Sophia Loren is more than a beloved movie star--she's a cook. The author of two personal cookbooks, she's been recognized by the Italian government for her culinary prowess. In Sophia Loren's Recipes & Memories, she offers a hundred or so recipes arranged by course--antipasti through desserts. With a like number of photos, most in color, and all sorts of Sophia memorabilia--a shot of the 16-year-old Sophia shows us just how early Sophia was Sophia--the large-format book is also filled with reminiscences of family, home, and work. Cooks shouldn't be disappointed, though. Sophia's recipes, taken from all over Italy as well as her table, include pizzas and risottos, hearty soups, savory fish dishes, and simple but satisfying sweets. The repertoire is basic but tempting; Sophia's Saltimbocca, for example, is the familiar dish yet again, but there are a few original and "undiscovered" dishes, such as Eggplant Cooked in the Manner of Mushrooms. Standout dishes include a lovely herb-perfumed lamb stew from Naples and a sweet-savory rice dish made with turkey, chestnuts, and dried fruit. The recipes are models of clarity, and Sophia's introductory notes and other asides leave no doubt that the author is a serious, passionate cook. Reading her book and trying her recipes, we come to applaud the star in her apron as well as on the screen. --Arthur Boehm.