William Powell enjoying some ice cream. Photo courtesy dsata.blogspot.com.
As you can imagine, when you work at a theatre that does a lot of classic repertory, you also tend to have hobbies that you’ve acquired in that vein over the course of your work.
I work as Development Director at the Capitol, building relationships with our supporters and patrons to gather resources for the work that we do, but in my free time I love to collect recipes from Hollywood stars (among other things). If you like to cook, you may enjoy some of these gems—related to the stars, up-and-comers, and character actors of Capitolfest—both from my own collection and the research of others.
From William Powell, our featured star:
From Henry Armetta, featured in Steady Company (Universal, 1932):
The cover of the booklet from which this recipe is taken. Courtesy of the Kylie Pierce collection.
Veal Chops with Noodles
From A&P Menu: A Weekly Publication on Foods, Recipes, Menus and Kitchen Lore, week ending December 5, 1936
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 loin veal chops
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 1 green pepper, chopped fine
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- 1 #2 can tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pkg. noodles, cooked
Melt butter, brown chops and onion, add pepper, celery, tomatoes and seasonings. Simmer for 40 minutes. Add noodles, allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
From Edward Arnold, featured in Roman Scandals (Goldwyn, 1933):
A letter of carving advice from Edward Arnold Shows you how to Carve, a publication of Ekco Products Company ©1948
The cover of the booklet from which this letter is taken. Courtesy of the Kylie Pierce collection.
Folks in different parts of our country sometimes use different names for the same cuts of meat—a club steak in Chicago, for instance, is a Delmonico in New York—but meat dealers and butchers everywhere usually know all the names, and you should have little trouble identifying them in Main, California, or points between.
When you are in doubt about how the grain of a piece of meat runs, follow the cut your butcher has made; he always makes his cuts across the grain.
It’s always wise to have an extra hot plate beside the plate on which the meat rests so that you can place the bones you remove out of the way, and, when you carve a large roast or bird, so you can place the slices on it as you carve them.
Some carvers prefer to serve each slice or cut of meat as they carve it. I do not. Slices piled on top of each other on a convenient hot plate retain heat much longer than the servings on plates of individuals politely waiting until all are served; and if the repast happens to be one of those large and informal family affairs where nobody waits for anybody else, the poor carver who serves as he slices is likely to starve to death, because the first serves will always be ready for more the minute the last served has been handed his portion.
Should the carver sit or stand while performing his task? In all cases, particularly where a large roast or bird is concerned, it is best for the carver to stand. Even small roasts, steaks and chickens are more easily carved in that manner. Only a very experienced carver who no longer needs to watch his own every action can carve effectively and gracefully while sitting.
One final word. In carving, as in almost everything else, experience is the best teacher of all. The more you carve, the more expert you will become—and the more you will enjoy your role. May you play it often and well.
From Lew Ayres, star of My Weakness (Fox, 1933):
Lew Ayres and Donna Reed have lunch at the M-G-M commissary. Photo courtesy ACertainCinema.com.
Lamb Chops with Oranges
From My Radio Chat with Lew Ayres by Louella Parsons, for “Sunkist Musical Cocktail,” April 29, 1931
- 6 lamb chops
- Melted butter
- Sliced Sunkist Oranges
Trim fat from thick chops and dip in melted butter. Oil broiler well and broil chops 8 minutes. Turn and place a thick slice of peeled orange on each chop. Broil 8 or 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle generously with the seasonings. Serve hot.
From the Executive Restaurant at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer:
California Tossed Salad
From Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars by Ceil Dyer and Adrien Laurencelle, ©1982 by Galahad Books
Beautiful, just beautiful, is what I call this salad. First served many years ago in the executive restaurant of MGM Studios in Hollywood, it was adapted for a national ad by the Diamond® Walnut Company.
- ½ cup large pieces Diamond® Walnuts
- 1/3 cup salad oil
- 1 tsp. seasoned salt
- 3 Tbs. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. marjoram, crumbled
- ¼ tsp. dill weed
- 1 ½ quarts torn mixed salad greens
- 6 ozs. cooked shrimp or prawns (or 1.5 oz. can drained)
- 1 large tomato, cut in wedges
- ¼ cup radish slices
- ¼ cup ripe olive slices
- 2 Tbsp. chopped chives or green onion
- ¼ cup cheese cubes
Young married Lucy and Desi in the kitchen. Photo courtesy Lucy_Fan.
Toast walnuts lightly in small skillet over low heat with 1 tsp. oil, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with ¼ tsp. seasoned salt. Cool. Beat together remaining oil, salt, lemon juice, sugar, marjoram and dill weed. In large bowl, combine greens, shrimp, tomato, radish, olives and chives. Stir dressing ; pour over salad. Toss until evenly coated. Add walnuts; toss again. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve at once. Makes 2 quarts salad, 4 large servings.
From Lucille Ball, featured in Roman Scandals (Goldwyn, 1933):
Sunday Night Goulash
From George Bancroft, star of Derelict (Paramount, 1930):
Orange Meringue Pie
From My Radio Chat with George Bancroft by Louella Parsons, for “Sunkist Musical Cocktail,” April 22, 1931
(Makes 1 pie)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Grated rind from 1 Sunkist Orange
- 1 cup Sunkist Orange juice
- 2 tablespoons Sunkist Lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 egg yolks, beaten light
- 3 egg whites
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
Mix first four ingredients, add fruit juices and cook in double boiler 10 minutes, stirring until thickened. Add butter and egg yolks.
Cook 2 minutes longer. Cool and turn into baked pie shell. Cover with meringue made of stiffly beaten egg shites, 6 tablespoons sugar and baking powder.
Put into moderate oven for 10 minutes to brown.
From Lucey’s Restaurant (a Paramount Studios favorite):
Lucey's Restaurant, 5444 Melrose Ave., across from Paramount Studios.
Italian Melon Mold
From Eggs I Have Known by Corinne Griffith, ©1955 by Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, Inc.
- 1 4-pound honeydew
- Milk to moisten
- 3 small pieces crystallized ginger
- 3 packages Philadelphia cream cheese
- 3 large slices pineapple
- ½ cup shelled pistachio nuts
Cut the end of the honeydew melon just to the seed cavity. Spoon out seeds and juice. When the very last seed has been removed, peel the rind from the melon. Set aside. Moisten cream cheese with enough milk to stand light and fluffy. Add pineapple slices cut in small pieces. Add ginger, chopped small. Add chopped pistachio nuts. Now fill melon with this mixture and place in refrigerator for at least three hours—overnight is better. Slice in inch-thick slices across the melon and serve on a base of dark green leaves—grape leaves if possible.
On the side put an adequate amount of mayonnaise, after it has been lightened with whipping cream. Garnish with three rose-colored oleander blossoms, as it was served at Lucey’s, or three small pink flowers, for the sheer beauty of it all.
From Eddie Cantor, star of Roman Scandals (Goldwyn, 1933):
Eddie Cantor and Deanna Durbin enjoy some ice cream in Toronto, 1952. Photo courtesy FormerDays.com.
Orange Avocado Canapé
From My Radio Chat with Eddie Cantor by Louella Parsons, for “Sunkist Musical Cocktail,” May 6, 1931
Peel large Sunkist Orange, cut in 1/3 inch slices. As base of each canapé, use slice of orange. In this heap whipped avocado made by beating avocado pulp with Sunkist Lemon juice and a dash of French mustard. Garnish, if desired, with slices of stuffed olive.
Many thanks to Stargayzing, Everything Lucy, and Silver Screen Suppers for the linked recipes and lots of fun narrative. Bon appetit!