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Stirring the Pot: My Recipe for Getting What You Want Out of Life

Stirring the Pot: My Recipe for Getting What You Want Out of Life

2.3 9
by Jenny McCarthy

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The View host and New York Times bestselling author Jenny McCarthy is like your favorite friend: honest, open, and oh-so-funny. She also speaks her mind and says what the rest of us are thinking, a characteristic that has won her millions of fans no matter how much she “stirs the pot.”



The View host and New York Times bestselling author Jenny McCarthy is like your favorite friend: honest, open, and oh-so-funny. She also speaks her mind and says what the rest of us are thinking, a characteristic that has won her millions of fans no matter how much she “stirs the pot.” Combining the secrets of her hard-won wisdom, witty observations, revealing notes to herself (including ridiculously wishful wish lists), and tales of both her best and most embarrassing moments, Stirring the Pot is McCarthy’s recipe for getting what you want out of life. From her wacky experiences in show business to her screwball forays into healing “therapies,” from her frontline reporting of single motherhood in midlife to a goofy attempt to reclaim her last name from Joe McCarthy, here are outrageous musings from the roller coaster life of everyone’s favorite professional blonde.
With a winning mix of storytelling, sisterly advice, sex appeal, and self-deprecation, Stirring the Pot shows us how a pinch of conviction (aka hardheadedness), a dollop of flexibility (being okay with Plan B or even C), and endless faith (in yourself, in your wildest fantasies, and in the general goodness of others) can mix to create the life of your dreams.
Advance praise for Stirring the Pot
“Whether she’s talking about work or play, family or friendships, her sex life or the lack of it, Jenny McCarthy never fails to make me laugh out loud. Who knew she could dish out advice so well, too?”—Andy Cohen, host of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Advance praise for Stirring the Pot
“Whether she’s talking about work or play, family or friendships, her sex life or the lack of it, Jenny McCarthy never fails to make me laugh out loud. Who knew she could dish out advice so well, too?”—Andy Cohen, host of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live

Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Baby Steps

My Recipe for Success


1 girl with a dream

0 financial resources

No time for bullshit

Lots of time for therapy

A heaping tablespoon of humor

2 cups of hardheadedness

Many, many disappointing setbacks

A pinch of acceptance of my place in the world

A dollop of flexibility


Stir up ingredients and season for taste (learn to balance the sour with the sweet). Don’t overmix the batter (don’t overthink things; put one foot in front of the other). Simmer for life.


his’ll be hard to believe given that I am now best known for being unafraid to grab a microphone and work a crowd, but when I was younger I had a totally crippling fear of public speaking. I’m not only talking about a fear of having to give a speech to the whole school or stage fright the night of the school play. That shit’s obvious.

I was also paralyzed by something as simple as a request to read a paragraph out loud to a small class. If a teacher asked me to come to the board and show the class how to do a math problem? Hyperventilation time. Give an oral report on my science project? I’d become totally sick to my stomach and have to run to the bathroom.

To avoid getting to the puking stage, I got creative with my excuses. I conveniently “lost my glasses” a lot (even though I didn’t wear any back then). I was pretty convincing with a sudden bad cough or the development of a splitting headache. One time I went so far as to quickly crack a red pen so that I could let the ink dribble down my leg. I don’t know if the teacher thought my leg was bleeding or that I’d had an embarrassing female accident (as you’ll see on page 6, I later became very prone to embarrassing female accidents!), but that was an instant pass to the nurse’s office. I couldn’t really use it more than once, though. Too bad.

By the time I got to college, I didn’t think it was too much to hope that oral reports and front—of—class participation would be things of my past. I wanted to be a special—education major (little did I know that my son Evan’s needs would give me a front—row seat in that world a decade later) and didn’t see how my fear of public speaking would cause a problem. I saw myself teaching and playing with kids using blocks and games and crayons, not cue cards.

But wouldn’t you know it . . . Public Speaking 101 was a requirement for my chosen major. What the fuck? There was no way around it. I knew I had to bite the bullet or I would have to give up on the thing that really interested me. I was determined. For the moment, anyway.

As I walked to class the first day, I began to shake just thinking about the idea of it. I can still see the big auditorium classroom now—-stadium seating sloping down to a classic college lectern and about fifty shaggy students settling in to fall asleep. After introducing himself and giving an overview of the curriculum (all of which sounded terrifying and totally effing pointless to me), the professor announced that he wanted all the students to stand and briefly introduce themselves. Before even the first student had stood to tell us her name and where she was from, I had grabbed my backpack and bolted from the room.

I ran straight to the freshman guidance office and busted through the door in hysterics. I was crying so hard the advisor thought I had been attacked, and she jumped up from her chair to console me. I tried to relay the problem—-my fear, the goddamned public speaking requirement—-but wasn’t really making much sense. When I finally managed to spit it all out, she was sympathetic to a point but also explained with a little pat on my back that most incoming freshmen were nervous about speaking in public. My response? I really spit it out—-I put my head between my knees and vomited on the floor. Not my proudest moment. I think the counselor got the picture that my case was a little more extreme than average.

We cleaned up the puke. She calmed me down. And then we got down to business. She said she would help me find a major that didn’t have a public speaking requirement. Nursing looked promising, since it was a career that would still allow me to nurture people and help people heal, and I could potentially specialize in pediatrics; I might be able to work with kids after all. I’d watched a lot of General Hospital and didn’t think it looked so hard. Yes, I know now that was a ridiculously insane thought, and I have convinced myself all these years later that I didn’t say it out loud. If I did, the counselor was cool enough to let it slide. What I do remember is that nursing didn’t require me to stand up and risk shitting my pants in public. That did it for me.

I was relieved that I’d found something else that I could imagine myself doing and that wouldn’t make me confront this ridiculous fear, but I also remember feeling sad and disappointed in myself because I knew that I was going to let a stupid fear keep me from a goal and a dream (special ed). A little voice in my head shamed and berated me. Not an evil—spirit mean little voice, but a wise—conscience kind of voice that told me, You can’t hide from your fear. It will find you wherever you go.

For the most part, though, I managed to shake off the soul ache and flick the little guy off my shoulder. I kept focused on trying to pay for and not flunk out of college. For a while there I had the idea to finance my courses by selling weed. I was my own best customer, though, and spent most of my time stoned to the bone. Financially that wasn’t working out, and educationally it wasn’t so stellar, either. You try focusing on the intricacies of chemistry or biology after a wake—and—bake bender.

Not yet a nurse, and no closer to staring down my public speaking phobia, I was forced to drop out of college after my second year—-no more money, no more prospects—-and head back home to live with my parents. Another not—my—proudest—moment moment.

What followed were many weeks of staring at the ceiling in my old bedroom. And some sobbing. And some serious angst—ing about what I would do with the rest of my life. I listened to a lot of music. I ate a lot of crap food. I smoked some more weed. I sobbed some more.

And then something happened that in a movie would be depicted as the skies parting, sun shining straight down into my room, and angels singing. The camera would swing to my record collection, and out of the pile I would pull the Grease album with John Travolta and Olivia Newton—John looking up at me with their crazy hairdos and cheesy smiles. Inspiration had struck!

I was seven years old when I first saw Grease, and like so many girls at the time, I declared to my mom that I was going to go to Hollywood one day and be a star like Olivia. Of course, at seven my phobia about public speaking and performance hadn’t yet taken hold—-maybe my teenage hormones helped that blossom? At seven nothing stood in my way. (Just so you know, by the time I dropped out of college, I had stopped dancing around my room singing Grease songs into my hairbrush/microphone, but I still knew all the lyrics . . . and I still do.)

By the time I was wallowing at home and trying to figure out a new career path for myself, I was older and a little wiser and knew that making it in Hollywood would be no easy road. I’d need some connections, some auditions, some luck. Oh, and some talent. And I knew I’d need to conquer my fear of public speaking. I simply had to push through and find a way to cope with my nerves.

Whether it was Olivia’s determined transformation from shy wallflower to badass leather—clad vixen (in Grease, that is) or the flash I had of myself drinking my sorrows away and telling anyone who would listen what I could have done with my life if only I’d had the chance (known around my house as “Irish therapy”), I was inspired to get off my ass and give acting a go.

So I opened the yellow pages. (For those of you who weren’t around when these were in use, this is a big, yellow printed reference book with phone numbers and addresses listed alphabetically by category. Crazy, huh?) I called the Better Business Bureau and got a list of talent agencies both in my hometown, Chicago, and in Los Angeles. And then I started making calls. I begged. I pleaded. I was persistent (aka hardheaded). And as miracles or destiny would have it, I soon found myself on my way to L.A. to audition for producers.

Of course, wanting to conquer my fear didn’t mean I was able to. I often threw up on my way to auditions. I chewed my nails down to nubs. But I managed to hold my fears a little more in check by keeping my eyes focused on the prize: not spending my life staring at the ceiling in my childhood bedroom. I wanted this more than a degree in special education or nursing. And I was determined not to give up on a dream for a third time.

Nude modeling didn’t require me to say a thing—-and we all now know that I had success in that line of work. But when I did have to speak, I think I fooled people. Turns out I could act unafraid convincingly. And slowly, slowly the nausea turned to plain jitters and it seemed like my nerves were better under control.

Then came my very first motion picture acting job. God winked at me and saw to it that I was hired to play the part of a nurse—-a nurturer and healer after all! The movie was Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, and I only had one line. Drumroll, please . . . I had to say “Hello!” and then I had to feed Christopher Walken baby food for five days. I managed the hello without throwing up. Spooning food was a snap. Baby steps on the road to success.

Meet the Author

Jenny McCarthy is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic; Love, Lust & Faking It; Belly Laughs; and Louder Than Words, among others. The former host of MTV’s hugely popular dating show, Singled Out, McCarthy began her career as a Playboy magazine model, before launching a high-profile comedic television and film career. She has appeared on virtually every television talk show—The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, Ellen, Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, and Larry King Live, to name a few. She became a co-host of ABC’s The View in September 2013.

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Stirring the Pot: My Recipe for Getting What You Want Out of Life 2.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Writteninstone More than 1 year ago
Generally, multiple non-fiction works are written by people with interesting and historically important lives such as Sir Winston Churchill, Jimmy Carter, etc.  now Jenny McCarthy joins this circle of luminaries with her half-baked and generally uninformed opinions.  Gorgeous, many people say, but the moment she opens her mouth, I simply cringe.  I took a quick glance at this, latest ghost-written or dictated "effort", and quickly put it back.  Wait a month and it will be on the remainder shelves.  Word has it that yes, that is Jenny's signature, signed by an autopen . . . Basically a machine that replicates  a facsimile signature traced onto the book.  All legal because she authorized this, but not a genuine or desirable autograph.  Other signed books on B and N may be okay, but Don't waste your money here. 
Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
I don’t know what made me pick up this book by Jenny McCarthy. Her name is familiar to me and I’ve seen her on a couple of episodes of Two and a Half Men, but other than that I don’t know anything else about her except what I can find on Google. So again, what made me decide to read this particular book? I think it was the humor hook in the book summary that was finally the deciding factor. As much as I’m a sucker for a good horror novel, I’m just as easily won over by anything that promises a few good laughs.  Well, I certainly had my share of hearty laughs while reading Stirring the Pot, but surprisingly I also felt very inspired after reading this. While addressing serious issues such as single parenting, intoxication meets social media (which definitely goes hand-in-hand for some), when to take the high road, trying anything once, and other such topics, there is always a lot of truth underneath her humor. I found that though I don’t know anything about her, she seems to be someone who knows and understands herself very well, and she shares her experiences without apology in an open and brutally honest way with the reader.  Some of what you can expect in this book:   - Girls Night In  - Five Things You Don’t Want to Hear at a Class Reunion  - If My Bed Could Talk...  - Ten Signs You’re Spending Too Much Time with Your Toddler  - Ten Signs the Guy You’re Dating Might Be Gay  - Date Night Etiquette   - Reverse Psychology And much, much more! There’s even an advice piece for men going through “manopause”. That was one of my particular favorites because it made me laugh so hard!  What also made it so easy for me to connect with this book is how much it resembled my own life in certain ways. I was struck by how un-celebrity-like Jenny came across. To me she seemed liked just a mom, just a woman, and in some ways also just a girl. She does all this with an incredible sense of humor and a deep understanding of what it is like to have to deal with everyday things I myself have to deal with, such as the demands of a household and being a mother, going to the grocery store, sorting the mail and paying bills, the amount of time spent at work and in the car going to and from work, and trying to fit in a little “free” time after a day that started at 5:00 AM and ends anytime after 11:00 PM. She gives sound advice on self-improvement, relationships, dating, and friendship, and her personal experiences carry weight because they are incidents that are relatable.  Overall, I took a lot more away from this book than just a few good laughs. It was easy to read, fun, made me consider some things, and taught me one or two new ways on how to reach my goals. Stirring the Pot is positively brimming with energy and will make a great conversation piece when women get together for a girls night in!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Comicfan More than 1 year ago
Awe crap.  No, I didn't hurt myself.  I just read Jenny's book; actually I started to look at it and realized it was as light and airy as her head.  OK, there may be people out there that are fans, but Her ghost writer is struggling to come up with content that be put into less than 200 pagses.  Save a tree, don't buy this book.
Dobie1 More than 1 year ago
oh please, another simpleton writing her memoirs, but I don't think I'll be seeking advise from such a dim wit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Autograph is fake and done my a machine. Very misleading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok im tim im 14 short brown hair abd brown eyes