Whilst guilty of repitition, Stanley Tucci’s memoire of a life based around food is both touching and engaging.
From an early childhood in an Italian migrant family in upstate New York to a Covid-induced home lockdown in London, Taste: My Life Through Food is a journey not through key life-changing moments, but instead focuses a memory, a taste associated with food. A childhood wishing for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to replace the lunchbox of chicken schnitzel and eggplant; daggers drawn over the cooking of roast potatoes; the most memorable on-location meals (Iceland); restaurants (some now closed) in London, Vancouver, Rome. And interspersed throughout are recipes – some handed down within the family, others collected along the way – along with, for Tucci, the perfect cocktail mix.
Personal anecdotes abound as Tucci takes the reader on a journey through his life. But this is no reflection or personal evaluation of a life well led. There are few personal insights away from the kitchen or the restaurant table. Do not expect salacious gossip about the filming of The Devil Wears Prada (not mentioned) or The Lovely Bones (also not mentioned). In fact titles of films are rarely mentioned. There’s not even that much in the way of namedropping except a fluid reeling off of restauranteurs. Instead, expect lots of superlatives on the best chefs and the occasional recipe for Pasta alla Norma or Ragú Tucci.
Taste: My Life Through Food occasionally slips into talk-show anecdotal (without interruptions from the host or other guests) but remains an enjoyable, light read.