Caroline? Really?

So Sunday Night is our Season Finale for RHONJ. I can’t wait for you to see how my family finally comes together after this crazy season! It started out so terrible, and ends so perfect. Everything about our family photo was just perfect. My brother, my dad...

I wish the episode ended with that though... I was really upset to watch Caroline and her family talk about my book like they do. Like I said in my blog last week, I had no idea all season the way other people were talking about me and my family behind my back... insulting my husband, making judgments about my kids, and saying mean things about me and now my job. But even if I'd known, I wouldn't have done it back.

 What really shocked me when watching this episode though--and when Jacqueline first told me about Caroline's "concern" about Fabulicious!--was that Caroline would be offended. Caroline? Really? Caroline and her kids make fun of everyone and each other all the time. That's one of the things that makes them fun to be around--they're always joking. Me and my family are the same way (as you saw with my husband and Joey in Punta Cana).

I didn't take offense when they were all making fun of Skinny Italian on camera because I knew they were joking. What I wrote about the Manzos in Fabulicious! was the same thing: a joke. And not even a mean joke, a repeated joke that was made up for a fake feud on the "Rachel Ray" show. And I think my millions of compliments to the Manzos in the book make it very, very clear I was kidding. Actually, since the book came out, not one person, not ONE, has ever written me or said to me at one of my book signings that what I wrote about Caroline was mean. And I sold a lot of books. I think everyone gets it about my books.

No, they're not regular cookbooks. That's the point. I'm not a fancy chef. I'm a celebrity mom with an Italian heritage who wanted to share her family's recipes. And I write the same way I talk--not always perfect, but I try to make it interesting, it's easy to read, the recipes are delicious, and yes, I make jokes. Lots and lots of jokes. Jokes about priests and KY and Olive Garden, jokes about my friends, my family, my husband, but mostly jokes about ME--my mistakes in the kitchen, how I didn't know how to cook, how I mispronounce things... I think the fun of my books (AND the amazing recipes) are what makes them so successful. And I do warn you about my jokes right in the introduction: "Buckle up, Baby Dolls, this is not your mama's cookbook!"

I'm also thinking it's pretty clear the Manzos never read "Skinny Italian" because I joked about everyone in it too--myself of course, Andy Cohen, the Atlanta, New York and OC Housewives, Danielle, even Dina (I joked about her insane love of meat... AND I said she was sexy AND I included sexy pictures of her in the book...). My cookbooks are not "bashing books"-- they're fun and funny and unique... like me. I tell you the history of pasta, the Italian belief about not making homemade sauce when you're on your period, how to make quick, inexpensive, and healthy meals for your family. 

But just to make sure, sure, sure that Caroline would know I was joking, I did also write that I was "a huge fan of Caroline Manzo," that "Albie and Christopher Manzo are adorable," and that I considered them all "family." And the ONLY picture of a friend I put in my FAMILY cookbook was of Caroline--a big, beautiful color picture of the two of us. Under I wrote: "Me with another famous Italian mom, Caroline Manzo." Not "famous fake-Italian mom" but "famous Italian mom." I think you know where I'm going here...

To be honest, I don't think Caroline is really upset. I think she's trying to make up a reason to be mad at me and she doesn't have anything else because I've never done anything to her or her family. (And you know if I had, it would have been all over Radar Online or US Weekly by now...) This is all she’s got? Fake mad about a joke I made on Rachel Ray TO HER FACE? That played on national television? That she wasn't upset about then? She joked about my meatballs too, and I wasn't upset because they were jokes!

I think it's pretty obvious considering this is my second book like this that didn't go out of my way to single out Caroline and insult her. She and her family are known jokesters and I thought she could take a joke. If I meant any harm, I wouldn't have put a big, beautiful picture of her in there (you don't see any of Danielle or Kim G. in there, do you?).

And ask yourself when you watch the episode: WHY would I? Why would I purposefully insult someone I had only ever been nice to--even nice to behind their back, unlike how they were to me? How would writing a "bash book" help my career? Why would I even want to bash the Manzos? I have no problem with them. Never have. I'm focused on moving forward, taking care of my 4 girls, working hard, writing books, promoting my books at book signings around the country, launching my Fabellini drink, launching my make-up line, and getting ready for a HUGE project...

So on the flip side, WHY would Caroline? Why would she pretend to be upset about something so small and obviously a joke? To create bad feelings for me and my book? But why? Maybe because she was mad it's me that got a cookbook and not her?

I remember when I was writing my very first book proposal, Caroline was also trying to sell her own cookbook (and 5 other Housewives were too!). Caroline told me I was doing it wrong, that I wasn't smart enough, that I didn't have the right agent, the right co-writer, the right anything. I took her criticism like I always do, with a smile, and did what I wanted to anyway. And my book got picked up. Caroline's didn't. Not one publisher wanted it. I don't know why. I wish everyone success in all they do, but I can’t help it hers didn’t get published. Go buy blk water! Eat at the Brownstone! Download "On Display"! Buy Fabulicious! I want the best for everyone. 

I'm not sure everyone else feels the same, but what can I do? I'll just keep being me--the same person I was on Season 1, the same person I was before the show, the same person I am when you meet me anywhere at any time.

Sorry this is so long and seems like I'm defensive, but I guess I am because I've worked so hard on my cookbooks, they mean a lot to me, and I'm not going to sit quietly while someone tries to make up YET ANOTHER FAKE STORY to make me look bad. First it’s my marriage, then my kids, then my own family, now my job... enough! I’m sure this will cost me another round of tiny tweeter attacks, but that’s fine. At least my fans can hear my side directly from me.

Love to you all!

Teresa xx

PS--I DID apologize to Caroline as soon as I heard she was upset about the book and told her to her face I didn't mean any harm by it, that it was just a joke. I seriously don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings with a joke. Heck, I'll throw in an apology to Danielle right now for naming a Puttanesca sauce in Skinny Italian after her. I'm sorry, Danielle, if that joke hurt you or your daughters in any way. I truly am. (I'm sorry though, I can't apologize to Kim G. for anything because it's against my religion to worship the devil...)