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.