Not at all the usual actor’s memoir, but a simple toast to eating, drinking and innocent merriment in old Umbria.



Devoted foodie Tucker (I Never Forget a Meal, 1996) and wife Jill Eikenberry, both veteran actors familiar for their stints on L.A. Law and elsewhere, find a second home in the heart of the Italian peninsula.

Near Monteluco in Umbria, a stone cottage called Rustico was comfortably settling deep into its fourth century when the couple first saw it. They traveled there several times in one year to partake in the Umbrian way of life, then bought Rustico, sold their West Coast place and established transatlantic housekeeping in New York and central Italy, whose culture they enjoyed sharing with friends and family. After remodeling their 13th marital residence (doubling its size with an addition that matched its stone walls and brick tile floors), they purchased furnishings and contemplated acting opportunities when not rusticating. There was much partying with colorful new friends and dear old ones, but the principal pleasures at Rustico were founded on the Italian genius for food. Tucker recalls shopping for truffles and pasta, the joy of home cooking and the hunt for authentic eateries. He extols the local tartufo, grappa and pork. He describes visits to butchers and building fires at home for suckling pigs and marinara pizzas, fondly detailing all the preparations. His delight in performing as chef is evident, as is his affection for his wife, family and friends, as well as for a favored district in the middle of Italy.

Not at all the usual actor’s memoir, but a simple toast to eating, drinking and innocent merriment in old Umbria.

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-87113-962-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2007

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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