Since I am a former professional chef myself, Lidia Bastianich is definitely a lady I look up to. This famous, Italian chef and restaurateur brings to the table (pun intended) a wide variety of fresh, delicious, and elegant yet down-to-earth dishes. She is absolutely an admirable lady.
As you can probably imagine, I was thrilled when I was asked to review a copy of Lidia Bastianich’s new children’s book Nonna’s Birthday Surprise. First of all, I didn’t realize she wrote children’s books, so I was intrigued. Second of all, it combines three things I love–cooking, reading, and family. So this was definitely not an opportunity I could pass up!
This book tells the story of Lidia and her grandchildren teaming up to plan and prepare a delicious, fresh surprise meal for Lidia’s mother who is affectionately referred to as Nonna. As they brainstorm what culinary creations to make, Lidia tells the children about her life was as a child. She tells about Italy and how everything was made purely from scratch. She speaks of how she and her family worked together to raise their own livestock, grow fresh fruits and vegetables, milk the family cow, and so on. Meals were always made by hand, with love, using fresh, wholesome, unprocessed ingredients.
Towards the end of the book is a delightful surprise. There are 18 simple recipes utilizing fresh ingredients that parents and children can make together. These recipes don’t only use fresh, traditional Italian components–each set of recipes is also separated seasonally to maximize the authenticity of every one.
I personally was fascinated by this book. The story of Lidia’s childhood farm was well-written and well-illustrated. I was transported to another place and time as I read. It was exciting! I could nearly taste the freshly-dried raisins, the smoked sausage, and the fresh-picked vegetables. It is a lifestyle I deeply long for–one of fresh, hard-earned, wholesome foods that are pure and nutritious.
I also love the recipes in the back. Each one is simple, nutritious, and delicious. The Little Mister has already helped me make a few (utilizing the helpful “Kid’s Can” section) and I can’t wait to try the remaining recipes as their season arrives.
You can purchase Lidia Bastianich’s children’s book Nonna’s Birthday Surprise anywhere books are sold, including Amazon.com.
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