Monday, August 29, 2011

Autobiographical Briefs

I read two autobiographies recently that were highly anticipated for a number of reasons and I thought I would share a few thoughts on each here with all of you.
I saw Rob Lowe on a few of the talk shows while he was out promoting this book. Aside from the stories he told on the talk shows that implied the book might be interesting, being roughly the same age and having watched all of the "Brat Pack" films (because it was something you did in the 80's) and wanting to know more about the culture of that group of people in that time and place - I opted to give this book a read. While it wasn't the worst autobiography of all time, and there were some sincere moments that had a rare humanizing effect on a celebrity, it just didn't ring as a cohesive piece of storytelling for me and I was left feeling like it may have been okay to just leave it be with what I saw on the talk show circuit.
Tina Fey captivated me on SNL and then again on 30 Rock. She's witty, intelligent, and powerful but also has, for me, a remarkable charm that I simply can't get enough of. This book not only offered the story of Tina Fey from then till now but it was punctuated with the witty humor that makes those of us that love her, lover her. I laughed so much while reading this book that I'm smiling just writing about it. Fey doesn't take herself so seriously that she isn't willing to be self-deprecating almost to a fault. If you are a fan of Fey, this is a must read.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jamie's Italy

I have a crush on Jamie Oliver. Also, I'm Italian.

This is not why I chose to review this book and I promise that I'm not being biased about it either.

For me the glue that binds any cookbook to the recipes inside of them are the pictures. Okay, granted the pictures don't tell you how to cook the meals. HOWEVER, the pictures are what makes the recipe look oh so very nom nom nom.

I bought Julia Child's cookbook because it's French cuisine and it's Julia Child. Also, I had just finished watching the movie Julie & Julia and became very inspired. Upon perusing the recipes, it wasn't just the size of the book or the font of the words that scared me off of it ... it was the lack of photos! And those little pencil drawings do not count. Needless to say, I didn't spend hours pouring over each recipe as I did with Jamie Oliver's book. There was just no appeal to me.

I will admit that what drew me to this book is that it was filled with recipes from my motherland (maybe I am being biased). But, look at the cover of this book. Look at how vibrant the colours are ... they just pop right off the page. And that is what you can expect from the entire book. Every photo shows amazing details of not only the prepared dish, but of the individual ingredients that go into making each dish so mouth-watering.

It doesn't get much better than having a homemade glass of wine with a plate of pasta and enjoying it in some rustic town sitting next to a beaten up VW Beetle. Talk about simple pleasures.

Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed are the stories that it told ... where the recipes came from ... the origins of the towns he visited ... the stories of the people who live there. He not only brought these meals to life, he brought the little towns to life as well. This wasn't just a cookbook, it was a journey.

If you can appreciate good food, a good cook and fantastic stories and photos, this is the next cookbook you need to have in your kitchen. All of your senses will thank you.