children’s music class

I just popped in to my neighborhood book store to get some books for Vivien.  I do my very best not to buy books online from the place that rhymes with parmesan and go to our locally owned small book store full of charm and questionable profit models.  I was clearly doing the right thing because in the back of the store they had a toddler music class going on.See, a store in the community cares about community.  I smiled.  Transported to those years,  not that long ago when I took my children to music classes.  Sitting a in a circle with an earnest adult playing guitar.   ( sidebar, there was one kid there who looked about 5 or 6 and I thought if I brought Rex to something like that now I’d be a victim of matricide).

With my first kid I trucked all over for little kiddo classes.  I thought it was good for her.  Was it?  Good for me!  Naw, truth is if you stay home and don’t stress that they fell asleep for a nap right before you get to the class you spent $200 on it’s easier on mom.

So, when Rex came along I was wiser and poorer so I did my own music class.  It turned out great!


The Italian Tampon

As I’ve written about we we lucky to go to Italy this summer.  What can you say about Italy that hasn’t already been said?  The food is sublime, the language is beautiful.  Contribution to the art world is deep.  The lifestyle, the wine!  Bellissimo.

However on my trip there was one Italian thing I did struggle with.  This is my story

Prosaic adventures in Italy

More on that Europe thing. No, not the humanitarian crisis, just my little trip.. right before the pudding hit the fan.  There are the instagramable moments when you travel abroad, but there are more that are not.  So often travel is more about all the little bits inbetween the “Hey Facebook friends, look where we are” moments.

So, beside Milan expo we stayed in a villa ( we were lucky to be asked to be there) North of Milan in the Lombardy region.  The first 3 days we were very jet lagged and their was a wicked heat wave. jet lagged with kids So despite the fact that we were in Italy. We barely moved.  The kids and I in particular stayed low and I perfected my Cacio de pepe.  ( buttery spaghetti with parmesan and black pepper)italy with kids


I did spend a fair amount of time in Italian grocery stores.  Most excitedly I learned there Rex is a supermarket tycoon!  Rex supermarkets in Italy

The non fancy grocery stores have such nicer food than we have in US markets.  They don’t have has large a variety, but what they have is great.  Fresh pasta galore, great meats, Vitello tonnato at the ready.  Yum.  They do organize things differently.  We were all confused that toilet paper and paper towels where on opposite sides of the store.  To us, it’s all paper.  To them they probably think, oh, gross, why put your hand towels next to butt towels.

Because of heat and jet lag I wanted to lay low the first day, but had to rally. Mark and I and his business partner needed to go to a chef event associated with the expo.  My luggage had been lost (found a day later) so I borrowed my sister in laws shoes and dress.  My feet are smaller so combined with cobblestone sidewalk I went down.  Hard.  A kind woman came running up as I lay spread eagled on the ground and she asked in English “Are you okay?  Do you need some water?”

Are American’s known klutzses? Is that why she spoke English?

We naively drove and drove around the expo for about an hour looking in vain for a place to park.   Well laid out highways, big, new asphalt parking lots.  But, no room at the inn for us.  This is a “sustainable” event which made parking unattainable.  We were told by guards the only parking must be made by reservation online.   I thought, oh, but SURELY, like would happen in the States, there is some scrappy entrepeneur who will flag us down and sell us a space on his brother in laws lawn for $40  ( exactly what happened to me once when I tried to go to a Trojan game).  After an hour we would have paid anything.  We couldn’t figure it out.  We finally sort park/abandoned it in a corporate area, and grabbed a cab.  Luckily we weren’t towed. When we got to the Expo I blabbed to every English speaking Italian I could pigeon hole “what’s with making parking so hard?  Why is no one trying to turn a buck here?”

They shrugged, “It isn’t done.” (one of those I am so AMERICAN moments)

The next time we went we made a reservation, but the parking was more than a mile away with Rex’s little legs and my little crankiness it was not ideal

parking for expo milano

now this is a parking structure!

The third time was the charm  I searched and searched online and found a parking lot that promised a shuttle to the expo.  When we finally found the lot it looked like it was semi abandoned space ( good I thought, it’s these kind of areas that have reasonable priced parking.) Manned by two immigrants… I think East Asians (Yes, scrappy Immigrants, this is what I’m use to).  “Where is the shuttle?” Over there they kept gesturing.  Apparently,
“shuttle” must be Italian toward “walk that way”.  We used our divine trust in enterprising immigrants and walked.

Seriously, this is the way to the big international event?

Seriously, this is the way to the big international event?

It looked like we were headed toward a freeway.  But, lo and behold, once we rounded the top of the ramp.  There was the entrance to the expo! Eureka.

When the heat broke we did explore Lombardy.  Major highlights:  A cooking class with a real down home Italian chef.  A wonderful woman named Giovanna.  I highly recommend her class if you are ever in the area and in general it’s a great thing to do so that you feel connected to where you are.  cooking class in lombardyOur group of family was a diverse group of professional chef, Mark to Vivien, to a friend of my niece who can’t boil water.  We all enjoyed it and learned.  The great thing too about cooking is while there was a language barrier between our teacher and us, it didn’t matter.  We spoke a different language.

Watch out Food world.  Vivien was very good

Watch out Food world. Vivien was very good

Then we sat in her lovely garden and ate the food, drank wine.  Perfecto.

Our day in Lake Como was also a perk.  So many places in Italy are over run with tourists but not here.  We took a boat up and down the lake.lake como with kidsThe wind, the light rain starting as we looked out on the vista. It was exhilarating.  Everyone always looks better with a wind machine. mark and daphne in italy

But, you look even better as an action star! how to be an action star

Speaking of stars.Yes, I did see George Clooney’s house. But, I’m not saying where it is.  I’m a degree away from someone who once stayed there.

I said how I wished we’d find a good wine store.  Mark found an enoteca online.  Charming place that gave me MANY tastes. enoteca in lake como I wanted to take some wine back to the house where we were staying with many others, but I didn’t want to schlep back to the car.  Then they said one of the workers could bike it back to our car.  Oh, well, then I’ll buy a case.

Vivien guards  the wine

Vivien guards to the wine

When it comes to wine I’m an old world sipper.  The California wines that were big, bold, oaky, buttery 1990’s wines.. NO thanks.  I’ll take a dry, crisp, mineral vino.  I like Italian wines.. but I LOVE French wines.  Of course, lot’s of California wines have improved since the old buttery days.

Another moment when I felt my Americanist come over is when I was driving in Italy.  Stick of course, small, winding roads.  Our Tom-tom would say every few Seconds “make a right in 400 meters, go around the roundabout, make a left in 500 meters, make a right in 300 meters, go around the roundabout.”  I think round abouts a great idea, but I was muttering, Ah, my kindgdom to just be able to gun it down a long straight away!  The 101 heading into Ventura!  The other problem with the small, windy roads was some of us got car sick.  Then I’m trying to spot from the road what looks like the “Italian Target” so I can get a change of clothes for the sickie.

Yeah, I guess there are moments that are not instagramable.


When your child makes you realize you are as dumb as dirt

He, he, this cracks me up.. I’m humbled all the time being a mom, but never more then when my kids ask me questions that I cannot answer.  Have you been there?  I’m sure you have.  Vivien is now a 5th grader, but I know I’m not smarter than a 5th grader, I was falling behind years ago.  Combined with my spotty, progressive ’70’s education it’s a wonder I’m walking upright.

Labor day fun

I hope you got to watch the Season Finale of Daphne Dishes.  Backyard Camping.  Check out recipes here.  It was great to make the 13 episodes for season 2 and I worked with such lovely people.  Everyone was super kind and supportive of my kids which is was my first priority.

crew photo

crew photo


shooting Daphne Dishes

shooting Daphne Dishes


friend and Production assistant takes my kids to school

friend and Production assistant takes my kids to school

My kids are good sports about having a wacky mom who has a camera enter their home at regular intervals.  First for Coolmom and Momversation and now Daphne Dishes.  They are use to people being in our home and are happy to see them when they return.

kitchen crew Daphne Dishes

kitchen crew Daphne Dishes

You can’t do this alone!  Food Producer Tim Macklin, Food stylist David Domedion ( who also works with Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond), Food stylist Sarah Blair.  They make the food look pretty for beauties and help me figure out how to make things look better, taste better from my original idea.  For example: I make something and it’s not quite right to me.  We all stick our spoons in it, “needs more honey, needs a bit of lime juice, no, I think it’s fine, etc”  While the camera folk are standing around waiting for us to make up our mind.  We had a tight schedule for season 2 and Mark was busy with Bombo opening so Sarah and I worked form 10 to 8 every day a for a week before shooting testing recipes.  Some were not finalized till we were on set.  Tim always let Rex play a game on his phone when he asked.  Sarah was very motherly to the kids.  Nice people.

I like to work with people I’ve worked with before.  So our second camera was Chung Ming Huang, who shot some of my best Cool mom Vids and even made a cameo once

Make up  and hair artist Crystal Bernal ( oh I wish I could the braids she can do) and Brittany Merideth, stylist Lauren Francis.  I worked with them all at TV Guide Channel.  Lauren has dressed me, skinny, fat, pregnant, not pregnant, crying after my dad’s death, inbetween nursing.  She is unflappable and always sees me prettier than I see myself.  Which is nice when you are getting naked in front of people! Lauren always let Vivien be her assistant when she came home from school.  Viv has an eye!  Vivien hates getting her hair cut, but one day she allowed Crystal to give her a trim.

with stylist Lauren Francis

with stylist Lauren Francis..I’m doing my mean look




producer of daphne dishes


Our super sweet producer Craig Anderson of Concentric.  He took us out to dinner the day we shot our last shot for Season 2.  Food Network had me meet a few producers when we were figuring out this show and I picked Craig.  He has a very warm vibe, he is a dad and was gentle with all of us as he helped me loosen up and be myself doing the hardest hosting I’ve ever done.  Cooking and talk to camera is more difficult than it looks!

typical exchange when we worked on the pilot

“what are you doing?”



“so it blends, so it doesn’t burn”

“Say that to camera”


“smile when you talk”


“does this make you think of something.”

“um.. um “

“did your mom make you this?”

“Oh, no she never made she would make..”

“Okay, tell us that story.”



I do my thing

Craig, “That was great!”

Me: “it was?”


impossible to get a screen grab where I don't look crazy. Hazards of an expressive nature

impossible to get a screen grab where I don’t look crazy. Hazards of an expressive nature

So, obviously I hope we are back for more.  I have lot’s of recipes riffing off stuff I tasted in Europe and just fooling around as I slowly got my colon back in order.  Thanks to all the folks who watch and gave us nice tweets and such.  Keep going back and look up recipes.  I know I do!   If you missed any the shows are on itunes.

For those of you who are just finding my site through the show here is one of my more successful and madcap videos.  It’s sort of  food.. muffin.. except, not.  Happy cooking.

colon diaries

I know what you are thinking, Daphne, how is your colon?

As some of you may recall while filming season 2 of Daphne Dishes for the Food Network ( Oh, Please food god let their be a season 3, pls, pls pls) I was hit with a bowel tornado.  As I made delicious food that I eventually couldn’t swallow it was found that I had C-diff.  A perfect storm of too many antibiotics and picking a germ that KILLED the good bacteria in my gut.  It lead to some misadventures like getting locked in a bathroom at UCLA hospital.

you would never know, but this was the day it hit.  Filming Daphne Dishes at Santa Monica Pier "Food that scare you"

you would never know, but this was the day it hit. Filming Daphne Dishes at Santa Monica Pier “Food that scare you”

So, 3 rounds of medication later I’m about to set sail ( fly) to Italy.  Again, I prayed, “Please let me eat in Italy, pls, pls, pls) Maybe it was the meds, the chinese herb tea, the acupuncture, the begging, the mediterranean heat, but I did well.  I did not need to rush to the Toilet, I did not have super grinding pain.  I had some pain with beef, cheese and more pain with raw vegi’s.

So, lucky me I enjoyed the trip.  Now, when I come back I see the specialist I had booked months ago.  He is a big booster of the fecal transplant.   So, get this.  A company has monetized crap. It goes and finds the best crap. Tests it for bad…stuff.. then freezes it. So if I were to get this done, if the C-diff returns, I would have a colonoscopy and this ice cube of crap would be put deep into my intestine.  It is said to work very well.

In October this same company has a new pill coming out basically full of crap.  I would have to go to the doctors office, take 30 pills with lots of water. Then come back the next day and do it again.  So, swallow someone’s doo, or have it put in my back side.

For, now I don’t have to decide as I’m mending. (pls,pls, pls)

By the way, all those who tell you to lose weight by not eating carbs?  Bread was virtually the only thing I could eat with C-diff for weeks. I lost 10 diet since I got sick and I’ve  I knew that was … crap.

getting use to back to school

The last couple of days I’ve been running into parents from our school and the chatter is something like this:

“Did you have a good summer?”

“Yes, but I am so ready for them to go back!!”

I had just started to sort of feel like that as I grabbed Rex by the top of his hair so he wouldn’t hit me or Vivien.  But, now that they ARE BACK in school I have to get use to it.

I came home and spent hours trying to get a relative enrolled in Medicare part D.  Woo-hoo.  Just like having an affair with a yoga instructor.

Finding my back to school life reminded me of a video I once did… ( cue back in time music)

back to school photo

Of course I’m going to post a picture of my kids going back to school.

Rex 1st grade!

Vivien 5th grade.. hate how that is the last year of elementary school now.

I’m glad I will able to work uninterrupted and go to a couple of yoga classes, but the return of frantic time is not great.  I like sleeping in till 8am with Rex snuggling next to me.  Not the frantic dash and the battle over lunch.

“I’m making you the ham sandwich you liked last week.”

“I don’t want it”

“I can make you the pasta you liked?”

” I don’t want that”

“Then you are having hot lunch”

“what is it?”

” pizza”

” I don’t want it.”

I have warned them this year, tough, if you don’t like the first choice I give you eat hot lunch and deal with it.  I like the lunch fine.  Way better than when I was in school pealing back the foil top, steamy something up my nose.

So yeah, I love seeing everyone’s kids in their back to school best and seeing how much bigger they are.  But, parent’s need their own back to school pic.

So, here is my back to school pic.moms back to school


“We are going to be late, hurry up,  I don’t want to get a tardy,  Cody got out.  Rex, find your shoes!  Vivien you are lollygagging.”


What would yours look like??


Home from Epic trip

I didn’t think we would be able to take a trip like this. perfect italian villa But, certain forces conspired to help us have an Epic European trip.

Look ma I'm in front of the Duomo in Milan, oh yeah Ma, you are taking the picture

Look ma I’m in front of the Duomo in Milan, oh yeah Ma, you are taking the picture

I’m going to pick out one part today.

My darling husband spoke at the USA Pavilion about dining trends in the USA,front of usa pavilionedible garden at usa pavillion

My wife told me to wear this shirt, wait that's not what I was talking about!

My wife told me to wear this shirt, wait that’s not what I was talking about!

at the Milan Expo. In THE Milan, you know, the one in Italy.  By the way the Expo is an underated attraction. Sure there are some odd translations here and there, but it’s a coming together of countries across the globe to entertain, feed and educate the world… well, mostly Italians in this case, but I felt really lucky to get to be one of the people there. This is what the world’s fairs of old have morphed into. Remember “Meet me in St Louis”?  This was Meet me in Milan.  Every five years a country hosts and the host country picks the theme.  Last time it was China and the subject was “Clean Cities”.  Which I know if very important, but sounds as sexy as a flushing toilet.  The Italians hosted and they picked food, or rather feeding the world.   I had assumed in our jaded, TV, social media age the quaintness of the world coming together for education and recreation would be over.  But, oh no.  It felt like the United Nations meets Disneyland.  It runs through October and just in case you can get there I would advise you go.

spoiler alert: it will affect the food supply

poster for Expo

We visited different countries, ones that we know, France.. great food, natch.  Holland… which had a ferris wheel restaurant.

why didn't we think of this?

why didn’t we think of this?

The most charming, whimsical eating experience I’ve ever taken part in.  The kids and I got in, thinking it just and old ride and then the lady said, “no, would you like some wine or beer?”  Well, yeah, sure.  I sipped Rose as we went around, next round we got Rex a grilled cheese, then another round or two a sweet crepe.  It went very slowly. We loved it.  Another little food truck at the Holland area was offering “Silent Disco”, okay, what is that?  Dancing with myself! I love the irreverence.silent disco

funniest sign at expo

is that what the kids are calling it now?

Each country had a different take on the theme of feeding the world. USA took it seriously.  As we walk up there entrance of usa pavilionwas President Obama on a loop saying we have to figure out how will we feed 9 billion people by 2050?  I got choked up.  From seeing homefolk abroad and the enormity of that proposition. Then you walk at your pace to different  areas where there are video presentations from chefs, farmers, etc talk about how they are trying to create food that is sustainable.  It was educational, and important, yet I couldn’t help but be amused when I saw that USA had one of the odder translations at the Expo

We went to places we’ve never been, Turkey ( best tasting rice), Estonia ( one of our faves… when do we go), Poland, Russia ( impressive, but we were NOT going buy the Putin T shirts), Bolivia ( a mini pavilion in the are with countries who didn’t speak the mega bucks) and places we are unlikely to ever go, Iran, Zimbabwe.

Strangley there was a big pavilion for Sudan.  I didn’t get to it, but I was curious.. how are they feeding their people with civil war?  But, that’s what’s interesting about the Expo.  You get a lot for your travel dollar.  A sampler of countries and culture.  I said the the man I bought tea and spice from in Iran Pavilion, “I feel like I’m doing something illegal to be here.”  He said, the government is not the people, that Iranian people love Americans.  I didn’t want to belabor watching the hostage crisis as a child.  Let’s move on.

Russia had clearly spent some rubles on their pavilion.

Back in the (former) USSR

Back in the (former) USSR


russian pavilion

cool mirrored over hang at entrance to Russian Pavilion

By the way, USA was the only pavilion that was privately funded ( Source: USA pavilion).  Russia showed off it’s grains and grain based beverages if you know what I mean.  There was a line to sample some Russian delicacy they were handing out.  I thought of making a joke about Soviet era bread lines, but thought better of it.  Makes me seem older than I am the way  I know history.  Rex really wanted to go to the top of the pavilion which was hot, so we didn’t stay long.  The roof top was partly given over to a Sky bar like cocktail lounge where the vodka was of russian pavilion


We were most moved by the former Soviet bloc countries.  There is an earnestness there.  As if they are saying , “We survived Nazi’s, Soviet Union and now we are HERE!”  They really celebrate their food, dance, customs.  The Polish were very smart.  They thought of EVERYTHING.  People will be tired, okay, big couches in front so people can relax.  While there a stage with music and stunts by off road cyclist, which is a big deal in Poland.. who knew?  Everyone will want to charge their phones.  Free charging stations.  Free cotton candy made to order.

forget the jokes, the Poles are smart

forget the jokes, the Poles are smart

That’s before we even walked in!  There was a beautiful upstairs garden surrounded by mirrors. Showcasing what grows in Poland.  Rex went twice, “mommy, this is enchanting.”  It was. IMG_3678 Mark noticed we were there just in time for a Chopin concert by an award winning Polish pianist.

go Poland

go Poland

We listened entranced.  Later the same spot was used to show wordless videos of different Polish chefs cooking.  It was probably the most beautiful food photography I’ve ever seen.  Rex and I didn’t want to leave and only did so because Viv and Mark were downstairs in the cafe waiting for us.

getting lots of ideas in case there is a season 3

getting lots of ideas in case there is a season 3

They had a 3-d movie of the history of Poland in about 8 minutes they covered over a thousand years.  Spoiler alert, lots of wars.  They showed what they produced, great water, grain, vodka.  They had beads for the kids to make bracelets.  They had a Chocolate Village!

I can smell it now

I can smell it now

It was good propaganda… We walked out impressed and ready to fly to Poland. Lord knows they have been through a LOT and keep trucking.

I know what you are thinking: How was the Estonia pavilion?  Swinging good time!

Swings that go in and outdoors

Swings that go in and outdoors

Did you know that swings are big there?  Well, they had swings on every level.  One way you were indoors, the next you were out.  Great little sandwiches at their cafe too.  Plus, they know sometimes you just need to crash. an Estonian an Estonian


From there we went to the Vatican pavilion. It was small, but was basically pictures and videos of the poor throughout the world.  While one can feed their face at the other places The Vatican asks us to consider those who do not have enough food.  Then you get a complimentary pope magnet when you leave. My kids curled their lip at it.  I had made them finish their cotton candy before they entered and all they got was this dudes blessing?   Um, did you see that kids don’t have food..?  Okay, let’s keep moving

In Zimbabwe I spoke to a nice man there about his country.  They had a yummy soda that was from some plant they have there.  They also had some hand cream.

“why is it all written in Italian?”

Him, “No one was going to buy the Zimbabwe cream, but our ingredients manufactured in Italy, people like that better.”  Makes sense. We show how we are ready to embrace the culture for a few minute and not get into the into any dictator talk kids love zimbabwe at milan expo

They were in the area with smaller pavilions.  Next door was Bolivia

talk about your instagramable moment!

talk about your instagramable moment!


I went for 3 days and didn’t scratch the surface.  The kids were with me for 2 of the days and they loved it.  While there were bigger message in some places, a lot of pavilions featured their local cuisine more than weighty issues.  Rice from Turkey, is a winner.  Best I’ve ever had

Hmm, Turkish rice

Hmm, Turkish rice


Turkey had a pretty outdoor pavilion,

Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight

though the first day I was there it was 100 degrees

it's so hot

it’s so hot

and I ran to..well, crawled to the French pavilion which had air con and the best beet soup I’ve ever had.

We all enjoyed the Iran pavilion.

Undercover in Iran..pavilion

Undercover in Iran..pavilion

Though their exhibit was wanting.. some herbs, a little music, yawn, but they had a great shop and we got cool spices, tea and cross cultural connection.  I said to the nice man working there, “I feel like I’m doing something wrong by being here,”  He seemed optimistic about US Iran relations improving if the Nuclear issue was soon to be resolved ( full disclosure.. I have next to no opinion on it).  “Iranians love Americans.”  I told him how I love the Iranians in LA.  Nice people, great tea, good sports in soccer ( I left out that I hate the remodeling some have done in Beverly Hills).  It was a people to people moment like Eisenhower had once envisioned. eisenhower people to people

Which is really kind of why the Milan Expo is so great.  Because I don’t have the time, money, energy, shots to go to all the countries represented here, but I get a little taste of them.  Well, actually since I think I ate my weight in food while I was there I also got to taste the diverse, delicious food of our world.  Hopefully, it will sustain us.


The Mayor comes to dinner

I can’t even say, “guess who?”

I’m SUPER excited to share that the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti will be joining me this Sunday on Daphne Dishes.  As some of you know we ( more Mark) has known his family for years.  I volunteered a ton on his campaign.  His parents, wife, daughter, all lovely, warm down to earth people.

Gil, Mark, Sukey, Amy, da mayor, me

Gil, Mark, Sukey, Amy, da mayor, me

So when Daphne Dishes got picked up for a second season I thought.. oh, dream guest list!!  When I approached I said I wanted it to be about the incredible diversity of food that is available in LA and how it inspires me in the kitchen.  Well, they got that pitch, The Garcetti’s are big booster of LA’s food scene, high brow and everything in between.  It was VERY hard to decide what to make. Not just because I had to make the Mayor a great meal, but because LA has So Many influencers it’s hard to narrow down for a 22 minutes.. or whatever it is …show.

When I was working on Eric’s campaign was when this show was being talked about, developed, slowly, slowly.  I would periodically update him on it and he was always excited to hear about it. I  clearly remember one day I was sitting in his kitchen calling voters and he had come home from an event.  Amy was calling from the living room, many volunteers strewn around the place and I popped my head up and said, “Eric, Food Network says they are going to do a pilot with me.”  He high fived me and wanted to hear more.  Well, cut to second season and he and his family remember their friend.  I really appreciate the support and since he is a very busy guy we said whenever you can fit us in we will make it happen.  It ended up being at 8:30am in the morning. But, you know what it worked!  We all enjoyed the meal and Amy and I are making plans for them to come over again when they have more time and I’ll make them the same meal, but without the camera’s.

He and his parents are from LA, so they all have memories of their favorite foods from growing up here.  Gil talked about going to Grand Central Market with mom when he was a little boy. Of course, that’s where Mark’s Bombo is now.  That’s where I  shopped for the food to make a great LA centric meal for LA’s number one fan.  desert for garcetti


Watch the show and tell me what your faves are.  I concluded the meal with a Very Berry LA Tart!