Taste by Stanley Tucci | #bookreview #foodie #memoir | @figtreepenguin @PenguinUKBooks

I’ve recently been enjoying Stanley Tucci’s series on Italian food Searching for Italy where he visits all the regions of Italy in exploring their characteristic cuisines and exploring the history and culture of each area. It’s all on iPlayer (UK) if you haven’t seen it. I’m a big fan of his work as an actor too. I was given a copy of his memoir Taste for Christmas and have absolutely loved it.

About the book

From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen.

Before Stanley Tucci became a household name with The Devil Wears PradaThe Hunger Games, and the perfect Negroni, he grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the table. He shared the magic of those meals with us in The Tucci Cookbook and The Tucci Table, and now he takes us beyond the recipes and into the stories behind them.

Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about growing up in Westchester, New York, preparing for and filming the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia, falling in love over dinner, and teaming up with his wife to create conversation-starting meals for their children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burnt dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last.

Written with Stanley’s signature wry humour and nostalgia, Taste is a heartwarming read that will be irresistible for anyone who knows the power of a home-cooked meal.

My Thoughts

This is a life story told through memories of food and family, taking us from to New York to Italy, from Canada to Iceland, to London and many other places besides. From the first few pages we get a flavour of Tucci’s style of writing and a clear picture of just how important food was to his Italian family. This is a very witty book which made me laugh a lot. Stanley Tucci comes across as genuinely nice person and not carried away with his celebrity at all.

Much of the emphasis in the book is on the importance of family and how food can be bonding. Recipes passed down through generations are a family’s true heritage and a continuing connection to the past. Eating together can really bind a family together and that’s certainly been a feature of Stanley Tucci’s life. The time and effort put into preparing food for family or friends is seen as an act of love. And one thing that is clear through the book is the love that Stanley Tucci has not just for food but for especially for his family.

Despite being a true foodie, Stanley Tucci is not pretentious at all about food. He clearly values good quality, fresh ingredients and thinks that is one of the most important things when creating good food. In one chapter he is rather disparaging about a particular restaurant in New York where the menu begins at over $350 which does not include wine (another $350) or taxes. He hasn’t eaten there! In the same chapter he sings the praises of delis where, if you can finish the pastrami bagels, they haven’t done their job properly and a Cuban/Chinese restaurant which had unusual combinations of food but which somehow worked perfectly. Simple but delicious food is what matters to him.

There is a particularly poignant chapter near the end when Stanley Tucci talks about his cancer diagnosis and treatment and how that very much affected his ability to enjoy food and indeed even to be able to eat. It was when he was unable to taste or enjoy food as usual that he realised that food was so important in his life. Thankfully he came through this and can now cook, eat and enjoy again. His message is clear: food doesn’t just nourish our bodies, it nourishes our souls.

If you’re not hungry when you start reading, you will be by the time you have finished. And happily, you will be able to cook some of the delicious meals mentioned as Stanley Tucci has included some tried and tested family recipes. Taste really is a delicious treat and I would happily read more from Stanley Tucci. When I finished this book, I felt I’d been sitting at the Tucci family table having a blether with old friends.

Taste is published by Penguin UK and available now. I notice that the audiobook is narrated
by Stanley Tucci himself so I might need to get myself a copy of that to listen to.

About the Author

Stanley Tucci is an actor, writer, director, and producer. He has directed five films and appeared in over seventy films, countless television shows, and a dozen plays on and off Broadway. He has been nominated for an Academy Award, a Tony, and a spoken word Grammy; is a winner of two Golden Globes and two Emmys; and has received numerous other critical and professional awards and accolades.

A lover of all things culinary Stanley wrote and directed Big Night, the critically acclaimed movie about two brothers running a failing restaurant, starred in Julie and Julia and is the host of Emmy nominated Searching for Italy. He is also pretty adept with a cocktail shaker.

He is the author of Taste: My Life Through Food and two cookbooks, The Tucci Table and The Tucci Cookbook.

6 thoughts on “Taste by Stanley Tucci | #bookreview #foodie #memoir | @figtreepenguin @PenguinUKBooks

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