To be Giada

'I just grab some thyme from backyard...'
‘I just grab some thyme from my backyard…’

This is how it goes on vacation days: Mrs. Upinthevalley comes home from yoga, makes something green and crunchy, assumes the lotus position in front of the TV, and watches the porn for women that is Giada De Laurentiis.

Giada! Isn’t she wonderful?

Giada makes crab ricotta cannelloni.  Giada has perfect orthodonture.  Giada shares her holiday recipes. She has a teeny-tiny waist. Giada makes lemon-smashed potatoes. Giada has gorgeous hair.  Even her stray tendrils fall in an orderly manner. Giada makes stracotto with porcini mushrooms.  Her kitchen has spotless glass tile and nothing drips on the counter. Ever. There are no animals underfoot in Giadaworld.  No oily finger stains surround the drawer pulls.  No mismatched countertops. either. No cobwebs lurk in the corners of the window to catch the light just so whenever anyone pulls out a camera. Giada’s pots and pans look like they’ve just emerged from factory shrink-wrap.    There’s no grease splatter behind her unscuffed stovetop. She cooks in outfits, without an apron.  Her outfits remain….unsoiled.  No flour smudges appear on her temple.  The forks goes in, the fork comes out, nothing sticks to her teeth.  Her lipstick remains unpreturbed.  She is unflappable. All her obscure yet useful utensils are available at Target!  Along with Giada-endorsed table wine.

Don’t you wish you were Giada?  You should buy her stuff right now.

Why should a show designed molecularly to make women feel bad about themselves maintain such a hypnotic hold?  Perhaps we Americans are an aspirational people. Perhaps it is because the kitchen she works from on TV is actually a soundstage. A replica of the kitchen in her Malibu home, with a rear projection of the beach outside a fake window and a surfboard placed strategically on a fake patio. A replica of the house she leaves each morning at 6 AM and returns home to, by her own admission, long after her daughter is tucked into bed. All part of her balancing act between work and family.  A balancing act which requires a well concealed squad of assistants to swat away life’s little uglinesses like misfit flies. A life which began as the granddaughter of a billionaire.

Giada is cooking for one now.  In sympathy, Mrs. U is watching a marathon of Everyday Italian and cooking up a storm.  She’s vegan.  She doesn’t eat 90% of what Giada makes. Doesn’t matter.  In Van Nuys, Giada can do no wrong.

'John Mayer? I don't believe a word of it.'
‘John Mayer? I don’t believe a word of it.’