Giada De Laurentiis built her vast, ever-expanding cooking empire on celebrating and sharing Italian cuisine, so it only makes sense that she follows a few Italian traditions herself. De Laurentiis, who was born in Rome and spoke Italian as her first language, adheres to many tenants of the country’s lifestyle … including, no eggs for breakfast.
“I am not a protein person for breakfast – it’s not my thing,” De Laurentiis tells Food & Wine, noting that the traditional Italian breakfast of cookies, cornetti or bread was what she was used to growing up. “I’m a starch girl because that’s the way I was brought up.”
That isn’t to say she’s eating sweets every morning for breakfast, as appealing as that sounds.
“Obviously I can’t eat croissants and danishes every day, so I’ve found healthier ways of doing it,” she says. “I’ll do oatmeal with olive oil and sea salt. Sometimes I’ll add Marcona almonds and spiced mandarin oranges. Or brown rice with olive oil and sea salt. I like my starch for breakfast.”
De Laurentiis still loves eggs, but chooses to eat them at more appropriately Italian times. “We can eat eggs for lunch and dinner, like in a frittata, but not breakfast,” she adds. “I can’t do eggs for breakfast.”
The chef’s commitment to Italian traditions, of course, spills over into her professional life. She calls her forthcoming cookbook, Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita (which will be released in April), “the most Italian thing” she’s “ever done.” (Recipes will include spaghetti with chianti and fava Beans; asparagus with grilled melon salad; bruschetta with burrata and kale salsa verde; and fennel upside down cake.)
“I went back to Rome to shoot it all because my mother lives there, and we had a blast, the two of us,” she says. “It’s going back to basics and back to my roots, and taking traditional Italian recipes and streamlining them a little bit.”
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