Cooking

I Know What You Cooked Last Summer

Freddie Prinze Jr.'s new cookbook was a labor of love
Photos: Ellen Silverman
Back to the Kitchen

The 90s are back. Did you get the memo?

Girls in Clueless miniskirts and Doc Martens ride the train bumping to Justin Timberlake's new single. Now, Freddie Prinze Jr., 90s dreamboat, Esq., is back in the spotlight with his very own cookbook. Back to the Kitchen: 75 Delicious, Real Recipes (& True Stories) from a Food-Obsessed Actor, coauthored by Rachel Wharton, brings readers into the actor's family kitchen.

RELATED   Why You Should Buy Chrissy Teigen's New Cookbook »

"I was all set to go to Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena when I got my first real acting gig, and the rest is history," Prinze says in the book's introduction. Yet becoming Zack Siler and Ray Bronson instead of Chef didn't end his love of cooking. With the confidence to cook instilled by his mother, Prinze now shares cooking with his own family. "Before Freddie, I thought cooking was simply making food to eat," Prinze's wife, actress and fellow 90s icon Sarah Michelle Gellar, says in the book's foreword. "Now I understand it's about experience."

Back to the Kitchen was born from a simple recipe for macaroni and cheese, elevated by Prinze's mom. "I'm not going to talk it up," Prinze says in the recipe headnote. "Just make it and see." While his mother shaves truffles into the dish's bread crumb topping, which brings a hit of umami to the creamy dish, Prinze's version, entitled "Macaroni and Cheese x 4 [!!!!]," calls for a more affordable—and optional—two tablespoons of truffle oil.

The book is full of anecdotes about Prinze's friends, who, you know, just so happen to be famous ("pancakes always make me think of Parker Posey"), but at the same time, doesn't take itself too seriously. He names Spanish words for ingredients inspired by the meals he ate on his grandmother's farm in Puerto Rico and reminds his readers to always clean their grills after using them, but never does he claim to be an all-knowing culinary expert. There are snapshots of Prinze cooking with his kids interspersed with a dose of the impish charm he shows on-screen ("If I find something [my wife] loves, it's on like Donkey Kong,")—the book is full of joy.

You could write it off as yet another celebrity cookbook, but like Chrissy Teigen's Cravings and Kelis's My Life on a Plate, there's something more happening here. These people aren't writing cookbooks just to stay relevant or to be part of another in-crowd; they genuinely love to cook. Sure, the celeb status will help get them a meeting with a publisher, but the recipes have to stand on their own. Back to the Kitchen was created by a family man who loves to eat and cook, for families who like to do the same. There's even a fruit and cream recipe written by Prinze's daughter, Charlie, in the dessert section. If you're looking to snag a winning Father's Day gift or you're just a big FPJ fan, this book is for you.

Around the Web

Get the Tasting Table newsletter for adventurous eaters everywhere