Welcome back! I’m cooking my way through Photoplay Magazine’s 1929 cookbook (150 recipes of the stars!) and today, I’m going to be preparing a dish from one of the top stars of silent comedy. (You can catch up on all my past taste tests here.)
(By the way, this recipe is posted as a prize for the winner of my sandwich contest, Juan Nunez. I will FINALLY be posting the contest cookbook before the new year. Congratulations to Juan, I hope he enjoys reading his requested star recipe.)
Harold Lloyd is considered to be an icon of silent funny business and one of his films, Safety Last, contains what is arguably the most recognizable scene in classic American comedy. You know, the one with the clock.
Lloyd was more of an everyman than his rivals and his screen persona was that of a plucky (if neurotic) go-getter who got what he wanted thanks to his general good cheer and sticktoitiveness. And ability to survive crazy situations.
Speaking of crazy situations, let’s see how Mr. Lloyd fares in the kitchen.
Lloyd opts for a breakfast dish, one that can easily be made vegetarian if one purchases the right sort of Worcestershire sauce. The recipe is vaguely written and I had to guess on a lot of stuff but it seems to basically be thickened tomato soup on toast. Well, at least the way I eat tomato soup. I like a little soup with my cheese and saltines, you see. Basically, it’s tomato/cheese mush. Yum! (No, I will not seek help.)
Regarding tomatoes, I could not find pre-strained tomatoes in the store (they’re between sauce and crushed in consistency) so I opted for sauce. Sure, I could have strained some tomatoes myself but this was for breakfast and I was both lazy and hungry.
When recipes post-1918 refer to American cheese, they usually mean Velveeta or something similar. For those of you who have been fortunate enough to avoid it, American cheese is wrong. Much of it cannot even legally be sold as cheese. It’s a “process cheese food product” which sounds just delicious. Why do people use it? It’s cheap (but not THAT cheap), shelf-stable and it has a nice texture when melted. Like so many other processed foods in the American diet, “cheese” is texture and shelf life above flavor and nutrition. If it’s your guilty pleasure, well, I have no room to talk about guilty pleasures but I personally avoid American cheese like the plague. My health-foodie parents banned it from the house even when they were on a tight budget. Heck, my grandmother banned it from her house way back in the 1920s and went through the Great Depression without it! Hating American cheese is a proud family tradition and I mean to keep it going.
Long story short, I used cheddar.
In went the cheese:
The recipe calls for eggs beaten until they are the color of a lemon. What do you think?
This recipe is compared to rarebit, which gives us a clue about texture. Rarebit is a thick cheese sauce on toast and so we mustn’t scramble these eggs. In any case, what’s the point of our double boiler antics if the goal is scrambling? So you have to mix everything together and stir and stir and stir until it thickens up and lightens in color and ends up looking like something hacked up by a cast member of Farscape.
Then you spread the stuff on toast (it should be about the consistency of soft butter) and that’s it! You can now eat like Harold Lloyd!
Isn’t it just gorgeous? (That is sarcasm.) Let’s hope Mildred Davis did most of the cooking in that family.
Score: 2 out of 5. As stated above, I am about the most sympathetic audience this recipe is ever going to get and I found it to be just meh. It tastes like thickened, cheesy tomato soup on toast but I’d rather just have tomato soup, thanks very much. I’m not sure why it’s called EGGS Dolores when all you taste is tomato and cheese.
Bottom line: Was it edible? Yes. A little salty but not bad. Would I make it again? No way. It takes way too much time for such slight and unattractive returns. If I had unexpected breakfast company (people I like) and found myself in possession of eggs, bread, cheese and tomatoes, I would make eggs in hell and inside-out grilled cheese soldiers. For people I don’t like, I would toss a block of Velveeta into their car and help them carry their bags. (Seriously, don’t show up unexpectedly at someone’s house and demand breakfast unless you’re a refugee or trapped by a storm or something.)
And just one more question: Who the heck is Dolores?