Thursday, October 23
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.