Star food: Dead celebs’ top recipes, revived

2012-03-16 09:11

Los Angeles – The gastronomic secrets of stars past are being served up in a new book. And they taste good.

“The Dead Celebrity Cookbook,” just published in the United States, reveals a smorgasbord of top dishes from artists of yesteryear, whose films and songs we all know, but whose favourite recipes have until now mostly been a mystery.

Katharine Hepburn made mean brownies. And Liz Taylor adored chicken with avocado and mushrooms.

The fruit of a decade and a half of passionate research, the book “was a labour of love,” its author Frank DeCaro told AFP.

“I’ve been collecting for about 15 years, I would go to flee markets, I would use eBay. I ended up with so many of them that I had to pick and choose,” he said.

“I would buy everything, manuals that came with microwave ovens, or flyers handed out in supermarkets in the 60s, recipes attributed to specific celebrities.

“I hope, I like to believe that they were in fact truly their recipes,” he added.

The volume includes recipes from more than 140 stars of music, cinema and television, ranging from Michael Jackson’s sweet potato pie and Frank Sinatra’s barbecued lamb to Patrick Swayze’s chicken pie.

“In the past, celebrities used to always be asked to provide recipes... that was part of public relations. They would offer up recipes in benefit cookbooks or magazine articles,” explained DeCaro.

“They were published all over the place,” added the writer, formerly a film critic on US television.

“These recipes come from a time when we didn’t know everything there was to know about every celebrity. They were more in control of their image, and when they chose a recipe I think it said something about them.”

DeCaro decided to only include recipes chosen by celebrities who are already dead, partly because he hopes his work will help people rediscover forgotten stars.

“I get very upset when people say ‘Oh, it was before my time’ or ‘I wasn’t born when it was on air.’ If Lady Gaga can know who Liberace is, so can you. It’s good to know what came before,” he said.

The other reason he focused on dead artists was because present-day celebrities barely ever talk about their favourite food.

“I think part of it was that people cooked at home. To be a home cook was something people were proud of, they knew they could connect with their fans that way,” said DeCaro.

“But I think also that when you have chefs who become celebrities, you don’t really need an actor to share his kitchen activity with us. The chefs themselves are the stars, now, when it comes to food, so you don’t really care what the cast of ‘Glee’ is cooking, which kind of makes me sad.”

Now, the reader can gorge on pianist Liberace’s sticky buns, Ann Miller’s “terrific” fettucini alfredo, and Hepburn’s brownies.

“If you have an Oscar party, you will get an award for serving Katharine Hepburn’s brownies.

“They are the best brownies ever. There are not a ton of recipes out there from her, but the ones that are out there are really good,” he added.

And his least favorite celebrity recipe?

“Isabel Sanford’s Boston chicken,” he replied without hesitation, referring to the actress who played the mother in American sitcom “The Jeffersons” in the 1970s and early 80s.

“It’s chicken with Russian dressing, and apricot jam and onions, all at the same time. And I’m not convinced those three things should be mixed and put on a chicken.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.