You’ve watched Buddy Valastro make cakes in the form of everything from the Titanic to a football stadium on TLC’s Cake Boss. But while Buddy certainly loves to create show-stopping sweets, his true food passion lies in bringing family and friends together over amazing meals. This month he releases his fourth cookbook, Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss, which offers a year’s worth of amazing holiday menus. We spoke to Buddy about his new book and what holidays look like in the Valastro home.
P&C: How does Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss differ from your well-received previous three books?
Buddy Valastro: This book is more about bringing in the whole famiglia together. My previous books were concentrated on single recipes, but this book is about putting together an entire meal. It’s about celebratory meals from start to end!
P&C: What is your favorite holiday, in terms of food?
Valastro: I love Christmas dinner at my house. My entire family comes over (that’s like 30 to 40 people!) and we have this huge meal together. Think prime rib, stuffed tomatoes, broccoli rabe, meatballs, my wife’s eggplant parmesan, stuffed peppers, the list goes on.
P&C: What holiday traditions did your family celebrate when you were young, and do you continue any of those traditions today?
Valastro: My father and I used to get all the extra cakes from the bakery on Christmas and donate them to the homeless shelter. I’ve carried on that tradition to my kids.
P&C: The book not only features sweet treats to celebrate holidays, but also to cheer up on rainy days and spruce up your daughter’s tea parties. Is it important to you to celebrate and bake, even when it’s not the holiday season?
Valastro: One of the reasons I wanted to do this book was to get families together by cooking, baking and eating on any old day. You know you’re going to spend time together over the holidays, but it’s just as important to make time together even when there’s not an obvious occasion. Who says there needs to be a holiday to get together, right?
P&C: So true! Do you and your wife often bring your kids into the kitchen to help with meals or make?
Valastro: Absolutely. My kids are always in the kitchen with us. I encourage them to get their hands dirty. They help roll meatballs, stir sauce, roll out dough. I was in the kitchen all the time as a child and that shaped me into who I am today.