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11 Surprising Celebrity Cookbook Authors

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The list of celebrities who have tried their hand at writing cookbooks ranges from the not-so-surprising (Oprah) to the totally unexpected (Stanley Tucci?). Here are 11 famous, non-chef figures whose cookbooks you can buy.

1. OPRAH

When Oprah is obsessed with something, the whole world is obsessed with it. So it’s surprising that it took her until 2017 to release her favorite recipes. Food, Health, and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life is part cookbook, part memoir, and part lifestyle guide from the talk show host and cultural icon (and her favorite chefs). Oprah is an investor in Weight Watchers, so obviously each recipe includes calorie counts and how many Weight Watchers points each recipe is worth.

2. COOLIO

Coolio likes to describe himself as the “black Rachel Ray,” and has been dishing out cooking advice for quite a while. A whole episode of the reality TV show Coolio’s Rules was devoted to “Cooking with Coolio,” a segment that was later expanded into a web series. He describes his cookbook, Cookin' with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price, as a guide to becoming a “kitchen pimp.” Some of the recipes include “Finger-Lickin', Rib-Stickin', Fall-Off-the-Bone-and-into-Your-Mouth Chicken” and "Banana Ba-ba-ba-bread.” In 2012, the rapper appeared on an episode of the Food Network show Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, competing in the cooking show under the tutelage of Guy Fieri.

3. MAYA ANGELOU

The poet and civil rights activist might not be as well known for her cooking as for her verse, but she’s the author of two cookbooks, Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes and Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart. The former takes a memoir-inflected approach to laying out Angelou’s favorite dishes, while the latter was inspired by the author’s significant weight loss and includes advice on moderation and portion control.

4. SMASH MOUTH

Most culinary aficionados don’t think of the back of a tour bus as the most delicious food destination in the world, but nonetheless, Smash Mouth: Recipes from the Road: A Rock 'n' Roll Cookbook does exist. The band members’ favorites from their pit stops across the country include lobster sandwiches and “Pink Lady apple and arugula salad." All the recipes were just solicited from real chefs by the band, but the book does have chapter-long cameos from famous/infamous contributors like Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar. You should probably buy the book immediately, just based on the Amazon review that includes this tidbit about Sammy Hagar's chapter: "The whole things about aliens! Wha?”

5. STANLEY TUCCI

If you thought Stanley Tucci’s turn as a foodie in Julie and Julia was acting, flip open one of his cookbooks. His first, The Tucci Cookbook, is drawn from his family traditions in Italian cooking. And he followed it up with another family-oriented cookbook. Written with Felicity Blunt, his wife, The Tucci Table (2014) combines the Italian-American and British favorites Tucci and Blunt grew up with, respectively. It features recipes for everything from pasta alla bottarga to barbecue chicken wings.

6. TRISHA YEARWOOD

In addition to her country music stardom, Trisha Yearwood has her own show on the Food Network, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. She has published three cookbooks with co-authors since 2008. Her latest is Trisha's Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced Life. Unlike the fried chicken and barbecue pork featured in her 2008 book Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen, her newest recipes tend toward vegetarian alternatives like sweet pea burgers and edamame parmesan.

7. ZIGGY MARLEY

In October 2016, Ziggy Marley made his cookbook debut with Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook: Delicious Meals Made With Whole, Organic Ingredients from the Marley Kitchen. The book highlights the Rastafarian and Jamaican cultures that influenced meals in the Marley household, and has contributions from not just Ziggy but his wife, his sister, and a handful of chefs. In addition to recipes like jerk chicken and fish stew, the book includes a hefty number of vegetarian and vegan recipes.

8. TONY DANZA

Television actor Tony Danza penned Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza's Father-Son Cookbook with his son Marc in 2010. The family recipe book tells tales of the Danza clan’s large extended family dynamic alongside black-and-white photographs and nostalgic recipes like “Sunday Sauce and Meatballs.” Just about every Amazon review for the book mentions the meatballs, so they are obviously pretty spectacular.

9. REGIS AND KATHIE LEE

Back in the ‘90s, talk-show cohosts Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford penned a cookbook made up of recipes from the show’s guests. In Cooking With Regis & Kathie Lee: Quick & Easy Recipes From America's Favorite TV Personalities, chefs that appeared on the cooking segment contributed instructions for dishes like Mediterranean eggplant pie and yogurt chicken. Made for the show’s superfans rather than expert cooks, the easy recipes provide substitutions for more unusual ingredients.

10. SAMMY HAGAR

Former Van Halen rocker Sammy Hagar dipped his toes/wallet into the culinary scene in 1990 with the restaurant chain Cabo Wabo, which he founded with the rest of the band. (He later bought them out when the place failed to turn a profit.) In addition to his chapter in the Smash Mouth cookbook, in 2015, he released Are We Having Any Fun Yet?: The Cooking & Partying Handbook. As the founder of Cabo Wabo-brand tequila and Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Hagar’s cookbook is heavy on the party aspect, but finds time to detail his favorite recipes from his favorite beach vacation spots (Cabo San Lucas being one of them, obviously) and from his time on the road.

11. MORGAN FREEMAN

In 2006, actor Morgan Freeman published Morgan Freeman and Friends: Caribbean Cooking for a Cause, donating the profits to his charity, Grenada Relief Fund, which was designed to help the island’s residents recover from 2004’s Hurricane Ivan. The cookbook is full of Caribbean food recipes from Freeman (like his grilled swordfish steak with lemon caperberry butter) and other celebrities. Some of the Hollywood figures who contributed Caribbean recipes include Tom Hanks, Ben Affleck, and Kenny Chesney (who has a house in the U.S. Virgin Islands), for instance.

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Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Sylvia Plath's Pulitzer Prize in Poetry Is Up for Auction
Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Nate D. Sanders Auctions

A Pulitzer Prize in Poetry that was awarded posthumously to Sylvia Plath in 1982 for her book The Collected Poems will be auctioned on June 28. The Los Angeles-based Nate D. Sanders Auctions says bidding for the literary document will start at $40,000.

The complete book of Plath’s poetry was published in 1981—18 years after her death—and was edited by her husband, fellow poet Ted Hughes. The Pulitzer Prize was presented to Hughes on Plath’s behalf, and one of two telegrams sent by Pulitzer President Michael Sovern to Hughes read, “We’ve just heard that the Collected Plath has won the Pulitzer Prize. Congratulations to you for making it possible.” The telegrams will also be included in the lot, in addition to an official congratulatory letter from Sovern.

The Pultizer’s jury report from 1982 called The Collected Poems an “extraordinary literary event.” It went on to write, “Plath won no major prizes in her lifetime, and most of her work has been posthumously published … The combination of metaphorical brilliance with an effortless formal structure makes this a striking volume.”

Ted Hughes penned an introduction to the poetry collection describing how Plath had “never scrapped any of her poetic efforts,” even if they weren’t all masterpieces. He wrote:

“Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy. The end product for her was not so much a successful poem, as something that had temporarily exhausted her ingenuity. So this book contains not merely what verse she saved, but—after 1956—all she wrote.”

Also up for auction is Plath’s Massachusetts driver’s license from 1958, at which time she went by the name Sylvia P. Hughes. Bidding for the license will begin at $8000.

Plath's driver's license
Nate D. Sanders Auctions
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Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
New 'Eye Language' Lets Paralyzed People Communicate More Easily
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0

The invention of sign language proved you don't need to vocalize to use complex language face to face. Now, a group of designers has shown that you don't even need control of your hands: Their new type of language for paralyzed people relies entirely on the eyes.

As AdAge reports, "Blink to Speak" was created by the design agency TBWA/India for the NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute and the Asha Ek Hope Foundation. The language takes advantage of one of the few motor functions many paralyzed people have at their disposal: eye movement. Designers had a limited number of moves to work with—looking up, down, left, or right; closing one or both eyes—but they figured out how to use these building blocks to create a sophisticated way to get information across. The final product consists of eight alphabets and messages like "get doctor" and "entertainment" meant to facilitate communication between patients and caregivers.

Inside of a language book.
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

This isn't the only tool that allows paralyzed people to "speak" through facial movements, but unlike most other options currently available, Blink to Speak doesn't require any expensive technology. The project's potential impact on the lives of people with paralysis earned it the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity earlier in June.

The groups behind Blink to Speak have produced thousands of print copies of the language guide and have made it available online as an ebook. To learn the language yourself or share it with someone you know, you can download it for free here.

[h/t AdAge]

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