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Is it OK when David Rocco pronounces Italian words correctly but not when Giada does it?

Midlife Nov 16, 2010 04:51 PM

Giada de Laurentiis (whose grandfather Dino just passed away, by the way) takes a lot of heat here for the way she pronounces Italian food items very 'Italian' and very specifically. While watching David Rocco's Dolce Vita the other night it was apparent that he really does the same thing with possibly just a bit less 'flair'. All either of them are doing is pronouncing Italian words as an Italian would, albeit in the middle of American/Canadian English-sounding sentences. But I haven't seen anyone give David a hard time over it. Is Giada just over-the-top for some people, and why?

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  1. b
    bob96 RE: Midlife Nov 16, 2010 10:09 PM

    I've never been bothered by Giada's pronunciation--she was raised in a very Italian home, after all--nor Rocco's. In fact, given the consistently awful mangling of even simple words and phrases by well-known food celebs--more so it seems when they're guests at some Tuscan estate--bravo for both. For me, watching Giada is problematic for other reasons, like her unnatural and extreme facial expressions. Rocco's smily face energy is sometimes out of control, and he tends to ruin things with his Italian ragazzi frat boy friends shtick. Other than that....

    4 Replies
    1. re: bob96
      mbfant RE: bob96 Jun 29, 2014 10:47 PM

      I had never heard of David Rocco, so I went and watched his Amalfi episode on YouTube. His Italian is very good but with a definite American accent. I found his use of "rigotta" instead of "ricotta" annoying (his local hostess came right back at him with "ricotta"). I found his giving the full flourish to the name Maria a bit borderline when he was speaking English -- it was fine when speaking Italian.

      Giada, as others have pointed out, has a funny way of pronouncing Italian vowels. To me it doesn't come across so much affected as peculiar. I have watched Giada on YouTube with my Italian husband and my Italian coauthor, both of whom were much more disturbed (read "apoplectic") over how she made carbonara than how she pronounced it.

      1. re: mbfant
        ennuisans RE: mbfant Jun 29, 2014 11:08 PM

        It sounds to me like she's overenunciating. It's not something she does in her earlier seasons. Kind of like that oversmiling habit she picked up along the way.

        1. re: mbfant
          bob96 RE: mbfant Jun 29, 2014 11:48 PM

          Rocco's Canadian. His Italian may well be good--and it does sound like it is whenever he manages to string a sentence together--but he's trapped in the same small repertoire of cliched gestures and verbal ticks that producers (and/or he) feel need to be there for "Italian" to register. His cooking and enthusiasm for all things Italian are fun, but his range is so stiff and limited: a stagy perkiness that wears thin. His Amalfi and Naples episodes also showcased a local comic-singer named Eddie who embodies in excruciating intensity all of the same cheesy flourishes. Ouch. Giada, pronunciation aside for the moment, is, well, now just Brand Giada, all teeth and head and smile and pretty close ups of garlic being whacked and young women friends laughing over their prosecco.

          1. re: mbfant
            monavano RE: mbfant Jun 30, 2014 05:45 AM

            Very interesting to hear from someone with your experience, ear and linguistic ability.

        2. Samalicious RE: Midlife Nov 17, 2010 03:18 AM

          If you're referring to criticisms of her pronunciations on this board, it is OK for Rocco because he is a man. It is not for Giada because she can cook, is popular, and is smoking hot, which makes her and any other attractive female a moving target for the Chowhound flock to peck to death.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Samalicious
            roxlet RE: Samalicious Nov 17, 2010 04:18 AM

            I don't know who David Rocco is and how he pronounces Italian words, but Giada completely over-enunciates. I have never heard any Italian -- either here or in Italy -- pronounce words the way she does.

            1. re: roxlet
              pikawicca RE: roxlet Nov 17, 2010 05:53 PM

              +1 Italians do not talk the way Giada does, and her claim to be Italian is ludicrous.

              1. re: pikawicca
                reatard RE: pikawicca Nov 17, 2010 07:07 PM

                Really? You can identify every accent in Italy? I thought Italy was pretty diverse in terms of food, culture and accents. I can't even place every American accent even though I've live here most my life.

                1. re: reatard
                  chowser RE: reatard Nov 18, 2010 02:36 AM

                  You don't have to place every single American accent to know if the speaker is a native speaker.

                  1. re: chowser
                    reatard RE: chowser Nov 18, 2010 04:06 AM

                    Have you ever heard anyone with a Spanglish or Chinglish accent? I know some second generation American native English speakers with accents that sound awfully "foreign" to just about everyone that hears those accents.

                2. re: pikawicca
                  ttoommyy RE: pikawicca Nov 18, 2010 11:32 AM

                  "+1 Italians do not talk the way Giada does, and her claim to be Italian is ludicrous.
                  By pikawicca on Nov 17, 2010 09:53PM"

                  So, since she was born in Rome of two Italian parents, this makes her claim to be Italian ludicrous in what way?

                  1. re: ttoommyy
                    sandylc RE: ttoommyy Jun 29, 2014 01:03 PM

                    Born in Rome, but moved to California shortly thereafter.

              2. re: Samalicious
                globocity RE: Samalicious Nov 18, 2010 10:59 AM

                Samalicious, perfectly stated! If Giada weren't such an attractive woman, she wouldn't be fodder for the endless criticism.

              3. Gio RE: Midlife Nov 17, 2010 04:21 AM

                There is a difference between Giada's and David's pronunciation. Giada's is extremely exaggerated. David speaks like most Italians I've ever met and heard. I was brought up in an all Italian home. All my relatives are Italian... All of them and they all speak Italian. None of them pronounces Italian words like Giada.

                David's intermix of Italian and English in his sentences don't bother me because I take it to mean he's explaining to us what he's saying to the merchants and his friends. I wouldn;t mind Giada's intermix if she weren't so dramatic about it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Gio
                  Midlife RE: Gio Nov 17, 2010 08:12 AM

                  That's pretty much what I thought, Gio. I agree, but David seemed to be doing almost the same thing in the show that made me ask this. I think there's also an integrating element in David's shows because he lapses into Italian so often during different parts of the show. Giada's 'Italian' stands out more, especially because she seems like she's recording the words for one of those English-Italian pronunciation websites.

                  1. re: Gio
                    taos RE: Gio Nov 18, 2010 07:38 AM

                    I always thought Giada over-enunciated because she is trying to make the words understandable to people who don't know Italian.

                    Julia Child who was not a native French speaker but who spoke French fluently did the same thing when she used French words on The French Chef.

                    I haven't seen David Rocco so I can't comment on his show.

                  2. f
                    funniduck RE: Midlife Nov 17, 2010 08:39 AM

                    Isn't his show too new (new to US tv, anyway)? I haven't even watched an episode yet. That's my reason why you haven't heard any criticism yet.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: funniduck
                      Midlife RE: funniduck Nov 17, 2010 10:36 AM

                      His show has been on the air in the US since Memorial Day, when the revised channel began (almost 6 months now). It usually takes about 20 minutes or less for comments to hit Chowhound.

                    2. cowboyardee RE: Midlife Nov 17, 2010 08:47 AM

                      I'm not one bothered by Giada's pronunciation. That said, I don't watch her too much either. I think you have a few things going on here:

                      1) Giada is far more visible/famous than David Rocco. Generally, the more famous you are the harsher people are towards you.

                      2) David's vague Canadian accent throws audiences just enough not to question his pronunciation of anything. Whereas Giada's familiar American accent makes it appear to the public that her pronunciation is affected. And generally American audiences tolerate anything they see as 'putting on airs' about as well as they tolerate puppy torture.

                      3) Giada is female and attractive. I'm not gonna say people are extra critical of attractive successful females. No, actually I will say that. Yep. That about covers it.

                      1. monavano RE: Midlife Nov 17, 2010 08:49 AM

                        I don't think he overly-articulates like Giada. In fact, recently I watched him say "mozzarella" and I would have thought he was from Jersey (maybe he is?).
                        Anyway, the whole "women are jealous" is just a strawman arguement. So, let me burn it down for you.
                        Giada overly-articulates and becomes like a characature. It's forced and preachy, but then again, that's her "sammy and evoo and yummo". I get it.
                        Nigella is a stunning woman, and when she calls a dessert "treachly" it's so relaxed and natural that I get a kick out of her Brit accent and sensabilities.
                        See? No claws.

                        1. Bob W RE: Midlife Nov 17, 2010 09:54 AM

                          How do these two compare to Mario Batali in this regard? I confess to missing him and his orange Crocs on ICA. I enjoyed how he pronounced his Italian dishes.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: Bob W
                            cowboyardee RE: Bob W Nov 17, 2010 10:54 AM

                            OOOOh - Mario Batali is a really good contrast to Giada. Completely negates considerations 1 and 2 from my above post.

                            Of course, Batali probably learned much of his pronunciation from the mouths of actual Italians, but I'm not sure that his average viewer would know that. Perhaps his presumed expertise and devotion to Italian food make his Italian pronunciation acceptable whereas Giada is (for whatever reason) viewed as less authoritative. I don't know though. I'm still pretty sure the attractive woman thing has something to do with the difference in the way they are treated.

                            1. re: cowboyardee
                              chowser RE: cowboyardee Nov 17, 2010 12:09 PM

                              My Italian teacher and my kids' piano teachers are italian and their pronunciation don't bother me in the least. Italians, from Italy, I know don't care for Giada's over-enunciation. Why is that when a woman doesn't like the way another woman does/says something, it's attributed to jealousy? Is it mysogynistic that a woman can't think for herself outside of jealousy? For the record, I wouldn't vote for Sarah Palin as president and it has nothing to do with jealousy of her attractiveness, though I've read that in a few places.

                              1. re: chowser
                                cowboyardee RE: chowser Nov 17, 2010 12:24 PM

                                I never said that criticism of pretty women was limited to other women. From my perspective, noting that our culture is extra critical of successful, pretty women is merely stating the obvious.

                                For the record, I wouldn't vote for Sarah Palin either. I just happen to think that most of the criticisms of her are MUCH more substantive than those I typically see of Giada.

                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                  chowser RE: cowboyardee Nov 17, 2010 05:39 PM

                                  I'm almost afraid to admit that I don't even find her that attractive, lest I be accused of something else. I don't dislike Giada, just the way she overpronounces her Italian. I haven't heard David Rocco to know if his pronunciation bothers me. Or, maybe I need to see how attractive he is first.;-p

                                  1. re: chowser
                                    cowboyardee RE: chowser Nov 17, 2010 05:51 PM

                                    I'm no expert on Italian pronunciation. I'm sure that there are people who merely object to her pronunciation, and if you say you are one of them, I'll take your word for it.

                                    The thing is, I assumed the OP was referencing comments about her in previous threads. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/276490
                                    Read that and then tell me no one takes cheap shots at her based on looks.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee
                                      chowser RE: cowboyardee Nov 17, 2010 06:01 PM

                                      People take cheap shots based on looks, for any celebrity. But, that doesn't mean that that's the case here with the OP. I think assuming so would be the same as saying the only reason people defend her is because she is attractive.

                                      1. re: chowser
                                        cowboyardee RE: chowser Nov 17, 2010 06:50 PM

                                        "People take cheap shots based on looks, for any celebrity."
                                        Totally. I'm so sick of reading snarky comments about Jacques Pepin's mug.

                                        Seriously, did you read the thread I linked? You think every chowhound thread about a famous person reads like that?

                              2. re: cowboyardee
                                mpjmph RE: cowboyardee Nov 17, 2010 12:21 PM

                                Of course, Giada was born in Italy and learned to speak Italian from actual Italians as well.

                                1. re: mpjmph
                                  cowboyardee RE: mpjmph Nov 17, 2010 12:28 PM

                                  Didn't realize. Thanks for the info.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee
                                    markabauman RE: cowboyardee Nov 17, 2010 12:38 PM

                                    As someone who is trying to learn Italian and improve, I'd rather have someone over-enunciate and be a little more technically correct than another food tv personality who refers to her as Gee-Adda, not Jada and who says Tag-lee-a-tell, rather then her Tay-a-tayl-ee. I don't see gender nor fame as an issue.

                                  2. re: mpjmph
                                    chowser RE: mpjmph Nov 17, 2010 05:42 PM

                                    Yeah, I was born in Taiwan and raised by actual Taiwanese, came to the US about the same age Giada did. As well as I try to speak it, I don't sound like a native. If I were to sprinkle terms into my English, it would probably sound a little forced because I'm trying to get the right sound out.

                                    1. re: chowser
                                      Servorg RE: chowser Nov 18, 2010 05:10 AM

                                      "If I were to sprinkle terms into my English, it would probably sound a little forced because I'm trying to get the right sound out."

                                      However, if you had a high profile cooking show in which you were introducing a wide swath of the American public to Taiwanese dishes you would most likely take the time to educate your viewers on the proper way to pronounce some of those dishes/ingredients. I would expect no less and be appreciative of your efforts to teach me.

                                      1. re: Servorg
                                        chowser RE: Servorg Nov 18, 2010 07:33 AM

                                        Sometimes it's best to leave that type of educating to people who have more than an elementary understanding/pronunciation which is why I'd never try. If I tried to teach someone Taiwanese, they wouldn't be getting the correct form. Giada once made "paninos" on her show. Panino, panini, maybe paninis if you want to anglicize it but who says paninos?

                              3. b
                                Breezychow RE: Midlife Nov 17, 2010 12:36 PM

                                I think there's a HUGE difference. While both may be pronouncing Italian food items correctly, David Rocco does just that - pronounces them correctly & in a natural manner. Giada goes WAY over the top - to the point where she doesn't even sound Italian, like she learned the pronounciations in some language class somewhere.

                                For a good comparison, listen to how both of them pronounce "mozzarella". David does a normal Italian enunciation versus Giada's "MOOOOOZZZARELLLA". It's laughable to the point of fakeness - almost like she's trying to make extra sure people know she's Italian. And her pronounciations aren't helped by her constant orgiastic facial expressions either - lol!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Breezychow
                                  monavano RE: Breezychow Nov 17, 2010 01:09 PM

                                  Breezychow-my DH and I were just recently commenting on David's pronunciation of mozzarella. It sounded so .....normal. Is he from Jersey? ;-)

                                2. junescook RE: Midlife Nov 17, 2010 12:51 PM

                                  She is the only person I have ever heard either here or in Italy pronounce the letter 'e' in Italian as 'ee'. She says spagheeti.

                                  E in Italian normally has two sounds: short vowel like e in pen; long vowel, similar to ai in fair. Other than that her pronunciation does not bother me.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: junescook
                                    pdxgastro RE: junescook Nov 17, 2010 11:08 PM

                                    I hear her saying it as 'spagh- ITTI' (no E sound) and it drives me nuts.

                                  2. h
                                    HillJ RE: Midlife Nov 17, 2010 04:22 PM

                                    I enjoy both hosts, both shows and for me it's all about context.
                                    Giada is in a fab house, in a fab kitchen in LA cooking/baking thru her modern twist on traditional Italian fare and uses her Italian roots to play with her audience. I believe her emphasis is intentional and to be playful. It's strictly a recipe driven show.

                                    David on the other hand is in Italy, on the street, in his apartment, visiting the countryside, mixing it up with the food people he's come to know and his program is a lifestyle show using food as a vantage point from the various areas of Italy he takes us to.

                                    I enjoy both, for different experiences.

                                    16 Replies
                                    1. re: HillJ
                                      pikawicca RE: HillJ Nov 17, 2010 06:21 PM

                                      And they are both totally faux experiences, both in the food they cook, and in the language they use.

                                      1. re: pikawicca
                                        bob96 RE: pikawicca Nov 17, 2010 06:37 PM

                                        Bravo. It's the constantly forced smiles and joking and "enthusiasm" that simply tires me out. Rocco can do some good, simple cooking--and shot in Italy, the show offers much more than others shot in a studio--but the director or whoever then takes him over the top, so he gets like a grinning spinning banshee. Incidentally, his Italian vocabulary is threadbare--ragazzi, dai (come on), the cliched "eeehhhh" with cliched hand gesture and and the like.

                                        1. re: bob96
                                          Midlife RE: bob96 Nov 17, 2010 08:40 PM

                                          I am now officially sorry I started this topic. :o[

                                          1. re: Midlife
                                            yfunk3 RE: Midlife Nov 18, 2010 04:14 AM

                                            Don't worry about it. Every thread takes on a life of its own on CH, I've found, especially with more and more people getting involved. It's just the internet. Don't put too much stock into what everyone else prefers. If you like Giada or Rocco, go ahead. It doesn't make you deficient in any way.

                                            1. re: Midlife
                                              chowser RE: Midlife Nov 18, 2010 04:31 AM

                                              Why? You asked why people give Giada a hard time for her accent and people responded. Were you expecting something else?

                                              1. re: chowser
                                                Midlife RE: chowser Nov 18, 2010 11:50 AM

                                                That's not really what I asked.......at least I don't think so. I was just a bit disappointed when this seemed to degenerate into some Giada-bashing.

                                                The one response that seems the most pertinent to my question was to point out that Giada's pronunciation is possibly not true Italian, though I'm not sure that's much different than singling out a specific American accent as being not true. I think the 'exaggeration' of her pronunciations may lead to over-accentuation of some sounds as well. Anyway............ I was simply struck by Rocco's similar (to me anyway) highlighting of words and wondered whether others saw a similarity, but his was OK for some reason. No big deal.

                                                1. re: Midlife
                                                  chowser RE: Midlife Nov 18, 2010 12:16 PM

                                                  FWIW, I've never heard (or heard of) Rocco but if he over-enunciates his words the same way, I'd feel the same. I think Giada is just more well known. As for the bashing, not to excuse it, but it seems she has other mannerisms that bother people so the accent is another thing that contributes. As I've said in this thread, people I know from Italy have commented on her over-enunciation and I've never heard anyone call panini, "paninos". It would also strike me as funny if Rocco did the same.

                                              2. re: Midlife
                                                HillJ RE: Midlife Nov 18, 2010 04:47 AM

                                                I'm not. Opinion is the spice of life, Midlife! Don't worry, be happy!

                                              3. re: bob96
                                                Blueicus RE: bob96 Nov 17, 2010 10:21 PM

                                                The multi-language network used to show his program with him speaking italian voiceovers over the standard english (presumably it's him speaking... it sounds like him). So presumably he knows enough Italian to give directions or to have at least simple conversations

                                                1. re: bob96
                                                  HillJ RE: bob96 Nov 18, 2010 05:47 AM

                                                  bob96, you think Rocco's gig wouldn't make you smile? Come on. Since when is smiling with sheer delight, over food, while in a heavenly place like Italy gonna bring anything less than smiles to a lucky food hosts face? If his delivery was anything less, he wouldn't be doing his job or making viewers like me happy.

                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                    bob96 RE: HillJ Nov 18, 2010 11:58 AM

                                                    Oh its not the smiling---I enjoy very much the cheerful moments (and they're there) of relaxed pleasure he brings, especially since the food he's making so well is basically relaxed and cheerful. I suspect the producers force the feeling to "liven things up" with often wince-making set pieces (remember his pal Eddie, I think--a cartoon/buffoon Neapolitan)? Why these cliches (remember Batali's painful scenes in Italy with his Rooney?) are thought to be a plus is beyond me. When the host, the kitchen, the culture, and the food are fine as they are. If I had Rocco's gig, I'd be smiling, too.

                                                2. re: pikawicca
                                                  HillJ RE: pikawicca Nov 18, 2010 04:48 AM

                                                  if you believe that, good for you pika! I enjoy the heck out of Rocco and his smile and demeanor are fun. Giada is adorable and a lucky girl, good for her. Authentic means very little to me when it comes to television. But if I'm going to tune in I want to be entertained.

                                                3. re: HillJ
                                                  GraydonCarter RE: HillJ Nov 19, 2010 02:25 PM

                                                  > David on the other hand is in Italy, on the street, in his apartment, visiting the countryside,
                                                  > mixing it up with the food people he's come to know and his program is a lifestyle show
                                                  > using food as a vantage point from the various areas of Italy he takes us to.

                                                  I like his show because it feels like he is just a guy cooking; not a cookbook author doing a recipe show. For example, David's Pappa al Pomodoro was simple. He didn't take a lot of time to cut the bread into precisely sized pieces, the way other Food Network chefs would.

                                                  Also, because the show is taped in Italy, I get an insider feeling, an impression that he is speaking English for the first time that day, because all the rest of the time he is interacting with other people in Italian.

                                                  1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                    bob96 RE: GraydonCarter Nov 19, 2010 06:24 PM

                                                    Agree to all this, but caspita! what other people. Everyone seems to be "playing" at Italian cliches (benign as they might be), from the random over-gesticulators to the slacker mammoni. But it's still Italy, and as they shows go, relatively local. Food's unfussy and fine.

                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                      Breezychow RE: GraydonCarter Nov 21, 2010 11:52 AM

                                                      Bravo!! I couldn't have said it better. That's exactly why I love watching his show & tune Giada's out.

                                                      1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                        monavano RE: GraydonCarter Jun 29, 2014 01:05 PM

                                                        Agree- David Rocco doesn't come across as affected to me.

                                                        When Giada made a Thai noodle dish and said "did you try the spagheeeti yet?" I just had to roll my eyes.

                                                    2. jnk RE: Midlife Nov 18, 2010 04:59 AM

                                                      If this were a board about "The Language Channel" I could understand people taking offense about the way one person speaks over another, but since these are food channels people should just stick to their cooking merits.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: jnk
                                                        Bob W RE: jnk Nov 18, 2010 05:19 AM

                                                        This board is about "Food media and news." Presentation is a valid subject for discussion.

                                                        1. re: jnk
                                                          ttoommyy RE: jnk Nov 18, 2010 05:50 PM

                                                          "but since these are food channels people should just stick to their cooking merits."

                                                          I respectfully disagree. If one is going to present him or herself on TV as an instructor, then one should also be able to communicate well and be judged on that skill also.

                                                        2. Chemicalkinetics RE: Midlife Nov 18, 2010 06:07 AM

                                                          Probably because of the "flair" part. Really. Sometime it is not about what you say, but how you say it.

                                                          1. e
                                                            Evilbanana11 RE: Midlife Nov 18, 2010 12:05 PM

                                                            Rocco's pronunciations don't annoy me. His lack of cooking skills does. Lol @ his knife skills, every other TV chef look like samurai warriors next to him.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Evilbanana11
                                                              markabauman RE: Evilbanana11 Nov 20, 2010 07:14 AM

                                                              I don't think Rocco has any pretensions as passing himself off as a "chef", just a guy cooking for friends and family, who the target audience is. Yes, it's always better for us viewers who love to cook and try to constantly learn and improve to be inspired and emulate someone like Jacques Pepin, but David's show is just entertaining and a little more non-cheffy. Even Nigella Lawson made the point in a recent interview made a vigorous point of stating she was a cook, not a chef. If I want to learn knife skills, I watch Jacques, if I want a vicarious trip to Italy, I watch David.

                                                            2. l
                                                              luminosa RE: Midlife Jun 29, 2014 12:58 PM

                                                              No comparison. True Giada was raised in a prominent Italian family and spent her summers in Capri, but she is a thoroughly Cali girl. Her rhythm, flow and tone when she tries to speak Italian, her intonation, is very stiff and unnatural. It does not seem at all "Italian" to me; it sounds (and is) acquired, learned and unnatural. In fact, her shows are all shot in LA and 99% of the time features only white Americans. The exceptions are the rare times her Italian aunt or her mama (only mom is Italian, btw, not her Dad) are on. She really busted this out as being true when she did a special with her aunt filmed it Italy, and had to cover (and edit) that she couldn't understand all that well when Italian was spoken to her. David Rocco was raised by both immigrant parents and raised speaking Italian at home; he and wifey actively live part of each year in Italy and consistently interact in Italian with Italians. He is at ease speaking and conversing in Italian... He's truly got his feet on the ground with this..,she has to work hard at it and comes off pretentious. (Y parlo Italiano...)

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: luminosa
                                                                monavano RE: luminosa Jun 29, 2014 01:07 PM

                                                                When I watch Rocco, I feel like I'm getting a bit of a vacation in Italy.

                                                              2. j
                                                                jpc8015 RE: Midlife Jun 30, 2014 07:52 AM

                                                                Giada is beautiful. She could be chirping like a bird for all I care. I love her.

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