Why is it that some celebrities decide to write cookbooks? Do they sit at home, enjoying their homemade meatballs, thinking that because they’re a talented actor or reality show star other people will enjoy their meatballs as well? Or do they simply have no trouble getting a cookbook deal because they have a famous name? Whatever the reason, plenty of celebrities have released cookbooks, and some of them really shouldn’t have.
There’s no denying that celebrity recipes can actually be pretty cool. Serving stuffing made using Marilyn Monroe’s recipe can be a real conversation piece at Thanksgiving, and making a batch of brownies from a recipe by Katharine Hepburn is a kick. Tell your Christmas guests that the eggnog they’re drinking was made with a recipe devised by none other than actor Robert Mitchum, and a little bit of his cool just might rub off on you. But tell them that the Velveeta-loaded cheese soup they’re eating comes from a recipe by former Republican congressman Ron Paul, and, well… not so much.
But you’d be amazed at the sheer number of celebrities that have released cookbooks over the years. Dom DeLuise came out with a few (further confusing those who already got him mixed up with New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme), as did Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (Dining with the Duchess). Even Frank Sinatra got in on the action. Famous mothers got book deals too: David Letterman’s mom Dorothy and Mandy Patinkin’s mother Doralee each published cookbooks. Then there are the ones that are completely out of left field, like Cooking with The Young and the Restless and the Chicago Cubs Cookbook, which single-handedly must have added at least 10 years to the curse.
It makes sense for some celebrities, like Gwyneth Paltrow, to publish cookbooks; she’s made somewhat of a second career for herself as a self-described guru on how to live and eat on her website Goop. But there are some people that you really don’t expect to be giving anyone cooking advice, let alone publishing an entire cookbook filled with personal recipes. Here are 11 celebrities who really should have stuck to their day jobs.
Weatherman Al Roker has actually published a handful of books, including a few murder mysteries and memoirs. But he’s also published two cookbooks, Al Roker’s Big Bad Book of Barbecue and Al Roker’s Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook. The barbecue book, published in 2002, contains 100 recipes and covers all the grilling basics, and the holiday book, published the following year, contains recipes ranging from “sweet potato poon” to crown pork roast with fruit stuffing. We’re particularly intrigued by his recipe for “Groundhog Day Weatherman’s Meal.”
Apparently none other than the Karma Chameleon himself, Boy George, is a fan of macrobiotic cuisine, so much so that in 2001 he published a cookbook with the help of his “macrobiotic mentor,” Dragana Brown, called Karma Cookbook: Great Tasting Dishes to Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul. “Among the delights are Creamy Carrot Soup, Sizzling Soba, Crunchy Filo Parcels, Watercress and Shiitake Salad, and Apricots with Vanilla Custard,” the description reads. Sadly, it’s out of print.