CBR Bingo – Edibles
Very important disclaimer: this book will make you absolutely ravenous for pasta. One part memoir, one part cookbook, Tucci takes us back and forth through his life via his tastebuds growing up in an idyllic childhood as the child of Italian-Americans in Northern New York.
I’ve always been charmed by Tucci, my favorite performance of his is as one-half of my chosen fictional parenting duo of all time, along with Patricia Clarkson in “Easy A.” He has such an affable presence and likability in both his performance and social media that translates well to the written form. Overall, I liked his book. Though a meandering memoir, and I would have preferred a more linear journey, his wit and debonair attitude are welcoming and keep you reading (and drooling over his descriptions of childhood dishes, on-set catering, and home-cooked meals).
But everything isn’t always pleasant. He also provides a snapshot of his family life during the covid lockdowns, which provides a presence and realism to this book, written during that time period. He also gives us a shocking and gritty look at his diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer, which decimated his body and left him wondering if he’d ever be able to taste again Spoiler. He can! Thank goodness. This experience gives him gratitude and clarity regarding the role that food plays in his life.
As a Southerner living in the Midwest, I strongly relate to Tucci’s attitude toward food as culture and preservation. I consider myself a Louisiana ambassador to the Midwest and any time I can introduce someone to gumbo, etouffee, boudin, or the like I am reminded of home, and have given them a glimpse into where I came from, a place where the fried seafood restaurants were as plentiful as the catholic churches (but maybe that’s more for my own memoir).
Finally, and tangentially, I’ve been working through some of my own food hang-ups and this book illustrated for me that apparently there are people who can eat pasta all the time and not worry about how “balanced” the meal is (whatever that really means) and live life and taste with joie de vivre. In that way, he’s reminiscent of Julia Child herself (and another of his film roles), as her love for gustatory delights didn’t seem to be tempered by concern about what she looked like or societal expectations. Moving forward I’m challenging myself to embrace food with a Tucci-esque exuberance and worry less about the carbohydrates, and more about how my heart feels after a tasty meal.
In conclusion, Tucci’s book is in a word, scrumptious, and in other words, an enlightening look into a self-assured charming man that might make you look into yourself just a little bit and find more zest for life (and zest for zesting).