There are little jokes at the beginning of the book to describe my crazy life, that's it. The majority of the book is a big love letter to my family (and the Manzos and Lauritas who I called my family on the first page) and lots of DELICIOUS recipes. My dishes are part of the Mediterranean diet, so they're healthy, inexpensive, easy to make, and reuse the same ingredients. (And I'm not just saying that, it got great reviews in Publisher's Weekly and lots of other places.)
Again, I dedicated it to my brother and his family, and I included beautiful pictures of all my in-laws and nieces and nephews, including Melissa and Joey and their kids. I never mentioned Melissa by name in any jokes; I actually have three younger sister-in-laws. It's a generic joke: little sisters copy big sisters. Big sisters don't always love it. I never mentioned Kathy or Richie by name, I have lots of cousins and most of them do tell bad jokes. I don't know why they assumed I was talking about them. I talk about my father, my father-in-law, my great-grandmother, my great-grandfather, my friends, my friends' kids, celebrities, even The Little Mermaid. Why they think they were singled out, I don't know.
You've watched us all for three years now make joke after joke on the show. We make fun of ourselves and we tease each other. No one does it more than the Manzos -- I think that's what makes them fun to watch. Last year the Manzos, Wakiles and Gorgas made fun of Skinny Italian, my intelligence, my kids, my swimsuits, my house, my voice, my husband, and a million other things. On national TV in front of millions of people. It's cool. I know they're jokes and I know they love me. That's how we ALL are. Why suddenly are my tiny jokes in my second cookbook only so upsetting to everyone? How come everyone laughs when Richie "jokes" that he would "burn that bitch on a stake" (meaning me), but my "jokes" are so over-the-line that everyone is upset? I don't get it.
The only other thing I want to address is my conversation on the beach with my brother.
I don't know if you have a brother or what you talk about, but we have always shared our concerns with each other. Whenever Joey has heard something around town about my husband, he's told me. I would never repeat it to my Joe, because there would be no point, it would just cause problems with my husband and my brother. And I know my brother is only telling me things out of love to protect me. That's what siblings do. You have private conversations. I have always done the same with Joey.