WOYB: Good Reads

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot. At least, I’ve started reading a lot of books. I don’t always finish them. If I’m not engaged within the first pages then I’ll abandon it. There are too many books and too few hours to waste on non-engaging books.

Note that I say non-engaging, not bad. I am not a discriminating reader and truth be told there are many good books that I cannot read and many bad ones that I enjoy. It all depends on my mood and appetite.

Talking about appetite … my last good book was Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci. It was surprisingly good, considering that I didn’t care for Tucci as an actor and hadn’t thought of him as a cook. Stanley Tucci is known for his roles in films like The Devil Wears Prada, The Terminal and The Hunger Games. He is almost always in supporting roles, almost always as marginally likeable characters.

During the Covid-lockdown his negroni making skills broke the internet with this video.

Not being a cocktail drinker myself, I found the video … meh. Tucci seemed a little too polished and a lot too posh. I’d heard that he’d written a food memoir but to my mind, he was way too thin to be taken seriously in the kitchen. Fortunately, a book review swayed me to read a sample. I read it and was hooked.

It’s been several weeks since I finished the book and as I was writing this post, I opened a random page to remind myself of its content. I fell on Chapter 17 where Tucci describes his addiction to fish markets and butcher shops.

“… I can’t help but walk into any butcher shop or fishmonger I come across to simply peruse. I visit them the same way I visit an art gallery. I’m not necessarily there to buy; I just want to see the exhibit.”

― Stanley Tucci, Taste: My Life Through Food

I instantly remembered why I liked his reminiscences. I am a kindred spirit with respect to markets. Whenever I visit a new place, I go to the market. I love the tapestry of produce and glimpses into everyday life. Whenever I live in a new place, my first connection to local culture is in the market. Like him, I enjoy talking with vendors who know their product and more importantly, know how to cook it.

If you like books about food and family with a dash of celebrity name-dropping and a lot of wry humor, then you’ll like this book.


This is my contribution to the What’s On Your Bookshelf challenge hosted by Deb,  JoSue and Donna. I’m late for the Linkz party but I have a good excuse … I was busy reading a book 😉

13 Comments

  1. Same for me: engaging books, especially the beginning needs to hook me. Movies, too. As for negronis, when I hear that word, I’m transported to Florence, 2003. Nice memories from a summer working in Italy… still, will not watch the video coz I’m too lazy!

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    1. I like stories set around food too. I have many cookbooks which I never cook from & pay little attention to the recipes, jus the stories around them.

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      1. My favourite cookbook for reading is ‘All Around the World Cookbook’ by Sheila Lukins (1994). It’s full of travel stories, quirky drawings and black and white photos. I also have a number of cookbooks picked up ‘all around the world’ including one from Vietnam. We took a cooking course there and we had to have the book. It weighed ‘one kilogram’ so that might have been our lone souvenir on that two-month trip…

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  2. Hi, Sandy – Awesome timing on this review. I just began reading Taste. I’m only two chapters in and I really haven’t been sure about this book yet. I went in with high hopes, but have been somewhat disappointed so far. I’m delighted to read your review and look forward to better things to come. BTW – I am a fan of wandering through markets as well (preferably in the vegetable section). 😀

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    1. No promises Donna! As I said in my disclaimer – I enjoy bad books 😉 One thing I found is that he has a very distinct voice. I could almost hear him reading the words. It doesn’t work for everyone & I’ve read reviewers who don’t appreciate his lanconic and rambling style. I agree that the first chapters are weak but it makes up for it later (at least for me.)

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