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.

Continue reading “Cooking with the (Silent) Stars: Claudette Colbert’s Raw Vegetable Salad”

Cooking with the (Silent) Stars: Adolphe Menjou’s Epicurean Bouchée

Welcome back! I am cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook (recipes of the stars!) 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 an actor whose sartorial flair matched his fame as a performer.

Continue reading “Cooking with the (Silent) Stars: Adolphe Menjou’s Epicurean Bouchée”

Cooking with the (Silent) Stars: The Lillian Gish Sandwich

Welcome back! I’m cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook but I’m taking a detour today to try something a little older. In 1916, Photoplay magazine published a collection of sandwich recipes that were said to be based on the screen personalities of the biggest female stars. This time around, we will be tasting the Lillian Gish sandwich.

Continue reading “Cooking with the (Silent) Stars: The Lillian Gish Sandwich”

Cooking with the (Silent) Stars: The Beverly Bayne Sandwich

Welcome back! I’m cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook but I’m taking a detour today to try something a little older. In 1916, Photoplay magazine published a collection of sandwich recipes that were said to be based on the screen personalities of the biggest female stars. This time around, we will be tasting the Beverly Bayne sandwich.

Continue reading “Cooking with the (Silent) Stars: The Beverly Bayne Sandwich”

Photoplay Cookbook: Sam Hardy’s “Baked Clam in Shell”

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Welcome back! I am cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook (recipes of the stars!) 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 someone who can definitely be considered a “that guy” actor.

Sam Hardy is pretty obscure today but there is a very good chance that you have seen one of his performances. A stage veteran who had attended Yale before being bitten by the acting bug, Hardy made his first credited appearance in 1915. Hardy supported Marion Davies in Little Old New York, Colleen Moore in Orchids and Ermine and was leading man to Barbara Stanwyck in Mexicali Rose, a silent-talkie release that was only her second credited screen appearance.

The other Mr. Hardy
The other Mr. Hardy

Hardy continued to work steadily in the talkies. He played Benny the Gouge in Little Miss Marker and Weston in King Kong. His final credited role was as Big Steve Ogden in Powdersmoke Range, which was a reunion picture for western stars Harry Carey and Hoot Gibson. (The pair had not worked together in nearly twenty years.) That same year, Hardy passed away from surgical complications.

Now that we know a little about Mr. Hardy, let’s take a look at his recipe and see how it measures up.

Sam-Hardy-Baked-Clam-in-ShellNot terribly complicated but where will the flavor come from? Bread crumbs and eggs are not the most flavorful of foods and the canned clams don’t have the oomph of their fresh cousins.

Would I have to spring for fresh clams? Fortunately, I keep canned clams on hand at all times. My cat was abused by the “rescue” that had him. He staged a bold escape, I found him in a shrub and he is now a very spoiled little chap, though his eyes and respiratory system are still not 100%. (The vet is working on that and he has improved a lot.) Canned clams are his happy food.

Anyway, back to the recipe! It all went together pretty easily. I used store bought bread crumbs because I was lazy. I also did not obtain clam shells for displaying the recipe. In the first place, they’re hard to buy sans clam in my neck of the woods. In the second place, I am not sure it would have made a huge difference.

I baked the cakes at 350-degrees for about twenty minutes. (I should note that I live at a high altitude.)

When they came out, the cakes looked… Well, they looked disturbingly like cookies. Way, way too much like cookies.

Behold!

Cookies?
Cookies?
Yeah, cookies.
Yeah, cookies.

And here is the taste test video:

My rating: 2 out of 5. These things are bland and dry, almost a chore to get through. There is nothing overtly nasty about them, they are just boring. Kind of like Talmadge sisters movies. (Ooo! Burn!)

Can it be improved? Not really. It needs a lot more moisture and flavor but adding these components would make it a totally different food. This needs an onion, some celery, a dash of cayenne and maybe some bacon (pork, turkey or veggie). Here’s a recipe that calls for more egg, dehydrated onion and deep-frying. Sounds yummy!

Other uses: That’s not to say that this recipe is useless. I am going to share something that is so evil, so heartless that I hesitate to post it lest it fall into enemy hands.

What the heck! Here is the plan. Make a batch of these clam cakes. Make a batch of oatmeal cookies. Mix them together on a pretty plate. Wrap them in colorful cellophane and tie a big bow on top. Leave them on the doorstep of that neighbor who always plays Nickelback at three a.m. Wait for the screams.

Oh, I am evil! I am, I am! (The no-cook version is to mix Skittles and M&M’s in the same candy bowl.)

Photoplay Cookbook: Gloria Swanson’s “Cream Fudge”

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Welcome back! I am cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook (recipes of the stars!) 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 someone who is considered to be one of the symbols of silent film.

Gloria Swanson started in comedy, jumped to drama and was one of the top stars in the world throughout the silent era. Her career took a dip when she accepted career advice from her lover, Joseph Kennedy, compounded by the fact that the extravagant dramas that she was associated with were no longer stylish. She had an excellent voice, both for singing and speaking, but did not enjoy the same level of success in talking pictures. That is, until she was cast by a certain Mr. Wilder…

The glamorous Miss Swanson.
The glamorous Miss Swanson.

Swanson was a star and she knew it. She embodied the glamor of the silent era and always knew how to rock an ensemble. She also wrote a memoir that is pretty much the gold standard of silent actor tell-all autobiographies. (Swanson on Swanson should be part of a welcome package for new silent movie fans.) While her Sunset Boulevard role made her an icon to a new generation, never forget that she was amazing in her prime.

Later in life, Swanson became an advocate for all things health-foody, macrobiotic, raw and sugar-free. So, it is not without a bit of irony that I present her recipe for the cookbook, a faux fudge that is pretty much all sugar.

Gloria-Swanson-Cream-Fudge

A pretty simple recipe, as candy recipes go. Perhaps a little too simple? See, candy is wonderful but I like my sweets to have a bit more complexity, especially if they are home-made. Just sugar and cream? In theory it should work but would it be good enough to warrant an entire pan-full of the stuff?

I’m not going to lie, candy making is not my favorite kitchen activity. There is so much stirring and testing and beating. I keep thinking that I could have whipped up a batch of cookies or a cake in half the time. However, Gloria Swanson beckoned so I gave it a try.

I think it’s a mistake to call this a fudge. It hardens up quite crispy (notice that the recipe says to “break” the candy, not slice it) and is really heading into butterscotch territory. I think my version ended up a little grainy but I blame myself and not the recipe. However, the texture was not unpleasant. It may have been better if I had added the optional pecans.

The stuff took forever to firm up. I just ended up storing it in the cold oven and going to bed. The recipe was not kidding about the buttered dish thing, by the way. I greased a 9×13 baking dish with a few tablespoons and the fudge still stuck.

Here is the result:

I don't pretend it is a thing of beauty.
I don’t pretend it is a thing of beauty.
Yup, definitely not a glamor girl.
Yup, definitely not a glamor girl.

And here is the taste test video:

My rating: 2 out of 5. This stuff is the very essence of sickeningly sweet. Basically, the first bite is okay and then when you take the second one, you start to feel more than a little lightheaded. By the time you take a third bite, you are fairly certain that diabetes is imminent. If you manage to take a fourth bite, you will probably be sick.

I can see it being better in tiny portions but the recipe produces an incredible amount of candy. It more than filled my 9×13 dish and likely could have slopped over into a smaller dish as well.

All I can say is that if Gloria Swanson was really eating like this, she needed to go on a sugar-free diet. One session with this fudge and you will get your sugar intake for the month.

Can it be improved? Not really. Not without turning it into a whole other candy.

Eat this instead: 4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge. No cooking required, this is a truly fast faux fudge.