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For Lidia Fans.. but not as useful as could be
on February 7, 2010
If you are a fan of Lidia B. ( I always misspell her last name) the NY restaurateur and celebrity chef on PBS, you'll probably want to get this DVD which combines highlights of her series called "Lidia's Italy". Each of the televised shows covered a complete meal from appetizer to dessert. Here the producers re-edited it so you get a grouping of appetizer, then entrees and then desserts. You can watch Lidia change her clothes - or even try to match three courses by remembering what she wore! - as you go through the courses. There are brief scenes of regions of Italy as Lidia tells you where a certain dish originated.
Unlike many TV celebrity chefs, Lida is not big on providing details. When she says "we'll add a little butter" it can be a half-stick or a half-pound. A "little olive oil" can vary a lot. As for cooking times, they are rarely given and the show is not presented in real time. "Let's put in the oven until cooked" is a typical comment. (To be fair the DVD does have the recipes as .pdf files to print out but watching her doesn't always show you how to do it.).
Most of the recipes are what Lidia calls "simple" but you may not have just two sage leaves lying around. And the baked apples are a bit more complicated because you need to make a cherry sauce as well as a chocolate sauce. (None of her dishes is low in calories or fat; I warn you.)
I did have to laugh as we got to what has to be the simplest recipe here. It's called "sausage with grapes". Ready for Lydia's recipe? Here it is:
1. Brown Italian link sausages in a frying pan
2. Add some green grapes and continue cooking
3. Place on a plate and serve
Yep, that's it! For this you need her to demonstrate it?
So, its an entertaining video, but not as useful as it could be. Again, if you know and love Lidia, you'll want this to relive the episodes you remember. I watch her periodically and enjoy her NY restaurants, especially Becco - the pasta one - but I probably won't revisit this DVD very much as I do with Julia Child's classic DVDs.