Photoplay Cookbook: Pauline Starke’s “Pepper Eggs”


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 a relatively minor silent star who nevertheless enjoyed excellent company in her filmography.

Pauline Starke in a very perky hat.
Pauline Starke in a very perky hat.

Pauline Starke’s movie career started when she was just a teen. Supposedly, she was one of the many, many dance extras in Intolerance. (I always take those claims with a grain of salt. For a while, everyone in Hollywood claimed to have been discovered by D.W. Griffith.) Starke is probably best remembered for two films that bookended her silent career. She had a supporting role in Eyes of Youth, a 1919 Clara Kimball Young vehicle that also featured Milton Sills. It was one of the few times he would play an unrepentant jerk. Of course, Starke, Sills and Young were all overshadowed by a certain young Italian actor, who stole the show as a smooth gigolo.

The other famous Starke title is the 1928 MGM color film, The Viking. It was about vikings.

Starke carried on in sound films in progressively smaller roles (a familiar story for mid-level silent performers) and made her last screen appearance in 1943.

For her recipe, Miss Starke chose to go for a breakfast/brunch/luncheon dish. The name is not promising, you must agree.


I followed the recipe exactly with one exception: I substituted a yellow bell pepper for a green one. I prefer yellow, orange or red to the green, especially in cooking. For toast, I used some whole grain honey wheat bread. This had less to do with taste and more to do with the fact that I forgot to buy sourdough or potato bread, either of which would have probably worked better. (White breads generally work better as the toast for this sort of recipe, at least in my experience.)

The recipe was extremely easy and fast. The pepper, catsup and cheese did not look very pretty but they smelled promising as they cooked. Once added, the eggs scrambled up nicely and had a fluffy texture. Onto the toast they went. Here is the result:

The whole shebang.
The whole shebang.
Up close.
Up close.
An unpromising beginning.
An unpromising beginning.
But it smelled yummy...
But it smelled yummy…

And here is the taste test video:

My rating: 3 out of 5. While it’s not exactly gourmet dining (despite what the recipe description may say) Miss Starke’s recipe is fast, tasty and filling. It’s a nice little lacto-ovo vegetarian breakfast dish (a meal that tends to be quite meat-centric if you don’t count pancakes) and is a great way to use leftover bits of vegetable. I could definitely see myself making this again.

Variations: The addition of some finely chopped onions would add a bit of zing, as would some jalapenos, if you like that sort of thing. If you have hardcore carnivores about, some shredded ham or diced bacon would probably be a welcome addition. I would suggest draining any fatty meats before adding them in.


  1. Emily

    I thought Starke was adorable in The Viking. Too bad she and the Technicolor were the only remarkable things in it…

    The recipe sounds good with a few changes. I like my eggs with cheese or sausage usually.

  2. I’m not a big fan of recipes that involve eggs (I just eat fried eggs), but this looks yummy.
    And I loved how you mentioned “a certain young Italian actor”.

  3. geelw

    Funny! I made some REALLY peppery eggs (with three types of hot peppers) not long after you posted this, but I didn’t read it until today. Now I’m hungry, but my sinuses have been blasted clear by that dish I made before. Well, I guess I can modify this recipe a bit and see what happens…

Comments are closed.