Friday, April 20, 2007

Lidia - The Italian Ina

The other day, I got an email from Borders as part of their "reward program"*. I usually delete them, unless I know I'm buying a book in the near future and I need a coupon. For some reason, I opened this one and I am glad I did.

In it was a brand new feature that they've launched called Borders Kitchen. The first one is a spectacularly wonderful series of videos with Lidia Bastianich, demonstrating recipes from her new book, Lidia's Kitchen. Click on videos to watch.

Whether you know her from her Public Television series or her books or her restaurants, you know what an excellent teacher she is. Now, why is this video so good? It's as if we're visiting with Lidia ourselves in her very own kitchen. She's tells us family stories and takes us for a tour of the market, as well as shows us several recipes from the book. Each video lesson lasts 10 minutes or longer.

There are 2 other folks in the kitchen with her - Mark Palmucci and Nicole Sims. I'm not entirely sure who they are (from Borders, I guess), but they're quite affable and ask her the right questions. Lidia is lovely and warm in an Ina sort of way. Her expertise is obvious, but she makes you feel that you can do it too. I really enjoyed this video and I urge you to take a look at it. The first chapter where she's just chatting is very entertaining. Turn it on when you're at your computer doing other things and just listen to her tell the story of her family through food.

Now the book itself is also very attractive and has highly usable recipes. I'm holding it in my hand right now. Interspersed with recipes from different regions of Italy are stories about different areas and also additional information about ingredients or specific places or dishes. For example, Lidia tells us how to trim and cut fennel, gives us the skinny (wrong choice of word) on the pizza of Napoli, or takes us to the markets of Rome.

I love how she ends this little series of videos. She says that her hope is that the flavors will transport the reader to Italy. That's what is so wonderful about Lidia's cooking, you don't have to go all the way to Italy to eat as if you were there, although I'm always ready.

*You can sign up for a Borders reward card - they're absolutely free (unlike some other book store's card) - at any Borders, Borders Express or Waldenbooks. This is the one time I gave someone my email address, because that's how they send the coupons. And purchases in their cafe count!!

I have no connection with Borders, other than being pleasantly surprised that they produced a cooking video of such high quality and I wanted to share it with you.

PS The web address isn't, which takes you to Amazon. It's Click on Borders Rewards for more information.

1 comment:

ChubbyChineseGirl said...

your blog is cool too!...
I love Lidia... i've been wanting to try her restaurants... i heard they're really good