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Lidia Celebrates America: Freedom And Independence

Airs Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 12 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Host and chef Lidia Bastianich celebrates independence and freedom with different cultures across America.

In "Lidia Celebrates America: Freedom And Independence," renowned personality Lidia Bastianich sets out again, traveling across the country to celebrate freedom and diversity in America by exploring the experiences of several different ethnicities and cultures in four unique segments. The subject resonates deeply with Lidia, who also reveals a moving personal account of her own immigrant experience to viewers.

Courtesy of WGBH

Lidia Bastianich cooks with Gabriele Rausse, Monticello Gardens and Grounds assistant director, in Thomas Jefferson’s kitchen in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Courtesy of WGBH

Actress Anna Deavere Smith, Sam Collins of Texas and chef/host Lidia Bastianich on the porch of Galveston’s historic home, Stringfellow Orchards, to commemorate annual “Juneteenth” events.

Courtesy of WGBH

“Dr. Barbecue” of Galveston, Texas, gives Lidia a lesson in dry-rub grilling for “Juneteenth.”

Courtesy of WGBH

Filipino-American actor/comedian Alec Mapa joins host and chef Lidia Bastianich to observe Philippines Independence Day.

Each story features a nationally known celebrity guest from the worlds of film, television, music, the arts, or food.

The film begins on the 4th of July in Charlottesville, Virginia at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, and follows a number of new citizens as they are sworn in to become U.S. citizens--including one enthusiastic young Middle Eastern woman who has already embraced her adopted homeland where she lives with her American husband and family, and is now eager to be a full-fledged voting citizen.

Viewers will go along with Lidia on a tour of the incredible gardens and grounds at Monticello and learn the story of Thomas Jefferson and his role in the nation’s development of agriculture—something he deemed essential for American independence and autonomy.

From there, the film moves to Galveston, Texas, where Lidia and actress Anna Deavere Smith together explore the deeply moving and meaningful historical events surrounding the celebration of Juneteenth in an extremely poignant story about the freedom from slavery in the U.S.

The third celebration looks at French independence and Bastille Day by spending a day full of fun and food with celebrity chef Jacques Pepin. Jacques and Lidia hunt for frogs needed for dinner, and then host a Bastille Day party for a few dozen French-Americans.

Lidia and guests play the traditional French lawn bowling game petanque and sing the French national anthem and other French songs with noted singer/songwriter Martha Wainwright.

Lidia then calls upon comedian and actor Alec Mapa to help her celebrate Philippines Independence Day and the unique background and varied traditions of this country made up of thousands of islands that experienced multiple cultural influences throughout its history.

The film concludes with a treat for viewers as famed opera singer Renee Fleming joins Lidia to celebrate independence by singing "America the Beautiful."

Do you have a favorite recipe or independence day tradition? Share your story or recipe!

Lidia Bastianich is on Facebook, and you can follow @LidiaBastianich on Twitter.

Freedom and Independence Preview

Join Lidia Bastianich to celebrate freedom and independence with different cultures across America.