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?

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Poynter.org. Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at mjtenore@gmail.com.

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