Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Book Chat- Audrey at Home


I love everything about this week's book, Audrey at Home. I've had this book for a while and have been savoring it.



Audrey Hepburn was my mother's favorite so from an early age I was very familiar with everything Audrey. Long before there were VCRs and cable television, mom and I would spend Saturdays on the couch watching afternoon specials of her movies. By time I was ten Breakfast at Tiffany's, Roman Holiday, Sabrina and Wait Until Dark (mom claimed it was her best role), were my favorite films. My mom even looked like Audrey and had the same hair styles and big glasses. That may have been on purpose now I think. My mom also loved Audrey's elegance and unique style. This book really had me thinking so much of my lovely mom who will be gone a year next week. I only wish I could have gotten her this book. I know how much she would have loved it.

After Audrey had her boys she rarely did movies, but I did have a chance encounter with her when I was in college...

One day, in the late 1980s, I found myself in Beverly Hills on a road trip with a boyfriend and decided to get a manicure at the Elizabeth Arden salon for fun. It was $16- pretty steep for me then, but I splurged. The salon was buzzing with chatter and ladies under dryers and such. While I waited for my polish to dry I heard a very familiar voice out of the corner of the room. It was so familiar in fact, I thought it must be the television. I turned to see it was an elegant lady, also getting her nails done and yes it was Audrey Hepburn. My heart started racing and I thought I was going to faint.

She was talking about an upcoming movie she was doing and they were showing her clothes or nightgowns and she'd say. 'Oh maybe years ago darling not anymore,' about some of the selections. (I think the movie was with Robert Wagner called Love Among Thieves, one of her last.) She was pretty and tiny and funny -just as she was in the movies. I could hardly breathe. I wanted to run up and tell her how much I loved her and how my mom did especially. In the end, she was moved to another room to finish up and I never did. She did flash a smile my way before she went. I flew out of there and straight to a payphone to call my mom. She was unbelieving at first and then mad it was me not her to see our Audrey. Today, I still cannot believe it happened. The best $16 I ever spent.



This book is a joy.  I just loved it. I just soaked it in. I have many Audrey books, but this is a glimpse into her real life as a mom and wife.  Her son Luca Dotti has done a great job conveying what a special spirit his mother was. The personal photos and anecdotes that go along with the 50 recipes make this so much more than a cookbook.

Audrey's greatest joys were home, family, her pets and her garden. As a child of World War II who nearly starved in Nazi occupied Holland, she never took anything for granted. She reveled in creating a home for her sons and being with her close lifelong friends.

The recipes are uncomplicated and the kind of comfort food one masters and adds to a repertoire of a life's favorite dishes. Vichyssoise, soups, pesto pasta, sea bass in paper, and chocolate cake are just a few of the simple and delicious from her collection. Audrey's favorite though was Penne with Ketchup, which is better than it sounds, followed by a dish of vanilla ice cream. She loved staying in and eating pasta curled up on the couch with television, her family and dear dogs. Makes me want to do more of that in my life!

Some of the personal photos from this book...









The cover of the book is wrapped with a painting Audrey did of her garden in Switzerland. This is a beautiful book for your kitchen and already I am loving the soups, dressing and pastas that are so easy and fresh. This book is a guide to the sweet life you can create by surrounding yourself with the uncomplicated joys of good food, friends, family and pets. What more does one need?

Charm, kindness and gratitude are what made Audrey one of a kind and I enjoyed reading how she carried that with her throughout life.

We could all use a little more Audrey style, no?

Luca Dotti has written another more photographic centered book called Audrey in Rome about his mother's time in the eternal city and her other son Sean Ferrer has also written a sweet book called Audrey Hepburn, an Elegant Spirit, which is also beautifully done. She must have been a wonderful mama to those boys for both to have written books about her.

Happy weekend friends!



16 comments :

  1. I love your story Kim! I got this book for Christmas and I adored it's! It's got pride of place in my living room right now. She was a one-of-kind, wasn't she? Beautiful post!

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    1. Thanks so much Wendy! I know it's in my kitchen.

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  2. Wow how amazing that you actually were able to see Audrey Hepburn in real life. I've heard that she was truly a kind and generous woman whose charm was genuine... her early hardships were terrible but she was still able to see the beauty in the world.
    I'm always interested to see how people I admire organize their homes and their family life, and she did it with such love and grace... I'll definitely be trotting over to Amazon to order this book.
    Thanks so much for the great review!
    I know this next week will be difficult for you and I'll be thinking of you. What lovely memories of watching those Saturday afternoon films with your Mom. XO

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    1. Dani I can hardly believe it myself. I just met another person who met her as well, but I think it was rare since she lived in Europe! The thing I love most about Audrey is she did know what mattered- family and home and made that a priority and seemed to live a very good life without the fame and movies.

      Thanks for you note about mom. xo

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  3. Lovely review Kim - I have the book by Sean Ferrer, plus the one called Audrey: The 60s. What wonderful memories of time with your mum, and your Audrey story is amazing.

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    1. Patricia I have to look for the Audrey the 60s book! Thank you. I know good memories help keep her close. Thanks so much.

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  4. I too have that book and haven't FINISHED IT!I picked it up YESTERDAY and so want to make the pasta with KETCHUP!Pasta was her FAVORITE FOOD!!!Her BOYS had no idea she was such a STAR until WAY latter in LIFE.I have another book on her which I do not recall the TITLE But when I finished it years ago It made me want to go visit her site in SWITZERLAND.TO bring FLOWERS Of course and just pay my respects!!!My closest encounter with HER was finding a baby deer......in the middle of a busy road!I brought that deer HOME after trying to find its MOTHER for a few hours and thought if she could live with a baby deer so could I!CLICK on LINK!
    http://thevintagecontessa.net/2013/04/24/dear-dear-deer/
    XX

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  5. I love your story Kim. I would have been breathless to be near her too. She was the ultimate class act. I'd love to read this. Thanks for the recommendation. Let's schedule lunch. I miss you! xxxx
    Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer I know.. I have to remember this as it was so long ago now, but writing about it helps! I am looking forward to lunch. xo

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  6. Oh Kim, I have been wanting this book for awhile now! I knew you and I were similar souls, but little did I know we had the same favorite star. She is truly my all-time favorite, for so many reasons. LOVED her style, but more importantly, her soul. What a wonderful woman she was! She really knew how to live, something we overly-busy modern day moms could learn a little more of. This is my favorite kind of book - food, life, and interesting anecdotes, from someone I admire and respect. And cooking! Always love a good cook book with stories behind the recipes.

    Thanks for the review! Off to buy it tonight....

    Sheila
    xo

    www.maisondecinq.blogspot.com

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    1. Sheila so funny we like so many of the same things including Audrey! I know you'll love this book! xo

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  7. What a great story about your run-in. Audrey Hepburn was a class act for sure.

    One thing I noticed about time and celebrities then versus now - just look how real the photos are.
    What is on the cover - red sauce and brats? No tables cape, no special dishes or utensils - just focusing on the food and friends and not Instagraming life. Living it. Those were the days.

    Thanks for sharing cookbook. Never knew of it.

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    1. Meg thanks so much for your note! I so agree love the old photos of celebs.. Not staged or touched up! Much more real life! Thanks for reading! Kim

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  8. I adore your Audrey story Kim!! I love that you and your Mom "shared" Audrey. Being Italian my Mom and I "shared" Sophia Loren although I never had a sighting of Sophia. I know getting through the first year with your mother is difficult. It's been 25 years for me but these things you write about that you shared with your Mom are exactly how I made it this far. Hugs to you!

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  9. Oh Kim, I love this story! Thinking about you...sending love.
    xo
    annie

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