Caesar Flickerman in The Hunger Games. George Harvey, a neighbourhood serial killer in The Lovely Bones and Dr Abraham Erskine in Captain America. These are just three of the many roles that Mr Tucci has played in his career. But it is his most recent role that has got people talking, and with good reason. Meet Stanley Tucci, author.
While Stanley has written cookery books in the past, now we have been gifted “Taste: My Life Through Food. Now is this another cookery book or is it a memoir? That’s what you’re thinking isn’t it. Well, my friends it is a memoir. But where an author usually illustrates his work through the medium of photos, our author here, demonstrates his work by sharing the recipes that have helped to shape the man that he has become.
Taste is exactly what it says on the cover, it’s Stanley’s life through food. One thing I noted and loved was how the writing is bookended beautifully by conversations. At the start, Stanley and his mother, as we learn they are watching a cookery show as Stanley’s mother makes him a sandwich. At the end of the book, Stanley is the parent making his child a sandwich. Of course, this is a beautiful demonstration of the circle of life.
Taste tells the story of Stanley, from how his father was always the genial host of guests arriving to their house all the way through to how food shaped the man he became. Stanley tells of acting and finding local eateries near the sets. Eateries that became regular places that spawned friendships lasting to this day. Eateries that gifted Stanley, and by virtue of this book us, all the recipes he has gathered through the years.
As someone who has had a cancer diagnosis myself, I can say with certainty, that to hear that word is like your own personal horror story. Taste tells Stanley’s story. Taste tells of a man with cancer who struggles to eat and needs a feeding tube. Taste tells of man who very literally, can’t taste. Taste tells of a man who loves to cook but due to the treatments needed, lacks the will and energy to get down to the kitchen due to his condition. But we must remember, it also shares his recovery. It shares the friends that stepped up when the Tucci world was falling apart.
Taste is a beautifully written memoir. It’s written with a clarity and honesty that sometimes can be dusted over in other memoirs. It’s written with respect to the people that Stanley knows and the lives that have touched his. The recipes are shared and almost like the fingerprint of those he has come into contact with. Taste honours the people he’s met, the places he has been, the work he has done and most of all, it honours his family.
All I need now is my glass of rose, with Stanley teaching me how to cook Italian….