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 one of the more controversial comedians of the silent era.
Ford Sterling is one of those comedians with no middle ground among the critics: they either adore him or despise him. He is most famous for playing over-the-top villains in early Sennett comedies but he also took on more subtle character work in the 1920s.
I am a well-known Sterling fanatic. I just adore his crazy expressions and his zany fits of rage. More, please, more!
I did need to add more stock to the soup twice. It’s just as well as the cooked down stock added to the soup’s flavor.
I was not in my own kitchen and did not have a sieve to create the lentil paste Sterling describes. I did try to mash the lentils a bit but here is the result. I’m not going to pretend that it’s a thing of beauty but it smells divine.
Taste Test Video:
Score: 4 out of 5. Haute cuisine this ain’t but it sure succeeds as VERY American comfort food. Legumes + protein + broth + slow cooking will never go out of style and this version is rather nice. It’s hearty but not so heavy that it will make you groggy.
Of course, its success depends on the quality of your ingredients. I used beef Better than Bouillian, which is a broth concentrate in paste form. The hot dogs were Hebrew National, which, obviously, did not have to be skinned. If anyone is interested in cooking this recipe, I recommend just using your favorite brands.
This recipe also lends itself to alteration. It can easily be made vegan by using vegetable stock and whatever plant-based protein the cook prefers. I can see this being delicious with chunks of smoked tofu.
For meat eaters, using Italian-style sausage, ham or kielbasa could also be yummy options. And, of course, turkey sausage can be used for a lighter soup.