Cooking with the (Silent) Stars: The Antonio Moreno Dream Salad

Welcome back! I’m cooking may way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook but today, we’re taking a detour back to 1916 in order to have a taste of the Moreno Dream Salad.

You can catch up on all my past taste tests here.

Born in Spain, Moreno is sometimes described as a Latin Lover, full stop. Actually, he played a broad variety of roles, especially in the 1910s when Lillian Blackstone decided to make a salad ode to him.

I’m sorry to say that The Island of Regeneration is missing and presumed lost (please let me know if you hear otherwise) but the plot sounds perfectly bonkers. A combination of Tarzan, Robinson Crusoe, and a bizarre screed against platonic friendships. No mention of bananas in the synopsis but I’m sure we can take Ms. Blackstone’s word for it.

So, let’s find out if Antonio Moreno’s salad has “IT” and will be the salad of our dreams.

Okay, the lettuce leaf thing. I didn’t do it. It’s a waste of lettuce because NOBODY eats the lettuce under a fruit salad. Have a fruit salad and a green salad and call it a day. That settled, let’s move on to fruit.

I halved these stupid cherries and you’re gonna look at them, darn it!

The recipe calls for maraschino cherries but fresh cherries are still at the grocery store and I don’t like those gloppy maraschino things anyway. Fresh cherries for me!

A second angle (I am proud of these)
One more for the road.

However, fresh pears could not be had for love or money, so I had to use canned. The galactic balance of fresh and canned fruit is still intact. (I knew you would be worried.) Obviously, these are soft pears and not crisp Asian varieties.

Cherries and pears happy together.
Hello, banana!

Next, the banana. My bananas were on the large side, so I halved them for the recipe. I placed them cut side down because that seemed logical but I am notoriously had at doing this correctly, so…

Banana? Banana!

In 1910s America, a cream dressing refers to a mixture of cream (gasp!), eggs, mustard and sometimes vinegar. I opted to just serve my salad with sour cream on top but here are some vintage dressing recipes if you want to try the authentic model.

Nom nom nom
We’re so retro!

Score: 4 out of 5. Yummy! Granted, you can hardly go wrong with bananas and pears and cherries but it’s also a very fun, retro-looking salad. The fruit is refreshing and if you do use preserved cherries, this would be an excellent winter salad. You can easily make this recipe vegan by using your favorite plant-based creamy topping.


Is it as dreamy as Mr. Moreno? You’ll have to judge that for yourself but I thought it was pretty swell.


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  1. Nicholas Pinhey

    Thanks for posting the recipe and article. Antonio was my grandfather (it’s long story) and it’s fun seeing the post. Also, Antonio was a leading figure in the early days of the Hollywood Masquers Club, serving as their president (Harelquin) and facilitating the purchase of the old Masquers clubhouse on Sycamore.

  2. Marie Roget

    Your take on the Antonio Moreno Dream Salad has all the elements to pretty tasty! Can’t agree more that fresh is always better. Maraschino cherries do have their place- this isn’t it. My (admit to picky) standards for fruit and veggies: home-grown if you’ve got it, farmers’ market if you don’t, then any market with an on-the-ball produce dept., and so on down the line.

    Re: the inevitable lettuce leaf: as a kid, on our rare family excursions to a place to eat that wasn’t a relative’s dining room, back porch, or back yard, I frequently ordered a scoop of cottage cheese, with the unavoidable lettuce leaf laid out under it. Got in the habit of judging the freshness of the leaf and if acceptable pinching the ball of cottage cheese up in it and wolfing the whole thing down. A great attention getter for a large family out in public, I can assure you 😉

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