My love of celebrity cookbooks is well documented. I read every one I can get my hands on but very few of them make it past the reading stage. For example, I love Clueless as much as the next girl raised in the 1990s but Alicia Silverstone is completely cookoo and her earnest, heartfelt cookbook is too.
Not so the latest Stanley Tucci cookbook, The Tucci Table. Basically, after the passing of his first wife, Stanley and his new wife Felicity Blunt worked to recreate some of the Tucci family's favourite meals, as a way for Tucci to both remember his old love and celebrate his new one.
Lovely, right? This whole book is a delight. As well as the charming story of its inception, there are the vital elements in the book that turn it from a cookbook to a celebrity cookbook: recipes scattered throughout from various famous friends, like the chicken noodle soup that sister-in-law Emily (Blunt) cooked for her husband John (Krasinski); anecdotes from his films (he learned to cook a frittata from chef Gianni Scappin because he needed to do it for a scene in Big Night) and lots of photos of the celebrity in question cooking various foodstuffs.
Now, as fun and engaging as the celebrity stuff is, at the end of the day this is a cookbook. As I would expect from the divine Mr T, the food in the book is very very good. It's not revolutionary but each of the recipes is clearly explained, well photographed and the kind of food that is affordable, easy to cook and tastes good. There's also a ton of vegetarian recipes and some good basic salads that been added into regular rotation at my house.
This is Stanley's marinara sauce (made with Italian tomatoes but not the San Marzana tomatoes specified; I am not a movie star). Delicious, easy and can also be used for...
a pizza sauce for Stanley's mother pizza. Again, easy, cheap and delicious (although I would add more cheese; again, I am not a movie star and do not need to watch my figure).
Please note: I am obviously not a food blogger! I do not know why my food photos always look so terrible and I'm usually to hungry to hang about taking a bunch of shots. Trust me, the food was very tasty and will definitely be made again!
I would recommend The Tucci Table as a cookbook alone but as a celebrity cookbook, it really takes the cake (or serves up the pasta, if you will).
As Nicole Cliff of the Toast said of his first cookbook:
If Stanley Tucci put together a book about repairing vacuum cleaners, I would buy it and start showing up at strangers’ houses to break and then fix their vacuum cleaners. It’s also a lovely, lovely cookbook of family standards, mostly Italian in nature, and every page of it made me think of THE GREATEST FILM EVER MADE: Big Night.