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Celebrity Cookbooks, do you own any?

cookiebaker Mar 21, 2011 09:48 AM

This article is about why celebrities write cookbooks and why publishers publish them.


It made me wonder: do you own any celebrity cookbooks? Are any of them (surprisingly) good?

I confess, I don't own any and I wouldn't buy one either...but am I being a foodie snob?

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  1. s
    sedimental RE: cookiebaker Mar 21, 2011 11:40 AM

    ......."but am I being a foodie snob?"

    Maybe! :)

    I own two Rachel Ray "quick" style cookbooks. I bought one and one was a gift. They have been great. They serve their purpose.........which is fast, tasty, weekday meals that are healthy and easily "tweak-able". I just made her Sardinian Style Fish Chowder from Thursdays "leftover" cod (it was really good with saffron and tumeric) last Friday night. I made her Shrimp with Tarragon Tomato Sauce- with garlic bread and Spring greens salad the Wednesday before. I typically cook one or two recipes (or get ideas) from her books each week.

    We usually have a "bistro-style" soup, salad or sandwich style meal twice per week on our "late work nights" so I really like RR for those nights. I have not bought anyone else's cookbooks but I use many different online recipes from many celeb chefs.

    I don't care who's name is on a recipe- I care if it meets my needs and tastes good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sedimental
      cookiebaker RE: sedimental Mar 21, 2011 02:47 PM

      I wouldn't consider Rachel Ray a celebrity with a cookbook. She is cooking personality first and foremost, not an actor/actress who puts out a cookbook with no chef credentials. I'm talking about Sophia Loren or Gwyneth Paltrow and the like.

      I found a tread on this from 2007:

      1. re: cookiebaker
        sedimental RE: cookiebaker Mar 21, 2011 05:13 PM

        Oh, I see. I guess I was just lumping them all together :)

        I also own a Paul Newman cookbook (although I don't know where it came from). When he was first getting started with his "Newman's Own" line of foods. It has very healthy oriented -and very dull -recipes in it!

    2. LindaWhit RE: cookiebaker Mar 21, 2011 11:52 AM

      The Sopranos Family Cookbook - is that a "celebrity" cookbook? ;-)

      And I have two copies of "A Treasury of Great Recipes" by Vincent and Mary Price.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit
        ChefJune RE: LindaWhit Mar 24, 2011 08:32 PM

        Vincent Price was well known as a superb cook. That's probably a treasure.

        1. re: ChefJune
          LindaWhit RE: ChefJune Mar 25, 2011 05:38 AM

          I only discovered it as a result of a Chowhound thread. And then went e'baying to find it. :-)

      2. b
        Bunson RE: cookiebaker Mar 21, 2011 04:29 PM

        I tried to find out who the celebrity the article is referring to is, but can't seem to find a name.

        That being said, the current issue of Food & Wine has a decent sized piece on Gwyneth Paltrow along with some of her recipes. They do reinforce that she isn't some scrub, and actually has a passion for food and spends a lot of time doing the world food tour as well as cooking.

        Obviously publishers like the celebrity name for publicity/interest, but I wouldn't rule out the book as being a money grab by association. Just because someone isn't a professionally trained chef or haven't had any restaurant experience doesn't mean the information or recipes they have isn't worthwhile. Just look at the number of food bloggers out there that do it as a hobby that have a lot of good information to share. They may not be actors or famous celebrities but the content will determine if what they have to offer is worthwhile.

        I don't own any celebrity cookbooks, do own a few cookbooks by celebrity chefs, and wouldn't rule out a "celebrity cookbook" just because of the name attached to it. That being said I would never buy a book like that blind, without first reading some reviews on it, or at least spending some time looking through it at a local bookstore.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bunson
          goodhealthgourmet RE: Bunson Mar 21, 2011 04:57 PM

          That being said, the current issue of Food & Wine has a decent sized piece on Gwyneth Paltrow along with some of her recipes. They do reinforce that she isn't some scrub...
          interesting - i had a totally different reaction to it. i'd be pretty pissed if i bought a cookbook and there were recipes like the one for turkey burgers...season ground turkey with salt, pepper & jarred BBQ sauce, grill, and serve on buns. seriously??? and i've seen asparagus with parmesan & poached eggs a hundred times before.

          oh, and i assume the author of the HuffPo piece is talking about Eva Longoria.

        2. mcel215 RE: cookiebaker Mar 21, 2011 05:02 PM

          I have (from years ago), Christina Ferrare's Cookbook. She was a model first I believe.

          People rave about her Baked Beans from that cookbook. I haven't made anything from it though. Don't like baked beans.

          1. Nicolette S RE: cookiebaker Mar 21, 2011 05:37 PM

            I have "A Treasury of Great Recipes" by Vincent & Mary Price. Haven't had it out in quite a while but it's very interesting.

            I also have "Dining with the Duchess" by Sarah Ferguson around here somewhere. It's been so long since I've seen it that I can't tell you much about it, just fessin' up. :)

            1. rockandroller1 RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 05:22 AM

              I have Jamie Oliver's Italy cookbook, Mario Batali's Italy cookbook and Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook. I really, really enjoyed reading all of these cookbooks, but to my surprise Jamie's has been the most solid. The recipes in Les Halles are full of hard to obtain and too numerous ingredients with many recipes taking a full day, or even 2 or 3 days to cook. I think I've made 2 things out of it and I've had it for years. I've tried about 6 recipes from mario's cookbook and almost all the recipes come out terrible, so I just quit trying. Jamie's cookbook has produced some very good dishes for me and recipes are simple and easy to follow and don't require 8000 kitchen implements.

              For nothing but pictures, I also have the French Laundry cookbook. I would never attempt anything from there. I also Ripert's Le Bernardin book Behind the Line, which is a great read that also happens to have a few recipes, which I would also not attempt in my meager kitchen with my meager skills.

              If I had more $ I would have a LOT of celeb cookbooks. The celeb chefs I enjoy are those whose restaurants I'd like to eat in, and since I rarely to never get that chance, I enjoy trying to replicate those dishes. I am lucky enough to live where I can eat Michael Symon's food often enough that I haven't bought his cookbook, but if I moved, I would buy it. I would also like to have a book by Flay and some more books by Jamie.

              I personally think you're missing out.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rockandroller1
                LindaWhit RE: rockandroller1 Mar 22, 2011 05:25 AM

                OK, but again, the OP wasn't asking about "celebrity chefs" - the question was about "regular" celebrities, such as actors, musicians, etc. who have put out cookbooks.

                1. re: LindaWhit
                  rockandroller1 RE: LindaWhit Mar 25, 2011 12:32 PM

                  ohhhhhhh. Yeah, I don't own any of those.

              2. flourgirl RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 05:31 AM


                And I own over 600 cookbooks.

                1. m
                  megmosa RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 06:16 AM

                  Madhur Jaffrey is first and foremost an actress, correct? I guess I own one.

                  1. Woodfireguy RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 07:00 AM

                    Great article. Thanks for the link. Personality driven cooking of any kind drives me nuts. That’s the whole food network programming for the most part. You can’t blame a celebrity for wanting to cash in on their brand. Like the article say’s. It’s their fans that are buying the book not Gourmands. Manufacturing celebrity chefs is big business and is now part of mainstream prim-time television. What’s next? Jersey Shore Grilling and Chilling. If they could tie in vomiting it just might work. Reality cooking is the bottom of the barrel.

                    1. jmckee RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 10:30 AM

                      I have Oriole First Baseman Boog Powell's book on grilling with mesquite. It's very good -- probably the best grilling cookbook I own, FAR better than "Barbecue with Beard." Powell got really serious about cooking when he was still in baseball. I remember seeing his "Boog's Barbecue" stand at Oriole Park in '97 -- and the big man was turning some ribs right there!

                      Fannie Flagg's Whistle Stop Cafe cookbook is a nice book, with lots of good Southern and cafe style recipes, each of which has been carefully tested and works quite well.

                      1. cowboyardee RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 12:45 PM

                        Someone gave my wife a copy of "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence" by Amy Sedaris. I think it had recipes. I liked it.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: cowboyardee
                          jarona RE: cowboyardee Mar 22, 2011 12:50 PM

                          ANYTHING that Amy Sedaris writes deserves a place on my bookshelf. I have "I Like You......." and it is a riot. I've noticed she has a new "craft" book out..it'll be in my home very shortly--next to all her brother's books!

                          1. re: cowboyardee
                            yumyum RE: cowboyardee Mar 22, 2011 01:31 PM

                            I have this one too. It's a hoot, especially the selections for when you might have the munchies. Just sayin.

                            1. re: cowboyardee
                              jmckee RE: cowboyardee Mar 24, 2011 10:34 AM

                              I heard her interviewed about the book on Splendid Table. I have to see it. It sounds wonderful.

                              I love her commitment to resurrecting the cheese ball.

                            2. b
                              Breezychow RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 01:52 PM

                              Yes, I have a few, & have enjoyed them both as cookbooks & as entertaining reads. I'll probably be forgetting some here (I collect cookbooks & have hundreds), but have 2 or 3 put out by "The Sopranos" crowd, one by Jack Nicholson, one by Sophia Loren, one put out by Vincent Price & his wife, & a few others that escape me at the moment.

                              Again - fun decent recipes & entertaining reads.

                              1. h
                                HillJ RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 07:08 PM

                                This one is in my cookbook collection; given to me as a gift years ago. It's more of a coffee table cookbook than one I'd ever cooked from. Anyone else own this?

                                1. s
                                  soupkitten RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 07:17 PM

                                  i've always kept an eye out at my used bookstore haunts for patti labelle's soul food cookbook, which i would like to have. she also apparently has a newer cookbook with soul food and southern recipes made diabetic-friendly, which i have never seen, but it sounds terrific. anybody have either of these?

                                  1. chefschickie RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 08:04 PM

                                    The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. I'm not a vegan or vegetarian but it has nice ideas and I don't think it's wrong to cut out meats and dairy sometimes. Think she did a pretty good job :)

                                    1. p
                                      pi168 RE: cookiebaker Mar 22, 2011 08:37 PM

                                      I have a cook book put together by wives of Indy 500 drivers does that count? They did it for charity.
                                      I also have a wierd collection of cookbooks by former Miss Ameircas. I have no idea why.

                                      1. r
                                        Rella RE: cookiebaker Mar 23, 2011 06:19 AM

                                        I have a Sopranos cookbook - bought for $1.99.
                                        Paltrow - it could be $.50 and I wouldn't be tempted.

                                        1. coney with everything RE: cookiebaker Mar 25, 2011 05:43 AM

                                          I have a Linda McCartney veg cookbook from the remainder shelf at Borders.

                                          Actually some good vegetarian recipes.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: coney with everything
                                            LindaWhit RE: coney with everything Mar 25, 2011 06:03 AM

                                            Damn - I had forgotten about that one - I have "Linda's Kitchen: Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals". I can't recall when I last pulled it out, however.

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