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.

No comments:

Post a Comment