YORK -- Frank DeCaro was born on
Nov. 6, 1962 in New York. He grew up in Little Falls, N.J. and
graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of
Journalism in 1984. Shortly after, he worked as a media critic
for The Detroit Free Press. DeCaro did movie reviews
for The Daily Show from 1996 to 2003. Currently, he is
the host of his own live daily radio show on Sirius XM.
I was a writer at The Detroit Free Press first for years,”
DeCaro recalled in an exclusive phone interview. “I wrote
about fashion and pop culture. Then, I switched over to The
Detroit News and I covered media and pop culture and anything
I was kind of interested in. It was a good gig.”
released “A Boy Named Phyllis: A Suburban Memoir“
in 1996 and “Unmistakably Mackie: The Fashion and Fantasy
of Bob Mackie” in 1999. His new book, a collection of recipes
known as “The Dead Celebrity Cookbook,” was published
on Oct. 3, 2011.
Dead Celebrity Cookbook' is more than 145 recipes from dearly
departed celebrities of whom I adore,” he added. “It’s
organized in chapters in a pop cultural, historical kind of way.
There’s a chapter on the great villains of the Batman
TV series in the ‘60s. There’s a chapter on The
Golden Girls and their favorite recipes. There’s a
whole chapter on Lucille Ball on what would have been the 100th
anniversary of her birth and the 60th anniversary of I Love
Lucy. There’s a music chapter. Everything from Michael
Jackson’s sweet potato pie to Liberache’s sticky buns
to Farrah Fawcett’s sausage and peppers.”
at home are probably wondering, how did you obtain these recipes?
am one step away from being on that show Hoarders,”
DeCaro explained. “I am someone who collects obsessively.
I started collecting anything, I mean anything that had a celebrity
recipe in it. I was collecting out-of-print cookbooks, flyers
from supermarkets, manuals from microwave ovens. You name it,
I collected it if it had a celebrity recipe in it. The celebrities
were kind enough to die. So I had a dead celebrity cookbook on
my hands. That was sort of how it happened. Even though I like
to joke about it, I am really fond of these performers and wanting
to make sure that people remember them and know who these stars
the hardest recipe to get your hands on and what was the easiest?
time there is a celebrity recipe book of any sort, Katharine Hepburn’s
brownies show up,” the author said. “You can always
find that recipe. Mostly, it’s because they are so good.
I’ve seen other celebrity cookbooks giving you Katharine
Hepburn’s brownie recipes. As for the hardest one for me
to get, I was working on the cookbook last Christmas and a friend
of mine sent me a recipe for one of my favorite movie stars of
all time, Yvonne De Carlo. It was Yvonne De Carlo’s exotic
chicken ecstasy. I never thought I’d see a Yvonne De Carlo
recipe. I was quite excited about that. She was my TV mom. I was
raised on The Munsters and loved it completely.”
you decide to focus on dead celebrities instead of living ones?
think enough people have done celebrity cookbooks,” he added.
“But I thought one that focused on dead celebrities was
the right thing to do. Even though it is a cookbook, it is more
of a pop culture book. My mission was to keep these names alive.
The food was sort of the bait to get people interested in it.
But it was more that I was concerned the pop culture legacy of
these performers was diminishing over time. That upsets me. I
don’t like to see terrific performers upon whose shoulders
today’s performers stand not get the credit that they’re
due. I’m crazy about all of the celebrities in the book.
I had something to say about these performers. That was the goal
of the book.”
you say this cookbook is different from similar ones offered by
Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray?
Stewart’s recipes are I think in the finest of taste,”
DeCaro explained. “I think some of these, they taste good,
but I don’t think they’re done in good taste necessarily.
Some of them rely on such exotic ingredients as cream of mushroom
soup in a can or crescent rolls popped right out of the dairy
case. They are not exactly the chicest of recipes necessarily,
but they are certainly delicious comfort food.”
said a second edition is already in the works.
hoping to do a Dead Celebrity Christmas Cookbook in time for next
Christmas," the author said. "It will focus on stars
connection to pop culture very often has to do with holidays.
That's my next project. I'll be working on that in 2012."
I've got you on the line, can you tell me about your role in the
upcoming movie Bear City 2?
you've seen the trailer for Bear City 2, you've seen
my appearance in the film," he explained. "I have a
walk-on and I say a line or two to the lead actor and then I'm
gone. I play myself and that's it. It's not the starring role
I might have hoped to. It's certainly fun to be asked to be in
a movie. People are excited about the sequel. I hope that my 10
seconds of air time hopefully will be in there."
tell me more about the film? I'm not very familiar with it.
haven't seen the movie either, I've only seen the trailer,"
DeCaro added. "They said, 'We're making a sequel to Bear
City, which is about a group of friends who were gay and
are bears. It's a contemporary love story. So I just kind of play
myself. I do something I love to do a lot. I asked for free tickets
been in the journalism and broadcasting business for quite some
time. What is your advice to students who are looking to break
writing classes, major in journalism and learn how to be a fantastic
writer," the author said. "Then, write all of the time.
Write on deadline, write constantly. The more you do it, the better
you get at it. That sounds like a bad answer, but it's really
true. But I can't tell you how important it is that I went to
a journalism school and a good one at that. It really helped me
you also have a daily radio show on Sirius XM. What's next for
pretty much keeping me busy," he explained. "I really
haven't lined up a TV gig yet. I'm hoping to get back on TV in
2012. We'll keep our fingers crossed and work toward that. The
book is my first in about 13 years. It's really fun to have a
book again. I'm not doing what I did last time and let it go cold.
I'm starting work on another one right away. That will keep me
off the streets for a while."
"The Dead Celebrity Cookbook" in bookstores everywhere
and on Amazon.com.
just hope that people will not only use the cookbook as a source
of fun recipes, but really use the viewing guides and get out
there and learn about these fantastic performers and really learn
something," DeCaro added. "I get upset when people don't
know who older performers are, but don't even care. That bugs
me. I was watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and
the answers were Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe and
Katharine Hepburn. The question was 'Which of these actresses
appeared in two Billy Wilder movies?' The guy said, 'Well, I've
never seen a movie with any of these women in it.' I was just
going to kill myself. Anything can be called up with a few keystrokes.
It was so frustrating. Hopefully, you'll read my book and you'll
more information about Frank DeCaro, visit www.frankdecaro.com.