Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brava Giada and Giuliana - from your newest fan

This week I've been surprisingly impressed with two Italian-born cable TV stars:  Food Network chef Giada de Laurentiis and E! host and reality star, Giuliana Rancic. Why? I'll start with Giada.

Giada de Laurentiis, image via
I'm not a foodie, but I have seen a few minutes of Giada de Laurentiis's show, Giada at Home.  At the time, I was struck more by what a babe she is than the dish she was preparing. The seductive way she leans over her chopping board and peers up at the camera is a talent on it's own. But two weeks ago, browsing the book section at Costco, I picked up her new cookbook,  Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner for the bargain price of $18.99. My weeknight cooking has been dismally uninspired, so I figured I'd give it try.

Since then, I've made four of Giada's recipes - more new recipes than I usually try in a year.  I made Shrimp and Sausage Cioppino, Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups, Sweet and Spicy Greek Meatballs, and just last night, Toasted Ciabatta with Shrimp, Tarragon, and Arugula. These dishes are inventive and flavorful and not all that difficult to put together (if I concentrate.) My kids and husband are amazed.

Even though making dinner now requires me to shop at different stores for the higher quality ingredients (Jewel doesn't carry lemon grass or Thai fish sauce) and chop a lot of scallions and fresh herbs, I am enjoying my culinary adventure. I don't think I can go back to turkey burgers and bagged caesar salad. So on behalf of the whole Killeen family, thanks for cranking up my cooking engines, Giada.

Giuliana Rancic, image via
Now, onto my next inspiring signorina.

Two nights ago, my daughter Emma was watching an E! True Hollywood Story episode about Giuliana Rancic that completely sucked me in. Her story is fascinating. She has achieved success through hard work and determination, yes, but also by being a fun, genuine, caring chick. Despite her rail-thin frame and designer duds, Giuliana is no diva.

I was aware that she and her husband, "Apprentice" winner Bill Rancic, have been struggling with fertility and the fallout from Giuliana's shocking  breast cancer diagnosis. But I didn't know that she was such a cool, brave, honest, positive person. And her Italian family is amazing. Every single one of them had tears running down their faces, expressing how much she means to them. You should have seen her papa try to keep it together. The show was so touching, I shed a tear or two myself.

Now, the Rancics have disclosed they are expecting a baby through a gestational carrier, empregnated with the couple's embryo, fertilized before Giuliana underwent cancer treatment. I wish them much joy.

What a happy ending. And what is going on here? I'm cooking and crying and gushing over a pair of women I'd barely noticed two weeks ago. Maybe I'm part Italian!  I look kind of Mediterranean, right? And it would certainly explain my love of the vino.

Ciao bellas!


HCSilver said...

Your article got me curious so I checked Giada out and made this for my family last night (well hubby did the grilling):
I swapped out some of the veggies and used only shrimp as my meat but it was delicious and the marinade is a keeper!

Marjie Killeen said...

HCS- that sounds delicious! I will give it a try - thanks for sharing.