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Must-Read: Giada's Kitchen

Must-Read: Giada's Kitchen

Last week Giada De Laurentiis fourth cookbook, Giada's Kitchen ($32) hit bookshelves. The book release coincided with the relaunch of her website, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of the glossy hardback with Tiffany-blue interior. Yesterday I spent some time reading the book — which is full of pretty pictures and delicious-sounding recipes — to see what I thought of it,



  • The book is loaded with clear, tantalizing pictures. Most recipes include a picture.
  • At the back of the book, there's a section devoted to menu ideas. There's a bunch of different themes (Aprés-Ski, Italian Picnic, Elegant Vegetarian Dinner, etc.) with dishes from the book. The menus are carefully thought out and make me want to host one of the parties.
  • This is the first book where De Laurentiis devotes a chapter to (not) just-for-kids food. Many of the recipes look scrumptious!


  • The recipes are written in paragraph form, without any steps, making them harder to follow. It seems more like a showy book you would read, rather than actually cook with.
  • The aforementioned menus section does not include page numbers. So if you want to make the Tuscan Mushrooms for a Game Day viewing party, you have to look in the index to find out what page the recipe is on.
  • Many of the recipes have appeared on Giada's Food Network series, so a lot of them — like this orange ricotta pound cake or this chocolate and brie panini — can be found on the Internet.

Recipes: The recipes are classic Giada with the most delicious-sounding ones being her California-Italian-style dishes. The recipes listed below are on my must-make list:

  • Appetizers and Cocktails — pecorino crackers, apple and thyme martini, crostata with mushrooms and pancetta
  • Salads and Vegetables — parmesan potato pancake, artichoke gratinata
  • Meat — chicken scallopini with saffron cream sauce
  • Desserts — hazelnut crunch cake with mascarpone and chocolate

Imagery: The pictures are beautiful. The double page snapshots of Giada performing several steps of a certain recipe are especially helpful because they demonstrate the recipe's techniques.

Overall Rating: Mixed. While I'm a huge fan of Giada and I love her recipes, the fact that many can be found online makes me wonder what is the point of a cookbook? If you collect cookbooks, I suggest you get your hands on a copy. But if you can't afford the splurge, check out Giada's recipes on

Have you checked out Giada's Kitchen? What did you think?

boredatwork boredatwork 9 years
her arms are disproportionately small to her husband and i call her t-rex...but anyway, i've fallen out of like with giada. i think a lot of her recipes got a bit repetitive for me, and she hasn't wowed me lately. The "Cook with Jamie Oliver" book also has the recipes in paragraph form and i find it distracting and sometimes hard to follow as i go through the steps.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I'm not a fan of Giada or her recipes. I love Nigella, though. I've tried some of her recipes, and they were good.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
She's always been a bobblehead (my favorite term for famous types who are so skinny, their heads look overly large). I don't like her voice either, and usually avoid her show. Doubt I'll be buying this.
foxie foxie 9 years
Giant head!
janetwrogers janetwrogers 9 years
I am always put off by the number of photos of Giada herself (and not usually demonstrating anything except the latest in teeth-whitening treatments and her extensive collection of tight low-necked tops -- and the giant head too, of course).
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
For a second I was feeling shallow because I couldn't focus on anything but her head. It's GINORMOUS. Glad I'm not the only one that noticed.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 9 years
I like the idea of having pictures with every recipe. However, I think the paragraph form would drive me nuts in the kitchen. I love cookbooks and sort of collect them. Sounds like a book I'd flip through at the bookstore to appreciate the art, but not one I'd actually buy since almost everything is online anyway. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Party!
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 9 years
That's money I don't think I'll be spending.
kia kia 9 years
Giada doesn't inspire to buy one of her books. I will go to the bookstore to check it out but I doubt I'll get it. My favorite cookbook/good read book is How to Eat Supper by Lynn Rosetto Casper and as a bonus the podcasts by the same title have gotten my hubby in the kitchen to try new stuff. He did her pesto last week.
seven7 seven7 9 years
I really have a problem with the con of " many of the recipes are available online", and here is why: It is a huge courtesy of the food network chefs to post so many of their recipes online. They don't have to do this, but they do. So when they come out with a cookbook, if I like their show and love their food, I will support them by buying at least one of their books, as a thanks for them having brought their cooking into my life for free before. I don't just take without giving back, so this attitude of "they are all online" bothers me a bit. The reason I'm worried about this is because if everyone had this opinion, they could just decide to pull all the online recipes, and then we would all have to go get the books, or go find them and write down recipes. I'm not saying it's wrong to take advantage of all their free recipes online, I do, too. And I'm not even saying you have to buy the book of every chef you ever use recipes of - I don't either. But in a book review, I don't really like it listed as a con. It can be listed as a fact, but it shouldn't be in a way that tells readers they might as well not buy the book. If they get that from the fact you're stating, fine, but don't spell it out, it just doesn't seem fair. Sorry, just my humble opinion on it. Besides that I really do love all your posts though, keep up the good work!
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 9 years
lol I was thinking the same ...why buy a cookbook? It's all free online. I'll bet that every one of the recipes she gives in this book are online, somewhere. But other than that I just don't care for her at all.... I'm not trying to be mean yet she annoys me. Maybe it's her gigantic head, or her nasaly whiny voice...hey, I am well aware that I myself am not perfect ;)
SarahPW SarahPW 9 years
i just cant tand listening to her talk. maybe in book form, i would enjoy her more.
BuchaBaby BuchaBaby 9 years
I am a bit torn. As the child of a chef (yes a beautiful lady - my mommy) i know that beautiful women can cook. Two-three years ago it was Nigella Lawson hitting the fence with her luscious figure and recipes, now it is Giada?! Sorry that DOES smells a little to much of making money for me, like jumping on a really fast and moneymaking train. This is the only thing that really anoys me. In fact i love cookbooks, and buying them, and aranging food, guess my genes work quite well then ;), but like partysugar said, whats with the exclusivness if you can find the recipes also on her website? Sorry again it does smell a bit to much of "i wanna make as much money as i can!" ...i stick to nigella (also i think her crockery is hilarious) and to jamie oliver ;)
t-and-co t-and-co 9 years
I think it may be the angle the picture of the book was taken. I saw it in B&N the other day and she didn't look that weird on the cover. I thought about picking it up, and I what you did, Party, about the paragraph format...Not at all conducive to following a recipe.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
What in God's name is wrong with that picture?!
flyingroo flyingroo 9 years
Her head IS huge in reality, no Photoshop there, but the face is photoshopped. She's turning into Rachel II
mtiger mtiger 9 years
Yeah, her head looks huge!
caramelqtee75 caramelqtee75 9 years
Is it me or is her head bigger than her body?
Punk-Glam-Queen Punk-Glam-Queen 9 years
Something looks really "off" with that cover picture, like someone photoshopped her head on a different body!
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
Hmmm. I never buy cookbooks due to the plethora of recipes and information online. That's not the greatest pic of Giada, seems like they could have found a better one for the cover of her book.
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