Thursday, October 9, 2008
It starts, as if often does, with Earl Peyroux.
Peyroux's Saturday morning show, Gourmet Cooking, was my entry way into food television. I started watching it with my family at a young and impressionable age, and thus began a lifelong love of cooking shows. While the recipes on Gourmet Cooking didn't necessarily live up to the show's name, my appreciation for Peyroux stemmed more from the unintentional hilarity that ensued in each episode: his easy hand with the salt, his ability to fumble through each segment, and his sweet and earnest nature through it all.
Then there those who followed: Jeff Smith and his Frugality (and...other things), Simply Ming, America's Test Kitchen, Daisy, Bittman, Mario, and New Scandanavian Cooking ("and by..."). But there is really only one person (to this day) who can persuade me to stop what I'm doing, even on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, to sit in front of the television for half an hour. And that woman is Lidia.
I've watched Lidia for years. While people of my mother's generation speak of watching Julia Child on PBS, I -- and others from my generation -- know Lidia. From her Italian-American Kitchen, to her Family Table, and now, to her Italy, there is no place I'd rather spend my 5:30-6:00 Sunday time slot.
Which is why I got the thrill of a lifetime a few months ago when Lidia agreed to appear with me in a video promoting the Library's culinary collections. She came to the Library to discuss Italian-American food and its importance in the culinary canon, and we shot a few scenes in the Rose Main Reading Room. Then I was invited to cook stuffed artichokes with her in her kitchen.
In all honesty, I had a moment. Standing next to Lidia Bastianich in her own kitchen (where all her shows are filmed) I realized how amazing this all was and how, despite the fact that it wasn't a Sunday (or 5:30 PM for that matter), there was really no place I would've rather have been.
The following 3 minute video was a blast to make and yes, that artichoke tasted as good as it looks. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and a special thank you to Lidia: It was an honor and a pleasure, and a lot of fun.
Posted by at 10/09/2008