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Thursday, October 23

Comfortable in her Own Home? A First Look at Giada At Home

Someone emailed me yesterday saying I was an IDIOT (actually they said "your [sic] an idiot!") for talking about candy instead of reviewing Giada's and Ina's new shows. They also went on to allege that since I was "partying with them in NY" I wasn't going to express my "real feelings."

Well, person who emailed me from their work account with their full address, telephone and fax number in the signature, this one's for you... idiot!


Giada at Home is Giada De Laurentiis' second cooking-focused show for Food Network. While Everyday Italian featured an apronless (oh the horror!) Giada staying primarily in the kitchen and cooking Italian/Italian-inspired dishes, Giada at Home bills itself as a "lifestyle program" and showcases Giada out in her community picking up groceries, throwing parties, and conversing with friends and family. It's not entirely groundbreaking (Ina Garten and other hosts have done similar non-cooking segments for years) but it is something new for Giada.

So does it work?

The answer is, I'm not sure... yet. I've only seen one episode. Shooting scenes away from the set (yes, it's a set people!) and in the real world certainly add a nice element to the show, but they can sometimes take away from one of the big reasons people watch: to learn recipes.

While some shows can easily transition back and forth between instructional cooking and lifestyle/outdoors spots (Barefoot Contessa, Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger, etc.), it didn't seem that smooth in the first episode of Giada at Home. With less time devoted to cooking, Giada appeared rushed--like she was trying to get out the same amount of info she would have in an episode of Everyday Italian but in 1/3 the amount of time. It also helps if these out-of-the-kitchen segments have a point. I know it sounds simple, but if you're just running out to grab coffee, do we really need to see that?

Another thing is this element of California and California cuisine the show is pushing. While I think it was pretty apparent in Everyday Italian that Giada lived in California and lived the "California lifestyle," GatH makes a point to really emphasize this... which can and can't be good.


In some shots, you see a bunch of surfboards propped up against the wall. To me, that's a little more California Dreams than real California. And while Giada claims that this type of lifestyle (eating local produce, eating light, eating seasonally, etc.) can now be enjoyed by all of America thanks to the great variety of farmers markets, I don't think that's entirely true. California cuisine is called just that for a reason. Consequently, that angle is going to be less relatable to the 90 million homes with Food Network than Italian food is, which is now about as American as the Big Mac.

The show itself is still beautifully shot. While I'm glad Giada has more room to move about now, I kind of miss the Everyday Italian homes she used when filming that show. My favorite was seen in only a few episodes where she was shot at an angle and there was a big table behind her. The new set just seems a bit bland.

The food looks appetizing and I found the non-Italian recipes interesting and worth trying. Giada just didn't seem all that comfortable in her new home... yet. Like I said, it was only the first episode. A new mom, Giada shot these episodes while still getting into the swing of motherhood. It's only natural that she might have a few other, more important things on her mind.

Soooo... what did you think? She still used pancetta, so that's a plus.

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44 Comments:

At 10/23/2008 3:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your thoughts on Giada. Great! So...what about Ina?

 
At 10/23/2008 3:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh...and FIRST! :)
well...now 2nd...


:)

 
At 10/23/2008 3:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh...and also (3rd LOL) why is Giada starting to "cover up" now? Before her cleavage was as long as the show...what's up? Baby maybe???

 
At 10/23/2008 5:05 PM , Anonymous AddictedtotheAddict said...

I liked the candy post!! I mean seriously, Ina's show is fabulous...what else can you say about it?!?! Giadia's show is ....Giadia's show. She uses an Italian accent to speak Italian words and the rest of the time speaks in her normal American accent. That's pretty much the only reason I watch the show, to see how many times she can squeeze Italian words into a 30 minute show.

She does have a great wardrobe through.

 
At 10/23/2008 5:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was all set to see her really differ from her Italian cooking. Then she made grilled seafood with pancetta, a pasta dish and a dessert with mascarpone. I don't know. I want to wait and watch a few more episodes. I hope she does try to not to seem so rushed in the future.

 
At 10/23/2008 5:28 PM , Blogger Christina said...

OK I just wanted to post that I cracked up at your introduction of the post. LOL! I can't believe somebody would actually call you a NAME! Seriously.

 
At 10/23/2008 5:29 PM , Anonymous Alec Smart said...

First of all Jake, you are getting quite good at doing insightful reviews. I am not sure at this point if you are angling for a gig down the hall from Tuschleman or not, but good overview nonetheless.

As for Princess Giada's progression in the business, this doesn't really signal any big improvement from her other shows.Perhaps a few more episodes will give us more.

I wonder along with others why she is into select " Italianization" of specific words. Very curious.

Jake next time you are rubbing elbows with her, can you ask why this is ?

 
At 10/23/2008 5:39 PM , Blogger Lindsey said...

Since I pretty much adore Giada (though I admit that she can be over the top and even downright annoying at times) and covet her wardrobe and style, I loved Giada at Home. Yes, she was rushed but that will most likely even out in future episodes. And, as I live in San Diego, I love how she showcases the southern California lifestyle (now if only I could embrace it the way she does...)

 
At 10/23/2008 5:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved it too! I liked seeing her move around and I enjoyed the block party at the end of the show. She seemed like a lot of fun, plus the recipes all looked good.

 
At 10/23/2008 5:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same (Giada) crap different location.

 
At 10/23/2008 6:12 PM , Blogger Prohomemaker.Com said...

Great review (and LOL on the intro -- good for you!) ... I was expecting the recipes to veer off more from Italian. As nearly everyone said, she seems very rushed ... it's not a calm show, like Ina's. Finally, and just my personal observation, but Giada's ... ummm, how can I say this ... controlling/critical side of her personality comes through more often, especially when she interacts with people in the kitchen. Finally, the party scene at the end was just boring. I may watch now and then, but it didn't thrill me.

 
At 10/23/2008 6:40 PM , Blogger FNCrazy said...

How many shows have been shot? Is the season done or what? I'm just curious to know if down the road the style may change once they've gotten viewer feedback or if that will come with a whole new season--assuming it takes off enough, of course. But it's Giada... she'll be doing something, right?

 
At 10/23/2008 6:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think FN personalities with multiple shows kind of have to find their niche when they're starting a new show. It takes a little time. I liked "Giada at Home" so far.

 
At 10/23/2008 7:02 PM , Anonymous Laura said...

Great review, but I have not seen the show as of yet. I'll try and catch it in the next couple of weeks. I love your title too. Some people..You got another mention on Bob Tushman's blog today. Good for you.

 
At 10/23/2008 7:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The show is exactly like Giada: all looks and no substance.

 
At 10/23/2008 8:35 PM , Anonymous Colleen said...

I enjoyed your review of Giada at Home. You're (apostrophe included!) great at picking apart these Food Network shows in a way that points out exactly what makes them great, blah, or bad.

I only made it through part of the episode myself. I like Giada's recipes, but I've always found Everyday Italian kind of dull. Pretty, sure, but unengaging without the snap-crackle of personality that a lot of other hosts have.

Still, I tuned in to see Giada try her hand at non-Italian cuisine . . . and yeah, found the pancetta, pasta, and mascarpone. It's like Everyday Italian without the film-like ambiance.

Let us know if it's worth tuning in for later!

 
At 10/23/2008 10:19 PM , Anonymous Anna said...

I did a lot of surfing right after I had my first child.

 
At 10/23/2008 10:35 PM , Blogger Charles said...

So now she's getting stuff from the fridge and the cupboard instead of the food being laid out before her. I think that's part of the rushed feel. I didn't really enjoy it like I did "EI" but, it was the 1st show. We shall see!

 
At 10/24/2008 12:56 AM , Blogger Addimando Family said...

Can someone upload this on youtube... I don't even have cable?
Or does anyone know where I can watch it? (besides someones house who has cable) hehe

 
At 10/24/2008 1:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first episode kinda sucked. Let's hope the next one is better, or I'll be tuning out. ;)
Everyday Italian was waaaay better!

 
At 10/24/2008 9:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't like it. Don't give me that fake California lifestyle crap. It's so patronizing. The producers think the rest of us non-Californians are going to believe that this is the real way that all people from that state actually live. Come on!
In the next episode, i'd like to see Giada evacuating from her set because of oncoming wildfires or earthquakes. That's California, right?
I really did not like the rushed feeling of this show. I really miss EI. Much better from that standpoint. At least I learned a few recipes in a relaxed atmosphere.

 
At 10/24/2008 9:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my god. please do not bring that "first!" sh%t here. I CANNOT STAND IT when people act so retarded as to call out "FIRST" as if it matters or something.

I have no idea why it bugs me but it does. It's like a waste of a comment. Extremely juvenile too. Kinda like this comment. haha.

 
At 10/24/2008 10:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the first episodes of Everyday Italian, Giada seemed stiff and mannered talking directly into the camera, but she improved. I imagine she'll find a way to make this work more smoothly too. I can't say I loved the show, since I'm more interested in the food and technique than the life of the show host. (I'm not going to be invited to the block party, any more than I'll get invited to Lidia Bastianich's house to eat at her table) This food wasn't all that different than what we've seen before, and honestly, I really don't need any new ways to use mascarpone.

 
At 10/24/2008 10:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's only her first episode. Let's see how the show will develop. But honestly, I don't think her show is going anywhere. Her "california" ideas have been done before. Not very creative and it's hard to relate to the rest of America...

 
At 10/24/2008 11:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seemed like the same old, same old to me, just on a different set. Like others have said it's still pancetta, pasta, and marscapone. It could have been named Everyday Italian with Giada at Home.

 
At 10/24/2008 4:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally - some great criticism without getting personal! I have been avoiding looking at these comments because of the way some people like to talk about her cleavage, etc.

Anyway, I enjoyed the show but I don't think it's much different from EI - why bother with a new show if it's that much like the old one?

 
At 10/24/2008 11:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh. How about some new faces on FN? I mean, more new faces, perhaps people who are really knowledgable about food.

I'm 27th! Ha ha! I'm 27th! I'm going to post again so I can be 28th! I rule!

 
At 10/24/2008 11:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 28th! HA! I rock!

I'm number 28, I'm number 28!

 
At 10/24/2008 11:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

And number 29! I'm also number 29! Yeeee haaaawwwww!!!

 
At 10/25/2008 2:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) Sorry to crap on your joke up there but Todd's (Giada's husband) the surfer in the family, not Giada.
2) If there were more fusion elements in Giada's cooking then it would be considered "Californian" cuisine. As far as I'm concerned Giada's doing the same Italian/American things that she did in Everyday Italian. Not that I'm complaining.

 
At 10/25/2008 2:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love Giada, so I like any show she does. I don't cook/bake with marscapone, have never even purchased it, so I enjoy seeing ways to use the product. Same with pancetta, I make one appetizer with pancetta but love seeing more ideas.

My only complaint is that the parties on all these shows seem soooooo staged, wished they were a little bit more spontaneous or like a party with a hidden camera in the room.

J

 
At 10/25/2008 4:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe people are complaining "same old, same old" about GAH and not complaining about Paula Deen's new show. Same show but with people we could care less about watching and boring!

 
At 10/25/2008 4:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's show was soooo great! Little Jade is adorable.

 
At 10/25/2008 6:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's show was fine, but I hate whole shows devoted to desserts and candies.

 
At 10/26/2008 6:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Giada, but must admit, she's mostly on my husband's tv...he LOVES Giada..for obvious reasons!
As for the writer commenting on Ina, I can't stand Ina. She got in the door through owning a shop in the Hamptons at which Martha Stewart shopped, and she is so self-absorbed and boring, and the woman looks so unhealthy...she should try some low fat recipes!

 
At 10/27/2008 12:38 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I have to agree with a previous poster about how people are being objective in their criticisms. It's refreshing to NOT read about her boobs that are so awesome, people become so obsessed with hating her. haha. I like that all the negetive feedback was not personal.

I missed the first GAH episode but caught the second one yesterday. The show is not bad! The kid friendly recipes were awesome because kids need something to do in the kitchen that bonds you and keeps them away from the tv.

I didn't really view it as being different from EI all thats much but that's ok with me.

 
At 10/27/2008 10:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

They would complain about Paula but these responses are in response to the Giada article. Giada's new show is horrible.

I love Ina and who cares how she "got in the door" That's life honey.

 
At 10/27/2008 2:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her promo video stated that they are shooting in her new home. You're saying it's a set?

 
At 10/27/2008 4:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:30 pm: We don't complain about Paula's show BECAUSE WE'RE NOT WATCHING IT!

 
At 10/27/2008 4:15 PM , Blogger jacob said...

"Anonymous said...
Her promo video stated that they are shooting in her new home. You're saying it's a set?"

She says "I have a new home and a new kitchen" in that video. Not that it's her actual home they're shooting in.

That "home" is a set, though, yes.

 
At 10/29/2008 9:13 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really wonder if that is her real home? It's always cool to see how the pros like to decorate, etc. I think you can tell a lot about a person by their choice of interior design. Even if it is a set modeled after her real home, it would be cool. It's so WHITE though. But she is a bright personality. Is that the ocean out of the window above the sink?

 
At 11/22/2008 12:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Giada! I cook mainly Italian and am studying the language (my husband is Italian), so I am drawn to her cooking, ingredients, and her Italian words. I also enjoy seeing Todd and little Jade in GAH. My only criticism, which now seems not to be an issue, was her clothes are toooooo revealing! I'm interested in her cooking and Italian background, not having my husband look at her cleavage.

 
At 11/22/2008 4:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved today's show, with the surfing theme. Those chocolate shakes looked amazing!!!

 
At 12/20/2008 9:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can I say about the mascarpone-and-pancetta queen?

What hate about all her shows (except for her first ‘everyday Italian’ season) is how many times she says the words “and now” during the course of her 30-minute gig. It’s just plain annoying. Her production company editor needs to give her a list of new words that she can use besides AND NOW which by the way, it sounds like MEOW.

Hate her fake laughter when challenged (or should I say annoyed) by one of her guests. Ina’s new back-to-basics show rocks, BTW.

For giada’s new show has the same old recipes of mascarpone cheese and pancetta. I swear she must own a mascarpone cheese company in CA.

For all her talk about her mom preparing all these snacks and dishes, while growing up in CA, I don’t buy it for one second that her mom can cook. One time she had her mom make these chocolate wontons and I mean the woman was totally incompetent in the kitchen, who are you kidding?

Hate the sound effect/shrills/minney mouse high-pitch sounds that she makes after sampling her cooking.
- One is the brama bull (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmoooooooooo)
- Another is the cobra about to strike (tztztztztztztztztztztztztz)
- The orgasm after taking a bite
- Love the talk with your mouth full of food while she just restates she took a big byte

She is totally class-less, for all the money she posses. Not much wit for a social anthropologist.
What about her biological father? What’s up with that?

In this recession economy, she needs to tone down her “I am a rich bitch and you’re not” attitude.

In years past she was criticized for her bimbo low-cut tops, now someone needs to edit her shows and try to make her less of a control freak, duh-show, and “I wear the pants in my house” bitch.

She comes across as a total idiot – stating the obvious like adding sugar will make a dish sweet - duhhhhh???

I think her show needs to be renamed to semi-homemade italian. How difficult is to open and prepare a box of cake mix into cupcakes, cakes and other pastries?

I wish she would use other words besides AND NOW which definitely sounds like ANDMEOW

She always needs to apology for using ketchup in her meatballs because is not ITALIAN??? Which part of the tomato sauce don’t you understand it be non-Italian??? What an idiot!

Her husband seems gay – not bad for being a pants fashion designer for anthropology
I see the baby takes after the pumpkin head family.

 

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