Great Dish -- And Dishes -- From America's Most Beloved Gossip Columnist
By Liz Smith
Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9780743267083, 272pp.
Publication Date: February 2, 2013
This juicy extravaganza of a book is at once a star-studded memoir, a mouthwatering reminiscence about great food and great meals, and a very special kind of cookbook by Liz Smith, bestselling author and surely America's most beloved gossip columnist (indeed, perhaps the only gossip columnist ever to be universally beloved). Here, great dish and great dishes are artfully blended with anecdotes and spiced with Liz's inimitable sense of humor, instinct for a great story, and joie de vivre to produce a life-loving, sometimes bawdy, and always utterly captivating read.
As everybody knows, nothing goes better with a good meal than a little juicy gossip, and no one puts the two together better than Liz Smith, the acknowledged grande dame of gossip, who traces here her gradual education in haute cuisine, as well as her unashamed taste for down-home, stick-to-the-ribs cooking.
When it comes to food, Liz Smith has seen it all (and eaten much of it). She has watched Nicole Kidman devour a basket of bread before a full dinner at New York's glamorous Four Seasons restaurant and not gain an ounce. She has eaten al fresco off the hood of a car with Mike Nichols. She has been tempted by fattening cookies sent by Renée Zellweger. She has talked biscuits and gravy with Julia Roberts and eaten Elizabeth Taylor's trademark Jailhouse Chili and Chipped Beef à la Krupp Diamond.
No food snob, Liz Smith revels in such dishes as Elvis Presley's favorite sandwich (peanut butter and banana) or Frito Pie (you'll love both these once you've tried them). But she is equally fond of haute cuisine, of four-star restaurants, and of great gourmet experiences. She shares with the reader all this and much, much more, eating, as she puts it, "high and low on the hog," from her favorite Chicken-Fried Steak recipe to Deep-fried Turkey (real men deep-fry a turkey, they don't roast it) and her classic Lobster Rolls recipe, with a pause for her advice on how to make the perfect margarita to wash it all down. From Kate Hepburn's brownies to pigs' feet, Liz not only names names but shares their most treasured recipes, as well as taking the reader on a gourmet tour of great meals.
As Liz herself says, "Reading about food is the next best thing to eating it. People seek companionship, comfort, reassurance, a sense of warmth, and well-being from food. Maybe they can get some of that from this book."