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Celebrity Nosh and Slosh

by Tim Parks
Sunday Nov 10, 2013

Celebrities have a storied and long love affair for sharing their epicurean penchants and culinary creations via cookbooks, while others have taken their passion for the grape into the realms of public consciousness with their own brands of vino.

For every Julia Child or Francis Ford Coppola-like success in these ventures, there are bound to be a few missteps along the way. Take for example, Carnie Wilson's "Diet Staples Cookbook" that chronicled her meal choices, post-gastric bypass surgery - postage stamp-sized Cornish game hens, anyone? Why not wash it down with Lindsay Lohan's Swill? Yeah, I didn't think so. Still, they sold better than Judy Garland's "Pills For Every Meal" cookbook from back in the day.
But fear not, there are some new offerings on the immediate horizon and are currently on the shelves to whet your appetite and quench your palette.

Eat Up!

Everyone's favorite macrobiotic woman, Gwyneth Paltrow, is back on the food scene with "It's All Good" after unleashing the previous how-to-cook efforts "My Father's Daughter" and "Notes From My Kitchen Table," as well as the healthy lifestyle website

In her newest tome, Paltrow lets us in on her elimination diet, though it does not consist of eating roughage only. Rather, it's a way to treat what may ail you by eliminating the following: "[N]o coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deepwater fish, no potatoes, no tomatoes, no bell pepper, no eggplant, no corn, no wheat, no meat, no soy, nothing processed at all." If that's her equation for things being not-so-good, I shudder to think of what she would term as all-bad.

For an actor who made a big gay splash with his role in "The Devil Wears Prada," it's surprising that Stanley Tucci has the rather pedestrianly-titled "The Tucci Cookbook." I mean, would "The Devil Eats Pasta" really have been that big of a stretch? He starred in some foodie flicks, like "Julie & Julia" and "Big Night," so I guess that gives him some sort of kitchen/street-cred.

His Italian heritage is the true star of this show, with Tucci's book highlighting that "most of the world eats to live, but Italians live to eat." Hopefully, if he ever cooks any of the Italian recipes for Prada co-star Meryl Streep, compiled from both sides of his familial lineage, he'll make sure to serve it at a non-glacial pace, lest she go all Miranda Priestly on his you-know-what.

The term celebrity sometimes gets applied to folks who, let's face it, really aren't. Here are two such examples of "reality stars who perhaps should have dairy-centric cookbooks called Milkin' It."

First up is Kate Gosselin, now divested of both husband Jon Gosselin and their reality TV show, "Jon & Kate Plus 8." Her cookbook, "Love Is in the Mix," is a collection of everyday and entertaining recipes catering to her large brood, be they appetizers or decadent desserts. Ironically, there isn't one in the book called "Failed Marriage," which could consists of a d-bag husband, baked a la mode, with Ed Hardy T-shirts and a sprinkle of regret.

Controversial "Real Housewives of New Jersey" lightning-rod Teresa Giudice is a three-times-over New York Times best seller listee for her cookbooks, all of which manage to throw a variation of the word "fabulous" into their titles. So, you could have knocked me over with a flipped table, err, I mean feather, when her newest incarnation arrived with the title "Fabulicious!"

This time around, the embroiled-in-fraud-indictment-facing-possible-jail-time-reality-star focuses on the joys of outdoor grilling with her "Fabulicious On The Grill: Smoking Hot Backyard Recipes." The recipes steer away from her usual Italiano-themed fare, in favor of 70 recipes running the gamut from the perfect meat rub (no-comment-but-I-really-want-to) to off-the-grill side dishes. And who knows, if the Bravo star ends up "doin' time," perhaps she can continue to publish on the inside and we can all look forward to "Absolutely Fabulicious Prison Cookin.' "

Even politicos by the last name of Romney have gotten into the "sharing of recipes" mix. I mean, what else are you gonna do when you make a run at the White House and lose? Bake some hot comfort food from "The Romney Family Table" cookbook and stuff it down your gullet! Rest assured, there is a recipe for Buffalo right-wings, with a red-in-the-face dipping sauce and a big slice of humble pie.

Glug, Glug, Glug!

Given that she was in rehab by the time she was 14, it seems more than a little ironic that Drew Barrymore has started up her own brand of wines. Even more surprising is that Barrymore's Pinot Grigio brand hailing from the Triveneto region of Italy was "created to honor her family." Um, most of them were raging alcoholics, so I'm not sure why she didn't name the wine "Barrymore vin de Irony." But seriously folks, a big thumbs-up to her, as a portion of the wine's proceeds go to charity.

As if Hollywood power couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt didn't have enough on their respective plates - or rather in their cup-runneth-over Baccarat wine glasses - with a large brood to attend to and movies to be made, they have recently added vinter to their résumés.

Produced on their meager 150-acre vineyard, at the couple's ramshackle $60 million South of France estate Chateau Miraval - insert eye-rolls and sarcasm here - their Miraval Rosé initial 6,000-bottle run sold out within five hours. Uh oh, that means that their six children better get to stompin', cuz holy "World War Z," those grapes ain't gonna stomp themselves. And anyway, isn't free child labor why people have large families?

Apparently Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie was a big fan of the '80s prime time soap "Falcon Crest," because her wine is named Ferguson Crest. Rather than partnering up with sexy Lorenzo Lamas as a part of the vino venture, Fergie Ferg has enlisted the help of her papa to create a 2010 Syrah; a red with hints of black pepper, cassis, chocolate and graphite - which gives it a rocky flavor, I suppose. Her signature brand, Fergalicious, a blended red, combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache and Merlot for a spicy/fruity bouquet. Sounds delish, and to quote her song of the same name, "I'm Fergalicious (t-t-t-t-t-tasty, tasty)."

Bethenny Frankel, another doyenne from the "Real Housewives" franchise, has turned her Skinny Girl Cocktails alcohol brand, which includes tequila, cosmos and mojitos, into a bona fide boozy success - too bad the same can't be said for her struggling self-titled talk show. To add to the mix, she recently launched a bevy, or should I say a Bethenny, of low-calorie wines, which includes a Prosecco described as "a bubbly mix of light and crisp, of sass and class..." sounds just like the lady herself - well at least for the most part.

Hollywood hunk Richard Gere has lent his name to a Tuscan wine label, which, not unlike the Jolie-Pitts, is named after a property he owns. In this case, that would be his Relais & Chateaux property Bedford Post in New York and the wine is an exclusive brand of Brunello produced by Tenuta San Filippo di Montalcino. All I know is that he should have named it after himself, seeing as he is aging just like a fine wine.

So, there you have it, a perfect way to have a nosh or a slosh like a celebrity pro; and if you are feeling extra brave in your mealtime decisions, by all means check out rapper 2Chain's cookbook "The B.O.A.T.S II," which includes a recipe for "Me Time Sauce."

I shall leave you fellow foodies with that tantalizing little tidbit of food for thought.

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