Books — Dishing Hollywood

Dishing the dirt—and pie

Scandal and downhome cooking in L.A.

By Amy Diaz [adiaz@hippopress.com]

Dishing Hollywood: The Real Scoop on Tinseltown’s Most Notorious Scandals, by Laurie Jacobson, Cumberland House Publishing, 2003, 254 pages.

Hollywood is a town of outsized appetites.

For attention, for fame, for money. Sex, recognition, beauty.

Also, though a look at most of the actresses would seem to argue against it, for food.

Because this is a weird land of East meets West, Mexican meets Asian, Okie meets New Money. And those kinds of introductions breed some odd ideas about food. Also, restaurants where you pay $200 for two for what are essentially hors d’oevres.

In Dishing Hollywood, the result is a steamy life story (such as the heartbreaking antics of Mr. Gary Cooper) followed by a usually rather down-home recipe (in the case of Cooper, his mom’s griddle cakes). Tales of debauchery, scandal, excess—and pie! How thoroughly bizarre. It’s a fantastic, fascinating read.

And, truthfully, the reading is the best part. Recipes tend to fall a little flat next to extraordinary tales. Most of the recipes are from restaurants where the stars ate their last meal—and unless you know it’s your last, that doesn’t necessarily end up as exciting as it sounds. One of the better final dishes came from the segment on Bugsy Seigel:

Grilled trout fillets with olive oil and lemon

1 1/2 to 2 pound trout fillets

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

lemon wedges

vinegar

Brush the fillets with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare a medium-hot fire. Make sure the rack is clean and place it about 4 inches from the heat.

Place the fillets on the grill, skin side down. Cover and check after 8 minutes.

(If you do not cover the grill, turn very carefully with a wide spatula after no less than 3 minutes.)

Serve immediately with lemon wedges and several drops of vinegar.

- Amy Diaz

 
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