Lidia Bastianich has been described as the reigning queen of Italian cuisine in America. She is the host of cooking shows on PBS, including Lidia's Italy, a new 26-episode series which features American and Italian chefs preparing regional Italian dishes.
Bastianichs family fled Communist Istria in 1956 and became political refugees in Italy, before moving to the United States. Bastianich trained in kitchens in New York City and opened her first restaurant with her husband at the age of 24. Since then, she has opened several restaurants, including Felidia and Becco. She has also authored several cookbooks including Lidia's Family Table and Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen.
Topic: Food is Love
Lidia Bastianich: I think collectively we should be all together at the table much more often than we are. Because I think that the table is such a magnet for interaction. From the family on to world issues. It’s . . . Food is a conduit, a venue that we can sort of permeate each others’ thoughts. So at the table beginning with the family and the family eating together; to the leaders eating each others’ food at the table and maybe discussing the poignant issue over a nice bowl of pasta. I think individually, we should have a consciousness of ourself, of our body, of living well, and using food to get there in a positive fashion. You know using food to give us pleasure. Using food to lose those few pounds enjoyably, not in a negative negation. Because I think today food is negated a lot. You know, “No, no, no.” It’s that food is, “Yes, yes, yes.” It’s the right food, it’s the right amount, at the right time.
Recorded on: 10/4/07