We wouldn’t say we saved the best for last, because yesterday’s conversation with Rachel Antonoff and her Mom Shira had us on the floor, but when it comes to our friend Daphne Oz and her Mom Lisa, we feel pretty blessed to have sat in on this conversation. In our last interview of this series – on which we partnered with our own Mom, Monica Rich Kosann – we caught up with the Oz’s on family traditions, advice to one another, and why their vacations (and lives in general) revolve completely around food. Sound familiar?
TNP & Monica Rich Kosann: What would be your ideal food day together?
Lisa: We’d be in a location where we could just sample tons of different things at once. We’d go from one booth to another, like Borough Market in London or Madison Square Eats. Or Eataly – we love Eataly!
Daphne: In London we love Ottolenghi – and there are so many great restaurants. And L.A. too. LA is like, everyone is so perfect and gorgeous but then there are so many good restaurants and all you want to do is eat!
L: But then at least there are a ton of places to workout after…
D: (Laughs) That’s true! And it’s not a specific type of food it’s just an ability to try a little bit of everything. We love doing that when we go on vacations too…
L: Because eating is entertainment!
D: Yes, totally. Our vacations revolve entirely around food.
TNP: Oh so do ours! Like, you plan what you’re eating at the next meal at each meal.
D: Yes! And when you bring people into the fold they don’t understand; they’re like but wait I’m full why are we talking about dinner already? But that’s just how it’s done. We also totally base whether or not we like vacations on the food.
L: Right. If the food isn’t good the vacation isn’t good…(Laughs) but so much about eating is communal and being with people you love. It has to be a whole experience; it can’t just be culinary. It has to be shared. You have to have someone to hear you go ‘Mmmm delicious!’
D: It’s definitely a sensory experience for the family. My Dad has family in Turkey, and we go and visit them pretty often. You go into the bazaar in Turkey and there are all these spices and fruits and nuts and jams and Turkish delight. I feel like that’s the kind of sensory overload that I like the best, because you’re just immersed into the entertainment of food.
TNP: Daphne, is your Mom on social media? How savvy is she?
D: She’s…savvy…She’s on ‘The Facebook’ (Laughs)
L: (Laughs) I am on ‘The Facebook.’ I will occasionally use Twitter…I had a radio show for a couple of years, and we had to put out what guests were coming on. I wouldn’t do it but they would be…
L: Yes tweeted. I’m really bad at social media. Real life is so much more interesting! Tweets are kind of like an art.
D: I think at this point there are so many people on it that the only reason to contribute is if you’re really funny or have something original to say – which takes work! I hate when people just share the daily updates of their life. It’s like ‘I just took a shower!’
TNP: How do you think Daphne is on social media?
L: Well I don’t follow her Twitter or her Facebook…
D: You follow me!
L: No, I actually talk to her in person! (Laughs) No what I do is if she has something on Pinterest that she says I have to see I’ll go look at it. I love her Pinterest and I love to see what she’s visually looking at. We’re in the middle of decorating right now so I want to see what she’s brainstorming. And I love Instagram because I get to see my Granddaughter there when I don’t actually get to see her everyday.
D: But Mom you LIKE my page, you just don’t keep track of it. I’m still trying to explain this to her…
L: Oh yes, yes! I like it! She told me to like it. Okay so I like it and I have liked it.
TNP: Don’t worry we have big issues trying to explain what a hashtag is…
L: It’s hard to adapt! But I like Daphne’s a lot – she’s really good at it.
D: It’s funny; I don’t think I’m particularly adept at it but I just try to share stuff that I’ve learned that I think people will find interesting, or little snaps from my life that I feel like are real and special moments – and not always perfect. I feel like, especially with the whole Mommy world, that on the good side of it, it can be so inspiring to see how many are going through it and having a similar experience, and feel like you’re part of that sisterhood with them. But on the flip-side you look at these things and you’re like ‘OMG I am such a terrible Mother!’ Because they set a standard that’s so unmanageable. So I feel like I try and put out things that I just want people to see. Like, life is real and raw. You don’t have hair and makeup everyday. That’s how I grew up too. My Mom is one of six and we would go to my Grandma’s house – she lives on a farm in Philadelphia – and kids were allowed to be kids; there was a lot of innocence and imagination. You were part of this crew and family where there wasn’t a lot of scripting to it. It was very raw and real in that way and I really want Philo [my daughter] to have that same experience.
TNP: So do you all cook together?
D: Our kitchen is our living room. Like if you look at everyone’s houses – my Mom’s house, my Grandma’s house, the apartment I’m working on now – the kitchen is the space you spend the most time on, and the most time in. Because you want it to feel like a space where everyone can hang out and congregate – and everyone’s always eating like we talked about.
L: Exactly. It’s not just our vacations; it’s our whole life that revolves around food.
TNP: What do you usually cook together?
D: Well we were out at the house this weekend and it was one of the first nice weekends after this long evil winter, and we celebrated Cinco de Mayo and made a huge Mexican feast.
D: My Mom made amazing refried beans. I made a chili beef kind of mix for the tacos, my husband made garlic lime shrimp that were delicious…He’s gotten really good at the seafood! When I first brought Philo home I was kind of laid up and I was just craving salmon all the time and he became the salmon master. And now he’s our grill king, which is awesome. My brother’s really good too.
L: The men always have to make the dead things in the house.
TNP: Yes that’s what the boys are for. So if you could steal one thing from each other’s closet what would it be?
L: I would steal this blouse…(pointing to Daphne’s necklace)
D: Which she bought for me…
L: And she has some amazing shoes. She has these navy Celine boots…
D: Which she also bought for me. (Laughs)
L: I would steal her sense of style if I could. She’s a much better dresser than I ever was or will be.
D: No I don’t think that’s true! I told you we called each other this morning and we were wearing identical outfits completely unplanned. If you find me on a weekend I’m usually in sweatpants and a ratty old t-shirt that I stole from her! What I steal most from my Mom are those – she has these incredible old sweatshirts and t-shirts that she’s had literally since college. They’re so worn in – you know that perfect draping that you want. I steal those and I steal all her Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana dresses to wear to events.
L: Sadly we don’t have the same shoe size, but dresses we can do.
TNP: So what is the best advice your Mom ever gave you – something that really stuck with you…
D: Well I’ve said this before because it’s really the first thing that pops into my mind every time. I think she gave it to me in college at some point. She said, ‘Have standards not expectations.’ Standards are something you have for yourself, and expectations are something you have for someone else. And you control yourself you don’t control other people. And it works for every relationship – romantic, professional, friendship. If you say that you don’t accept a certain kind of behavior or treatment, people who fit that standard and treat you that way fit into your life, and people who don’t are out. Whereas if you’re like ‘I expect you do to do this, that, and the other,’ that’s not something you have control over, so you’re setting yourself up to be unhappy. And I just thought it was so powerful and such a great way to think about how strong you can be. Because it’s also about the way you treat yourself. I’m a huge believer in that people see you the way you see yourself. If you talk negatively about yourself, or see yourself negatively, or present yourself in a guarded insecure way, people read that immediately.
I grew up really overweight and I can’t even tell you how many times you walk into a room – even after you lose weight – and you’re tugging at your dress and you feel uncomfortable; people sense that immediately. Whereas if you walk into a room and you own it and you feel great about yourself, people read off of that and they love that. It’s so compelling and attractive. So I think that’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten. Among thousands of pieces of really good advice…
L: I know I never stop – I’m very bossy. I boss my sisters around too.
D: And she doesn’t take any advice!
TNP: Well what’s the best Daphne ever gave you?
D: She doesn’t need any advice! (Laughs)
L: Well…maybe that every recipe does not need cumin.
D: My Mother loves cumin. You don’t understand.
L: I know; I don’t know what this penchant is I have for cumin. I’ll put it on everything. But also Daphne has taught me something I’ve been really trying to live by and that is that you never need to check luggage. If you plan your wardrobe in advance, you never need to check luggage.
TNP: That’s a good one…
D: I’m sure she probably just taught it to me at some point… (Laughs)
*Lisa and Daphne Oz, photographed at Toby’s Estate in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann. Daphne wears a Rebecca Taylor blouse, Zara jeans and Jimmy Choo shoes. Lisa wears a Michael Kors sweater, J Brand jeans and Jimmy Choo shoes.
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