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Digest This: 9 Celebrities Who've Written Cookbooks

You could turn to a celebrity chef if you need a solid recipe, but why ask an expert like Bobby Flay for advice when you can get a recipe from a celebrity who dabbles in the kitchen? Let’s take a look at a few examples from the hot “celebrities writing cookbooks” genre.

1. Cookin' with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price

Yes, rapper Coolio took time out from his busy schedule to drop an expletive-laden cookbook last year. Who could deny the charms of a cookbook that says one of its recipes "easily serves 4 crazy motherf****ers?” The cookbook, which actually gets pretty positive reviews on Amazon for being entertaining, includes such unexpected fusions as Ghettalian (that’s the ghetto version of Italian) and Blasian, for a black-Asian hybrid. What are Coolio’s culinary qualifications? Amazon’s product description screams, “THERE'S ONLY ONE THING THAT COOLIO'S BEEN DOING LONGER THAN RAPPING: COOKING.”

Best Recipe Name: Chicken Lettuce Blunts

2. Patti LaBelle’s Culinary Oeuvre

The Godmother of Soul keeps cranking out cookbooks the way she has churned out hits. In her first effort, 1999’s LaBelle Cuisine, the singer wrote, "From the time I was a little girl I knew there were two things in this world I was born to do: sing and cook."

She’s done quite a bit of cooking, too. After being diagnosed with diabetes, she released 2004’ Patti Labelle's Lite Cuisine: Over 100 Dishes With To-Die-For Taste Made With To-Live-For Recipes. Her third effort, Recipes for the Good Life, dropped in 2008. LaBelle must be on to something; her cookbooks have received overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Best Recipe Name: Say-My-Name Smothered Chicken and Gravy, a nod to LaBelle’s Grammy-nominated 1997 track “When You Talk About Love”

3. J. R.'s Cookbook : True Ringside Tales, BBQ, and Down-Home Recipes by Jim Ross

The longtime WWE announcer published his cookbook in 2003, and in addition to stories of his life around the ring, it’s full of Oklahoma BBQ recipes. The few Amazon reviews it’s gotten don’t reach any sort of consensus, but we particularly love this quote from a negative one: “This book glorifies the WWE, and the WWE glorifies violence and sensuality.” Who would have guessed that a cookbook by a pro wrestling announcer would have the gall to glorify professional wrestling?

Best Recipe Name: So many good ones. Hammerlock Ham Salad? Piledriver Pork Chops? They’re worthy contenders, but Slobberknocker Salmon has to take the title belt.

4. The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone

The Clueless star has given up meat and dairy forever, and her cookbook “outlines the spectacular benefits of adopting a plant-based diet, from effortless weight loss to clear skin, off-the-chart energy, and smooth digestion.” Smooth digestion sounds tasty, right?

Silverstone’s recipes are written for three groups of eaters: “flirts” are interested in cutting back on meat and dairy, “vegans” are, well, vegans, and “superheroes” go past just being vegan and take on Silverstone’s macrobiotic eating habits.

Best Recipe Name: It appears that Silverstone didn’t go in for cute names here. She’s out to save the planet, you see. Saving the world will almost – but not quite - make up for forcing Batman and Robin on us.

5. Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza's Father-Son Cookbook by Tony and Marc Danza


In the kitchen, there’s no question over who the boss is. Tony Danza and his son Marc enjoyed cooking together on Tony’s old talk show, so in 2008 they dropped this Italian-American cookbook. It’s gotten solid reviews that praise it for its straightforward approach, and a paperback reprint is even due out next month.

Best Recipe Name: There don’t seem to be any Mona puns, but the Danza men do deliver their Quick for a Date Sauce to help bachelors wow the ladies with tomato sauce.

6. Hot Italian Dish: A Cookbook by Victoria Gotti


Don’t think you need singing, acting, or really any kind of talent to write a celebrity cookbook. You can just be the daughter of a murderous crime boss, become a reality TV star, and then cook to your heart’s content! The book is a collection of Italian standards, which earned it this gem of an Amazon review: “I was expecting some very authentic Italian recipes but instead realized that I'm a much better cook than Victoria Gotti.” To make it worse, Gotti doesn’t even give her dishes funny names. Come on, Victoria. So many easy puns on your dad’s old Teflon Don nickname are just sitting there!

7. Home Cooking with Trisha

Watch your back, Patti LaBelle. Country star Yearwood is coming up quickly in the “singers who release multiple cookbooks” race. In 2008 and again in 2010 Yearwood, teamed with her mother and her sister to publish books of down-home family recipes and comfort food. Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen even features a foreword by Garth Brooks, who probably wasn’t tough to get since he’s married to Yearwood. Although Yearwood doesn’t go in for silly recipe names, her books have been quite successful; the second one was even on the cover of Redbook.

8. The Pat Conroy Cookbook


The author of bestsellers like The Prince of Tides released this 2004 hybrid memoir-cookbook that offers both recipes and Conroy’s thoughts on various food-related topics, like the right foods for mourning a loved one. (Shrimp and grits, of course.) The book received rave reviews both for its fun take on foodie topics and its insight into Conroy’s writing process.

9. Skinny Cooks Can’t Be Trusted by Mo’Nique


With apologies to Newman’s Own Cookbook, this 2006 offering has to have the best title of any cookbook from an Oscar winner. Mo’Nique served up a collection of recipes for the, er, hungrier diner in her playful cookbook. The portion sizes are amazingly gigantic. Have two pounds of pasta? That’ll feed four!

Best Recipe Title: While we love “These Kids Are Workin’ My Nerves” as a chapter title, “The Other Morning-After Breakfast” has to take the cake here, if only because Mo’Nique prefaces it with “Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a loose woman, but I’ve lived a life filled with exciting escapades.” We’re here to eat, not judge, Mo’Nique.

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9 Things You Should Keep in Mind Around Someone Observing Ramadan
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To mark the ninth (and most holy) month in the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world observe Ramadan. Often compared to Lent in Christianity and Yom Kippur in Judaism, Ramadan is all about restraint. For one month, Muslims observing Ramadan fast during the day and then feast at night.

By abstaining from food and water (as well as sex, smoking, fighting, etc.) during daylight, Muslims strive to practice discipline, instill gratitude for what they have, and draw closer to Allah. To be respectful and not annoy observers, here are nine things you should never say or do to someone observing Ramadan.

1. DON'T JOKE ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS.

A traditional iftar meal.
A traditional iftar meal.
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Although it might be tempting to joke about Ramadan being a good excuse to lose weight, it is a time for spiritual reflection and is a serious matter. Observers undertake the challenge of fasting for religious and spiritual reasons rather than aesthetic ones. And, once the sun sets each night, many Muslims prepare a hearty iftar (the meal that breaks the fast) of dates, curries, rice dishes, and other delicious foods. The suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) is often fresh fruit, bread, cheese, and dishes that are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. So the idea of a cleanse is pretty far from their minds.

2. DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS.

An Indian Muslim student recites from the Quran in a classroom during the holy month of Ramadan.
NOAH SEELAM, AFP/Getty Images

There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, but not all of them observe Ramadan the same way. Although most observant Muslims fast for Ramadan, don't assume that every Muslim you meet has the same methods, traditions, and attitudes towards fasting. For some, Ramadan is more about prayer, reading the Qur'an, and performing acts of charity than merely about forgoing food and drink. And for those who may be exempted from the daily fasting, such as pregnant or nursing women, the elderly, or those with various health conditions, they might not appreciate the reminder from nosey busy-bodies that they aren't participating in the traditional way.

3. SAY "RAMADAN MUBARAK" INSTEAD OF "HAPPY RAMADAN."

A sign which reads
A sign which reads "Ramadan Kareem" in Arabic is seen pictured in front of the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai.
GIUSEPPE CACACE, AFP/Getty Images

Rather than wishing someone a happy Ramadan, being more thoughtful with your choice of words can show that you understand and respect the sanctity of their holy month. Saying "Ramadan Mubarak" or "Ramadan Kareem" are the traditional ways to impart warm wishes—they both convey the generosity and blessings associated with the month. The actual party comes after Ramadan, when Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, an up to three-day festival that involves plenty of food, time with family, and gifts.

4. DON'T BE A FOOD PUSHER.

Muslim woman saying no to an apple.
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Even if the idea of not eating or drinking all day might be unfathomable to you, don't push food onto anyone observing Ramadan. While fasting all day for a month can cause mild fatigue, dehydration, and dizziness, don't try to convince participating Muslims to eat or drink something—they are fully aware of any side effects they may feel throughout the day. Instead, be respectful of their decision to fast and offer to lend a hand with something like chores, errands, or anything unrelated to food.

5. ACCEPT THAT WATER ISN'T ON THE MENU.

Dates and a glass of water.
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Muslims who observe Ramadan don't sip any liquids during daytime. No water, coffee, tea, or juice. Zilch. Going without water is even harder than going without food, so be aware of the struggle and accept it. It's all part of the sacrifice and self-discipline inherent in Ramadan.

6. RESPECT PEOPLE'S PRIVACY.

Pregnant woman doing yoga.
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Some Muslims choose not to fast during Ramadan for medical or other personal reasons, and they may not appreciate being badgered with questions about why they may be eating or drinking rather than fasting. Children and the elderly generally don't fast all day, and people who are sick are exempt from fasting. Other conditions that preclude fasting during Ramadan are pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menstruation (although, if possible, people generally make up the days later).

7. BE MINDFUL OF ENERGY LEVELS.

Woman running on the beach.
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Eschewing food and drink for hours at a time can cause lethargy, so be aware that Muslims observing Ramadan may be more tired than usual. Your Muslim friends and coworkers don't stop working for an entire month, but they may tweak their schedules to allow for more rest. They may also stay indoors more (to prevent overheating) and avoid unnecessary physical activity to conserve energy. So, don't be offended if they aren't down for a pick-up game of basketball or soccer. We can't all be elite athletes.

8. DON'T OBSESS OVER FOOD AND HUNGER.

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One of the worst things you can do to someone on a new diet is to obsess over all the cheeseburgers, pizza, and cupcakes they can't have. Similarly, most Muslims observing Ramadan don't want to have in-depth conversations about all the food and beverages they're avoiding. So, be mindful that you don't become the constant reminder of how many hours are left until sundown—just as you shouldn't joke about weight loss, you shouldn't call attention to any hunger pangs.

9. DON'T BE AFRAID TO EAT YOUR OWN FOOD.

Coworkers discussing a project on couches.
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Although it's nice to avoid talking about food in front of a fasting Muslim, don't be afraid to eat your own food as you normally would. Seeing other people eating and drinking isn't offensive—Muslims believe that Ramadan is all about sacrifice and self-discipline, and they're aware that not everyone participates. However, perhaps try to avoid scheduling lunch meetings or afternoon barbecues with your Muslim colleagues and friends. Any of those can surely wait until after Ramadan ends.

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