Teresa Giudice not only stars on a reality show, raises four young daughters and still finds time for date night with her husband, but her first cookbook, Skinny Italian, was a New York Times bestseller. Giudice believes in living the good life, never passing on the the cannoli and raising daughters who know how to cook the authentic, healthy Italian food that she grew up eating. Here the Real Housewives of New Jersey star dishes on food, family and her new cookbook Fabulicious!
Your first cookbook grew out of a desire to share the secrets of healthy Italian cooking with the world. What was the impetus behind writing this second book?
After Skinny Italian, I got so many requests for lunches, desserts and potlucks. I had to write Fabulicious! so that I could share more of my family’s traditional, authentic Italian recipes. And who doesn’t like Italian food?
How did creating this second cookbook compare to the first – was writing it harder (inventing 60 new recipes) or easier because of that first book?
Since Skinny Italian was my first cookbook I learned a lot about the publishing process which helped to make writing Fabulicious! much easier. It also helped that I grew up eating this food, that I cook it every day for my family, and that I’m passionate about sharing these recipes with everyone.
Do you think the food landscape has changed since you published your last book in 2010—if so, how?
I think more people are cooking from scratch and eating at home because they are concerned about eating healthy and saving money. Like I say in Fabulicious!, “garbage in, garbage out”—it’s important to cook with quality ingredients.
Your girls look very much at home in the kitchen. Do they all enjoy cooking? What tip do you have for encouraging other moms to get their kids into the kitchen?
They love to cook! Whenever I am cooking they pull up their chairs and are curious to see what I’m doing. Their curiosity makes me think that all of my girls will embrace our family’s tradition of cooking. I feel it’s important for parents to involve their children in the kitchen, especially if they’re picky eaters, because if kids are part of making their meals they will be more likely to eat what they have made.
You’ve said that you didn’t really start cooking until after you were married. Does your family like to tease you with any Teresa-the-non-cook stories now that you are such an accomplished and celebrated cook?
When I first got married I tried really hard to impress my husband with cooking in the kitchen. I would make all of these complicated gourmet meals with tons of ingredients. And after hours of cooking they didn’t even taste good. My husband, Joe, would tell me “Teresa, you’re trying too hard, cook how we grew up eating.” And that’s when I started really collecting our family’s recipes which became Skinny Italian and Fabulicious!.