Welcome back! I am cooking assorted recipes from notable silent film personalities and you are invited to tag along. (I have listed all the recipes I have tested on this dedicated page. Check back often.) Today, we will be testing a recipe from one of the greatest costume designers of all time.
Adrian is known for his work at MGM during the sound era. He draped Jean Harlow in sexy satin for Dinner at Eight, recreated the look of the French court for Marie Antoinette and kitted out Judy Garland in gingham and rubies for The Wizard of Oz. However, Adrian started out in the silents.
His first job was for Natacha Rambova and Rudolph Valentino but he was quickly hired by Cecil B. DeMille for his new independent studio. DeMille, of course, loved decadence and Adrian was happy to oblige with outrageous modern gowns and ornate historical costumes. It must have been a whirlwind life because he served as designer for dozens of pictures between 1925 and 1929. I highly recommend checking some of these films out, Adrian’s 1920s designs are spectacular!
When DeMille closed shop and moved to MGM, he took most of his personnel with him. DeMille only lasted for three pictures on the MGM lot and returned to Paramount soon after. Adrian stayed and the rest is costuming history.
We know that Adrian was an epic designer but how does he fare as a cook? We’re about to find out!
Adrian contributed this recipe to a Beverly Hills community cookbook. My first big question was about the rye crisp. Modern American grocery stores have a decent supply of whole grain crackers but were they similar to a Swedish rye crisp of the late 1920s/ early 1930s? Well, if you have been reading this series, you know I am more about ease of cooking than rabid historical accuracy so I decided to take my best guess.
There were no Swedish rye crisps but there were Swedish rye flatbread crackers. Same thing? Close enough! It’s possible that they are thicker than what Adrian used but they have a good, neutral flavor. I am kind of addicted to them, to be honest. (Too many whole grain crackers are overly sweet and include odd flavors that might fight the other ingredients.)
I only like crunchy peanut butter so that’s what I used (Skippy, if you’re interested) and the bananas were bananas. Real butter is a must in my book but this recipe could easily be made vegan by using a non-dairy butter substitute. Peanut allergy sufferers can easily substitute their favorite nut butter. Bananas go well with almost any of them, I think.
The whole process took perhaps five minutes to complete. Crackers buttered and peanut buttered, bananas sliced, sprinkled with spice, broiled and ta-da! Adrian’s tea wafers are done!
Taste Test Video:
(No video this week due to the flu.)
Score: 5 out of 5. Sophisticated? Heck no! This is pure kiddie comfort food and it’s really, really tasty. The butter softened up the rye crackers but they kept enough structure to hold all the toppings. Banana and peanut butter is a famous combination and the cinnamon is a nice touch.
All in all, not a tea party snack as advertised but a great bit of comfort food. Another triumph for Adrian!
Can you see this with Nutella? I sure can! (Runs to kitchen.)