Comedian Dom DeLuise died earlier this week. Born in Brooklyn, New York on August 1, 1933, he was literally a larger-than-life entertainer, known for his endearingly naughty comedy and jovial personality. His impressive resume lists accomplishments on stage, screen and yes … in the kitchen.
Dom DeLuise was a fellow foodie who was passionate about good food, good drinks and good company. Not only did he enjoy eating (as evidenced by his corpulent size), but he enjoyed all things culinary. He forged a second career as a chef, an author and a teacher of cooking skills. Although he may not have been trained in haute cuisine, DeLuise was authentic, in a world where too many personalities are manufactured to network specifications or molded to fit whatever happens to be trendy or hot. Perhaps that is why he had unparalleled popularity and universal appeal – an all-around nice guy.
DeLuise bore a strong resemblance to Chef Paul Prudhomme and joked in a 1987 interview that he had posed as Prudhomme while visiting his New Orleans restaurant, K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen.
DeLuise wrote two best-selling cookbooks. Eat This — It Will Make You Feel Better in 1988, followed by Eat This Too! It’ll Also Make You Feel Good, in 1997. His first cookbook was re-released two years ago as Eat This Again: It’ll Make You Feel Better. At the time of his death, he was working on his third cookbook, called The Pizza Challenge. DeLuise also wrote the foreword to Father Orsini’s Italian Kitchen.
When he wasn’t performing or collecting recipes, DeLuise enjoyed preparing sumptuous and lavish meals for family and friends at his California home.
Because of his passion for food, the lovable actor struggled with obesity, reaching as much as 325 pounds. He repeatedly resisted the efforts of family members and doctors who tried to put him on various diets. Finally, in 1993, he lost 100 pounds so he would be eligible for hip replacement surgery. (Unfortunately, he gained much of the weight back and ended up battling diabetes.)
Over the years, DeLuise often guest starred with chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Mario Martinoli. He had hosted his own cooking segment every Saturday on the syndicated radio show “On the House, with the Carey Brothers.” His love of food is evidenced on his Web site, where he sent out monthly recipes and cooking tips to loyal fans and subscribers. He had recently developed a spice line, available from the DeLuise online store, where you can also order videos, gourmet cakes and a variety of kitchen gadgets.
The last recipe DeLuise posted was last month, for Dom’s Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
Dom’s Mashed Sweet Potatoes
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
½ stick butter
1 banana, sliced
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil potatoes until tender, drain and reserve. Return the pot to the stove top over medium heat. Add butter and bananas to the pot. Cook bananas five minutes and add the juice of one orange to the pot, reserving the zest. Allow the juice to cook out for one minute. Add potatoes to the pot and the stock and sugar. Mash potatoes, banana, stock and sugar together until well combined. Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and orange zest, to your taste. Mash to combine spices and serve.
1933 – 2009