Book Review of Stanley Tucci's TASTE: MY LIFE THROUGH FOOD
by Sara Voigt (@meaningfulmadness)
Stanley Tucci's Taste: My Life Through Food
(Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
If you listen to the pod, you know I adore food books–cookbooks, food fiction, food memoirs. You name the food book, and I’ll put it on my TBR list immediately. When I heard Stanley Tucci wrote a memoir, I was very interested. I think he is an incredible character actor, and just a true delight. When I heard his memoir was food-centered, I pushed all my chips in. I couldn’t wait to get it into my hands (well, ears…whatever.). I decided to read the audiobook since Tucci reads it, and I cannot resist a memoir read by the author.
All that to say, I LOVED this book. The way Tucci weaves his story around the food he adores is magical. In the book, Tucci takes the reader on a journey from his childhood eating delicious meals made by his beloved mother, his foray into packaged and processed foods in his teens, and his admiration and appreciation for perfectly cooked cuisines of the world that he has been fortunate enough to experience in his adult years. I adored his admiration and appreciation for a perfectly executed cocktail, and the way that he emphasized that for a meal to be delicious, it does not have to be complicated.
“To me, eating well is not just about what tastes good but about the connections that are made through the food itself. I am hardly saying anything new by stating that our links to what we eat have practically disappeared beneath sheets of plastic wrap. But what are also disappearing are the wonderful, vital human connections we’re able to make when we buy something we love to eat from someone who loves to sell it, who bought it from someone who loves to grow, catch, or raise it. Whether we know it or not, great comfort is found in these relationships, and they are very much a part of what solidifies a community.”
What made this memoir really stand out to me was the way food is presented as a sort of love language to the people we love. Tucci talks of gatherings of friends and family centered around grand feasts of delicious food and cocktails. He talks about the simplicity of a few ingredient pasta dish made and shared with a dear friend with such gusto that it makes you just want to drop everything and make it. He also talks candidly about his grueling cancer battle when he was deprived of taste and smell for a period of time and how that affected him.
“I have chosen to write about this painfully ironic experience because my illness and the brutal side effects of the treatment caused me to realize that food was not just a huge part of my life; it basically was my life. Food at once grounded me and took me to other places. It comforted me and challenged me. It was part of the fabric that made up my creative self and my domestic self. It allowed me to express my love for the people I love and make connections with new people I might come to love.”
Tucci has a gift for telling a story and making you feel like you were there sipping the wine, eating the food, having the conversation. AND…even though the book was very poignant at times, there were still plenty of chuckles along the way. Several times I laughed out loud at his delivery of a sarcastic line (seriously, hearing him deliver those lines on audio is a true joy). This book only reiterated my status as a Stanley Tucci fan for life. In addition, I am going to have to get my hands on a hard copy of this book because I want ALL the recipes he describes (which are in the hard copy of the book). I hope he writes many more books that I can devour, just like I did this one.
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