Posted by: pendrops | March 25, 2007



“Everyone has a story.”
Neil LaBute, director

A few nights ago, I found myself smack dab in the middle of one of those rare, sweet moments; I possessed sole control of the remote. I had just finished dinner and was guiltlessly flipping, lingering on chick flicks, HGTV, and the Cosby Show. Then, involuntarily, I clicked channel 65.

And there she was.

That beaming Miss America smile. That sassy Italian flare when using words like ricotta and prosciutto. That inherent ability to cook decadent and stylish cuisine with ease.

I rolled my eyes at Giada De Laurentiis. The woman is just about everything I’d like to be – and it’s sickening! An Italian beauty. A flawless chef. And, just tell me, is it weird if I mention her perfectly perky curves?

Anywho, all this to say, I’ve been totally jealous of Giada, oftentimes masking my green monster by mocking the way she looks into the camera, pinches her fingers in front of her face, and brags that her Mascarpone Marsala sauce is “sooooo good.” (My response, a little childish, I know.)

So there I was, face to face with Giada and her “Chefography,” the story of how she came to be a Food Network celebrity. However, as I learned about her life, the paths she took, the hardships she endured, something unexpected happened. My heart broke a little.

I listened to her close friends and family share memories and snapshots of her life, and I smiled. I even got tears in my eyes a few times. Her story looked strangely familiar, a little like my own. By the end, I so related to her strengths, weaknesses, successes and hard knocks that I found myself feeling like we could very well be friends. Even sisters. (Of course, she would be the quintessential older sister with shiny hair, a year-round tan and a size C cup.)

Nevertheless, after the show ended, I muted the TV from the onslaught of obnoxious commercials and sat in silence on my couch. And my heart broke a little more, this time at my misplaced judgments, my uncalled-for pride, my bitter envy. But from the cracks, blooms of mercy and humility pushed their way through.

It’s profound, what happens when we learn someone’s story, when we take a minute to die to self, get a little humble, and listen – really listen – to the sweet and bitter strains of their lives. Assumptions deteriorate. Pride crumbles. Even our own defenses fall. And compassion, acceptance, even beauty replaces our insecurities, our need to be right, and all the things we thought were so true about someone.

Now if I could only get my hands on the biographies of Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and J. Lo…



  1. How true…

    I’ve heard it once said… if you want to be interesting, be interested.

    The more we seek to know one another’s stories, the more insteresting we become to others and the more they want to know our stories.

  2. oh, i love food network! i saw rachael ray’s story… good as well.

  3. I am SO ready for a cook-off against Bobby Flay. No one can touch my toasted Ezekiel Bread all-natural peanut butter & grape jelly spread sandwich.


  4. with that description, I think it’s better that no one can touch that sandwich, else someone might touch it, and then where would they be?

  5. Mine was the talented and beautiful Semi Homemade Sandra Lee!
    I just loved her kitchen decor, her great food and beauty.
    Then, I saw her ography about her sad childhood. She worked hard for her successes and deserves them. I’m thankful I was also humbled by the Food Network, who knew!

  6. After while you realize people are people. We’re all unique in our personalities, but every one of us at one point in our lives was a 5 year old kid. All of us somewhere down the line have been in love. All these shared experiences link us together.

    We’ve all had “sweet and bitter strains” and when we keep that in mind while talking to someone, we don’t even have to know a person’s story to have compassion for them.

    Always remember, none of us are half as mysterious as we think we are!

  7. WOW! Paula Dean is my true inspiration! The trials and tribulations in her past were more than what most people see in a lifetime, yet she overcame them and pressed forward to become the woman she is today! I was always a little envious of her southern drawl, her Savannah lifestyle, and her beautiful kitchen, and then I read her bio (and had watched it on the Food Network, as well) and realized she had fought the hard fight to stand where she stands today…IN THE MOST BEAUTIFUL KITCHEN IN THE SOUTH! Ha-ha! Honestly, her story inspired me, humbled me, and touched my heart!

  8. Krista,

    I too watched her biography that night, unknown to us we watched it together! I love Giada and enjoy cooking her recipes! I completely understand every emotion you expressed and I too enjoyed hearing her friends and family speak about her. She seems truly as beautiful inside as she is on the outside! So refreshing!!!

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