By Joanna Prisco
PHOTO: Samantha Bolton
Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week is Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen by Luca Dotti, youngest son of the Hollywood and fashion icon, who, in addition to being the star of Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Roman Holiday, was a devoted mother and homemaker long after she ceased making films.
“The idea for this book, what I think of as a ‘kitchen table biography,’ emerged from the discovery of a frayed notebook,” writes Dotti in his introduction. “I was in my kitchen with my friend Alessia when she spotted a dusty binder. She took it off the shelf and a few pages fell out, some densely handwritten, with clippings and notes.”
Contained within the withered pages were various descriptions of “impressive and ambitious dishes,” but those never made an appearance at his family’s dining table, Dotti says.
“For, in the kitchen, as in life, my mother gradually freed herself from everything that was superfluous, to keep only what mattered to her,” he continues.
Through sharing Hepburn’s more approachable recipes and memories, Dotti hopes to pull back the curtain on an actress who many relate to pictures of her Holly Golightly character — all oversized sunglasses, black shifts and opera gloves — as opposed to the woman she actually was: A native of war-ravaged Holland who survived Nazi occupation eating nettles, boiled grass, and tulips, and carried that childhood experience with her the rest of her life.
The star of Funny Face loved chocolate, fresh fruits, and vegetables, and rustic Italian cooking, says her son.
“More than eggs in aspic, which — biographers assure us — she could skillfully make as a young girl,” writes Dotti. “She is more faithfully portrayed through the pasta she brought along in her suitcase when she traveled, the ice cream she devoured on afternoons spent with her best friends, and everything edible she could bring forth from her beloved garden.”
As such, recipes that appear in Audrey at Home include comforting dishes such as spaghetti al pomodoro, penne alla vodka, vichyssoise and chocolate cake. Others, like Pandeli’s sea bass en papillote, recall favorite meals created by friends, at restaurants, or even the White House, where Hepburn was invited for her humanitarian work later in life.
Through this, home cooks are offered a taste of Hepburn’s life beyond the sound stages, red carpets and magazine covers.
“I believe that our images at home are no less important than all those impeccable black-and-white photos,” Dotti writes, “and that the notes in the margins of her favorite recipes matter as much as those in her scripts.”
Visit Yahoo Food throughout the week for recipes from Audrey at Home.
Check out other cookbooks from Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week: