Lidia Bastianich, Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia’s Christmas Kitchen

Lidia Bastianich, Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia’s Christmas Kitchen
Lidia Bastianich - Nonna Tell Me a Story

Nonna Tell Me a Story - Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich chef, cookbook author and restaurateur can now add children’s book author to the list. Chef Lidia has written an endearing story of how the Christmases of her childhood were celebrated. It is an acknowledgement of a simpler time when coming together as a family was more important than running from store to store in search of the perfect gift.

This is a true tale of a sometimes hard life in a difficult time but one that is sure to entertain the children for whom this book was written. The pictures are large and the stories are told in simple and understandable language. As you would expect, Nona Tell Me a Story also includes simple recipe’s though not simple enough for children to make without help.

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 2–Nonni Lidia tells her five grandkids about what Christmas was like in Italy when she was a child, with a juniper bush hung with real fruit, cinnamon sticks, and cookies. She so successfully evokes the fun and the tantalizing smells that the children decide to decorate their tree the same way.

Bastianich, a television chef and cookbook author, clearly bases this story on her own family and experiences, and she includes plenty of delicious, if somewhat challenging, cookie recipes. The illustrations show round-faced, beaming family members cooking, eating, and celebrating together. A cheerful depiction of the making and sharing of holiday traditions.

Kirkus Review

A Christmas reminiscence from the Italian-American cooking-show host. Her warmhearted autobiographical story begins in a contemporary Christmas setting with the author, her five grandchildren and her own mother. The author then gathers her grandchildren around to recount her memories of childhood Christmases in Italy, when all the decorations for their trees were homemade cookies and ornaments made from natural materials such as figs and bay leaves.

The next section includes the recipes for the 16 holiday treats mentioned in the story, primarily different types of Christmas cookies. A final section describes the family’s traditions for decorating their tree in more detail. Logan’s pleasant illustrations of the happy family add to the amiable overall effect. The main story is accessible enough to children, but making the recipes will clearly require an adult’s assistance.

2 Comments

  • Gianni Morandi says:

    It should be quite obvious that LIDIA is “the mother of all opportunists” even though she does cook. Look at the facts:
    1) She has her entire family getting paid or on free travel, even though her daughter Tanya can’t even boil water. She gets a trip, reads 4-5 guidebook sentences from a local town and in monotone – and that earns her free trip/vacation and pay! Her son Joe, similar thing. The ‘self-proclaimed wine expert” uses several of the same 8-10 buzzwords for every wine! The guy looks like he is on muscle relaxants all the time!

    2) Lidia peddles everything under the son in her name: dishes, oil/vinegar sets, pots, pans, knives, DVDs, CDs, cookware, books…sauce, etc – all for the “amighty buck” and even goes to book-signings to push up her sales!

    3) Many if not most of recipes come from people in her travels in Italy. These same people , we suspect, get NADA..NOTHING ””stu cazz” from her virtual “stealing” of the recipes and using them on her show and in her books!

    4) Absolutely no value added from using “nonni” as part of her nepotism technique. Nonni is not exactly an objective food taster!

    Oh yes, lest we forget, she has a recent lawsuit..not sure if/how settled:

    Lawsuits over wage violations and sexual harassment are fairly commonplace in the restaurant industry. But the $5 million lawsuit filed in court yesterday against Lidia Bastianich is bizarre — and troubling — enough to arouse even the most jaded observers from their torpor.

    Bastianich is being sued by Maria Carmela Farina, an Italian cook who alleges that the TV chef, cookbook author, and restaurateur tricked her into indentured servitude. Farina alleges that in 2005, Bastianich promised her a $600-a-week job overseeing her kitchens and preparing recipes for her show. Instead, Farina alleges that she arrived in the U.S. only to be made into a round-the-clock caretaker for a 99-year-old family friend. One of Farina’s lawyers, Paul Catsandonis, told the New York Daily News that his client was “completely hoodwinked by Lidia. … Lidia thought she was running a Roman empire and that this woman was one of her slaves.”

    The suit contends that Farina cared for the woman until she died at the age of 105, and during that time she largely went unpaid, had no vacation time, and wasn’t allowed to see her kids. Following her charge’s death last December, Farina was allegedly visited by Bastianich’s daughter, who presented her with a one-way ticket back to Italy and told her she’d receive $10,000 after she arrived.

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