Celebs and Food

Angelina's tried cockroaches, Paul Newman mixed his own salad dressings at the table, and Andy Warhol was a sugar addict. Kara Cutruzzula explores the new food book What the Great Ate.

Matt Sayles / AP Photo; Getty Images

Matt Sayles / AP Photo; Getty Images

Angelina Jolie's Insect Snacks

"While in Cambodia, Angelina Jolie encouraged her son, Maddox, to follow her lead—‘We'll take our shoes off and walk across the rocks and go eat a cricket.' She sampled bee larvae, which she didn't like, but she was rather fond of cockroaches, a Cambodian delicacy that Jolie called a ‘meaty…high-protein snack food.' One drawback of eating cockroaches, she explained, was that ‘there's this very pointy bit on their stomach you just can't eat. You have to kind of pop that off."

Richard Drew / AP Photo

Andy Warhol's Sugar High

"Andy Warhol would visit pastry shops daily, sometimes bringing home an entire birthday cake and eating it by himself. At sumptuous meals, he would abstain, explaining, ‘Oh, I only eat candy.' One time at an airport, his bag was searched at customs and found to be full of candy, chewing gum, and cookies. After his death, his collection of cookie jars was auctioned off for a quarter of a million dollars."

AP Photo

Clark Gable's Smelly Secret

"There was a reason female costars occasionally complained about Clark Gable's breath. The food he was most passionate about was raw onions, which Gable would eat with or without bread."

AP Photo

Amelia Earhart's Breakfast Deal

"Amelia Earhart made an agreement with her husband-manager, George Putnam: She would sign 25 autographs before going to sleep at night. When she awoke, she would sign 10 more autographs before having her orange juice at breakfast. Then, before moving on to the bacon and eggs, she had to sign 15 more."

AP Photo; Getty Images

Truman Capote's High-Calorie Chicken Hash

"The menu for Truman Capote's legendary 1966 Black and White Ball wasn't nearly as chic as the masks and outfits were. The midnight buffet featured chicken hash, spaghetti Bolognese, scrambled eggs, sausages, pastries, and coffee. But this was no ordinary chicken hash; it was the Plaza Hotel's own recipe, which Capote fancied. It was prepared with hollandaise sauce, sherry, and heavy cream—no potatoes—and it dished out more than 600 calories a serving."

AP Photo

Friedrich Nietzsche's Gateway "Drugs"

"Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: ‘A diet consisting primarily of rice leads to the use of opium and narcotics, just as a diet consisting primarily of potatoes leads to the use of liquor."

Charles Sykes / AP Photo

Martha Stewart's Foodie Upbringing

"Martha Stewart's cooking and craft-making skills helped her build a business that has made her one of the richest women in America. Yet she may owe her culinary smarts to genetics. Stewart's father had the ability to walk into a kitchen, smell what was cooking or baking, identify the ingredient, and later bake or cook the same dish. Stewart often stayed up to the wee hours of the morning with her father, eating onion sandwiches as they played Scrabble and chatted."

Paul Sakuma / AP Photo

Steve Jobs' Love of Apples

"Apple computer founder Steve Jobs is a vegetarian who named the firm for his favorite fruit. After high school, he worked in an apple orchard. And when he dropped out after one semester of college, he experimented with an all-apple diet, believing it might eliminate the need for him to bathe. It didn't."

Alexander the Great's Aversion

"Alexander the Great banned his soldiers from chewing on mint leaves, fearing that they would become sexually excited and unable to fight effectively."

AP Photo

Marilyn Monroe's Food Conversion

"When Marilyn Monroe was introduced to the parents of her fiancé, Arthur Miller, they welcomed her warmly. Mrs. Miller offered to teach Monroe how to prepare chopped liver, gefilte fish, chicken soup, and borscht. Monroe must have taken the offer seriously. On their wedding night a few weeks later, she promised her new husband she would ‘cook noodles like your mother.'"

What the Great Ate: A Curious History of Food and Fame
By Matthew Jacob and Mark Jacob
288 pages.
Three Rivers Press. $14.