“Cooking for her is at once a creative outlet and a way of feeding the family well.” - Stanley Tucci
I'm going to start this book review by saying that I've been in a book slump. Yes, I know what you're going to say. Kelli and I decided to start a book blog and I immediately fell into a book slump. What the heck?! I'm right there with you.
I had a bit of time to try and get myself out of this book slump with our first posts mainly focusing on childhood favorites. I even tried to excite myself by finding books for the different TBR lists we put out. While things were grabbing my attention, nothing really had me over-the-top excited.
So, when it came time to choose a book for my first book review, I was anxious. I wanted something that would be exciting enough to keep me enthralled, and also one interesting enough to write a book review about. During one of our searches for the TBR lists I came across Taste: My Life Through Food. I decided this is it. This will be the first book I write a review on. So, let's dig in (pun intended).
I started Taste: My Life Through Food with no expectations except that I hoped it would be funny. I've loved Stanley Tucci in every movie I've seen him in and probably should have expected more than just 'funny' from one of his books. Throughout his memoir I felt sad, empathic, excitement, and, most of all, straight up jealously at all the food he describes.
Stanley Tucci takes us on a journey through his life with bits and pieces of his story mixed in with recipes - many of which are pasta, and how can you go wrong with pasta? I'm sure there are memoirs out there that are similar, but this is one of the first ones that I've read that incorporates recipes so well into the story. When reading the first bit of the book that described a meal I started thinking, "This man better give us this recipe or else I'm quitting this book right now." Luckily, he did provide the recipe and I did not have to decide if I was really going to stick to my word and shut the book.
As I said before, I started this book hoping for it to pull me out of my reading slump. It started out slow going, with no fault to the author. I was stressed. I had a chronic migraine that I didn't know was a chronic migraine. I was trying to spend time with family. I just didn't have the brain power to read a book - even one that is intriguing. About halfway into the book something clicked and I couldn't put Taste: My Life Through Food down!
I was drawn into Stanley Tucci's world for the first time when he's talking about joining his grandfather in the wine cellar to pick out wine for dinner. His description made me feel as if I was standing down in that musty, dank wine cellar, just as excited as he was to be able to participate in this familial 'rite of passage' as Stanley Tucci puts it. Throughout the book he weaves tales that are straight out of a normal every day life, but then in the next chapter can describe the types of meals we imagine only celebrities are privy to.
While I've loved many movies Stanley Tucci has starred in, I am not familiar with him outside of these roles. So, I was shocked to find out that his first wife had passed away from cancer, and then many years later, he had to battle cancer himself.
The way he identified with and through food, and his connection to many people in his life through food, was taken away when he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor at the base of his tongue. His journey through treatment, coming to terms with the possible long term side effects of treatment, and finally his journey back to reclaiming his love of food kept me reading and ignoring responsibilities (like making dinner).
Overall, I give Taste: My Life Through Food a 4 star rating. The descriptions that Stanley Tucci is able to portray in the book - I give a 5. He brings us into his world, whether that's spending a day with him during quarantine or cooking a delicious meal in Italy. I would say, however, that I would love to reread, or more specifically, listen to this book. I feel that listening to this read by Stanley Tucci would have made this a 5 star book.
I hope this review piqued your interest in Taste: My Life Through Food! I can't wait to reread it and to try out many of the recipes Stanley Tucci shares with us throughout the book. Maybe I'll try one out on my book club next time it's my turn to host!
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