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The Dead Celebrity Cookbook    edited by Frank DeCaro order for
Dead Celebrity Cookbook
by Frank DeCaro
Order:  USA  Can
Health Communications, 2011 (2011)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

With all the cookbooks on the market and more being released every day, you need some type of hook or gimmick to attract attention. Flamboyant movie critic and radio talk show host Frank DeCaro has found a clever twist that will probably raise a few eyebrows but sell a truckload of books.

The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: A Resurrection of Recipes from More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen offers a series of recipes that DeCaro says he has been collecting ever since he attended a Dead Celebrity Party as a young man.

Explaining that he was always fascinated by famous people and movie celebrities, DeCaro writes that he created this cookbook because he wanted to 'share his fantasy of feasting on Frank Sinatra's Barbecued Lamb, lunching on Lucille Ball's Chinese-y Thing, and diving ever-so-neatly into Joan Crawford's Poached Salmon'. That may be so, but I'm sure making a few bucks entered into the decision to release this collection of recipes to the general public!

Since DeCaro obviously prides himself on being a witty interviewer and critic, he arranges the recipes into twenty-five chapters or sections. The clever headings begin with Talk Chow (Jack Paar's Clupp Doup, Johnny Carson's Whitefish with Angel Hair pasta and Merv Griffin's Stuffed Squash). Next you'll find Batman's Kitchen Capers (Frank Gorshin's Pepper Steak and Cesar Romero's Spanish Rice) and Musical Munchies (Bobby Darin's Special Spinach, Liberace's Sticky Buns and Michael Jackson's Sweet Potatoe Pie).

Themed chapters which feature either the celebs from a given movie or television sitcom include I Lunch Lucy, A Psycho Shower and Thank You for Feeding a Friend (The Golden Girls stars).

Each entry features a short, single page biography of the celebrity followed by the featured recipe. In some cases you'll also find a Post Mortem icon of crossed eating utensils that gives a hint on how to improve the recipe or what other ingredient options are.

For example, DeCaro suggests with the Post Mortem that accompanies Bob Denver's Denver Beans that you leave out the canned bean juice the recipe calls for. 'The thought of adding canned bean juice to the dish right before serving leaves me seasick,' he writes.

Skeptics may wonder if these, in truth, are actually recipes which were used by the people whose names appear with them. That's a hard one to answer but, in all honesty, it may not really matter. First of all, the biographical sketches are entertaining. plus you'll quickly discover that many of these recipes like Truman Capote's Fettuccine, James Coco's Stuffed Eggplant and Gilda Radner's Dutch Apple Cake are actually pretty tasty and don't need a celebrity's endorsement!

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