Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Recipes For Life

My review:
I really enjoyed this book and Linda Evans' take on life and her sharing of her success and trials. I was a pre-teen/early teenager when Dynasty was on television and I remember watching faithfully each week with my mom. I am a huge fan of memoirs and this one satisfied my quest for that in not only hearing Evans' story, but in her sharing of recipes to go along with her life and those she has met throughout her career. I was pleasantly surprised to read her stories and realize she is a gourmet cook, who even won a very famous cooking competition-you will have to read the book to find out details! The book is comprised of short selections that she provides about her life (each with a recipe) and it keeps the reader engaged in short bursts, rather than a long novel. I enjoyed this as it reminded me of snapshots and gives you the feel of being a papparazzi, without the stalking of course. I can't wait to try out all the recipes in the book and will be sure to post what I think of them.

My Memories

Ever since her dazzling breakout performance in television’s “Big Valley,” gorgeous and gracious Golden Globe award-winner Linda Evans has been collecting recipes from world-renowned chefs, celebrities, and friends, including Barbara Stanwyck, John Wayne, Tony Curtis, and others to share with those she loves. After entering the movie world and starring with leading men such as Richard Burton, Steve McQueen, George Peppard, and of course John Forsythe, in the TV megahit “Dynasty,” Linda continued her love affair with cooking.

Now, in RECIPES FOR LIFE: My Memories (Vanguard Press; October 2011; $25.99), written with her stepdaughter Sean Catherine Derek, Linda Evans candidly dishes stories of growing up to live and play among Hollywood’s royalty, showcasing more than 75 photos of her life and career, many from her private collection, and interspersing her insights from her journey toward empowerment and spiritual peace with more than 40 favorite recipes —all linked to a memorable experience from her life. Both her reminiscences and her recipes include tangy, tart and sweet. Magical memories mix with painful ones, and her sugar-topped dessert Peach Heaven is included with dinners like the flavorful, spicy Puerco Picante. Publishers Weekly calls it “entertaining … a madcap fairy tale filled with magical moments, romantic adventures, friendships with the rich and famous, and personal challenges … with applications far beyond Hollywood and the kitchen.”

Linda Evans has dined with kings, queens, and presidents, been invited to the White House, and met Pope Paul, but as a teenager she witnessed her parents turn to alcohol, and mourned her father’s death when she was 15. She enjoyed great loves but there was heartbreak behind her high-profile romances. She recounts meaningful moments of her inner life, too — how she learned to take the pressure of performance and turn it into excitement, reached for and claimed independence, and found a deeply enriching lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest.

In RECIPES FOR LIFE, Linda includes Mom’s Hot Dog Stew, a staple her mom could serve on their limited budget to young Korean War servicemen her cousin would invite over. She also relates:
• The reluctant non-audition that landed her first acting job, a national commercial, and how the “worst reading” that a director ever heard led to her debut appearance on “The Big Valley” as Audra, the daughter of Victoria Barkley, played by Barbara “Missy” Stanwyck, who became a nurturing figure in her life and acting career and inspired the recipe for Missy’s Hobo Fillet;
• Her marriage to actor/filmmaker John Derek, and their evenings with Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and John Wayne (she adds Duke’s Crab Dip), plus her long friendships with the three other ex-wives of John Derek — including Cathy Collins, aka Bo Derek, who was 15 when John fell for her and left Linda, and Ursula Andress, who joined Linda at a Playboy mansion costume party, both women dressed as boxers;
• How she ended up behind the camera, shooting dramatic footage of Evel Kneivel’s famous daredevil jump at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas;
• Breakfast with Richard Burton, who offered his guests tumblers of vodka;
• Her friendship with Nobu Matsuhisa, and why the celebrated chef credits Linda with inspiring his recipe for Hollandaise-like “egg sauce,” plus special dinners with Roger and Luisa Moore, David and Dani Janssen, Leslie and Tony Curtis (with their recipe for Lemon SoufflĂ© with Raspberry Sauce), and others;
• A guest spot on “Circus of the Stars” that ended with the teeth of the 200-pound leopard Sheba in her chest, her somewhat less dangerous winning appearance on the British TV reality show, “Hell’s Kitchen,” working under Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White, and flying with the Blue Angels;
• How Rock Hudson protected her by refusing to kiss her deeply on “Dynasty” when he alone on the set knew he had the AIDS virus;
• The drive with her lively friend Bunky that landed her in jail, sharing her home with Bunky and Ursula Andress, whose regular visitor poolside was Sean Connery, and what happened at the White House when wild Bunky met Dom DeLuise, who was dressed like Count Dracula;
• Loving and living in the moment with musician and composer Yanni, and much more.

RECIPES FOR LIFE is a delicious and delightful look into the world of beloved actress and gourmet-caliber cook Linda Evans, memorably serving up the stories behind the so-called scandals, scintillating soirees, scrumptious steaks, salads, soups, and more.

About the Author
Linda Evans is a Golden Globe award-winning actress who has personified beauty and grace on screen and stage, from her role as Audra Barkley on “The Big Valley,” to the glamorous Krystle Carrington on “Dynasty,” winning the “Hell’s Kitchen” competition working under Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White, and starring on Broadway in “Legends.” She has won five People’s Choice Awards for Best Female Performer, was nominated for an Emmy, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Recipes for Life is her second book. Linda lives in the countryside of the Pacific Northwest. For more information, please visit her website,, and follow her on Facebook.

Excerpt From the Book:

The Part That Didn’t Get Away

THE FIRST TIME in my life that I actually wanted a career was after my second divorce. I had invested in some real estate with Stan while we were married. I didn’t want alimony from him, but I did want to buy a small house in Beverly Hills that he owned and I loved. So I put my investment money toward it. There was still a sizable mortgage, and if I couldn’t make the payments, I’d lose the house. That’s exactly the way I wanted things, because I needed that fire under me so I would fight like hell to get my career back on track. I was counting on the adversity to make me strong, not take me down. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I was determined to make it on my own.

One of the first opportunities that came up was huge: an interview with Steve McQueen for a film he was starring in and producing, a true story titled Tom Horn. I was very excited, until Steve opened the door and, looking extremely uncomfortable, immediately told me that he was sorry I came, because I was wrong for the part. Not the response I was hoping for. But then he did soften the blow by saying it was because he thought I was too attractive, and he was looking for a more believable frontier woman. But then he said: “Oh well, you’re here, come on in. ”The old adage, just get your foot in the door, is true. I got the part! This film was very important to Steve, and he really took it over, down to the last detail. He selected every piece of fabric—dowdy and drab—for my wardrobe. He even met me at the dentist when they made my gold tooth (to give me the frontier woman look).

On location, a few days before filming, the unthinkable happened: I got laryngitis because I was so terrified—I needed this job and they had already replaced a few of the actors. Steve was very kind. “Linda,” he told me, “I want you to know I totally understand,” was all he said. He didn’t want me to talk to anyone or speak for any reason for a week so I could get back my voice.

Westerns have always been my favorite: I love being outdoors, the animals, the down-to-earth nature of the wranglers, stuntmen, and cowboys. But Tom Horn holds a very special place in my heart, because acting with Steve was one of the greatest experiences in my career. He was so brilliant when he was performing that I’d get lost in his performance and nearly forget my next line.

It was a wonderful time for me, filled with firsts, including the day
Steve called me aside while on location in Tucson, Arizona, plopped a
plate of mashed potatoes in front of me, and said I was getting too thin.
Believe me, I never thought I’d hear that one in Hollywood. Then again, when I think about it, this might just be a Western thing, because years later, when I did The Gambler with Kenny Rogers, he’d have pizza delivered to my room. No wonder I love doing Westerns!

Even better than I imagined.

TOM HORN © 1980 Solar Productions, Inc. The First Artists Production
Company, Ltd. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

L O S E - Y O U R - F I G U R E P O T A T O E S

In memory of dear Steve, here’s one of my favorite high-calorie and delicious potato recipes. This one is always a huge hit. I like to assemble
the cheese and potatoes several hours in advance and cover with plastic
wrap, keeping at room temperature before baking. If you do this, be
sure to leave the cream mixture covered in the fridge and pour over the
potatoes just before baking.

1½ to 1¾ pounds red potatoes, peeled
Unsalted butter, for greasing
3½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I prefer Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1¹∕³ cups heavy cream
1 small garlic clove, minced (about ½ teaspoon)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¹∕8 teaspoon white pepper

Put the whole, peeled potatoes in a large pot and add just enough
water to cover. Boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool.
When cool, slice potatoes ¼-inch thick.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter the bottom of a 2-quart (11½ x 8 x 2-inch) baking dish and
layer in half the potato slices. Sprinkle with half the cheddar and half
the Parmesan. Layer on the remaining potatoes and sprinkle with
remaining cheese.
In a bowl, combine the cream, garlic, salt, and pepper.
When ready to bake, pour the cream mixture over the potatoes and
bake 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve warm.

Linda Evans Purchase Link:

Linda Evans official site:

Now for the really good stuff-you can have your very own copy of this book. Please leave a comment below to enter. I have one copy to giveaway and the winner will be chosen on Saturday, October 15.

1 comment:

  1. I would absolutely love a copy thank you. I can remember watching Linda Evans on television way back when