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Book Review: Recipes For Life: My Memories by Linda Evans

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Electric blue eyes, more than the equivalent of a female Paul Newman, and perfectly perfect blonde hair is how most of us remember Linda Evans.  Whether you preferred her as a ropin’ and ridin’ wide-eyed innocent Audra on The Big Valley, or as Krystal Carrington, the sexy secretary-turned-oil-magnate-second-trophy wife on Dynasty, no one could argue she held high court with adoring television fans for years.

Though I have to admit to wanting to know more about the handsome and mysterious John Derek, the author never lets her memoir become a boudoir tell-all or a grocery check-out line tabloid.

Ms. Evans is kind to her friends and even kinder to her enemies (if she even counts them as such), so don’t expect to read gossipy trash talk about Hollywood’s elite. Linda just doesn’t “go there.”  She does weave interesting little stories about her leading men and many famous friends and ties wonderful recipes into the tales. From her mother’s “Hot Dog Stew,” to the much more elegant “Crab and Lobster Cakes with Mustard Beurre Blanc,” there’s a recipe for everyone to try. 

You may not have known Evans loves to cook, but her performance on Hell’s Kitchen in 2009 proved she could hold her own with a spoon and a frying pan and look gorgeous and gracious all the while. She is well known to be an animal lover, and when one episode of Hell’s Kitchen required her to catch a live eel with her bare hands and follow through with the cleaver dispatching, it might have ended her culinary reality TV career.  But Linda challenged herself, stepped up to the plate (and the chopping block) and persevered.

And she won the competition!

If Dynasty and The Big Valley brought her to the forefront as a Hollywood star, Linda Evans is probably equally proud of her stage performance in the play Legends, which also starred Evans’ old on-screen nemesis Alexis Carrington. The play toured the U.S. to sell-out crowds for over nine months, and proved once again that Evans is a well-rounded professional.

It may come as a surprise to a few fans to learn that Evans was the leading spokesperson for President Ronald Reagan’s environmental program, “Take Pride in America.”  The program was such a success, the  Bush Adminstration (under George H. Bush) continued it.  Evans recounts her disappointment and disillusionment when Bill Clinton as president dismantled it, saying it was a “Republican” program. (And Evans admits she is a Democrat.) But, ever totally gracious, Evans only mildly exhibits her anger over partisan politics.

Recipes for Life is sure to please the die-hard Linda Evans’ fans; you’ll love getting to go backstage on the Dynasty set.  And even if you’re too young to remember the early years, Evans still is a fascinating woman in her own right with a lifetime of experiences to share.

Besides, who can resist a John Wayne recipe for “The Duke’s Crab Dip.” Bon appetit and fun reading!

You can purchase Recipes for Life at Amazon, and be sure to visit Ms. Evans’ official website  for more links, photos, and info on her new book.

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