Giada De Laurentiis hopes children will like her new book series of adventure tales.
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 9
Where: North Central College, Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton
Tickets: Tickets are required; available for purchase at Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville
Info: (630) 355-2665;
Updated: September 5, 2013 12:18PM
Giada De Laurentiis wants to broaden your child’s mind, and your child’s palate.
The bestselling cookbook author, host of the Food Network’s “Everyday Italian” and “Giada at Home,” and soon-to-be owner of a new Las Vegas restaurant, is adding children’s book author to her long resume.
“My motivation was really to bring to the forefront the way I grew up and the passion we have as Italians and Italian culture, like a lot of ethnic cultures do, for family and for food,” De Laurentiis said.
On Sept., the first two of her “Recipe for Adventure” books for readers 7 to 11 years old were released. De Laurentiis will be speaking, answering questions and signing the books Sept. 9 in Naperville, in an event sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshops.
The books are centered around the globe-trotting adventures of siblings Alfie and Emilia Bertolizzi. With the help of the mysterious Zia Donatella (modeled after De Laurentiis’ Aunt Raffy), the Bertolizzis travel to famous food cities.
Bites of fluffy zeppole — balls of sugar-and-spice coated fried dough — transport the characters to Naples, a food city she associates closely with her own childhood. Hot chocolate seasoned with a small pinch of cayenne pepper lands them in Paris.
Food is more affordable than plane tickets to Europe, De Laurentiis said.
“There are so many things to explore but a lot of people don’t get to travel to different countries,” she said. “It’s a vehicle for mind travel.”
Born in Rome, De Laurentiis moved as a child to Southern California. Her family traveled extensively, and books were her constant companion on these trips.
She realized her daughter Jade, 5, held the same fascination for stories of other cultures through her interest in the “Dora the Explorer” series.
“She loves adventure, as a lot of kids do,” De Laurentiis aid. “Dora would go to different places. Dora speaks a different language and eats different types of food. I realized that was something I was fascinated with when I was a kid.”
Each book comes with two recipe cards, though the recipes do call for adult supervision. An easy, safe way to involve children in meal preparation is to let them pick out a recipe in a cookbook, the celebrity chef says.
“[Jade] surprises me sometimes with the ingredients she wants to play with,” De Laurentiis said. “She picked out Japanese sushi at one point because the picture was really cool, but when we went to make it she didn’t like it.”
De Laurentiis said she rolls with it.
“I’ll eat it, and it’s good for her to understand what she is doing,” she said.