Cooking with the (Silent) Stars: Claudette Colbert’s Raw Vegetable Salad

Welcome back! I am cooking up recipes of the silent stars and tasting them from a modern point of view. (I have listed all the recipes I have tested on this dedicated page. Check back often.) Today, we will be testing a recipe from a superstar of the talkies who made a few silents in her youth.

I occasionally have friends of the site make recipe requests. Colbert’s recipe was requested by Janet of Sister Celluloid. If you aren’t already reading her clever blog, be sure to check it out!

Claudette Colbert was in silent films? Yes indeed! In 1927, she starred in For the Love of Mike directed by Frank Capra. Sounds great! Where can we see it? Alas, it is considered a lost film. Check those attics!

So, we know that Claudette Colbert had a long and successful career but what about her salad making skills?

Colbert writes: “I don’t think I would exactly call myself a vegetarian– but there are times that I don’t feel like eating meat.” She promises a salad that will be good for the figure.

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Quick and easy, she calls this. Well, your mileage may vary because there is a lot to chop and I mean a LOT.

Like all this...
Like all this…

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It looked nice when it was unmixed, kind of like a veggie rainbow. Unfortunately, the mixed up version was not as attractive.

Klingon food!
Klingon food!

The sour cream helped (vegan sour cream can easily be substituted) but it still looked a bit muddy.

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Taste Test Video:

Score: 2 out of 5. I love vegetables and I love salads but this combination just does not work for me. There are too many flavors and they don’t necessarily complement each other. The raw beets were a particularly bad idea as they stained everything else and their flavor was barely discernible. Beets with all the disadvantages and none of the advantages. Make mine pickled!

This is my cutting board, not a crime scene.
This is my cutting board, not a crime scene.

While I love my veggies, I prefer to have fewer individual items in the mix so that the flavors can really sing. Plus, there were too many hard-textured veggies, I started to feel distinctly like a cow chewing its cud. All in all, just not very tasty.

What I would change: If we stick with raw notion, I would stick to tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers and pepper. If we allow ourselves cooking, I would have potatoes, pickled beets, peas and onion.

Sorry, Janet! Claudette has failed us.

8 Replies to “Cooking with the (Silent) Stars: Claudette Colbert’s Raw Vegetable Salad”

  1. Wow… good for you and TASTES good for you!! By way of apology to anyone who actually had to try this — and I’m guessing that would only be you — here’s my Sullivan’s Summer Salad recipe. Also good for the figure but won’t make you want to run screaming from the table, for, um, any number of reasons. The ingredients aren’t always actually measured precisely — they never are with my recipes — but you can just add however much you like.

    One can beets, drained, with the liquid set aside
    Most of a container of spring mix
    One can of corn, drained, and you can dump the liquid. Or if you want to get fancy and really ramp up the flavor, the corn from four grilled ears.
    Slivered almonds or candied walnuts (toast them lightly with a little butter or vegan substitute and a little sugar, in a saucepan, until they are slightly crispy and coated. Don’t use any oil other than walnut oil, though, or it changes the whole flavor.)
    Balsamic vinegar

    Combine the beet juice with as much balsamic vinegar as you like; less if you like your dressing sweeter — but remember, you’ve already got beets in the salad — and more if you like it more tart. I usually go with tart. (No snarky comments please.)
    Put the spring mix in a big bowl.
    Top with the beets, corn and nuts, and stir gently.
    Lightly add the dressing; the beets will already provide moisture, so go easy.
    If you like cheese, you can also top with sprinkles of blue cheese.
    And if you want it a bit heftier, you can add boiled new potatoes, finely sliced, skins on.

    Enjoy!!

    It’s now official: I am better at something than Claudette Colbert…

    Thank you for your yeowoman’s effort, Fritzi!!

    Warmest wishes, as always,

    Janet

    1. Whoohoo! Thanks for a delicious alternative that also includes beets! (I am a beet fanatic) Yes, we can all take comfort in the fact that we may not be able to rock gold or silver lamé Roman getups like Claudette but we know our veggies!

  2. It struck me as way too much raw onion for the portion size. Also, if I had that much chopping to do, I’d turn to my trusty electric veggie-dicer!

    1. Yes, this is definitely a recipe better suited to kitchens with paid staff. 😉 It is rather oniony, though the sheer number of other ingredients tones it down a bit.

  3. You should have made a smoothie out of all that and called it a V-12. That and hey, as presented it’s GREAT for the figure as you can’t eat enough to gain and ounce. But if you owned a rabbit, it would be all over that salad and getting quite chubby. Go figure!

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