There seems to be an influx of cookbooks “written” by celebrities (and those who think they are) in the past few years. Maybe it’s because they want us to see that they’re “real” people too, making their own meals for their families, trying to dispel the preconceived notion that the hired help does it all for them. Or maybe it’s because they need to finance a new vacation home.
Either way, for anyone in showbiz with at least a D-grade listing, authoring a cookbook is a requirement for their 15 minutes of fame — slotted somewhere between meeting Leno and releasing a sex tape. Keep reading to find out which ones are the most ridiculous and which one is right for your kitchen (or bathroom) library.
My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness By Gwyneth Paltrow (Grand Central Life & Style; 2011)
Perfect if you: Have an unhealthy obsession with Gwyneth Paltrow and/or if you like to cook and look pretentious while doing so.
A-list film star, rock star’s wife, mother, “icon of style and good taste around the world,” cooking/parenting/lifestyle guru, author — what can’t Gwyneth do?! This book provides insight into her life, parenting and food philosophies, her relationship with her father and pretty much everything that she has that you most likely never will — summers in Nantucket, a wood-burning stove in the back yard, Stella McCartney and Leo DiCaprio as best pals, etc.
Oh, and there are even some recipes in it, too. They’re simple, somewhat basic (a few aren’t even really recipes, but more advice on “substitution”) and would be great for a novice cook. Plus, there are lots of photos of Gwyneth — maybe even more so than actual shots of the food. This is a cookbook, right?
Cookin’ with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price By (who else?) Coolio (Atria Books; 2009)
Perfect if you: Are a rapper, stoner, busy parent-on-the-go or all of the above.
If there’s one thing Coolio has been doing longer than rapping, it’s cooking. This “King of the Kitchen Pimps’” compendium of international “fusions” like “Blasian” (black Asian) or “Ghettalian” (ghetto Italian) is full of creative and simple-to-prepare recipes that would be especially tasty if you’re baked — and not in the culinary sense.
Cookin’ with Coolio is filled with an array of curse words and colorful gansta language — a pinch being a “peench,” a tablespoon is a “dime bag,” and a 1/2 tablespoon is a “nickle bag,” — and sage cooking advice like, “Only serve rare fish if it’s incredibly fresh. It looks pretty, but like a good woman, it just might kill you.”
Though sold as a “family-friendly” cookbook, I’m not sure this is one that you’d let the kids get hold of.
Fabulicious! Teresa’s Italian Family Cookbook By The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Teresa Giudice (Running Press; 2011)
Perfect if you: Have to learn how to cook because you had to fire your personal chef after your mafioso husband was charged with bankruptcy fraud.
Reality “star” Teresa Giudice shares over 60 of her family recipes “straight from Salerno” that look more like they were stolen from the Olive Garden’s menu. With tongue-in-cheek recipe names like Joe’s Juicy Meatballs and Little Mermaid’s Baked Flounder, plus her delightful personal stories of strippers, sex tapes and “happy endings,” Mrs. Giudice’s classiness shines through in this family-friendly cookbook. It’s also full of family photos showing off her elegant “Jersey chic” wardrobe and her adorably overdressed children decked out in frilly dresses and glittery tights.
But this Amazon.com review best sums up my feelings on it: “According to Ms. Giudice, she doesn’t know what a Chateaubriand is but she somehow has the authority to write a cookbook? Please.”
Though I do think that maybe we should give the gal a break; she probably “wrote” this cookbook to help pay off her creditors and … wait for it … feed her family.