Nancy Pelosi Traces Her Food Heritage to Risotto, Eats Dark Chocolate Ice Cream for Breakfast Every Day

Nancy Pelosi traces her food heritage to risotto but, thanks to her grandsons, she can also locate Paris’s best croissant.


Nancy Pelosi traces her food heritage to risotto but, thanks to her grandsons, she can also locate Paris’s best croissant. Here, she discusses all things food related.

Takeout Trendsetting
I have five children, and I cooked for them for years. When I went to Congress, my daughter Alexandra said to me, “Mom, I’m very proud of you.” And I said, “Why, because I’m a woman member of Congress?” And she said, “No, you used to cook, and then you stopped. Well, now nobody cooks, and you were one of the first to stop!” Of course people cook, but now there are wonderful places like Eataly for prepared food.

Her Morning Ice Cream Habit
I’ve been eating dark chocolate ice cream for breakfast for as long as I can remember. I don’t see it as different from having a cup of coffee. The flavors keep getting darker and darker, which I love. Double Rainbow has one called Ultra Chocolate; you can just imagine how delicious that is. And Three Twins, I like their Bittersweet Chocolate. Sugar cones are my thing.

A Lifetime Love of Carbs
My father’s family is from northern Italy, which is all risotto and pesto. When I was little I went to Rome, and Alfredo (at least they said he was the real Alfredo) made us fettuccine Alfredo.

Fielding Calls From Alice Waters
You can’t talk about feeding the hungry without mentioning Alice Waters. She called me about advocating for San Francisco’s healthy-food initiatives, and I said, “Why, do you think we’re not?” And she said, “I just wanted to be sure!” She’s spectacular.

Family Pastry Reconnaissance
My grandsons are six and seven, and they recently went to Paris. Their quest was to find the perfect croissant. They’re New Yorkers, what can I say? They sent me pictures of the winning croissant, from Maison Desgranges.

A Lesson in Ethiopian Culture
I love Ethiopian food. Last year I was visiting with the Ethiopian community in Minnesota, and the first question they asked me was, “Do you speak Italian?” I said, “No,” and they said, “We all do!” Italians attempted to colonize Ethiopia in 1936, which wasn’t really positive, but it left an Italian influence on the culture.

Where She’s a Restaurant Regular
In my neighborhood in San Francisco I have two favorites: Rose’s Café, which is fabulously yummy for brunch and Sunday dinners. Then right down the street from that is Balboa Café. So if I’m not cooking on a Sunday, I’ll be in one of those. Rose’s has a chopped salad that’s heavenly, and Balboa has the best Caesar salad.

Competitive Dim Sum Eating
One thing our family loves to do on Sundays is go to dim sum. We go to Yank Sing—their dim sum is out of this world. They use lazy Susans on the table, and it’s such a competitive thing—you have to stake your claim on your favorite dumpling! So we just keep piling it on; we order mostly vegetarian dishes.

Toledo’s Best Soul Food
We recently took a bus tour; we went to eight cities in four days. In Toledo, OH, we stopped at a place called Ruby’s Kitchen. The owner was so courageous for starting her own business, and she has this really loyal following. It was Southern soul food, breaded steak, fried chicken, pork chops. All amazingly fresh. She just had a beautiful spirit. I can’t wait to go back.

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