In this episode of The Italian American Podcast, we speak with Lidia Bastianich, otherwise knows simply as Lidia, Emmy award-winning public television host of “Lidia’s Kitchen,” bestselling cookbook author, restauranteur, co-owner of the Italian marketplace Eataly, and purveyor of the best-selling artisanal Lidia’s pasta and sauce line. Her new book, Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine, is a compendium of techniques, recipes and more, geared to help the home chef become a great Italian chef.
“Food, you know, tells us who we are, where we come from. It connects us, it expresses emotion. It expresses care, it expresses love.” —Lidia Bastianich
Tweetables (Click quote to tweet):
- “Immigrants cooked food that they remembered, with the ingredients that they found. That’s Italian American cuisine.” – Lidia Bastianich
- “I don’t think I could have achieved what I have anywhere else in the world.” – Lidia Bastianich on coming to the USA
- “Italian immigrants who came here worked so hard, and they kept the values of a family.” – Lidia Bastianich
- “I told my children, education, education, education.” – Lidia Bastianich
- “Everybody talks about going to their Italian friend’s house. There was always food, and you were always welcome.” – Lidia Bastianich
- “Food and that table is the magnet that pulls everybody together.” – Lidia Bastianich
- “Getting everybody together is an effort, but we need to try to do it.” – Lidia Bastianich
- “The table and food is our anidote to the solitary life.” – Lidia Bastianich
- “Someone has to do the work to keep the family together.” – Dolores Alfieri
- “Us kids would jump in the barrel and mash the grapes, while we were singing and having fun. Good memories.” – Lidia Bastianich
- “I realized that people were really ready for traditional Italian food here in America.” – Lidia Bastianich
- “The food has to be honest, no trickery.” – Lidia Bastianich on a good restaurant
- “The passing down of traditions needs to be a conscious effort. Sit down with your family and reminisce.” – Lidia Bastianich
Lidia opens up about her childhood, her cooking empire, and the importance of tradition. Some topics discussed include:
- Why Italian cooking is really, at heart, simple.
- Lidia’s childhood was the start of her love for using fresh ingredients in her cooking.
- How her family worked as a team to find success.
- Why she is proud to be an example of what one can do when they come to America, receive opportunities, and work hard.
- The fact that traditional, Italian immigrants enjoy her cooking show means a lot to Lidia.
- How preserving tradition and keeping a family together require effort.
- Why cooking, and Italian cooking especially, is an antidote to the isolation of our modern age.
- Her childhood Easter Day traditions.
- Why the food at her restaurants need to be honest and high quality.
Resources Mentioned in the Episode
Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine
The National Italian American Foundation
NIAF New York City Gala
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