when Giada complains about not being able to grow tomatoes the other ladies take the attitude that you can either have tomatoes or an awesome view of the ocean... not a hard choice.


I watched the show, was not impressed with the food. The salad was nothing to write home about. And I loved the remark about what do you want tomatoes or the ocean view. Reality is that the house were the show is taped , which looks on to the ocean is not Giadas house. FN rents that house to tape the shows. So now I wonder if Giada's real home has an ocean view ?
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#7128

huahaha

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Posted Apr 2, 2012 @ 3:28 PM

Is it just me, or does Giada's show look more and more like a tampon commercial. I keep waiting for one of her party friends to start shilling Yaz.
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#7129

grisgris

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Posted Apr 2, 2012 @ 7:42 PM

OMG, that was HILARIOUS!! That gathering did not look fun at all. When Giada was plating the salad, the vegetables were sliced so thinly that you could see through them to the white plate. I was "multi-tasking," (e.g. reading the Saturday newspaper at the end of the show. I heard Giada talking through a mouthful of food and heard her mention something to one of her guests about taking too much dip. It was an uncomfortable-looking gathering. Giada also seems like one whose burned out on the TV show and she either needs to quit or take a long break and rethink things. She can only get so much mileage out of Jade.
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#7130

Mlle Poilane

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Posted Apr 5, 2012 @ 12:25 AM

I don't watch Giada's show very often, and it was purely by chance that I happened to see this one. All I could think when it was over was that I'm glad my friends aren't anything like the group that gathered at Giada's. They seemed so shallow to me, and the ocean view/tomatoes comment was just one of several. I couldn't get worked up about any of Giada's dishes. It seems like everyone on the FN has to do pasta with shrimp, and this was Giada's turn.

I couldn't watch Giada chewing her food and talking one more time, which is one of the reasons I stopped watching. Jade is old enough to be taught not to talk (or chew) with her mouth open, yet Giada is setting this poor example for her! For someone like Giada, who takes such pride in her figure, her looks and her clothing, it's surprising to me that she lets the world watch while she chews her food!
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#7131

uw badgers

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Posted Apr 6, 2012 @ 6:16 AM

I couldn't watch Giada chewing her food and talking one more time, which is one of the reasons I stopped watching.


Mlle Poilane, this is so funny because at the end of the show Sat, I looked over at Mr. UW and he was brushing his shirt off. I asked him what the problem was and he said he thought Giada spit on him through the tv..LOL! He and I can't stand when she talks while eating. She chews like a cow and if she is like that normally I would be embarrassed eating with her.
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#7132

qvole

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Posted Apr 6, 2012 @ 7:16 AM

She probably has to leave her mouth partly open in order to fit food into it because it's already so full of those huge teeth.
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#7133

vera charles

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Posted Apr 6, 2012 @ 11:41 AM

It's not just Giada. I see lots of women in commercials and other TV shows who apparently are trying to chew, smile and talk, all at the same time. Unfortunately, I have a coworker who does this. I have to stifle the urge to tell her to shut her damn mouth, already, because I don't want to hear her talking through her food. Yuck.
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#7134

lonewolf0425

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Posted Apr 6, 2012 @ 11:14 PM

So now I wonder if Giada's real home has an ocean view?

Giada's house.
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#7135

whitepepper

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Posted Apr 7, 2012 @ 10:57 AM

So now I wonder if Giada's real home has an ocean view?

Apparently it does... along with an awesome bedroom view, a very nice kitchen, and lots of Restoration Hardware furniture. Thanks lonewolf for the link! Her house is absolutely gorgeous, although I wonder what it looked like pre-renovation.
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#7136

grisgris

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Posted Apr 7, 2012 @ 8:04 PM

Did anybody catch today's show? It must have been made a year ago and put in the vault. Giada said it was Jade's third birthday. Giada was in Kansas City last week on tour for her new cookbook. She was featured in an article that appeared in last Sunday's newspaper and the writer noted that Jade turned four at the end of the month, which would have been March.

I was touched that Giada went to so much trouble to make special and fun food for the birthday party. She seemed really joyful and excited to be preparing food for her little girl's special day -- almost a little overly enthusiastic at times. "Squeal! Jadie LOVES strawberry jam! Jadie LOVES this breakfast sausage! Jadie LOVES broccoli." However, she made enough food for a neighborhood, so I was surprised that the party guests were just Jade and two friends. I assumed Giada would have a huge bash and include mothers as well. Maybe they had a separate family birthday party for Jade, but I was surprised that Todd wasn't there.

That was a major concern for me because I didn't know who Giada could interrogate about liking the food or call somebody out on their portions. She managed to do so with a small victim named Stella. Stella was asked if she liked the pasta. Stella was also cited for eating her ENTIRE two-bite chicken/broccoli pot pie. to be fair, Jade got a calling out for diving into her cupcake frosting first. (I am being facetious. All of that did happen, but Giada seemed to be amused, not disproving.)

I'm not a mother, but even to me, there were quite a few *huh?* reactions. Those cupcakes in the teacup molds were cute, ("Jadie LOVES teacups!") but realistically, how were toddlers supposed to eat them? There was a tower of frosting and the little girls definitely needed assistance in unmolding and eating them. I also questioned that little kids would like shallots or lemon zest in their pasta.

Today's cooking lesson was to use WHOLE MILK AT ROOM TEMPERATURE!!! It makes everything, light and fluffy or creamy. You must use it in the cupcake batter -- makes it light and fluffy. You must use it in the frosting -- makes it light and fluffy. You must use it in the bechamel sauce for the pot pie filling -- makes it creamy. I don't remember if Giada added whole milk to the pasta sauce, but why not. It would make the sauce "creamy."

That will probably haunt my dreams tonight because I made a sauce today for a quick tuna casserole and I used *gasp* 2% milk because that's what I had on hand.
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#7137

NicoleMN6

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Posted Apr 8, 2012 @ 12:05 PM

Giada should just focus her show on creating fancy recipes for kids. It's a niche she's good at, and isn't currently being filled by anyone else. Could also help parents hide veggies for the kids, like what Jessica Seinfeld does, but fancier.
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#7138

qvole

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Posted Apr 8, 2012 @ 12:43 PM

According to the Architectural Digest story at lonewolf0425's link: “I became a chef to be in the background,” De Laurentiis says. “To make people happy but sort of live in my own world.”

That seems inconsistent with being the star of a TV show for years on end.

Nevertheless, the shoes in picture #4 look very comfortable & I want them (without the stripes).
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#7139

financialgal

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Posted Apr 8, 2012 @ 2:38 PM

grisgris: you and I had the same comments about Jade's 3rd BD party. To me it wasn't so much whether it was current or not but I found it very odd - there were so few kids there. Also on other parties where kids were present the children's parents were there. Also noticed Todd and other family members missing. Made it seem like it was a thrown together last minute show by the network.
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#7140

Arizonaguy

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Posted Apr 8, 2012 @ 6:52 PM

To me it wasn't so much whether it was current or not but I found it very odd - there were so few kids there. Also on other parties where kids were present the children's parents were there. Also noticed Todd and other family members missing. Made it seem like it was a thrown together last minute show by the network.

In "real life" this birthday celebration might be unusual with just the three little girls and no parents. But this is tv and I guessed they did it for purely production value; i.e., to do something "different." I thought it was kind of cute and obviously intimate with just the three girls and Giada.

Edited by Arizonaguy, Apr 8, 2012 @ 6:53 PM.

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