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Taste Summary

Taste My Life Through Food: from award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes to an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen.

Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen 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 savory recipes and into the compelling stories behind them.​

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

Written with Stanley’s signature wry humor, Taste is for fans of Bill Buford, Gabrielle Hamilton, and Ruth Reichl—and anyone who knows the power of a home-cooked meal.

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.

Taste Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I grew up in Katonah, New York, a beautiful town about sixty miles north of Manhattan. We moved there when I was three years of age from Peekskill, New York, a small city with a large Italian population on the Hudson River where my father’s family had settled after emigrating from Calabria.

My mother’s family, also from Calabria, lived in neighboring Verplanck, a town composed of mostly Italian and Irish immigrants. My parents, Joan Tropiano and Stanley Tucci the Second met at a picnic in 1959, and my father proposed a few months later.

They married soon afterward and I was born ten months after their wedding day. Clearly, they were in a hurry to breed. My sister Gina followed three years later, and my sister Christine three years after that. We lived in a three-bedroom contemporary house at the top of a hill on a cul-de-sac mostly surrounded by woods.

My father was the head of the art department at a high school a few towns away, and my mother worked in the office there. My sisters and I went to our local elementary, junior high, and high schools.

In the sixties and seventies, the suburbs of northern Westchester were not nearly as densely populated as they are today and were a rather ideal place to grow up. My sisters and I had a great group of friends who lived on our road and close by with whom we played daily and almost exclusively out of doors.

There were no video games or mobile phones, and television was only watched on occasion. Instead, we played in each other’s yards or the nearby fields, but mostly in the surrounding woods, throughout the year. The woods had everything to offer us.

Endless trees to climb and in which “forts” could be built, swamps to trudge through or skate on when frozen, Revolutionary War-era stone walls to climb, and hills to sled down when they were covered in the deep snow that used to fall consistently every winter.

Now that I am in the autumn of my years (I have just turned sixty, so that might be edging toward mid-to-late autumn), I often wish I could return to those times, that place, and my innocent, curious, energetic self. I would also like to go back if only to retrieve my beautiful head of hair.

The carefree activities out of doors in all kinds of weather were a wonderful part of my childhood, but what was even more wonderful was what and how my family cooked and ate.

Food, its preparation, serving, and ingesting, was the primary activity and the main topic of conversation in my household growing up. My mother insists that she was capable of little more than boiling water when she married my father. If this is true, she has more than made up for this shortcoming over the last half-century.

I can honestly say that on the four-burner electric stove she used throughout my childhood and on the gas hob that replaced it many years later, she has never cooked a bad meal.

Not once. The focus of her cooking is Italian, primarily recipes from her family or my father’s family. (However, she was never afraid to branch out into the cuisine of Northern Italy. Her risotto Milanese is still one of the best I have ever tasted.)

Over the years she also perfected a few dishes from other countries, which became staples of her repertoire. One year paella appeared, cooked, and served in an elegant orange and white Dansk casserole dish.

Brimming with clams, mussels, shrimp, chicken, and lobster tails (at the time lobster was somewhat affordable), it became a special treat for years to come.

Crepes made their way onto our table at some point in the early 1970s, no doubt inspired by Julia Child. Light and airy, they were stuffed with chicken in a béchamel sauce and greedily devoured by us all. Rich, thick chili con carne appeared every now and again, speckled with green and red peppers, its meat made unctuous by rich red tomatoes and olive oil.

This dish was often specifically made for some neighbor’s annual Super Bowl party. We never threw any such fête, as no one in the house was in any way a football fan.

It should be obvious by now that when I was young, my mother spent most of her waking time in the kitchen, and she still does to this day.

Cooking for her is at once a creative outlet and a way of feeding her family well. Her cooking, like that of any great cook or chef, is proof that culinary creativity may be the most perfect art form. It allows for free personal expressions like painting, musical composition, or writing and yet fulfills a most practical need: the need to eat. Edible art. What could be better?

Because of my mother’s culinary prowess, eating at neighbors’ houses as a kid was always a bit of a struggle. The meals were bland or just plain not good.

However, my friends were more than happy to spend time at our table. They knew the food at our house was something quite special. The ingredients had been carefully chosen or grown according to the season; each dish had a cultural history and was lovingly made.

It was not only the food itself in which they delighted but the passion with which it was made and presented, as well as the joy our family took in its consumption. The moans of satisfaction that the meal elicited from us were enough to convince one to enjoy the meal even if one wasn’t already.

Between moans, there was the usual discussion of how and why it was all so delicious. “The best you’ve ever made, Joan,” my father would say about one dish or another every night. We, my two sisters and I, would agree as my mother would mutter something about there not being enough salt or something needing more cooking time, or saying, “It’s a little dry, don’t you think?” and so on.

This discourse was followed by stories of previous meals, imagined ones, or desired preferences for those to come, and before one knew it the meal had ended and little else had been discussed other than food.

Politics, luckily, were quite low on the list. No matter what one ate, even if it was just cold cuts and olives from a delicatessen, it was elevated to a new level of flavor in my parents’ home.

A college friend once said to me when eating prosciutto, bread, and cheese in my first apartment in New York City, “Stan, how come even though I buy the same stuff from the same store, it tastes better when I’m at your house?”

“You should visit my parents,” was my reply.

In Italian families, nothing is discussed, ruminated on, or joked about as much as food (except death, but I’ll save that subject for another book), and hence there are quite a few food-related expressions that have been passed down through my family over many generations that I continue to use to this day myself.

My father is a voracious eater, and during dinner, while savoring his food (in truth he would be eating it very quickly, as savoring is something neither he nor I practices, although I suppose we are experts in the postprandial savor), my father would inevitably utter the rhetorical question “My God, what does the rest of the world eat?!!!”

To me, given the quality of the food, it was a more than fair question. When he was told that dinner was soon to be served, he would take a sip of his scotch, slam the glass on the butcher-block counter, and loudly pronounce, “Buono! Perche io ho une fame che parla con Dio!”

This translates as…

“Good! Because I have a hunger that speaks with God!”

God has paid little attention, it seems, to truly sating him, as my father’s biblically proportioned hunger returns every evening.

When he was young, my father would, as all children do, ask the question, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”

His very sweet mother (sweet by all accounts, for I didn’t know her well, as I was only seven when she died) would respond with “Cazzi e patate.”

This translates directly as “Dicks and potatoes.” In other words, “Leave me alone,” or “Bugger off,” as the Brits might say. In today’s “PC” climate, a social worker might be brought into a household to oversee parents who spoke to their children this way. One could only hope for a social worker with Italian roots.

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Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN1982168013, 978-1982168018
Posted onOctober 5, 2021
Page Count304 pages
AuthorStanley Tucci

Taste My Life Through Food PDF Book Free Download - HUB PDF

Taste My Life Through Food: from award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes to an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen.

URL: https://amzn.to/3mEEli0

Author: Stanley Tucci

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