June 17, 2015

From the Kitchen of Audrey Hepburn

Audrey at Home by Luca Dotti

Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins | Harper Design
Pages: 256 pages
Source & Format: Publisher; Hardcover
Add on Goodreads

Summary (from Amazon)
Enter Audrey Hepburn’s private world in this unique biography compiled by her son that combines recollections, anecdotes, excerpts from her personal correspondence, drawings, and recipes for her favorite dishes written in her own hand, and more than 250 previously unpublished personal family photographs. 

Audrey at Home offers fans an unprecedented look at the legendary star, bringing together the varied aspects of her life through the food she loved—from her childhood in Holland during World War II, to her time in Hollywood as an actress and in Rome as a wife and mother, to her final years as a philanthropist traveling the world for UNICEF.

Audrey at Home is a personal scrapbook of Audrey’s world and the things she loved best—her children, her friends, her pets. It is a life that unfolds through food, photographs, and intimate vignettes in a sophisticated and lovely book that is a must for Audrey Hepburn fans and food lovers.

Thoughts on Audrey at Home
If you're a regular reader of my blog, you may know that I'm a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn. I even co-hosted an All About Audrey event last month with Rachel from Hello, Chelly! When a publicist reached out to me about reviewing Audrey at Home, I was thrilled. I have a lot of non-fiction books about Audrey, and I was excited to add another one to my collection.


Audrey at Home is something really special and unique. Compiled by her son, Luca Dotti, it looks at her life through the lens of the food she loved. It shares fifty recipes in the context of specific periods in Audrey's life. For example, there's Gazpacho Andaluz and Tortilla for Luca's first time on set with his mom and Baked Potato with Salmon for New Year's Eve. As with a typical cookbook, the recipes include step-by-step instructions and preparation tips. But what makes this book feel so special are the brief essays on each time in her life, the personal anecdotes preceding each recipe, and the 250 previously unpublished family photographs.

In the Introduction, Luca writes:
"The idea for this book, what I think of as a 'kitchen table biography,' emerged from the discovery of a frayed notebook. 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. Many described impressive and ambitious dishes, with complicated instructions, but these never made their way to our dining table. For, in the kitchen, as in life, my mother gradually freed herself from everything that was superfluous to keep only what truly mattered to her. These are the recipes you will find in the pages that follow — and the stories that go with them."

If you're a foodie and Audrey Hepburn fan, I have no doubt you'll love this book! I don't spend a lot of time cooking, but I enjoyed the angle of this biography. There's something personal about gathering in the kitchen and eating together. If the living room is where you entertain people, the kitchen is where you serve them.

Author Shauna Niequiest writes in Bread & Wine, "The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It's about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment." In Audrey at Home, I got to see this side of Audrey. I've always admired her humanitarian efforts and talent on screen, but it was lovely to see her as a hostess and mother through Luca's eyes. It seems that no matter where she lived and how long she was there, she made the people in her life feel loved and cherished.


I've read a lot of Audrey Hepburn biographies, and this one certainly felt unique. It covers some of the same information, but in a totally new way. The book briefly touches on Audrey's childhood in Holland and time in Hollywood, but it focuses mostly on the later part of her life by sharing Luca's memories and time he spent with her. The writing occasionally felt a bit choppy, but it didn't impact my overall enjoyment of the book. It's give you a more intimate look at her while still keeping the important things private. It's a celebration of the things that mattered most to her and a tribute to an incredible women from someone who knew her best.


Without a doubt, my favorite parts of this book are the never-before-seen photographs. Photo shoots, promotional images and movie stills are one thing... but it's so much cooler to see Audrey in her daily life. It takes her from an icon and actress to a human that's a mother, a wife and a hostess. I don't know if I'll ever cook any of the recipes shared in these pages, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy this book for an Audrey Hepburn fan. It's a book that's equally at home on coffee tables or in kitchen pantries. With a beautiful design and thoughtful look at its subject, Audrey at Home has certainly accomplished its purpose!

So Quotable
"... the notes in the margins of her favorite recipes matter as much as those in her scripts."
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

2 comments:

  1. The book is beautiful, as are the pictures...but real talk: are the recipes interesting, new, good? =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a lovely review, Hannah! It sounds like the book captures the essence of who Audrey was, and that's always wonderful. So happy you wound up enjoying it!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...