Lidia Bastianich’s New Cookbook ‘A Pot, A Pan, and A Bowl’ Pays Touching Tribute to Her Mother, ‘Grandma’

Renowned Italian-American chef Lidia Bastianich has written several cookbooks with themes ranging from the best of Italian cuisine, to popular recipes from her flagship restaurant Felidia, and even a collection of the recipes that defined her family’s move from Italy to the United States.

Bastianich’s most recent publication, co-authored with her daughter Tanya, is Lidia’s a Pot, a Pan, and a Bowl, placing the focus on cooking vessels: baking dishes, casseroles, and pots. With easy and delicious recipes for everyone, the PBS culinary star even gives the Instant Pot its day in the sun in her new collection.

As well, the celebrity chef offers a sweet tribute in the cookbook to the lady who made it all possible, her mother Erminia who died in early 2021, known with affection by her family — and viewers — as “Grandma.”

Celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich
Celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich | Ben Hider/Getty Images

Bastianich’s new book is for ‘everybody, even beginners’

As with her other recipe collections, the Queens, New York resident offers accessible, easy-to-follow recipes. In the case of Lidia’s a Pot, a Pan, and a Bowl, it’s all about simplifying the cooking and baking process for cooks at every level using just one pot, one pan, or one bowl. It scratches busy modern cooks where they itch.

In the chef’s conversation with The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, she explained that the cookbook is “for everybody, even the beginners” and features recipes for the dishes many cooks lean on day in and day out with eggs, soups, salads, pastas, risottos, pizzas, seafood, meat, poultry, and of course, desserts.

“It was fun,” she told the outlet, “to be able to use my years of experience in a commercial kitchen and traveling and synthesize it down to a simple baking pan that everyone can relate to.” 

The chef’s loving nod to her late mother

Not far from the chef’s thoughts is her late mother, Erminia, who died at age 100 in 2021. Viewers had gotten to know “Grandma,” her encouraging presence on Bastianich’s various PBS programs, and the way she would many times show up to dip bread into whatever sauce her daughter had been preparing. As keenly as the audience feels her absence, for Bastianich and her family, of course, it’s an immense loss.

“The years 2020/2021 have been hard for all of us,” Bastianich wrote in the book’s Introduction. “But for me it has been especially hard losing my dear mother. Grandma Erminia, who you all loved, turned 100 in January 2021 and passed in February 2021. I could not ask for more; we lived life together for quite a few years. Nonetheless, it is hard not having her around to share memories and recipes, give me advice, and be my official taster and critic. For me, she still resonates in every recipe, aroma, and flavor in our kitchen.”

Bastianich’s own favorite one-pot meals

As for the author’s own preferred one-pot dishes? For her, it all depends on the time of year and the produce and items that are available. As she told Parade, she couldn’t narrow it down to just one: “My favorites are dictated by the seasons, but some of them include Vegetable Soup with Poached Egg, Beer Braised Short Ribs; Breakfast Risotto; Fried Potatoes with Sausages and Eggs; Shrimp Swiss Chard and Potato Salad. The Breakfast Risotto and the Fried Potato recipes are particularly delicious AND economical.”

Lidia’s a Pot, a Pan, and a Bowl is available now wherever books are sold. As the Lidia’s Italy host said so perfectly, “It’s the must-have volume that focuses on simplicity and the Lidia classics.”