We’ll have what the celebrities are having
Here's how five recent star cookbooks stack up.
- Eva Longoria
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- Teresa Giudice
- Sheryl Crow
- Alicia Silverstone
With Marah Stets. Published by Clarkson Potter, 2011
The actress shares Texan and Mexican recipes and pays homage to her late Aunt Elsa, a caterer.
TAKE-AWAY MESSAGE: She's not some starlet who wouldn't know a gizzard if it fell in her lap. She grew up on a ranch in Texas with real chickens!
SIMPLEST RECIPE Toast Triangles, Page 17. “Lightly spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread. Lightly sprinkle with garlic or onion powder, paprika, and salt, if using. Cut each slice into 4 triangles and place on a cookie sheet. Bake until lightly brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and serve.”
MOST RIDICULOUS RECIPE “Tie between Ceviche (Page 30; “In the beach towns of Mexico . . . people happily eat raw fish and shellfish. I, however, do not.”) and Turkey Shepherd's Pie (Page 97; “The key to great shepherd's pie is the ketchup”).
CELEBRITY WATCH Her business partner in the restaurant Beso, celebrity chef Todd English, merits only a mention or two. Longoria has expunged from the uncorrected proof all references to former husband Tony Parker, star guard for the San Antonio Spurs, after the couple divorced this year due to Parker's alleged infidelities. “Desperate Housewives” co-star Teri Hatcher contributes a banana bread recipe. Former supermodel Cindy Crawford introduced Longoria to strawberries and rhubarb.
VANITY MOMENT “I cannot count the number of times that I've found myself in a Gucci dress and heels — with full hair and makeup, about to run out to an event — pulling a roasted chicken out of the oven in order to make sure that my family is fed before leaving the house to face a hundred photographers on a red carpet.”
Published by Grand Central Publishing, 2011
The actor, author and singer has released a cookbook with an emphasis on clean flavors and vegetarian/vegan alternatives; it serves as a tribute to Bruce Paltrow, her late father, who loved to cook.
TAKE-AWAY MESSAGE: Daddy told her she could do whatever she wanted, if she just put her mind (and face) to it.
MOST RIDICULOUS RECIPE Wood Oven Pizzas, Page 174. “We've got a wood-burning pizza oven in the garden — a luxury, I know, but it's one of the best investments I've ever made.”
CELEBRITY WATCH Chef Mario Batali writes the foreword, actor Leonardo DiCaprio offers dietary advice, mom Blythe Danner makes numerous cameos and, of course, the cookbook is named in honor of the late Bruce Paltrow, Gwyneth's producer-writer father. She also suggests buying the Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker and drops references to his pastamaker and his duck ragu recipe.
With Heather Maclean; Running Press, May 2011
The author and co-star of Bravo TV's “Real Housewives of New Jersey” follows her “Skinny Italian” cookbook with more of the same.
TAKE-AWAY MESSAGE: She will make you love her children.
SIMPLEST RECIPE Roasted Asparagus Alla Parmigiana, Page 131. “Spread the asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil. Roll the asparagus in the oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning the asparagus after 5 minutes, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. . . .”
MOST RIDICULOUS RECIPE Audriana's Creamy Polenta, Page 47, allegedly the favorite dish of Giudice's 1-year-old daughter. The headnote is ostensibly written by the author's 6-year-old daughter: “Hi, it's me, Gabriella.”
SAMPLE TIP “If I can teach you nothing else in this entire book, learn this: Flirt with your butcher!”
CELEBRITY WATCH Food personality and cookbook author Rachael Ray is mentioned, and Giudice drops Sophia Loren's name (“one of my personal heroes”). There are the expected “Real Housewives” plugs, plus a mention of Andy Cohen, a Bravo TV executive vice president. Hold. Us. Back.
With Chuck White and Mary Goodbody; St. Martin's Press, 2011
The author, rock star and breast cancer survivor offers healthful recipes devised, in large part, by chef Chuck White and a nutritionist.
TAKE-AWAY MESSAGE: If Lance Armstrong can beat cancer in style, so can she — and without the doping charges.
SIMPLEST RECIPE Chuck's Creme Fraiche, Page 153. “In a glass bowl, stir the cream with the buttermilk. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 18 to 24 hours, or until thickened.”
MOST RIDICULOUS RECIPE Lemon-Vanilla Panna Cotta with Basil-Apricot Compote, Page 122. This Italian “cooked cream” is made with lemon soy yogurt.
SAMPLE TIP From nutritionist Rachel S. Beller: “Extra-virgin olive oil isn't the best choice for high-heat cooking.” (Teresa Giudice, are you reading this?)
CELEBRITY WATCH Does Jack Daniel's count? Because other than the name of that Tennessee whiskey, there's nary a celebrity in sight. Aside from the author, of course.
Rodale (paperback, 2011)
The actor has issued a soft-cover edition of her 2009 bestseller, written to help people transition to veganism.
TAKE-AWAY MESSAGE: She's cooler and far hotter than you icky meat eaters.
SIMPLEST RECIPE Basic Rice, Page 233. Wash rice. Soak rice. Put rice in pot, add water and salt. Boil on high heat, cover. Turn the heat down. Simmer for 50 minutes, remove and let rice sit. “Serve warm.”
MOST RIDICULOUS RECIPE Alicia's Sexy Inspired Salad, Page 174. A mixed-greens salad that calls for truffle oil, “which, though a bit expensive, is used so sparingly it lasts forever and is really worth the cost.” Except for one problem: Truffle oil has a shelf life of three to six months.
INGREDIENT SHE DEMONIZES Everything that comes from an animal, plus white sugar and processed foods.
CELEBRITY WATCH Sir Paul McCartney, who wrote the preface. Other name-dropping: actors Kathleen Turner, Jason Biggs, Woody Harrelson (canoeing naked down the Amazon!) and a small army of vegetarians and purported vegetarians, dead and alive, including Ovid, Voltaire, Leo Tolstoy, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, John Lennon, Kate Moss, Natalie Portman, Bruce Lee and Carl Lewis.
PHOTOS: Tracy A. Woodward GRAPHIC: Laura Stanton - The Washington Post. Published April 27, 2011.