Thursday, September 8, 2011

What does Giada De Laurentiis pack in her daughter's lunchbox?

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Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis signing books after her talk

Last weekend Food and Wine magazine and the Los Angeles Times put on The Taste LA, a four-day food festival packed with stylish small plates, festive wines and star-studded celebrity chefs. Of course, the very smart producers saved the most popular chef for last: Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis, whose Q&A with LA Times associate food editor Rene Lynch closed the place down.

I'm seeing a pattern with these celebrity chefs: strong personality, sparkling smile, supreme patience. Rene only got in a few questions because the adoring fans packed into the sweaty tent had plenty of their own. Twice Giada was asked how she stays so thin when she's always around food ("Portion control. Exercise. Genetics"). She got questions about her favorite recipe ("Lemon spaghetti"), her future travels (Bora Bora for the next season of Giada in Paradise), her future as an Iron Chef ("They keep asking, but no - once was enough"). She mentioned her preschool daughter Jade at least a half-dozen times. At the end of the hour, with security detail standing by, she signed books and posed for photos, all with that same huge smile.

Someone in the audience had asked whether Giada follows food blogs. "I don't," she said remorsefully. "But I should. I want to." I don't need more of a hint than that. As she came off the stage I introduced myself, handed her my card and said "That's for your blog reading list." She thanked me and bent down to take a picture with my son Emery.

My 12-year-old gourmand son Emery with Giada De Laurentiis - have you ever seen a happier kid?


As Giada stood up, I threw out a question: "So what do you pack in Jade's lunchbox?" I thought she'd give an off-the-cuff response and keep moving, which her security guys clearly would have preferred. But she stopped and looked at me. Feeding her family: This is a topic she cares about, thinks about. "Lamb chops," she said. Lamb chops? I was trying to picture a three-year-old pulling that out of her lunchbox at school and must have looked puzzled.

Giada elaborated. "What I do," she said, "is cook up a few proteins, a few vegetables, a few grains, and I keep those in the refrigerator. Then, when I'm making Jade's lunch, I cut up some meat and vegetables, heat them up in a pan with some of the grain or pasta, and top it with some grated cheese. Then I put it in one of those insulated thermos things. That's how I eat, so that's how she eats." And then, with her dazzling smile and security guards, she said goodbye and moved on.

The morals of this story:
  1. For bloggers: Never be afraid to ask your question. You might get blown off. Or you might have a real conversation. You'll have better luck if you ask about something you know they care about, rather than just something you care about.
  2. Carpe diem, baby.
  3. Spend the money on professional teeth-whitening. Sorry, Crest Whitestrips, but you can only take a girl so far.
  4. I might need to get slightly more ambitious when packing my kids' lunches.

10 comments:

Melissa @ Soul on a Platter said...

I just love your gusto, Erika. Great ideas from Giada too! Hello to the handsome Emory.

Audrey's mom said...

What an amazing story! I am so glad you asked. It is usually true that children eat like parents. This should be a big hint to all of us who do not eat healthy! They are learning from us.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

That smile is certainly dazzling. The thing I love about her is that she isn't just a pretty girl, she has the food chops to back up her success....

The Cilantropist said...

Haha, Erika I loved reading this (especially your morals at the end of the post) and you are so lucky to have met Giada! Good to see Emery too, and no surprise that he is all smiles next to a beautiful lady, lol! ;)

FamilySpice said...

Very cool! You think fast on your feet, like a good journalist! This school year I invested in a bigger thermos for my kids and give them leftovers. They love it for lunch at school. Better than sandwiches. Giada stole my idea - LOL!

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

I totally loved this! i absolutely ADORE Giada!

Patti at Worth The Whisk said...

Great post. Of course, not having any kids, I would MUCH rather find out exactly where they get their teeth whitened. Because you are so right, those teeth are unbelievable. They ALL ARE.

Monet said...

Smile. I hope she reads your blog. She'll love it! And I loved learning about what she serves her daughter for lunch. I wish I could have brought that to school!

Gina said...

This is a great story. I love Giada! :)

Erika Kerekes said...

I love Giada too. I doubt she ever read this post, but no matter - I like reading it!

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