cover image Shut Up and Eat!

Shut Up and Eat!

Tony Lip, Steven Prigge, . . Berkley, $24.95 (302pp) ISBN 978-0-425-20555-6

The title notwithstanding, there's lots of talk in this compilation and relatively few recipes. Thirty-nine Italian-American actors discuss their childhoods, their careers and their big, happy families, emphasizing the importance of food for their sense of identity. The recipes are all home style and unpretentious; a few come from the actors' favorite restaurants like Da Silvano in Manhattan, but many were handed down through the generations. Accordingly, at times the instructions are a little vague and simplistic for novice cooks, who may struggle with the lack of detail in recipes such as Talia Shire's Thanksgiving Gnocchi and Michael Rispoli's Mussels and Clams Campania Style. In general, though, the dishes are easy, quintessential Italian comfort foods, like Michael Imperioli's Spaghetti Carbonara and Edie Falco's Fettucine Alfredo. The bulk of the recipes are for entrees of pasta, fish and meat, though there are a few soups and vegetable sides and a smattering of desserts. Many cooks will already have mastered most of the items; the book is really for fans of The Godfather and The Sopranos , who will love the actors' endearing anecdotes about washing dishes, adored relatives and eating on set, and who might be inspired to try one of the dishes they recommend so enthusiastically. Photos. Agents, Mitch Ducksworth and Ron Bard. (Oct. 4)