Giada De Laurentiis’s upcoming cookbook, Happy Cooking (out November 3), is going to be different. No, she’s not suddenly taking on Szechuan cuisine or proselytizing a raw food diet. But she is taking a new approach to cooking and food. Instead of focusing this book on a specific cuisine or course or season, she decided to feature recipes that make her happy—both to eat and to cook.
“This year has been an interesting one for me with a lot of changes,” she says. “I got divorced and my life turned upside down. I had been with my husband for 22 years, since I was 18 years old and I am so no longer 18 years old. I am a 40 year-old single woman. It’s a totally different life and I don’t even know where to begin. I had to rethink of the things that were still special in my life and tap back into them and see if they were still there.” Cooking, she fortunately discovered, could still bring her joy. “There’s a therapeutic sense of calmness that I find when I cook,” she says. “So I decided I would call the book Happy Cooking because truly, cooking is one of the things that makes me happiest. I rely on it a lot.”
The book’s 200 recipes include calming foods like bone broth (recipe below), chicken soup, lots of pastas and cakes. “It’s a sneak peek into my daily rituals and how I keep myself going—even through difficult and busy times,” she says. “It’s like opening a window to a different part of my life, which I haven’t done in the past because, quite frankly, I didn’t even know it existed.”