Monday 31 March 2014

Audrey Hepburn's Spaghetti Pomodoro


1 small onion, peeled & diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
500 g Roma tomatoes
2 ro 3 tbsp virgin olive oil
100 g reggiano (Parmesan) cheese
bunch of fresh basil, well washed & cut with scissors to prevent bruising

In a large saucepan cook onion and garlic.  Add Roma tomatoes and fresh basil.  Add long drizzle of olive oil and simmer for 45 minutes.  Turn off and let stand 15 minutes.  Serve over one box of pasta cooked al dente with lots of fresh reggiano cheese and other half of basil.

Sunday 30 March 2014

Johnny Cash's Old Iron Pot Chili


5 pounds sirloin steak, chopped
shortening (try 1/2 tbsp)
3 packages McCormick's chili seasoning
3 to 4 15 oz cans red kidney beans
sage leaves
garlic powder
onion powder
salt to taste
chopped onions
chopped chili peppers
1 4 oz can tomato paste
2 tbsp sugar
chili powder
Spice Island chili con carne seasoning

Brown steak with shortening until medium.  Add chili seasoning and cook for 5 minutes.  Add beans, tomatoes, spices, chili peppers, sugar, chili powder and/or chili con carne seasoning.  Taste.  If chili is too hot, add one or two cans tomatoes.  Add tomato paste.  If chili seems too thick, add water.  Simmer on low for 20 minutes.  Serve with soda crackers and soda.

Tip:  This chili will be better tomorrow than today.  You must guess the amounts I use.  I never measure them.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Lady Bird's Spinach Casserole


3 pounds fresh spinach or 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach
6 tbsp Parmesan cheese
6 tbsp minced onions (heaping)
6 tbsp light cream or half and half
6 tbsp butter, melted
salt & fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 F.  If using fresh spinach, wash thoroughly and drain.  Cook damp spinach in hot skillet until wilted.  Chop coarsely.  Place mixture in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Mix cracker crumbs with remaining two tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle over spinach mixture.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden and lightly crusted.  Enjoy!

Lady Bird Johnson's Spinach Casserole. Photo by *Parsley*

Photo courtesy

Friday 28 March 2014

Paul Newman's A Dilly of a Salmon


1 cup Newman's Own Olive Oil & Vinegar Salad Dressing
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 salmon fillets
1/4 cup freshly chopped dill

Mix dressing and mustard in large zipper sealed plastic bag.  Place salmon in bag and massage in the mixture.  Seal bag and marinate for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Remove salmon and discard marinade.  Sprinkle chopped dill and pepper on salmon.  Place salmon on baking sheet.  Bake 20 minutes or until salmon is opaque.

A Dilly of a Salmon

Thursday 27 March 2014

Donna Reed's Lemon Bundt Cake


1 box lemon cake mix
1 box lemon pudding (large pkg)
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs
1 cup water

Beat all ingredients for four minutes on high.  Butter and flour bundt cake pan and bake at 325 F for 50 minutes.  Decorate with icing (dripping down sides) or powdered sugar.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Carol Burnett's Chocolate Mousse

"I'm so glad we had this time together,
Just to have a laugh or sing this song."
(The Carol Burnett Show Theme Song)

Carol Burnett (left) and her half sister circa 1945 courtesy

Carol Burnett spent 10 years signing off her show by singing the song "I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together".  Then she would tug on her ear, a sign to her Grandma who had raised her, and exit the stage. Here is a look at her successful and, at times, troubled life.

Carol Burnett was born in 1933 to a movie theater manager father and a publicity writer mother.  Both of her parents were alcoholics and divorced in the late 1930's, leaving Carol with her grandmother.  Carol grew up in an impoverished neighbourhood of Hollywood where she invented an imaginary twin named Karen, who resembled Shirley Temple, to combat her loneliness.  It was that creativity that would serve her well in her career.

Shirley Temple courtesy

At Hollywood High, Carol discovered that she had a gift for comedy.  In 1951, the young redhead performed a comedy routine and received a warm reception.  "They laughed and it felt great."  Carol found laughter to be healing.  She wanted more.

Carol's mother had always encourage her to become a writer, but she could not afford the tuition to go to university.  An anonymous donor left her an enveloppe with $50 which gave her the opportunity to go to college.  She enrolled in the journalism program at U.C.L.A. but, after discovering her love for acting, switched to theatre arts.

Carol was discovered at a black tie party in Hollywood.  She and her boyfriend were hired to be comics for the night.  One of the guests was so impressed that he loaned the young couple $1000 each to pursue their comedy routine in New York City.  Both quit college and headed to the Big Apple.


"Once Upon a Mattress" playbill circa 1959 courtesy

After holding down odd jobs like a hat check girl, Carol found her first big break on the Tonight Show where she performed her comedy routine followed by The Ed Sullivan Show.  She starred in "Once Upon a Mattress" on Broadway in 1959.  Then she had a guest appearance on "The Twilight Zone".  She also guested on Jim Nabor's Show.  Carol found a friend and mentor in Lucille Ball and was invited on her show in 1966.  Lucille offered her a weekly series called "Here's Agnes" to be produced by Desilu Productions. However, Carol turned it down as she had another project waiting in the wings.

Carol Burnett guest stars on "Here's Lucy" courtesy

In September 1967, The Carol Burnett Show debuted with Tim Conway, Harvey Korman and later Vicki Lawrence, discovered by Carol herself.  Carol's characters, like the charwoman carrying the mop, were unforgettable as was her Tarzan yell.  The Carol Burnett show would garner 23 Emmy awards and several Golden Globes before it signed off in 1978.


Rita Hayworth guest stars on the Carol Burnett Show circa 1971 courtesy


Carol's personal life was not quite as successful.  She married her college boyfriend Don Saroyan in 1955, but the union only lasted a few years.  In 1962, she married director Joe Hamilton and the marriage produced three children.  However, they divorced in 1984.  Carol married Brian Miller in 2001.  Tragedy struck the following year when Carol's daughter Carrie Hamilton passed away from cancer.  Carol penned her memoir This Time Together in 2010.  She is a survivor.

Carol Burnett circa 1974 courtesy


1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 egg yolks
1/2 toasted almonds
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped
3 tbsp dark rum (optional)

Combine water, sugar and rum.  Add chocolate in small saucepan; cook for five minutes.  Put into blender or food processor.  Add egg yolks and almonds, turning the processor on and off until almonds are chopped. Put into large bowl and then carefully fold in cream.  Freeze or chill before serving.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Eleanor Roosevelt's Pecan Pie

"Hoover sent the army.  Roosevelt sent his wife." (on the occasion of the WWI vets marching on Washington D.C. in the 1930's)

Bonus Army camps out on Capitol lawn in July 1932 courtesy

Struggling World War I vets marched on Washington D.C. in 1930 in the hope of getting financial benefits. President Hoover's response was to order the military to pepper them with tear gas.  The following year, President Roosevelt saw the vets march on the Capitol once again.  However, he sent in his wife Eleanor. Within hours, Mrs. Roosevelt had them singing.  Such was the power of the "First Lady of the World".

The niece of President Theodore Roosevelt, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born in 1884 in New York City.  Her childhood was filled with sadness as her mother and her brother both succumbed to diptheria when she was young.  The following year her alcoholic father committed suicide.  Eleanor was starved for affection and considered herself to be an "ugly duckling".  Her confidence improved when she attended finishing school in London, England for three years.  

In 1902, she returned to the United States where she attended the debutante ball at the Waldorf-Astoria. Shortly after, she met fellow New Yorker Franklin Roosevelt, a fifth cousin aboard a train going to Tivoli, New York and they started a secret correspondence.  The couple got engaged in 1903, despite Franklin's mother's disapproval.  President Theodore Roosevelt gave the bride away on their wedding day, March 17, 1905.  They honeymooned for three months in Europe.

Eleanor Roosevelt on her wedding day courtesy

Sara Roosevelt, Franklin's mother, invited them to move into a townhouse on her Hudson River estate and they agreed.  With the young couple's townhouse immediately adjacent to her's, Sara tried to control their every move.  Franklin and Eleanor started a family which eventually included six children.  Life seemed good.

However, in 1918, Eleanor was unpacking her husband's suitcase when she discovered a stack of love letters addressed to Franklin from his mistress Lucy Mercer.  While she disapproved of the relationship, she remained committed to her husband.  It was at this time that she started to get involved in the public life, almost as a way of getting back at her husband.

Hyde Park Estate overlooking the Hudson River courtesy

In 1921, the couple vacationed at their summer house in Campobello Island, New Brunswick.  After swimming, Franklin contracted polio, leaving his body partially paralyzed.  While his mother suggested he retire from politics and become a country gentlemen, his wife insisted that he continue to work in the public arena.  Franklin wisely listened to Eleanor and reaped the rewards.

In 1928, Franklin was elected governor of New York.  He did such a good job that in 1932, he ran for President of the United States and won.  Although Eleanor became a "reluctant First Lady", she put her heart and soul into the role and redefined the position.  In her husband's first year in office, Eleanor earned $75,000 in lecture and writing fees, which matched her husband's income.

Inauguration Day 1933 courtesy

The First Lady was responsible for a series of firsts in the job:  she was the first to hold a press conference, the first to speak at a National Convention and the first to write a syndicated column (My Day).

Eleanor was a champion of causes.  When World War I veterans marched on Washington D.C. to protest their treatment, it was Eleanor who greeted them on the Capitol steps.  By the time the First Lady was through speaking to them, they were singing.  When black singer Marian Anderson was denied use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution, it was Eleanor who invited her to sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Marion Anderson sings at Lincoln Memorial circa 1939 courtesy

Eleanor filled the role of First Lady longer than any other woman.  Sadly, Franklin Roosevelt died shortly after being re-elected for a fourth term in Office.  His widow went on to be involved in the United Nations and was appointed by John F. Kennedy to head up a committee on the status of women.  Eleanor passed away in 1962.


one & a half cups flour
half a teaspoon salt
one teaspoon baking powder
half a cup shortening
quarter cup ice water

third cup butter
one cup brown sugar
3 or 4 eggs
one cup light corn syrup
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
quarter teaspoon salt
whole pecans for garnish
1 pint heavy cream, whipped

To make crust, measure one and a half cups flour; sift with salt and baking powder.  Divide shortening into two equal parts.  Cut half into the flour mixture until it looks like cornmeal.  Cut the other half coarsely until it is the size of green peas.  Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice water over the mixture.  Blend lightly.  If the dough holds together, add no more liquid.  If not, add additional water.

To make filling, cream one third cup butter with one cup brown sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Stir in one cup light corn syrup, 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, 1 teaspoon vanilla and a quarter teaspoon salt.  Fill the pie shell with the mixture.  Preheat oven to 375 F and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  When the pie is set and cooled, decorate with pecan halves.  Garnish with whipped cream around entire edge.

Monday 24 March 2014

Gregory Peck's Sweet & Sour Ribs

Gregory Peck courtesy

While Gregory Peck received five Oscar nominations and starred in many hits at the box office, he was so broke when he lived in New York City that he used to sleep on a bench in Central Park.  The child of a broken home, Peck could barely afford his university tuition.  And yet today he is remembered as one of the biggest stars of the silver screen.

Eldred Gregory Peck was born in 1916 in La Jolla, California toa housewife mother and pharmacist father. He was of Irish, Scottish and English ancestry and his religious background was Roman Catholic.  Gregory's parents divorced when he was only 6 years old.  For four years, he was raised by his grandmother, but when she passed away, he went to live with his father.

Gregory majored in English at the University of California, with the intention of going into medicine.  The young student took up rowing on a crew coached by Ky Ebright, a coach who had led his crew to a gold medal at the previous two Olympics.  He also joined the Little Theatre where he acted in five plays during his senior year.  Gregory struggled to pay the $26 a year tuition fee and therefore had to work as a "hasher" for a sorority in exchange for meals.

After graduation, Gregory moved to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse.  At times, he was so broke he slept on a bench in Central Park.  He also worked at the 1939 World's Fair.  Exempt from military service due to a back injury when he studied dance with Martha Graham, the actor was able to focus his energy on his acting career.  Gregory's Broadway debut came in 1942.

Roman Holiday courtesy

Peck returned to California where he made his silver screen debut in "Days of Glory" in 1944.  One of his first big roles was in the movie "Spellbound", an Alfred Hitchcock film, in which he stars opposite Ingrid Bergman as a psychiatrist protecting the identity of an amnesia-afflicted man accused of murder.   Next came a movie about anti-Semitism called "Gentlemen's Agreement" filmed in 1947.  "Roman Holiday", my favourite, is about a reporter played by Peck who spends the day with a European princess to get a scoop on her, only to fall in love with her.  "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962), based on the novel by Harper Lee, features Peck as a lawyer fighting for a black man unjustly accused of raping a white girl.  The same year, Peck starred in "Cape Fear" about a lawyer who is stalked by an ex-con played by Robert Mitchum. Usually, Peck played the role of the hero.  However, in one movie, "The Boys from Brazil" (1978), he played the role of a villain, Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.  Peck received five Oscar nominations and won for "To Kill a Mockingbird".

To Kill a Mockingbird courtesy

Gregory Peck was married twice, first to a Swedish woman, Greta Klukkonen, for 12 years.  After their divorce, he married French reporter Veronique Passani, who had interviewed him for his role in "Roman Holiday".  They were married until Peck's death in 2003.  He had five children in total.


3 pounds lean English cut short ribs
2 tbsp cooking fat
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp prepared mustard
2 tsp salt

Brown short ribs in fat with diced onion.  Blend all other ingredients in mixing bowl and pour over ribs. Cover and bake 1 1/2 hours at 325 F to 350 F.  Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Jimmy Stewart's Porkchops Supreme

"A good cook is one of the necessities of life.  Being a bachelor in Hollywood, I soon tired of restaurant cooking and together with my friend, John Swope, set out to find the finest cook obtainable.  Eventually, we found her." (Jimmy Stewart)

Jimmy Stewart circa 1935 courtesy

While Jimmy Stewart is known as a movie star, he was also a soldier who fought in the Second World War and Vietnam.  Both his grandfathers were Civil War veterans and his father was a Spanish-American War and First World War veteran.  He accomplished a lot in his life.  Here is his story.

James Stewart was born in 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, the third child of a hardware store owner father and a pianist mother.  His ethnicity was of Scottish Irish blood and his religious roots were Presbyterian. While Jimmy's father was not so interested in him pursuing music, his mother was.  He learned how to play the accordion as a youngster.

He loved to work on model airplanes and dreamed of being a pilot some day.  When he was stricken with scarlet fever in 1927, he followed the trans-Atlantic flight of Charles Lindbergh closely.  It would be prophetic that he would play Lindbergh 30 years later on the big screen.

Stewart stars as Lindbergh in 1957 courtesy

Jimmy also excelled at sports, earning him a place on the high school football team.  He enjoyed mechanical drawing and chemistry.  While Jimmy wanted to go to military school, his father steered him towards Princeton, and his father paid the bills.  It was at Princeton, in the Triangle Club, that Jimmy met a young actor named Henry Fonda.  After graduating, the two men headed to New York City where they debuted on the Broadway stage.  However, given it was the depression, every play folded.  Jimmy only worked for 3 months in the span of 2 years.

Struggling actors Stewart and Fonda shared a New York apartment in the early Thirties.  Fonda was hired first in Hollywood.  Then Stewart was spotted by an MGM scout on the opening night of his play Divided by Three.  The scout invited him to Hollywood for a screen test and Fonda encouraged him to go; Stewart passed the test and he came away with a seven year contract.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington circa 1939 courtesy

One of Jimmy's first big roles was in Frank Capra's "You Can't Take It With You".  Capra called Stewart "one of the best actors who's ever hit the screen".  The two would end up working together four times.   Next, Jimmy starred in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" which earned him his first Oscar nomination.  In 1940, he was featured in "The Shop Around the Corner" which was later remade as "She's Got Mail" starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.

Little Shop Around the Corner circa 1940 courtesy

The same year, Stewart shared billing with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in "The Philadelphia Story".  Up against his buddy Henry Fonda, nominated for The Grapes of Wrath, Stewart won the Best Actor Oscar.  In 1946 came "It's a Wonderful Life", perhaps Stewart's most memorable film, which is still watched by many North Americans at Christmas.  Jimmy was to make four films with Alfred Hitchcock, my favourite being "Rear Window".

Stewart receives Croix de Guerre in 1944 courtesy

In between making pictures, Jimmy was able to serve in the military as a pilot, earning the Croix de Guerre in the Second World War.  He also flew at least one mission in Vietnam, and then retired in 1968.

An eternal bachelor, Jimmy married Gloria McClean in 1949 and became stepfather to her two sons.  Two years later, Gloria gave birth to twin girls.  The couple enjoyed a happy marriage for 45 years at which point Gloria passed away from cancer.

Jimmy Stewart's family circa 1950's courtesy

Jimmy Stewart's recipe was featured in the cookbook What Actors Eat When They Eat.  Here it is.


1 cup rice
4 pork chops
1 cup chopped celery
1 onion, diced
1 can tomato puree

Boil the rice.  Place to one side.  Brown pork chops on either side.  Remove the chops and add to the grease in the pan the celery and onion.  Brown the mixture and return the pork chops to the pan.  Place a mound of cooked rice on each chop and over this sprinkle the browned celery and onion.  Cover the entire mixture with a large can of tomato puree.  Bake in a moderate over (350 F) for one hour.

Saturday 22 March 2014

Lucille Ball's Cheese Souffle

Lucille Ball was born in the early 1900's in upstate New York to Desiree Hunt and Henry Ball.  Her ancestry was Scottish, French, Irish and English and her religious roots were Baptist.  Sadly, Lucille's father died of typhoid fever not long after her brother Frederick's birth.  She was raised largely by her grandmother after her father's death.  

At 14, Lucille was already dating a much older man, a match up that her mother did not approve of.  As a result Desiree, or Dede, sent her daughter to New York City to study acting at the John Murray Anderson School.  With her saucer-like blue eyes, full lips, curly blond hair , and long slender legs, Lucille was soon modelling for Hattie Carnegie and for Chesterfield Cigarettes.

Lucille's debut in the movies came with "Roman Scandals" after which she moved to Hollywood to pursue acting full time.  She nailed audition after audition and appeared in a string of B-movies, earning her the title "Queen of the Bees", a title previously given to Fay Wray.  It was while filming "Too Many Girls" in 1940 that Lucille met a young Cuban bandleader and actor named Desi Arnaz.  It was love at first sight and the couple eloped later that year.

Lucille, now with her trademark flaming-red hair, was cast as a wacky wife name Liz Cugat in the comedy "My Favorite Husband" in 1948, a role which suited her perfectly.  Lucille came up with the idea of a television show similar to My Favorite Husband, but with her real life husband as her on air husband.  CBS, however, did not think the American public was ready for a WASP woman matched up with a Latino man. Nevertheless, they consented to watch a pilot which the couple had filmed under Desilu productions; unfortunately, CBS was unimpressed.  Desi and Lucy toured the country in a vaudeville act as the same characters and received an enthusiastic reaction from audiences.  CBS offered them a contract and "I Love Lucy" was born.

"I Love Lucy" was so well received by the America public that the episode in which Lucy gives birth to little Ricky was watched by 44 million people compared to the 29 million who watched the swearing in ceremony of new president Dwight D. Eisenhower.  T.V. Guide chose Lucy's chubby newborn, Desi Arnaz Jr. for its first cover in April of 1953, with the headline, "Lucy's $50,000,000 Baby". a reference to the merchandising interest in him, or rather his alter ego "little Ricky Ricardo". 

With a hit television show, Lucille Ball was a wealthy woman.  She could dress in the finest dresses and eat the finest cuisine.  One of her favourite recipes, something she probably served at cocktail parties, was "Cheese Souffle", an appropriate recipe for the "Queen of the Bees".


2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 rsp salt
dash of cayenne
dash of paprika
1/4 cup milk
2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 eggs, separate yolks out

Melt butter in pan.  Remove from heat.  Stir in flour, salt, cayenne and paprika.  When smooth, stir in milk.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Cool.  Stir in slightly beaten egg yolks.  Beat egg whites until stiff.  Fold into cheese mixture, then into egg whites.  Put in ungreased 1 1/2 quart souffle dish.  With back of spoon, make a mark around top of souffle.  Set dish in larger pan with 1 inch deep hot water.  Bake in moderate oven (350 F) for 50 to 55 minutes.  Serves 4 to 6.

Friday 21 March 2014

Elvis Presley's Sunday Meatloaf

"Elvis has no aptitude for singing." (Elvis' grade 8 music teacher)

Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1935, to an 18 year old father, Vernon, and a 22 year old mother, Gladys.  His grandfather had constructed a two room "shotgun house" for the young family to live in.  The following year, the modest house survived an F5 tornado which struck Tupelo.  However, the family struggled financially, losing the home in 1938 after Vernon "kited a check" landing him in jail for 8 months.

At 13, Elvis' family moved to Memphis, Tennessee.  It soon became apparent that young Elvis liked to sing and play the guitar.  However, he was extremely shy and had stage fright.  The teenager enjoyed a new type of music called "rockabilly", a combination of country and rhythm and blues.  He also had a distinct singing voice, one that his Grade 8 teacher did not appreciate which translated into a C in music.

Memphis, Tennessee had a thriving blues scene, one that Elvis wanted to be a part of.  He started growing sideburns and slicking back his "pouf" with rose oil and Vaseline.  He signed up for a Minstrel Show, intent on conquering his stage fright, where he sang and strummed on the guitar "Till I Waltz Again with You".  The audience gave him a warm reception.

IN August of 1953, Elvis, along with two band mates, recorded a two sided disc at Sun Records, but did not make much of a mark.  However, the following year, recording executive Sam Phillips invited him back to the studio for another recording session.  Elvis, accompanied by a guitarist and an upright bass player, sang song after song, a mix of country and gospel.  However, nothing seemed to please Mr. Phillips.  The band was about to pack up for the night when Elvis grabbed a guitar and belted out a blues number called "That's All Right".  That was the sound Sam was looking for!

Promotional shot for Sun Records courtesy

Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips played "That's All Right " on his Red, Hot & Blue Radio Show and received many phone calls from listeners wanting to know who the new singer was.  The response was so enthusiastic that the DJ played the recording repeatedly during the last two hours of the show.  Elvis and his band mates ended up recording "Blue Moon of Kentucky on the B-side of the disc, and voila, they had their first single.
Elvis went on to have a hugely successful career as a musician, selling 600 million units worldwide, and making him the best selling solo artist in the history of recorded music.

Besides music, another love of Elvis' was food.  In the backwoods of Mississippi he liked to hunt squirrel and possum which his mother would fry for supper.  As a teenager in Memphis, he enjoyed Southern comfort food like sweet potato pudding, ham bone dumplings, blackberry pie, buttermilk skillet cornbread and a fried peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich (later called the "Elvis Sandwich").  Here is a recipe for his Sunday Meatloaf, also a favourite of "The King of Rock & Roll".

1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic buds
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 slices bread
 1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 eggs
1 can tomato juice

Combine first eight ingredients.  Beat eggs and mix into meat.  Cook meat loaf in tomato juice.  Cover and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Mamie's Million Dollar Fudge

Mamie Doud Eisenhower, one of four children, was the daughter of a meatpacking executive and a housewife.  She grew up in the states of Iowa, Colorado and Texas (summer home).

Soon after completing finishing school, Mamie was introduced to a Lieutenant Dwight Eisenhower.  The two hit it off instantly and became engaged on Valentine's Day.  They married the following July at her parents' home in Colorado.  Dwight was 25 and Mamie was only 19.  They honeymooned in Eldorado Springs and then settled in Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

Mamie & Dwight on the steps of St. Mary's College, San Antonio, Texas circa 1916 courtesy

Mamie gave birth to a son the following year named Doud who passed away from scarlet fever at the age of three.  In 1922, she had a second son named John who lived to adulthood.  As an army wife, Mamie had to move a total of 28 times, something she adjusted to readily.

While General Eisenhower served overseas during the Second World War, his wife held down the fort at home in Washington D.C.  In 1952, Dwight was elected President of the United States and Mamie took on the role of First Lady with pride.  The pink gown she wore to her husband's inauguration, one of the public's favourite's, is housed in the Smithsonian.

The Eisenhower's hosted an unprecedented number of heads of state in their eight years at the White House.  Mamie became known for her outgoing manner.  Some people thought she might have a drinking problem since she was unsteady on her feet, but this was the result of "Meniere's disease" which affects the inner ear. Mamie was also known for her thriftiness.  She would clip coupons for the White House staff.

Mamie grew up on beef, from the packing houses in Chicago, pork, from her home state of Iowa, and cheese, from nearby Wisconsin, among other foods.  However, after years of moving from place to place with her military husband, Mamie became accustomed to cuisine from other parts of the country.  While in the White House, she enjoyed meals prepared by first class chefs.  Her recipe for "Million Dollar Fudge" was reproduced by thousands of American housewives when it was first published.


4 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp butter
1 tall can evaporated milk
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 ounces German-sweet chocolate
1 pint marshmallow cream
2 cups nutmeats

Boil the sugar, salt, butter and evaporated milk for six minutes.  Put chocolate chips, German chocolate, Marshmallow cream and nutmeats in a bowl.  Pour the boiling syrup over the ingredients.  Beat until chocolate is melted, then pour in pan.  Let stand a few hours before cutting.  Remember:  it tastes better the second day.  Store in tin box.

Source:  www.eisenhower.archives

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Alfred Hitchcock's Quiche Lorraine

I remember as a child watching the introduction to "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" on T.V., the famous movie director's silhouette enlarged on the screen.  The content of the show was too scary for me so I didn't watch.  It wasn't until I hit 30 that I started watching classic movies and that's when I discovered Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, Vertigo, Psycho and The Birds.  Hitchcock was known for thrillers, often in which a fugitive was on the run with an icy blond character.  The director made a cameo appearance in all of his movies.  In Rear Window, he was a passenger getting on a bus.  He is a student in a class reunion photo in Dial M for Murder.  In Vertigo he wears a grey suit and carries a trumpet case as he walks down the street.  He is seen through an office window wearing a stetson cowboy hat in Psycho.  In The Birds he is spotted leaving a pet shop with his real life terriers.  His movies spanned almost 50 years.

Dial M for Murder courtesy

While Hitchcock lived in Hollywood for decades, he came from humble roots in Leytonstone, Essex (now part of London, England).  His father was a greengrocer, his mother, a housewife.  His father believed in harsh discipline, sending him to the police station once for a minor infraction.  Hitchcock developped a lifelong fear of the police after the incident.

As a young adult, Hitchcock submitted articles to the Henley Telegraph.  Early on he acquired an interest in photography and was hired at a London film production company as a title car designer.  He climbed the ladder quickly:  it only took him five years to become a director.  The company would later be called Paramount Pictures.

North by Northwest courtesy

For Hitchcock's first turn in the director's chair, he directed the film "The Lodger:  A Story of the London Fog".  The movie, a thriller, was based on a Jack the Ripper character.  By 1939, Hitchcock made the trip across the Atlantic to set up shop in Hollywood.  After several hits at the box office, Hitchcock officially became an American citizen in 1955.

Hitchcock was rejected by the British military during the First World War due to his obesity.  While others thought he was a heavy eater, he said "I'm just heavy and I like to eat."  Hitchcock grew up on typically British food like Dover sole and meat pies.  Once he moved to Hollywood, the director liked to dine at Chasen's and Romanoff's.  But at home, one of his favourite meals was Quiche Lorraine.  His recipe was published in The Dead Celebrity Cookbook (Frank Decaro).

Alfred Hitchcock


2 cups pastry flour
1/2 cup butter
1 egg yolk
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup cold water

2 or 3 slices ham, diced
2 onions, chopped
4 eggs
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne
pinch of nutmeg
2 cups hot milk

To make crust, work together first five ingredients.  Chill dough one hour.  Roll out half dough to line 10 inch pie pan.  Primp edges and prick crust with fork.  Reserve rest of dough for another use.  For filling, scatter diced ham on the crust.  Saute onions in butter til soft.  Spread over ham.  In saucepan, beat four eggs with spices and salt.  Add two cups hot milk, beating with wire whisk.  Continue to beat over low heat until the custard thickens.  Pour into pastry shell and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until custard is set and top is golden.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Cary Grant's Barbecue Chicken

Cary Grant courtesy

Archibald Leach came from a poor English home.  His parents often argued about money and Archibald would escape his problems by going to the "picture palaces".  Captivated with the theatre, he decided to go into acting at 14.  With comedy as his forte, Archibald got a job with the "Knockabouts" and toured England.  Later, the troupe toured New York City.  The young actor liked the Big Apple enough that he moved there permanently in 1942, arriving aboard the R.M.S. Olympia.

The Philadelphia Story courtesy

It was at that time that Archibald Leach adopted the stage name Cary Grant.  With dashing good looks, a debonair demeanor and a charming accent, Cary was soon making hit movies like "Bringing Up Baby", "To Catch a Thief", "The Philadelphia Story", "An Affair to Remember" and "North by Northwest".  While he was nominated more than once for an Oscar, he would not win one until much later in life.

Cary Grant's character meets Deborah Kerr's character at the top of the Empire State building in An Affair to Remember courtesy

In 1939, Grant contributed a recipe to the cookbook What Actors Eat When They Eat by Kenneth Harlan and Rex Lease.  Here is the recipe.


3 chickens, 1 1/2 pounds each OR 1 chicken, 4 1/2 pounds, cut into pieces
oil or vegetable oil for frying
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup A-1 sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp cornstarch (or more if needed)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot.  Fry chicken pieces in hot oil until browned.  Season with salt and pepper as you cook.  Place browned chicken pieces in 9 x 13 baking dish.  In a saucepan combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, water, A-1 sauce, sugar, cider vinegar, onion and garlic.  Whisk together over medium heat until warm.  In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch with 2 tbsp cold water until smooth.  Slowly add cornstarch mixture to barbecue sauce, whisking until incorporated.  Continue to whisk over medium heat until the sauce is hot, bubbly and thickened.  Remove from heat.  Pour the sauce evenly over chicken pieces.  Cover roasting dish with foil.  Bake chicken for 65 to 70 minutes.

Monday 17 March 2014

Rosa Parks' Peanut Butter Pancakes

Rosa Parks, the famous black seamstress who refused to give up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery Bus back in 1955, passed away in 2005.  Memorabilia, photos and personal papers were later found in her Detroit home.  After a six-year debate, Rosa Parks' personal items were put up on the auction block at Guernsey's in New York City. Included in the memorabilia were:  a postcard from Martin Luther King Jr., the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a handwritten recipe for peanut butter pancakes on the back of a Detroit National Bank deposit slip.  Given that Rosa Parks was born and raised in Alabama, a peanut-growing state, it is no surprise that she added peanut butter to her pancakes.  It is also no surprise that the recipe was written on the back of a bank slip, given that there were not the plethora of cookbooks sixty years ago that there are now.  Here is the recipe for these mouthwatering pancakes.

Rosa Parks' Featherlite Pancakes

1 cup flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup peanut butter melted
1 tbsp shortening or oil

Combine with dry ingredients.  Cook at 275 degrees Fahrenheit on griddle.
Note:  Featherlite refers to a type of self-rising flour.

Note:  For more information on Rosa Parks visit my post "On Rosa's Ride" at