Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review: Recipes for Life

Summary: Ever since her dazzling debut as Audra on The Big Valley, Linda Evans has charmed millions of television viewers around the world with her talent, her warmth, and her beauty. Through it all, Linda has remained unaffected, grounded, and deeply spiritual.

In Recipes for Life, Linda opens up her heart, her past, and her kitchen. She shares a revealing assortment of anecdotes (magical moments mixed with painful ones), photographs, and recipes enjoyed by Linda and those near and dear to her. Linda touches upon growing up, family ties, her incredible life in Hollywood, the friends she has made, and provides an intimate glimpse into her high-profile romances. At the heart of this memorable, touching, and inspiring story is how all of these ingredients have come together to make Linda the woman she is today.

True to her beloved personality, Linda warmly and candidly serves up a delightful banquet that Dynasty fans will truly savor. Complete with over 40 recipes, some handed down through generations (Mom’s Hot Dog Stew), some taught by famous friends (John Wayne "The Duke's" Crab Dip), some inspired by supreme dining experiences from travels around the world (Ina Garten's Filet of Beef Bourguignon), and still others from her winning appearance on Hell's Kitchen (Hell's Salmon), Recipes for Life is at once a delightful journey and a treasure trove of recipes of a life well-lived by a woman well-loved. -- Vanguard Press

As you probably already know, I am a huge fan of cookbooks. I might not actually make many of the recipes, but I just love looking through them for ideas. It's almost a guilty (yet calorie-free) pleasure for me. So when I discovered that actress Linda Evans wrote a cookbook called RECIPES FOR LIFE: MY MEMORIES, I was definitely interested in checking it out.

I have to admit that I might be a bit young to be a fan of Linda Evans. (I don't feel like I get to say that very often these days.) Ms. Evans is a few years older than my mom, and I don't really remember many of her shows or movies... with the exception of Dynasty. Dynasty was on when I was a kid, but I don't think I ever watched an entire episode. My family were more of Dallas followers! However, I do remember hearing about her marriages and relationships on the television and in magazines. So I guess you could say, I was a little bit curious about her personal life in addition to the recipes.

RECIPES FOR LIFE was exactly what I was expecting -- part memoir, part cookbook. Ms. Evans gives brief snippets (a few pages here and there) into her personal life and career. And there are lots of photos of Ms. Evans and her famous friends, spouses, and co-stars. I appreciated the stories and I liked that the book was divided into very small sections. Ms. Evans is still gorgeous for a woman in her late 60s, but I was blown away by how beautiful she was when she was younger. What also blew me away was that she claims she has always loved food and considers herself an "eater." She claims she just had great metabolism. Some people are just lucky, I guess.

In addition to her life memories, she also includes over 50 recipes. I enjoyed how she tied the stories to the history of the recipes. She has published not only her favorite recipes, but also recipes that she's picked up through the years from family, friends, and cast members. I found it interesting to see that Ms. Evans is a big fan of Julia Childs and Ina Garten, and she even received permission to republish a few of their recipes in this book. I also enjoyed seeing some of John Wayne's favorite recipes -- he was a big fan of eggs.

For those of you foodies, you might be disappointed that there are no pictures of the recipes. While there are lots of photographs of Ms. Evans, there aren't any of the actual food. In all honestly, I would classify this book as more of a memoir with some recipes thrown in. I admit that I liked the premise of RECIPES FOR LIFE, but I definitely wouldn't consider this a traditional cookbook.

As far as the recipes go, I wasn't blown away. The stories surrounding the recipes were interesting, but I was hard-pressed to find a recipe to try. Believe it or not, this cookbook didn't have many healthy or low-fat recipes (I know, right? She's so thin!) and many of the recipes were pretty complex. Most of the recipes weren't appropriate for families -- they were just a little bit frou frou for our unsophisticated palates; however, they are ideal for entertaining. There is no doubt that Ms. Evans is definitely more of a "cook" than I am because I felt as if many of the recipes were rather complex.

Here's an example of one her favorite recipes -- which also happens to be pretty easy:

Linda's Famed Artichoke Dip

I've been making my artichoke dip for years. Practically everyone who has ever tasted it has asked me for the recipe. It's perfect for large parties or for smaller, intimate gatherings. Or when your husband's ex-wife comes to dinner! The secret here is to use the artichoke bottoms, not the hearts. Artichoke hearts may be easier to find, they don't produce the same results. The recipe easily doubles or triples for large gatherings. You can also replace the artichokes with 7 ounces of lump crab meat for a delicious variation.


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Tabasco (or more, to taste)
1½ tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (white part only)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (I prefer Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1 (13¾ ounce) can artichoke bottoms (not hearts), drained and finely diced

Preheat oven to 350°F.

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the mayonnaise. One by one, blend in the Tabasco sauce, scallions, and Parmesan.

Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the artichokes (don't use the mixer for this).

Spoon the mixture into a 3-cup baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm with crackers.

The above is an excerpt from the book Recipes For Life: My Memories by Linda Evans. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2011 Linda Evans, author of Recipes For Life: My Memories

I'm pretty sure I'm not the target audience for this cookbook, but I still enjoyed reading it. Overall, I think fans of Linda Evans will enjoy RECIPES FOR LIFE a great deal! 

Thanks to FSB Associates for sending me a copy of this book.

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Beth F said...

I have a couple of artichoke dip recipes, but none use cream cheese. And I often find celebrity cookbooks to be not quite right for me. I might check this one out from the library just to look through.

We too watched Dallas instead of Dynasty!

bermudaonion said...

We never watched Dynasty either, but I was always aware of Linda Evans. Wasn't she married to John (or whatever his name was) Derek before Bo was? She may have goo metabolism, but I bet she exercises too.

Sandy Nawrot said...

My parents watched Dynasty I think but I never did. But you can't not know who she is because she is so darned beautiful. The food would be the draw for me. And metabolism schmatabolism. Drives me crazy that these women (ahem, Gwyneth Paltrow is another) that can eat like a horse and stay stick thin.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Ah, how cruel for me was your line: "I have to admit that I might be a bit young to be a fan of Linda Evans." :--) I think it's a riot that there are pictures of her in the book instead of pictures of the food! LOLOL