Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Oct 3, 2009 06:42 AM

Lidia Bastianich Day

For the information of her fans, the October 10 Saturday marathon on PBS Create will show her "Lidia's Italy" programs for 24 hours straight. for your local schedule. (I loathe her show so I hope it's a good day for yard/garage work!)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. LOL.

    Well, I have to say that I'm very happy that even though you "loathe her show", that you still took the time to post this Otherwise, I wouldn't have known to either PVR it or watch it.

    Thank you!

    1. I used to like her shows but now it is all about traveling with her family and I really don't think they add much.

      1. Don't like her show (not sure why but I think it has something to do with some kind of inauthenticity), but I like her food. So there's the rub. Guess I'm off the hook for cleaning.

        8 Replies
        1. re: cinnamon girl

          Interesting. Why do you find the show 'inauthentic'? I've only seen the ones where she stands behind her stove and cooks, only very occasionally she'll show a segment with grandkids, son, or daughter but it always seems to fit what they're making or talking about; ie her son was talking about food and wine matches etc. But maybe I'm seeing a different one here in Toronto than you all are in U.S.?

          It's funny because I actually consider her one of the more authentic Italian cooks out there, although it looks like I may be in the minority if this thread is any indication. Also funny is that I thought I had a pretty good pulse on who is considered a fraud in the food world or not, and although maybe fraud is too strong a word, I never thought she was considered one. Have I been out of the loop?

          1. re: Restaurant Dish

            I too consider Lidia Bastianich to be an authentic Italian cook. I wonder if cinnamon girl meant that she finds her personality or communication to be inauthentic b/c she did say that she liked her food?

            I once watched the show with my former Italian teacher (who's from Anzio and is an accomplished cook) and she had a good opinion of Lidia's cooking although she felt that she was heavy-handed with grated cheese toppings on a pasta dish, which she felt was more of an Italian-American thing as opposed to Italian.

            About Lidiia's family, I watch the show fairly regularly and often see Lidia's mother on--sometimes her son and grandchildren, but it's not every week (and even when the mother is on, she doesn't say very much). I also like the shows filmed in various cities/regions in Italy where she shows the local markets, restaurants, and culture.

            1. re: Restaurant Dish

              Oh no, as Gigi says, it's nothing to do with her food . . . well except for the heavy hand with the cheese and olive oil - but they all do that. (I wonder if everything starts tasting the same after a while? lol) I also like that she's a normal looking person who's clearly worked hard to get where she is. It's not about hair and cleavage and dumbed down food.

              The "inauthenticity" - if that's even the right word - comes from a bunch of little things, which individually wouldn't raise any red flags. Which is why I'm reluctant to list them. Put together though, I just don't think she gets to be herself on that show. It's like she's being put into a little box of what her producers (or whoever) deem to be an Italian cook. She tries so hard to connect (e.g. pretending that you're there; and, "I'm going to taste this now, for YOU"), but it doesn't work. Also not her fault, is that I'm tired of Italian cooking shows b/c there's rarely anything new and there are just too many of them. There are other cuisines on this earth! That said, of the genre, her food is the most appealing. I didn't feel I got risotto right until, on an old Julia show, she advised us to listen to the sound of the rice clicking in the pan before adding the wine. That's stayed with me all these years. So while I cringe at a lot of the narrative I do watch for the food.

              1. re: cinnamon girl

                I understand where you're coming from, cinnamon_girl. Some people (and their narratives!) just turn you off. Sometimes I could do without all the chitchat too.Your comments actually make me think of RR (but with her it also has to do w/ her voice and expressions like "Yum-O". Ugh).

                And I totally agree about Lidia's heavy hand with the cheese. I don't think I could eat a lot of the things she makes b/c there's too much damn cheese! As I said before, my former Italian teacher (who's an excellent cook) said that isn't standard in Italy--perhaps in some regions but not where she's lived --near Rome and the south of the country.

                1. re: cinnamon girl

                  Perfectly get what you're saying. Although for me, it seems more like she's still uncomfortable in front of the camera, and some of it comes off as being inauthentic. Like it's so funny you mention that she says "I'm going to taste this now, for YOU", because I've noticed that too - but instead, I just think that's her own twist to make it seem more home-ish, family style, rustic Italian etc.

                  I've eaten at two of her restaurants - NY and Pittsburgh and was actually very impressed with the quality. I enjoy cheese, but not overly cheesey items, so I know what you mean and I also never found anything too oily. Anyway, I quite enjoyed both experiences.

                  1. re: Restaurant Dish

                    Lucky you! And I'm glad to hear the food doesn't taste oily b/c she (and all of them it seems) finish just about all their dishes with a big drizzle of it. One thing that does annoy abt that show is her son's appearances. Have you and Gigi noticed how he NEVER compliments his mother unprompted? He sets himself up as the big shot expert, yet where did he learn about food but from her??! The most she ever gets out of him is something indirect like, "this goes very well with that" . . . never, "this is just delicious." Sometimes, she actually has to ask him point blank if he doesn't like it. Guess his joint success with Mario Batali has gone to his head. I like the daughter very much though. I hope the quality of the son's appearances have changed; I don't see it very often b/c my schedule changed a couple of years ago.

                    1. re: cinnamon girl

                      About Lidia's son, the few times I've seen him on the show (maybe I don't watch it enough), I haven't been impressed. I honestly can't recall anything of value that he's contributed (with the possible exception of helping his mother in the kitchn). I don't recall seeing the daughter much either. I've seen more of Lidia's mama and her grandchildren (I liked the episode when they were helping to make gnocchi).

                      Speaking of Batali, as an aside, did you or anyone see the series he did w/ Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark Bittman in Spain. I saw a few episodes and actually liked it. I also bought the book, which has some great recipes.

                      1. re: Gigi007

                        Yes I did see some of that series. I loved it. It was on at a funny time in my area so I didn't see that many of them. The first one I saw was on the same day Mark Bittman had done a Spain show on his series. It was a double hit and made me want to get a book too.

                        Yes, the daughter hasn't been on much. I've seen the son and grandmother more frequently. As you said earlier, the mother doesn't say much, it becomes kind of awkward . . . Lidia starts trying to fill in the gaps for her . . . then she starts referring to her in the third person. It's just all those little things. Likely if she could just do her thing, get a little camera coaching, and they didn't try to make her into some kind of archetype of the Italian mother, it'd be smoother. Did you ever see the old Biba shows? Maybe before your time - they were on TLC (I think) and before FN days. She oozed charm and seemed so genuine. Nobody was trying to make her do anything but cook and teach.

            2. I love to watch Lydia and I greatly enjoy her program. Thanks for the heads up

              1. Anyone actually watch this?

                I think PBS jipped us Canadian viewers since I checked and it wasn't on here.