Giada De Laurentiis Wrote a Children’s Book—and So Did These Famous Chefs

09/12/2013 at 09:00 AM ET
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Inset: Amanda Edwards/WireImage

Can we stow away with the main characters in Giada De Laurentiis‘ new series of easy-reader chapter books?

In every Recipe for Adventure title, siblings Emilia and Alfie teleport into the world’s best food cities, where they make new pals and learn about Naples pizza, Parisian pastries and more. “Very few kids get the opportunity to travel around the world, to have those kinds of adventures. But what’s beautiful about children—and I see this in my daughter [Jade, 5]—is their sense of amazement, and openness, and their ability to step inside the world of a story, to really live inside it,” De Laurentiis tells PEOPLE. Each book ends with two kid-friendly recipes printed on glossy, tear-out cards.

Inset: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

If you wish your kids would trade French fries for green beans, read them Lidia Bastianich‘s charming story of five brothers and sisters going to the farmer’s market with their grandma, Nonni Lidia—followed by 19 pages of recipes little ones can lend a hand with. Nonna’s Birthday Surprise, Bastianich’s second children’s book, drills home the message that fresh food is the best food. “As a child, I helped my grandmother grow and cook the seasonal food we ate, and I explored it by picking, peeling, touching, tasting and smelling,” Bastianich tells PEOPLE. “As my grandchildren grow into adults, I want to continue to share these food stories with the next generations of children to come so they may understand, and live in harmony with their food.” Where can we get our own Nonni Lidia?

Inset: Robin Marchant/Getty

“Being a good cook is sort of like being  a superhero. Good food can save the day!” announces the chef in Tyler Florence‘s latest children’s book, Tyler Makes Spaghetti! Like Florence’s first book, Tyler Makes Pancakes!, this tome stars a cartoon pup named Tofu and his owner (Tyler, of course). Tyler and Tofu pay a visit to Chef Lorenzo, the chef at Tyler’s family’s favorite restaurant, to learn how to make spaghetti—until Tofu wears out his welcome by eating too many meatballs. We feel you, Tofu! Help your kids follow Florence’s spaghetti and meatballs recipe, included at the end of the book.

Inset: Gilles Mingasson

Our pre-teen heads were so buried in The Baby-Sitters Club, we missed this one completely: Half children’s story, half beginner’s cookbook, ’90s title Fanny at Chez Panisse looks at Alice Waters‘ legendary Berkeley restaurant—the true pioneer in the farm-to-table movement—through the eyes of seven-year-old Fanny (Waters’ real-life daughter). Through Fanny’s funny adventures, kids will learn about everything from farmers to composting, before diving into 46 recipes. Making Alice Waters’ gingersnaps: way better than trying to wrangle friends into your own (client-less) sitters club.

FILED UNDER: Giada DeLaurentiis , Kids

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Gina Catone on

Giada did not write these children’s books. Where would she find the time!

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With the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, there are tons of new cases on the market to keep those shiny new phones safe from drops.

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