In one way, there’s not much to it: some fairly standard childhood memories; a half-funny anecdote about the time Meryl Streep ordered andouillette (a stinky sausage made with chitterlings) in a French bistro; an account of the (to him, frankly batty) manner in which his British wife roasts potatoes. But in another way, it is… oh, dear. How to frame this for a family newspaper? Suffice to say that when he gets going, Tucci can make a woman feel quite agitated. Why, she may think wildly, will he not treat me to spaghetti con le zucchine alla Nerano at La Scoglio on the Amalfi coast? ... The tone of his book is light and, for an American actor, moderately ironic ... he doesn’t get Oscar-speech mushy ... There are lots of gaps ... after a while, it ceases to matter that he’s no Robert Evans, nor even a David Niven. The mind clings, like a good sauce, to other things. The fact that Tucci finds his wife’s greediness sexy and endearing – and that she, in turn, felt no need to hide this part of herself on their early dates, chasing after a restaurant cheese trolley with her eyes as if it were the last train home and she was about to miss it – makes me very happy. I’m not even being facetious when I say that, if we’re serious about ending cultural sexism, a good place to start might be right here. The world needs more men like this: the kind of bloke – and a Hollywood star, to boot – who could not be more delighted when a woman asks for seconds; who cooks for a girl like he really means it.
If you’re looking for detail on the career of the great character actor Stanley Tucci, you should probably pass on his lovely new memoir Taste: My Life Through Food ... This fusion of love and food is what gives Tucci’s book its sweetness. He writes of his family’s rituals with tenderness ... Reading this book will make you more attentive to the glorious – or modest – food on your table, and to the people with whom you are privileged to share it.
... a gastronome’s delight. It has piquant surprises tucked inside and will leave readers both sated and wanting more ... Tucci is quite opinionated about food. Well-placed 'fuck's signify outraged incredulity and offer hits of hilarity throughout.
... enters a bloated genre that has a high bar. Is his eating life so distinctive that it stands out from all the other writers’ and warrants expansive narration? The answer is yes and no. I kept wishing he’d teased out more themes — beyond, simply, his gusto — to tie together his days as an Italian-American boy whose lunchbox shamed his classmates’ and his international jaunts as a movie star who judges locations based on the quality of food in and around the set ... Absent that connective tissue, Taste at times seems less like a labor of love than an exercise in brand extension. Tucci has, in collaboration with family members, produced cookbooks ... The most striking aspect of Taste is its curiously handled twist. Just 28 pages before the end of the book, he flashes back from scenes of pandemic tedium in 2020 to announce that in 2017, he was diagnosed with tongue cancer and subsequently went through a brutal regimen of radiation that obliterated his appetite for a while ... made me wonder why he didn’t begin his book with the tumor and the possibility that, even if he survived it, he’d be robbed of culinary pleasure forevermore. (Fortunately, he wasn’t.) As a framing device, that would have added poignancy and urgency to the meals that followed. As an abrupt development near the book’s end, it is disorienting — though still harrowing ... I enjoyed eavesdropping in its early pages on a loud and food-proud Italian American family much like my own ... the tour itself is a bit of a jumble. He toggles breezily between passages told in straightforward prose and anecdotes rendered in movie-script dialogue; between lessons on the composition of a particular pasta dish and mini-tutorials on important culinary figures; between recipes, menus and timelines; between salty language and fussy references. It’s easily digested but undercooked. And it may leave you feeling slightly underfed ... asks for your time and attention and yet, in a manner too common among memoirs by celebrities wary of the public eye, holds you at something of a remove ... Tucci at one point apologizes for his high-level name-dropping, but he needn’t. It’s a spice that most of the 'What I Ate' books don’t have.
Lest readers drown in Tucci’s mouthwatering food descriptions (minus that one, ill-advised French sausage), plenty of recipes appear for reproducing everything from his family’s Sunday ragù to his English wife’s crispy roasted potatoes and a cocktail or three. Easily flipping from tongue-in-cheek supercilious to self-deprecation, Tucci is the formal-yet-unpretentious, companionable narrator fans will expect. A late, heartfelt chapter lets readers into Tucci’s until-now private battle with tongue cancer in recent years, and the physically and emotionally challenging recovery that confirmed, as he was hardly able to eat, the important role food plays in his life, happiness, and love for others.