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Hot on the Shelves: The Best Celebrity Cookbooks

Move aside labradoodles and reality shows, a new celebrity accessory has arrived. From Eva to Gwyneth, and even to the Chicago Cubs, those on the A-list (and B- and C-list) are dying to share their favorite foods with us nonfamous eaters. I spent some time in the kitchen testing and weeding out the true cookbooks from the celebrity fluff, making everything from eye roll‑inducing recipes to new classics. The ones that stood up to the test of my kitchen—without a personal chef—were both surprising and inspiring.
Gwyneth Paltrow
Trisha Yearwood
Sheryl Crow
Maya Angelou
The Chicago Cubs
Teresa Giudice
Oprah Winfrey and Rosie Daley

Maya Angelou

It’s tough to sum up Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart better than the author herself: “At one time, I described myself as a cook, a driver, and a writer. I no longer drive, but I do still write and I do still cook. And having reached the delicious age of 81, I realize that I have been feeding other people and eating for a long time.” In her second cooking collection, Angelou shares time-tested favorites along with personal tales of how they came to be. Like her writing, her take on eating is both rich and nurturing, focusing on quality ingredients and more healthful takes on classics, like Night Cornbread, Sweet Potatoes McMillan, and Mixed-Up Tamale Pie. ($18.08, Amazon)

Trisha Yearwood

If you’re more Southern comfort than macrobiotic inclined, Trisha Yearwood’s Stories and Recipes to Share with Family and Friends may be worth a spin. In her second recipe tome, Trisha talks breakfast in bed, comfort casseroles, and holiday feasts, all of which are dedicated to her family and friends—including hubbie Garth Brooks. I’m no Southerner, but Yearwood’s take on jambalaya, cornbread salad, and Garth’s breakfast bowls are new favorites in my recipe repertoire. ($17.64, Amazon)

Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow’s If It Makes You Healthy was inspired by the singer’s fight against breast cancer and focuses on her mission to eat naturally, seasonally, and simply. Crow says cancer caused her to take a harsh look at her diet—which was laden with antibiotic-filled meats and pesticide-heavy produce—and shift her eating to organic, seasonal fare. Not preachy or boring, the book lays out more than 100 recipes organized by season. Summer means tomatoes and corn; fall and winter bring apple and squash. Whether you’re looking for entertaining ideas or quick and simple dinners, the photos and recipes are easy to follow, and Crow’s personal stories give readers flavorful tidbits about her life today. ($17.57, Amazon

Maya Angelou

It’s tough to sum up Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart better than the author herself: “At one time, I described myself as a cook, a driver, and a writer. I no longer drive, but I do still write and I do still cook. And having reached the delicious age of 81, I realize that I have been feeding other people and eating for a long time.” In her second cooking collection, Angelou shares time-tested favorites along with personal tales of how they came to be. Like her writing, her take on eating is both rich and nurturing, focusing on quality ingredients and more healthful takes on classics, like Night Cornbread, Sweet Potatoes McMillan, and Mixed-Up Tamale Pie. ($18.08, Amazon)

The Chicago Cubs

Take your love for America’s sport into the kitchen with Chicago Cubs: All-Star Recipes from Your Favorite Players. Whether you’re looking for sweet or savory, the collection of recipes from players, coaches, and broadcasters goes way beyond traditional ballpark fare. There’s Lou Piniella’s chicken salad, the Ricketts’ family-favorite sugar cookies, ginger pork from Kosuke Fukudome, and tacos from Ryan Sandberg. My personal favorite? Ryan Theriot’s jambalaya. Plus, the book serves up a helping of Chicago culture, with local chefs’ favorite recipes and historical tidbits about Wrigley Field.  ($11.37, Amazon

Teresa Giudice

Even though inventing words like “fabulicious” makes me want to repeatedly hit my head against my keyboard, the recipes that real housewife Teresa offers up are easy, inexpensive, and lighter than traditional Italian fare. The New Jersey reality star’s second cookbook offers up 60 new ways to serve flavorful family meals like her mama’s meatballs and her mom-in-law’s tiramisu. What sets it apart from other Italian recipe collections are the light lunches and kid-friendly meals—better mac and cheese and creative paninis for everyday lunches. Fabulicious!: Teresa’s Italian Family Cookbook is a family-friendly, basic collection of recipes that will complement anyone’s kitchen. ($11.70, Amazon

Oprah Winfrey and Rosie Daley

Chef Rosie Daley, whom Ms. Winfrey credits with changing her life and shrinking her waistline, compiled the media mogul’s favorite low-calorie dishes for all of us to try in the updated version of this cookbook. In the Kitchen with Rosie: Oprah’s Favorite Recipes is a comprehensive collection of soups, salads, entrees, pastas, side dishes, and desserts. Made from scratch, the recipes are what they claim to be—healthful and flavorful. However, be warned that all that flavor without the calories comes with time and dedication—this isn’t a quick-cooking book. Standouts include pasta with clam sauce, mushroom soup, and fettuccine with ginger chicken. ($11.96, Amazon

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