Taste (Paperback)
  • Taste (Paperback)
  • Taste (Paperback)
  • Taste (Paperback)
  • Taste (Paperback)
Taste (Paperback) Taste (Paperback) Taste (Paperback)

Taste (Paperback)

Paperback 320 Pages
Published: 01/09/2022
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Waterstones Says

Filled with nostalgia and humour, this heart-warming memoir from the beloved actor and food enthusiast Stanley Tucci is a celebration of unforgettable meals and the importance of gastronomic joy in life.

Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month for September 2022

From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen.

Before Stanley Tucci became a household name with The Devil Wears Prada, The Hunger Games, and the perfect Negroni, he grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the table. He shared the magic of those meals with us in The Tucci Cookbook and The Tucci Table, and now he takes us beyond the recipes and into the stories behind them.

Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about growing up in Westchester, New York, preparing for and filming the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia, falling in love over dinner, and teaming up with his wife to create conversation-starting meals for their children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burnt dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last.

Written with Stanley's signature wry humor and nostalgia, Taste is a heartwarming read that will be irresistible for anyone who knows the power of a home-cooked meal.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241501009
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 260 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 30 mm


An instant classic . . . As captivating, simple, charming and insanely moreish as the best Italian food. Take it to bed with you and you will fall asleep dreaming you're in Italy. But take it to the kitchen and you will find yourself using it as often as a pan or a peeler - Stephen Fry

A brilliant food-led memoir from the all-round gem, Stanley Tucci. It's a love letter to food and a life lived in the pursuit of the good things - Anna Jones, Author of 'One Pot, Pan, Planet'

It is as infectious as it is delicious, as funny as it is insightful. The only reason to put this book down, is to go cook and eat from it' - Heston Blumenthal

A delicious story of appetite, family and pasta. A serious amount of pasta. In this gloriously written memoir, the ever tasteful Stanley Tucci invites us to his table and feeds us all the good stuff - Jay Rayner

Tucci, as all the world knows by now, likes to eat and drink . . . His memoir, however, takes his passion to another level . . . The world needs more men like this - Observer

A divine celebration of food, Italy and life, this joyous memoir from the popular actor is a real treat - Woman & Home

Moving, funny and greedy . . . If food is everything to you, you'll love it - Diana Henry, Sunday Telegraph

His descriptions of the Italian food he grew up with, woven through with family stories and the recipes he's encountered on his travels, will leave you hungry - and in no doubt that this is a man who knows both how to eat and how to live - Guardian

A delicious foodie memoir . . . An intimate reflection on the intersection between food and life - Irish Daily Mirror

Incredibly seductive ... A warm and lovely book - Financial Times, Best Books of 2022: Food and Drink

Stanley Tucci: The Waterstones Interview


Pour yourself a glass of something as we toast Taste, Stanley Tucci's moreish memoir about food, family and all the important things in life. We discover more about his childhood, his obsession with food and the impact of his recent cancer.


ST: Cheers
W: Cheers. Here's to you and to Taste.
ST: Here's to you and to helping me with it.
W: Now I don't know if you know this but you made a video which you very kindly gave to us to share when Taste came out in hardback (yeah) which is you cooking Pasta con agile e olio. And you may be surprised to know that has been viewed on our YouTube channel over a million times
ST: Come on!
W: It has over 1,600 comments on it. What do you think those comments are about?
ST: I don't want to know.
W: It will not surprise you to know that of course with any Italian dish, people have got very strong opinions about how it should or shouldn't be cooked. (Yes) And the thing that seems to excite people the most is that you added some olive oil to the pasta cooking water, which you did because you admitted that you'd added too much pasta so you didn't want it to get stuck (yes). This apparently was a cardinal sin. Have you any words in your defense?
ST: It's completely untrue. It's a cardinal sin for some people and for others it isn't. It's that simple. You know what I mean. I mean in some religions blah blah blah is a sin in other religions it isn't. So I suppose if we think about it that way.
W: This is one of the amazing things though isn't it, about Italian food, is that there are very strong opinions about how things should be cooked, but there are also these regional variations and everyone has their own ways of doing it.
ST: Not only regional. It's sort of province by province, town by town, street by street, house by house. I mean it's that. I mean to the point where I mean we sort of make a point of it in the show that I do for CNN, but you can cook a dish, you can go to somebody's restaurant or house and say oh this is so wonderful this whatever it is, and you say this is wonderful, you put parsley in there, they go yes, yes. And you go do you put blah blah... no, never. Never. Oh, oh, oh. No, that would be disgusting. You go down the street to some other guy's house or another restaurant, you say do you put blah blah blah... Absolutely, you can't have it without it. And you think you're crazy. Like you're crazy people. The entire country is crazy. But that was the way I was brought up and I completely I'm the same way and I find myself doing it.
W: The sections in the book where you talk about your childhood had me sort of yearning with a nostalgia for a childhood that wasn't even mine, but there was something about that kind of... the way that, that thing of making great vats of tomato sauce and putting it away or making your own wine, making the best of what you had. You talk about the sort of wedge sandwiches that you used to have for school every day (yeah) and actually even the bread. There's one bit where you talk about, so I was lucky enough to go to Florence recently and made the mistake of ordering in the shops what I thought was focaccia but was not, it was schiacciata. Very, very different (yeah) although to a Philistine like me almost exactly the same (no, it's different, yeah). But you talk about buying chunks of that wrapped in wax paper and just sort of tucking in and I was like oh, that's the life I want.
ST: It was so good. The salt content was incredible. Salt and oil. But the thing was it was made probably in like a factory or somewhere, do you know what I mean? Not the factory but, you know what I mean, like it was pretty widely you know made and distributed and it was absolutely delicious, delicious.
W: Do you miss, I mean obviously your life has changed so much from those fairly humble beginnings and I wonder whether with the access that you must have now to sort of fine dining and restaurants whether you miss some of the sort of simplicity of that childhood?
ST: No, I don't miss it because I recreate at home. And I recreate it, I miss it because I'm not with my parents obviously and my sisters and you know my cousins and all that but the food itself I recreate at home all the time. I can't obviously do everything that my grandmother did, or that my mother still does, and if I were to do it I wouldn't do it as well and I know that. I've tried. So for me I wake up, you know, like I told you, this morning I woke up and I had this rabbit in the refrigerator that I bought over the weekend. I was like I gotta cook this rabbit, I don't want to freeze it, so I started at 7:40 this morning. And it's really simple to do, you know it was nothing to do, but it's the first thing that's on my mind.
W: That is so clear through the book, is that you you think about food constantly (yeah, constantly). I think that obviously I first became aware of I think you as an actor really with the release of Big Night which I think is what 1996 or something? And obviously food is completely central to that film (yeah). I remember being so impressed by the idea of Timpano to the point where I was like, I want to make that, I want to do that. Of course I've never tried but Timpano has been something of a family argument...
ST: It's an issue.
W: Tell us a little bit about why you persist with Timpano even though no-one else in your family seems to want it.
ST: Well, I happen to love it. I think it's delicious. A lot of people don't like it. My late wife hated it, Felicity hates it. My mother doesn't even really like it that much. It's my father's family, they love it. I have cousins who make it every Christmas and then photos get sent around now, you know, with your phones and everyone goes look at the Timpano I made. You know they're crazy. I persist with it and I'm kind of obsessed with it because it's so unusual and because it's something that came from an ancient place. And again like so many of these dishes that I grew up with they were born out of necessity. Necessity and a sense of celebration, a sense of celebrating whatever it was. They used to take these timpanos like on a picnic right. I mean a simple sandwich would be fine. But no, they would carry this thing you know in the drum or whatever after they had released it and bring it with them and have it for a picnic in the woods. It's very unusual.
W: As a man who started cooking a rabbit at 7:40 this morning, as I said, your love of food is really clear in the book and the fact that it occupies a huge part of your headspace and that makes the sort of revelations towards the end of the book where you talk about your cancer and treatment and the impact that had on you all the more moving. Because there must have been a fear that it was going to have an impact even in recovery that might affect your taste, your ability to eat and enjoy food and drink after that. Were you worried once you'd got the kind of all clear about what the long-lasting impact might be?
ST: Yes, because I had read a lot about it, I was told a lot about it and I was experiencing you know extreme pain. I was experiencing being completely repelled by any smell, but food smells in particular. Nothing tasted like it should and that's an understatement. It was horrible. And I also you know I knew that there was the possibility that I might never have my taste and smell fully back again and that was really scary. And I'm somebody who, I'm very impatient and I have been lucky enough to never have really been ill my whole life, severely ill or broken a leg or you know nothing. I've been so lucky. And then this happened. And if I do get ill or if I do strain myself or something, I heal very quickly. This was not happening with this. There's only so quickly you can heal and for me that was really frustrating and it made me afraid that I was never ever going to heal because I had no concept that healing would take a long time. I had no concept of a long time. And so it was really frustrating, I got very depressed, I was very afraid. And you feel, you know, when I said in the book it's like you can't go down and socialise with people, you can't even be with your kids, you can't be with anything because you can't bear the smell of anything and you feel so nauseous from the excessive amount of radiation that you've had for 35 days in a row. That you feel like a ghost in your own house and you hear life going on around you and you see life going on outside the window but you can't, to venture downstairs or to walk back up those stairs was like this, is this like, you know, Herculean effort. So for me I was so scared and now still you know it's four years on, you know, I can't really eat everything still. Even when I'm like, you notice like sometimes I'll just like, swallowing suddenly it becomes like for a second hard. But here's a weird thing that happened. So we lose the sense of taste and smell, not lose it just gets like everything is just [ __ ]. Now, it's more acute than it was before I got sick. And I explained this to an oncologist the other day because I have to go regularly and get checked and he said what are you talking about? I said look I'm not making it up, I can smell things and I can taste things that I never could before. My understanding, like my physical understanding of things is so much greater than it ever was. He goes I've never heard of that. I go, I know, I've never read about it. Usually you get to a certain level, maybe you get 80/90% back, you might have it all back, but it's back. This is, I can smell stuff, I can walk into a room and go oh there's that in that. I can taste something and say oh they put, there's a little bit of cinnamon in this. I did it when we were on the show filming in Venice and the guy I was eating with he said really you think so? And I was like yes. And he said well maybe it's the sweetness of the blah blah blah. I said yeah it could be and then the chef came over and I said so what do you put in this. And he went through everything and I said okay and no cinnamon? And he said oh yeah, like that much cinnamon. And I was very excited (yeah) you know but I could taste it. I never would have been able to taste that before.
W: Are you saying that you have developed an actual taste superpower?
ST: Yes, yeah. It's really weird.
W: As long as you use these powers for good.
ST: Yes of course, yeah I promise not to hurt anyone with them. But I still, you know, I still can't eat like big chunks of meat and stuff like that. I can't just go like dive into a you know big pork belly sandwich or something like that. But for the most part I can eat okay.
W: To finish off Stanley, I'm gonna give you a quick... quick fire round. It's sort of either/or, you have to pick, there can be no hesitation.
ST: Oh really? Oh [ __ ] my whole life is about hesitation.
W: It's really easy, there's not too many. So if you're ready we'll begin. Pizza or pasta?
ST: Pasta.
W: Wine or cocktail?
ST: Yes.
W: Both please. Eating in or eating out.
ST: Both. I can't, I can't do these. I'm bad at it.
W: Tea or coffee?
ST: Coffee.
W: Sweet or savoury?
ST: Savoury.
W: Meat or fish?
ST: Meat.
W: Starter or dessert?
ST: Starter.
W: And finally, and this is a subtle thing, do you prefer to do the cooking or to be cooked for?
ST: I prefer to do the cooking.
W: Great, what time am I coming around?
ST: Oh, whenever you want, as soon as we finish.
W: Stanley, thank you so much.
ST: Thank you.

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“The most enjoyable book I read so far in 2021”

What a joy to read; reading this book was like being invited into the Tucci family home and listening to his stories in the kitchen. The whole book is filled with his passion for food. He really knows which food he... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 50


I watched and enjoyed Stanley Tucci's tv series so was keen to read this book.
This is a memoir of Stanley's life from childhood. He shares his early memories and the beginnings of his relationship with food... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 42

“A yummy read”

I don’t typically like to rate or review celebrity memoirs, mainly because I think it feels strange to rate someone’s real life. However, this book is unique to anything else I’ve read, and I felt it deserved to be... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 40

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