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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Teresa's Cookbook Is A Love Letter To Her Mom And Kids

Article from North

She’s a real New Jersey girl, a real mother, a real wife, a "Real Housewife" and now she’s a real author, of sorts. Montville resident Teresa Giudice’s cookbook, "Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too!," much like her over-the-top personality, is garnering a lot of attention locally.

Teresa Giudice, star of Bravo TV’s 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' and author of 'Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too!' at il Michelangelo Ristorante with owner Dominic Cascio. Recently, the table-flipping Italian attended a book signing at il Michelangelo’s Ristorante and Lounge in Boonton Township. Not surprising for viewers of Bravo TV’s "Real Housewives of New Jersey," Giudice was an hour late to the event but no one seemed to mind, including restaurant owner Dominic Cascio.

"I have 180 people here," he said, "in Boonton, on a Monday!"

A cookbook, really?

While her life on the small screen may seem like an endless string of shopping trips, fashion shows, parties and feuds with evil cast members, Giudice said that’s not real life at her home. Her family — husband, Joe, and four daughters under the age of 11 — are her reality and her priority.

"Cooking for my family, that’s who I am," she said. "As soon breakfast is done, my kids ask ‘What’s for dinner?’ "

Growing up, Giudice, like most kids, just ate what her mother cooked, taking it all for granted. Only years later when she became a wife and a mother did she begin to value the old-style cooking. However, like most people in Europe, her mother had her recipes all in her head.

"She didn't even have the measurements written down," said Giudice.

So a few years ago, deciding that she wanted to preserve those family recipes for her kids, she started getting her mom to write them down.

"This book is a love letter to my mom and to my children," Giudice explained.

Once she joined "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," cast and people started writing to her asking for family recipes, she began to compile the cookbook.
The skinny part was inspired by all the people who didn’t believe she could have four children and maintain her figure without a serious exercise regime, liposuction or plastic surgery.

So for a baby conceived in Italy, born in the USA and with an enviable silhouette, this cookbook was a natural project. It’s a blend of her Old World upbringing and her Jersey girl charm, with a little reality TV thrown into the mix.

In her own inimitable style, Giudice lays out the goal of the book.
"I want everyone to be able to enjoy la dolce vita. I'm going to teach you how to throw painful portion control (and even your measuring cups) out the window, to enjoy, entertain, and eat the most luscious foods on the planet, and to love-love-love your life and the body that comes with it."

Filled with old family pictures, photograph’s of Giudice in the kitchen with her daughters and shots of her husband and TV co-stars, "Skinny Italian" includes everything from tidbits by hubby "Juicy Joe" Giudice, where he tells the story of their engagement, to a chapter on olive oil titled, "OO, VOO, EVOO, WTF?"
The colorful book is filled with traditional recipes made healthier, such as baked meatballs (instead of fried) for ladies with "skinny jean dreams." There are also dishes with colorful names like Gorgeous Garlic Shrimp and Beautiful Biscotti, six pasta sauce recipes and a whole slew of Italian basics such as veal piccata, steak pizziola, and, of course, pizza.

The skinny on pizza
Book excerpt: "Don't get me started. What began in the Mediterranean as a lovely, rustic flatbread topped with local vegetables, herbs, and eventually tomato sauces morphed in America into a giant, doughy, greasy, cheese-filled monster with entire other meals like cheeseburgers and barbecued chicken thrown on top. I'm not sayin' American (especially Chicago-style) pizza doesn't taste good. But it's a bastardized, belly-bulging version of what the Italians would eat.

"Pizza and ravioli and pasta Alfredo are all Italian words, so it's easy to think they are Italian foods. But, if you're in a typical American store or restaurant, they're probably as authentic Italian as the Dolce & Gabbana handbags sold on the corner of Fifth Avenue."
For Giudice, the book was a labor of love.

"I love cooking because it's a way for me to tell my family how much I love them. My family loves it because they feel loved. And we all love how healthy, inexpensive, and delicious homemade meals are," she said.


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