Word on the Street

Personal essays from a young journalist in the Sunshine State.

Interviewing Giada De Laurentiis about Cooking, Motherhood

My family and friends know that I’m not one to cook. I have an envelope full of recipes my grandma hand-wrote sitting in my desk drawer, and I have plenty of cookbooks that once belonged to my mom, but I hardly ever open them.

Given my extensive background in cooking, one of my editors asked if I would write a story about Giada De Laurentiis. The Food Network star just came out with her fourth cookbook, Giada’s Kitchen, which features Italian dishes and desserts. Though I don’t cook, I was happy to have the opportunity to interview De Laurentiis, who is signing copies of her book this weekend in Dallas.

During the interview, De Laurentiis talked a lot about her six-month-old baby, Jade, and the communal nature of cooking. She encourages moms to cook with their kids and even has a “(Not) Just for Kids” section in her new cookbook.

I often associate cooking with motherhood, but I’ve been starting to think about it more in terms of friendship. Since moving to Texas, I’ve started to cook a little bit more with friends. (I say “a little bit” because I’ve probably cooked a total of three meals while in Texas, unless you count throwing together a salad or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.)

It can be tough to cook when you live by yourself, especially after a long day of work. Some people say cooking relaxes them at night, but I’ve never found that to be true. One of my goals when I return to Florida, though, is to start cooking for myself more. I’ve said I’m going to start cooking for myself for years, but I figure it might actually happen if I commit my goal to writing. Maybe it’s a matter of making a couple of meals on a Sunday and then storing them up for the week, or maybe I’ll find that cooking at night actually is relaxing, especially if I can do it with friends.

I flipped through De Laurentiis’s cookbook tonight and came across some meals I think I’ll try. The whole wheat linguine with green beans, ricotta and lemon; eggplant timbale; orzo stuffed peppers; fusilli alla caprese; and the hazelnut crunch cake with mascarpone and chocolate look especially good. Maybe if I keep looking at her cookbook, I’ll feel more motivated to follow the recipes and find my place in the kitchen. Here’s to hoping!

How do you motivate yourself to cook?

Recent Dallas Morning News Stories

Here is a round-up of some recent stories and blog posts I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News:

“Nelly Plugs Away During House of Blues Show” and related blog post.
“Flogging Molly Brings Punk O’ the Irish to House of Blues” and related blog post.
“Another Chance to ‘Walk from Obesity’ on Saturday”
“The Color Purple at Fair Park Music Hall”