Field Report:
Giada De Laurentiis Book Signing, Borders Book Store, Novi, MI
Rosie, Dancing Queen, PandaCat

Hutties of all ages have a hard time staying out of bookstores, so on a bookstore run a couple of weeks ago we happened to notice some flyers at the checkout announcing the appearance of Giada De Laurentiis to promote the companion cookbook to her Food Network show Everyday Italian. Foodies and collectors of Food TV host autographed cookbooks that we are, here was an opportunity to expand our collection and see the pretty and perky Giada. Noting it in our busy calendar, we made plans to attend the signing on the Friday evening.

School, work, and world events came together to make it a very rough week not only for us, but much of the world. Still life goes on, scheduled activities continue. As tired as we all were, we thought attending the book signing would be an enjoyable way to end the week and swing wrung out emotions back upward.

We arrived a little over an hour ahead of the scheduled starting time with our pre-purchased copies of Giada's book and received the color coded flyer indicating that we would be in the first group called to line up for autographs after her short talk and question and answer session. It was a good thing we got there when we did. We were able to get front row seats in the area set aside, but those seats filled up fast. By the time Giada arrived, there must have been 300 people there!

On her show you can see that she is very slender and gorgeous. How can she possibly be Italian and love to eat and look like that? The green-eyed monster rears its ugly head ...

Although she has a famous last name, she did not set out to become a star in her own right. Born in Rome and raised in southern California, Giada is the granddaughter of famous movie producer Dino De Laurentiis. She attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and worked in a number of restaurants including Wolfgang Puck's Spago before striking out on her own in the catering business.

The Food Network spotted her in an article about her family's holiday celebrations in a food magazine and the rest, as they say, is history. She uses a few simple ingredients to create delicious meals that she shares with real friends — not hired actors — at the end of her shows.

Back to the 300 of us who showed up for her book signing ...

She arrived accompanied by a handler and a Borders employee who introduced her. In person, she is quite tiny — only 5'1" or 5'2" at most (sometimes all but hidden by the microphone stand) — and even more slight than she looks on TV, but just as bubbly. That bathrobe of a sweater she wore, though did not enhance her appearance, but she still managed to look pretty. She had the same wide smile she flashes from the TV screen and from the cover of her book. She looked a little tired, and who wouldn't be at the pace those book promotion tours go. But she seemed genuinely happy to be out and about meeting her fans.

She spent about 20 or 25 minutes answering all sorts of questions from the audience, ranging from how to get invited to appear at the gatherings at the end of her show, to what kinds of things she liked to cook with the kids who have appeared with her (relatives, and friends of relatives), to who designed the fancy aprons she wears on the show. They are designed by her husband, who designs for an upscale boutique called Anthropology — clever of her to work that plug in too, no?

(By the way, Giada is a newly-wed, having recently wed a Michigan native!)

Her handler signaled that it was time to move on to the signing portion of the evening and she took her seat at the table while the audience lined up according to the color order of the slips we had been issued earlier. The slips indicated that no posed photos would be allowed, but that went out the window as soon as she started signing the books. She graciously posed for all who asked. Each book had been marked with a Post-it note on her preferred signing page with the names we wanted inscribed so the process proceeded smoothly and we got our copies signed within 15 minutes.

She mentioned that she will begin working on her next book — the theme will be the subject of entertaining — as soon as she finishes this book tour and gets some more shows done for Food Network. You can be sure that if she comes back to our area, we'll make a point of seeing her again.

Disclaimer: All contents are personal observations, and no profit or lucre is expected, solicited, advocated or paid by anyone, including those being observed. This is all just for fun. Any comments, please e-mail the author or WOOKIEEhut directly. Flames will be ignored. This report may not be posted anywhere without the author's knowledge, consent, and permission.