Welcome to the first entry in my new series! I am going to be cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook (recipes of the stars!) and you are invited to tag along. (I will be listing all the recipes I test on this dedicated page. Check back often.)
I will be rating the recipes in stars from 1 (inedible, strange, and/or wrong, like Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa Cake.) to 5 (awe-inspiring, addictive, insanely delicious, like Julia Child’s Dry-Brined Corned Beef or Cook’s Illustrated’s Flourless Chocolate Cake).
First up is a star whose sound stardom outshone her silent work.
Joan Crawford remains a controversial figure in silent and classic cinema. Her mental health has been called into question by some and staunchly defended by others. As I have stated on this site before, I am not an enormous fan of seeking out famous people’s dirty laundry. That being said, I am not really sure that this recipe will help Joan’s case.
In 1929, Crawford was extremely popular but mostly known as a flapper. She was one of 150 stars invited to contribute (or, I suspect in many cases, “contribute”) to Photoplay’s cookbook.
The recipe that she chose (or was chosen for her) might be reasonably described as… unusual. I present you with the French Banana Salad.
I am not sure what is supposed to make this salad French, unless the French have a love for peanuts and mayonnaise that I was unaware of. Prepared at the last minute? Uh, yeah, it only calls for slicing a banana. And leaving the skin on. Oh dear.
I was suspicious of this recipe (wouldn’t you be?) so I decided to cut my losses. I made it with half a baby banana. No point in wasting good fruit. Besides, baby bananas (or lady finger bananas, the nino or whatever you may call them) are really delicious and have a more pleasant texture the full-size bananas, at least in my opinion. They are moister, denser, and richer in flavor than “regular” bananas and are more suitable for fruit salads. For the rest of the ingredients, I used Kraft olive oil mayonnaise (not a mayo fan by any means), green leaf lettuce and the store brand of peanuts.
This is what it looked like.
It’s even scarier up close.
And here is the taste test video:
My Rating: 1 out of 5. This is insanely disgusting and I certainly hope it is not a foretaste of things to come.
This is a salad for someone either very drunk or very crazy. It’s just nasty. The mayonnaise went to war with the banana and my taste buds were civilian casualties. The peanuts were there, I guess. Removing the skin as I ate was strange and awkward. I cannot even imagine trying it with the thick skin of a regular supermarket banana.
This salad is basically the worst thing I have ever eaten that was made with fruit. You think I’m exaggerating? You try it. I dare you.
Oh well, the other half of the baby banana (the half not slathered in mayo and peanuts) was as tasty as could be.
Can it be improved? No! The concept is so wrong that there is no saving it.
Eat this instead: Skinny Peanut Butter Banana Muffins. Similar ingredients. Similar goal (Winter recipe). Actual food.
Next time, I will be sampling another salad, this one from a very famous screenwriter.