Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci 2021

Tucci, an accomplished actor, director, screenplay writer, and host of a TV show about the cooking of Italy, has written a terrific memoir describing how food has been the source of relationships, work, family, friends, and joy throughout his life.  The book combines the classic memoir style (“I grew up in Katonah, New York….”) with at least two dozen recipes for his favorite dishes, and it works because Tucci is a very funny guy.  His sarcastic asides are perfectly timed and break the potentially stultifying rhythm of the standard memoir with smiles and an occasional laugh out loud.

Growing up in an Italian family only one generation separated from their native Calabria, Tucci had wonderful teachers of cooking and food appreciation in his mother and grandmother.  His career brought him to some exotic places where he could sample the cuisine (e.g. Iceland), but his first love is Italy and its regional dishes.  Along the way, we learn of the tragic loss of his first wife to cancer at 47, his second marriage to a wonderful Brit, his children, their lockdown routines in COVID, and in a surprise final chapter, his own battle with tongue cancer, ironically resulting in the loss of taste, smell, and even the ability to eat necessitating a feeding tube for many months.  Happily, Tucci recovers and channels his new found life into writing this book.  The book made me even more interested in watching his TV series and his big directorial and acting hit, the 1999 movie ‘Big Night’ about a restaurant.

‘Taste’ is fun, interesting, and a great source of recipes for the upcoming summer in Vermont.  Lots of past on the menu!!!!