Three Year Anniversary of Cooking with the Silent Stars!

On June 4, 2014, I posted my very first vintage celebrity recipe taste test and the rest is history. Over the last three years, I have tested and tasted over fifty recipes ostensibly written or inspired by stars of the silent era.

To celebrate the occasion, I decided to share my three favorite recipe successes– and three of the most awful recipe fails. Ready? Let’s go!

Most recipes fall into the range of “pretty good” to “meh” or somewhere like that. But some vintage recipes are heaven on a plate and we’re going to talk about them now.

Anna May Wong’s Egg Foo Yung

This is not exactly egg foo yung in the classic sense but Wong’s savory little omelette/pancake goodies are darn tasty. Just remember two rules: crank that heat as high as you can and don’t be stingy with the oil.

The Wallace Reid Divinity Salad

If you want summer in salad form, this one is for you. Grapefruit, grapes, cherries and whipped cream? Heavenly and light. As irresistible as the man who inspired the recipe.

William S. Hart’s Stuffed Summer Squash

The first five-star recipe I prepared, this vegetarian dish uses one of my favorite warm weather treats as its main ingredient. I am nuts about summer squash and the addition of egg and cheese make it even more delicious.

And now for the losers, the nastiest recipes I have tried so far.

Victor McLaglen’s Chili Con Carne

English people: I love you but please don’t make me chili. Ever. McLaglen’s recipe calls for meat, beans, tomatoes… and a cup of flour. A cup! Of flour! So we end up with this gummy chili paste that looks like something the cat coughed up. Blech!

Agnes Christine Johnston’s Scenario Salad

I’m no stranger to different flavors in vintage food but this is the first recipe that I was unable to swallow. I gagged on the tomato aspic and had to give up on the taste test.

Betty Bronson’s Waffles

You know the taste test is gong badly when a taster asks for a steak knife to cut his waffles. These things could be used as building material, they’re certainly sturdy enough.

You can read all my past taste tests here. It has been quite a ride and I have even more intriguing recipes lined up for the future. See you there!

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6 Replies to “Three Year Anniversary of Cooking with the Silent Stars!”

  1. Funny, I thought you’d been doing it forever when I started reading (about three years ago, I guess it was a bit less!) Happy third recipe anniversary.

  2. Even many of today’s recipes will fail the test kitchen. It makes sense to me how celebrity-promoted vintage recipes may often fail–but it seems as though the winners more than make up for it. Good on you for being brace enough to work through them!

    On the related subject of food, I’ve always been fascinated by glimpses of menus in silent films: Sardines, shrimp cocktails, olives, consommé, braised rabbit and glasses overflowing with champagne–with one notable movie including truffles in champagne. Maybe an interesting discussion?

    1. And quite stylish! I have noticed several successful vloggers and bloggers making a go of preparing recipes as they appear on the screen. We could always try Vilma Banky’s red hot soup from The Eagle. 😉

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