Lidia Celebrates America

Renowned chef and culinary author Lidia Bastianich embarks on a cross-country journey of the United States to experience the exuberance of American culture through food in Lidia Celebrates America.

The specials explore the rich diversity of cultures across the United States, and the vibrant ethnic and religious customs and traditions observed by various groups.

This fourth edition, "Life's Milestones" showcases the diverse customs, foods and traditions celebrated by families and communities to mark the “festive landmarks of life" — a French-Cajun sweet-sixteen birthday partyand country music debut in Nashville, a Greek Orthodox baptism fortriplets, a Brazilian-American culinary student’s college graduation, and a Navajo house blessing ceremony. Previous specials focused on the different ways Americans celebrate weddings, holiday traditions and independence. 

Distributed by: The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
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Holiday Tables & Traditions

Episode #101H · The first episode features four very different holiday tables and traditions: an Italian Christmas Eve with actors Mo Rocca and Stanley Tucci; a Mexican-American Christmas with four generations of the Cortez family in San Antonio; a Chinese New Year celebration with the Fong-Torres family in San Francisco; and a Jewish-American Passover in New York.

Weddings: Something Borrowed, Something New

Episode #102H · In the continuing tradition of celebrating culture through food, the second LIDIA CELEBRATES AMERICA special focuses on the traditions surrounding weddings. The first sequence features an African-American wedding in New Orleans complete with marching brass band and traditional regional cuisine that includes jambalaya, crawfish and pralines. Next there's an Asian Indian-American wedding that features actor Mario Cantone, who played a wedding planner in TV's "Sex in the City." Also featured in this portion of the film is Indian actress and food writer Madhur Jaffrey who teaches Lidia about the classic Indian wedding dishes, including tandoori specials, seafood kebabs and a variety of Indian breads. The third wedding features a Korean-American wedding with celebrity fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, who creates a special outfit for Lidia to wear to this wedding. There is also added commentary and perspective on Korean culture from Survivor winner and PBS host of AMERICA REVEALED, Yul Kwon. The final wedding in the program offers the opportunity to examine the marriage of two cultures -- Irish-American and Italian-American. The wedding is a classic mix of Irish and Italian cultures with music and food represented from each.

Freedom and Independence

Episode #201 · Join host and chef Lidia Bastianich as she celebrates independence and freedom with different cultures across America. The celebrity cast includes actress Anna Deavere Smith, opera singer Renee Fleming, singer Martha Wainwright, chef Jacques Pepin and actor Alec Mapa.

Life's Milestones

Episode #202H · Host Lidia Bastianich celebrates important milestones with a diverse group of Americans: a baptism with a Greek Orthodox family; a Navajo house blessing in Utah; college graduation seen through the eyes of a Brazilian-American Boston University student; and a sweet 16 birthday party for a young French-Cajun woman ready to make her debut as a Nashville country music star. Soprano Renee Fleming sings "You'll Never Walk Alone."