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Lidia Celebrates America: Weddings: Something Borrowed, Something New

Airs Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 12 p.m. on KPBS TV

Celebrity chef, author and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich celebrates culture t...

Credit: Courtesy of Diana DeLucia

Above: Celebrity chef, author and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich celebrates culture through food.

A blushing bride glows in her gold-trimmed red sari. Mardi Gras Indians dressed in vibrant feathers move to the beat of a drum. A happy couple, clad in jewel-toned robes, bow reverently before their elders. From jumping the broom to tying the knot, wedding celebrations in America are as diverse as the nation itself.

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Celebrity chef and culinary author Lidia Bastianich cordially invites viewers to be her “plus one” on a cross-country matrimonial odyssey in her new PBS prime-time special, "Lidia Celebrates America: Weddings: Something Borrowed, Something New."

The second in a series of "Lidia Celebrates America" specials airing on PBS, this one‐hour program explores America’s rich cultural heritage as seen through the lens of its wedding ceremonies and the special foods and traditions associated with them.

“Weddings are really telling of a culture, and they are all beautifully different,” says Lidia, who marries her passion for food with her love of family in the special. “Each ceremony is a celebration of family, continuity and new life.”

Nigerian American Wedding - New Orleans:

Lidia’s engaging exploration of wedding traditions includes a visit to New Orleans, where Liz and Ray are making the final preparations for a wedding that will showcase their love for The Big Easy.

That means a wedding featuring Mardi Gras Indians dancing to the beat while bedecked in brightly colored feathers, and traditional New Orleans fare such as jambalaya, crawfish and pralines.

“I grew up in New Orleans all my life, so it’s a part of me, it’s in my in my blood,” Liz says. “The food, the music, the Mardi Gras Indians – I think they really put a stamp on the wedding that this is New Orleans.” Ray agrees. “I think this wedding is just going to sum up New Orleans in a few hours.” View photos

Sri Lankan & Indian American Wedding - Chicago:

In Chicago, Angie and Reggie are about to wed in a traditional Indian ceremony. “Angie, the bride, is from Punjab, which is north of India, and Reggie is from Sri Lanka, which is a different country,” Lidia notes. “So there’s a lot of space between them – big difference, yet a lot of commonality.”

Lidia leads viewers through the preparations for the lavish ceremony, as Angie’s hands and arms are decorated with intricate henna tattoos and Reggie arrives on the back of a sumptuously adorned white horse. Joining in the festivities is actor Mario Cantone, known for portraying a wedding planner on "Sex and the City," who has his henna done alongside Lidia.

Indian actress and food writer Madhur Jaffrey, meanwhile, serves up a delicious primer on classic Indian wedding dishes, including tandoori specials, seafood kebabs and traditional Indian breads. View photos

Korean American Wedding - New York:

In Flushing, New York, Lidia meets David and Jessica, who are preparing for their traditional Korean wedding ceremony. Jessica welcomes Lidia into her kitchen for an appetizing introduction to Korean cooking – a cuisine that Lidia finds surprisingly familiar. “There were parallels between the Korean cuisine, what they were cooking, and the Italian cuisine,” she notes.

Noted designer Isaac Mizrahi creates a special outfit for Lidia to wear to her first Korean-American wedding, while Survivor champion and AMERICA REVEALED host Yul Kwon offers his insight on Korean food, as well as Korean culture and tradition. “Korean cuisine is very spicy, it’s very flavorful,” Kwon tells Lidia. “I think Korean food is one of the ways I sort of reconnected to my culture.” View photos

Irish & Italian American Wedding - New York:

And in New York City, viewers witness the marriage of two cultures – Irish-American and Italian-American – with a wedding that holds special significance for Lidia: Estelle, the bride, is Lidia’s niece and goddaughter. As the happy couple feast on both traditional Irish wedding cake and classic Venetian desserts, Lidia muses on the true significance of wedding celebrations.

“It sort of trickles down, this thread of who the family is, the strength of the family, the love of the family…” she says. “This thread trickles down and carries on into this new family that’s being formed.” View photos

Preview: Lidia Celebrates America: Weddings

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Watch Weddings: Something Borrowed, Something New Preview on PBS. See more from Lidia Celebrates America.

In the continuing tradition of celebrating culture through food, the second LIDIA CELEBRATES AMERICA special focuses on the traditions surrounding weddings.

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