Stanley Tucci became the presenter of a gastronomy program on CNN, “Searching for Italy” (Photomontage Fernando Brum)
Who hasn’t stopped to think about what the crews eat while the movies are being made? The menu will depend on the budget of each production. The bigger, the better the food. It also depends on the place. In Europe it can be easier to find well-known and well-known dishes.
But what if it’s in a place where the delicacies include animals that are somewhat exotic or of strange tastes and shapes? Believe me, there are directors who like to put scenes of lavish banquets to involve the audience even more with the film. Most audiences don’t know that they love seeing food on screen.
Stories like this point to the literally delicious “Taste – My Life Through Food”, the autobiography of award-winning American actor and director Stanley Tucci, known for his roles in hits such as “The Hunger Games” and “The Devil Wears Prada”, among others.
Launched in the US last year, the book has just been published in Portuguese by Intrinseca. In much of the work, Tucci narrates stories that he lived with Hollywood stars during the productions, based on his relationship with gastronomy.
The first movie he remembers is “The Big Night,” which he wrote, co-directed and played about two brothers who immigrate from Italy and open their dream restaurant in New Jersey, but find it difficult to please customers with their authentic dishes.
A fun passage happened on the tour to promote the movie “Julie & Julia”. One day, he, Meryl Streep and two colleagues chose to have lunch at a bistro in Normandy, next to a country road. The place was suggested by the driver who was driving part of the cast to Paris for a press conference.
The experience took on unusual contours because of a simple error in interpreting the menu. The pair and a third colleague asked andouivillettea sausage that looks like a horse’s penis and tastes beyond weird.
Narra Tucci: “She cut a piece and put it in her mouth. She chewed cautiously. Her face covered the entire spectrum of human emotions in a split second. She swallowed”. But she didn’t go far, and dinner ended with harmless omelets.
The invitation to dinner that Marcello Mastroianni made him during the filming of “Prêt-à-Porter”, by Robert Altman, marked Tucci forever. He was assistant director. “When, with a trembling, cigarette-stained hand, Dr. Mastroianni wrote the name of the restaurant on a small piece of paper, I think I bowed like a geisha.” The author assures him that he will take the napkin to the grave.
In recent years, in addition to his film career, the actor began to draw attention for his relationship with gastronomy. He presents, for example, the series Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italyat CNNand the second season, by the way, premiered on March 13.
His book was praised by big names like Nigella Lawson and Stephen Fry. The “problem” is that he talks so enthusiastically about an infinity of dishes that the reader runs the risk of, all the time, feeling the urge to stop reading to desperately look for a restaurant or try the recipes.
Tucci wrote a touching autobiography about his family relationship with food in his early years through adolescence. And it shows that, as much as anyone experiences different dishes from different cultures throughout their lives, it is in childhood that they choose their favorite foods.
Yes, those that are sought almost as a personal and family rescue experience. It’s the dish that only mom, dad or grandparents know how to make. And this has nothing to do with sophistication or the inclusion of expensive and exquisite ingredients. It is linked to touch, to a trick, to the cooking time, to pinches of love and affection.
For him, the simplest recipes, in memory, build memories of a pleasure that will accompany the person forever. The place where it is made, the table where everyone gathers or gathers, also weighs.
Not by chance, the relationship between life, memories and gastronomy ended up changing. Tucci gives a magical account of his family routine, his two sisters and their parents – the father coordinated the art subjects at a high school, where his wife worked in the secretariat –, who managed salaries to give their children a large table. of tasty dishes every day.
At various times, the author presents the recipe and tips on how to better prepare each dish. Mix this with a well-written and generous text in the way you treat people, relationships and everything around you. This is what can be seen, for example, in the long chapter dedicated to the Christmas dinner, a ritual typical of Catholic families like Tucci’s and which is one of the best moments in the book.
Raised in Katonah, 100 kilometers north of Manhattan, the son of Italian immigrants, Tucci kept a tender routine about his mother’s skills in the kitchen and concludes that she found in that skill a way to seek family happiness – to this day, he swears that Before getting married, he didn’t even know how to boil water properly.
“Those carefree outdoor games, in all seasons, were a wonderful part of my childhood, but even more wonderful was my family’s relationship with food and its preparation. Food, its preparation, its service and its consumption were the main activity and the main topic of conversation in my house.”
Thanks to his mother’s talent, he writes, eating at neighbors when he was a kid was a little tricky. “The meals looked bland or just plain bad. My friends, in turn, were delighted to come to our table. They knew the food at our house was very special. The ingredients had been carefully chosen or grown according to the season; each dish had a cultural tradition and was made with love.”
But it wasn’t just the food itself that they delighted in. There was also the passion present in the preparation and presentation, as well as the joy of the family during the meals. The groans of satisfaction with each bite were enough to convince the person to enjoy the meal, if they weren’t already doing so.
Between whispers of satisfaction, there was the usual discussion about how and why everything was so delicious. “Best you ever made, Joan,” her father would say of each dish every night. And life seemed happy. And it was, he says.
Along the way, the family lived for a year in Italy, where his father went to study. Then, with a prodigious memory, he takes stock of his early years as an actor in the region. underground of the Upper Est Side, in New York, financial difficulties, how to eat, learning and offers an itinerary of the most affordable gastronomy in the city in the early 1980s. His description of the Corneguie Deli restaurant, over three pages, for example, it is anthological. He literally grabs you by the stomach.
TASTE: MY LIFE THROUGH FOOD, by Stanley Tucci
Printed book: BRL 69.90
E-book: BRL 46.90