Monday, 17 November 2014

The Tucci Table

Authors: Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt
Genre: Cookbook
Type: ARC e-book
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
First Published: October 28, 2014
First Lines: "Food and family are nearly inseparable in the Tucci household."

Book Description from GoodReads:  Featuring family-friendly recipes and stunning photography, an all-new cookbook from New York Times bestselling author, beloved actor, and respected foodie Stanley Tucci.

Stanley Tucci's association with wonderful foods began for fans with the movie Big Night and resonated in his role as Julia Child's husband in Julie and Julia. But well before these films, he was enjoying innovative homemade Italian meals throughout his childhood, when family and food were nearly inseparable and cooking was always a familial venture.

Now, in a completely new, family-focused cookbook, Tucci captivates food lovers' imaginations with recipes from his traditional Italian roots as well as those of his British wife, Felicity Blunt, tied together with a modern American ribbon. The time-tested recipes include pasta alla bottarga, mushroom-stuffed trout, pork chops with onions and mustard sauce, barbeque chicken wings, and much, much more! Nothing will make you happier to spend time with family than the aroma of a hearty Italian dish sizzling on the stovetop.

Featuring 100 luscious new full-color photographs, The Tucci Table captures the true joys of family cooking. Buon apetito!

Disclaimer:  My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  I have been a fan of Stanley Tucci's acting for quite awhile.  Who didn't love him in Easy A (um, no one!), The Hunger Games series and Julie and Julia to name only a few?  I will admit to having a bit of a crush on him as an actor but now to learn that he was a self-proclaimed foodie too?!  That was the sprinkling of fresh Parmesan on the proverbial ravioli for me!

Now, I've read my fair share of cookbooks and they each have their own feel to them.  The feeling that I got from this book was heart.  It has a whole lot of heart because Tucci incorporates his personality into each chapter as he shares family anecdotes, provides tips, helps the home cook outfit their own kitchens and brings the reader into his family kitchen.  It shows that food and family are inextricably linked in the Tucci home where their family dinner table is one of the foundations of family life.  With the casual feel to the writing I could easily imagine him reading them to me in his signature voice.  

From the beginning of the book you can tell that he and his wife Felicity adore food and feeding people.  It's a wonderful combination of Italian and English family favourites (with a touch of North American flair).  There are a vast array of dishes to choose from including appetizers, soups (the Tuscan Tomato Soup!), sandwiches (Grilled Cheese with Pesto and Prosciutto!), main dishes including fish, pasta and even some British fare from Felicity's upbringing in the UK like Beef Wellington and Shepherd's Pie.  While there are a few dessert recipes thrown in for good measure the Tucci/Blunt family aren't dessert lovers so there isn't a plethora to choose from in that category which is fine by me. 

The overall feel of the book isn't intimidating or snooty but very encouraging and doable.  The recipes may challenge a new cook with some ingredients that aren't standard North American fare as well as some instructions that assume a basic level of culinary understanding but for the intermediate cook this would be a great book to add to the home collection.  

'When I think of the moments that have brought me the most pleasure, the most joy, they are almost always framed within the context of food and the table."

Stanley's way of writing encourages the home cook to jump in and give his recipes a try.  The inclusion of short family stories and even some pictures of his family in the kitchen helped to give this cookbook a very homey feel to it which I really enjoyed.  He comes off as a 'normal kinda guy' who adores food and feeding those he loves.  Add into this the beautiful pictures of many of the recipes and this cookbook is a keeper and would make a great gift for a home cook. 

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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