In 2010, I began writing Fabulicious! Teresa's Family Cookbook. I had just filmed a Housewives scene with Caroline and Jacqueline and cried, telling them how they were my family too. And Caroline and I appeared on the Rachael Ray show together for a meatball "throw down." We were supposed to good-naturedly "trash talk" each other. Caroline said I had to "disguise my meatballs with gravy," and that her meatballs were going to "kick my meatballs’ butts!" I literally couldn't think of any fake insults for her except, "A meatball without sauce? Who does that?" Then one of the Rachael Ray producers came up with a line I thought was pretty funny, "Caroline's as Italian as the Olive Garden." The idea was that since I was conceived in Italy and Italian is my first language, that I cook the traditional way. Caroline's family is Italian-American, like the Olive Garden, and that's how she cooks. I bake my meatballs in sauce; she fries her with no sauce. You can still see the actual quote on Rachael Ray's site. Caroline and I laughed throughout the show, it was really fun. It aired twice in May 2010 and Sept 2010.
Writing the introduction to Fabulicious! I talked about the Rachael Ray meatball challenge because I was including my meatball recipe for the first time. I made a lot of Olive Garden jokes in Skinny Italian, so it made sense to repeat the Caroline Olive Garden joke from Rachael Ray. But I explained that the joke was from the Rachael Ray show, and I immediately said that while I'm not a huge fan of the Olive Garden, "I am, however, a huge fan of Caroline Manzo." Even though it was already on national TV and out there for six months, I never heard a single word from Caroline about not liking that joke, so I thought it was OK. A couple months later, when the publisher asked if I wanted to put any friend pictures in my FAMILY cookbook, I said yes, just one. The very next page has a huge, full-color, gorgeous shot of me and Caroline at Audriana's christening. She's the only friend in my family cookbook. I did it to honor her. (I would be honored if someone put a pretty picture of me in their cookbook.) Underneath the picture, I wrote the caption: "Me with another famous Italian mom, Caroline Manzo." How much more clear can I be that I think she's Italian and fabulous and I love her?
As for "insulting" her kids? On page 13, I say Albie and Christopher Manzo are "adorable." The end.
Now in Chapter 2, my girls wanted to "take over" the cookbook and talk for themselves (which is really funny, especially Milania's part!). To introduce it (and to keep readers interested like I do throughout the book with my subtitles: KY-Not, Slapping the Salami, Knead Me...) I called the section: "Giudice Girls Gone Wild." I then said: "If you just thought about a certain practically pornographic video series, then shame on you! This is a family cookbook! Unlike some of the other Housewives, I do not condone young girls stripping to bring in business to a car wash, old ladies in hot pants climbing up a pole to bring their sexy back, or videotaping yourself in any state of undress at any time. I'm old-school." I was referring to all the crazy things other people did PUBLICLY on Season 2 that I don't want MY YOUNG DAUGHTERS doing. I'm not judging the adults for their choices. It's just not what I want for my girls. Yes, Christopher Manzo wanted to be an adult car wash king. Good for him. Mama Manzo was so proud. I don't have a boy. I don't know how I'd feel about it if my son wanted to do that. I only have daughters, and I'm sorry, I do not want them working at a strip car wash. If you're an adult and you do that, great. It's just not my goal for my kids. Kim G. and Danielle went to a stripper class. Good for them. I don't want my girls to do that. Jacqueline talked about Danielle's "sex tape," and how she had filmed herself in the past. I said on camera I never had, and again, it's not something I want my girls to do.