There’s been a lot of buzz about recently-released, famous recipes. IKEA shared its Swedish meatball recipe, Disneyland released several of its park favorites, and Doubletree revealed its chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Famous recipes always appeal. If we’ve enjoyed them before, we’re glad to make them ourselves. If we’ve not tried them, the very idea that they are “famous” gives us a nudge.
Would you like to make Frank Sinatra’s spaghetti and meatballs? Audrey Hepburn’s chocolate cake? Betty White’s banana bread?
It’s easy to think: “Famous stage stars, movie stars, and public figures can have anything they want to eat, and if they actually make this recipe (or their chef does), it must really be good!” And if we make and eat their recipes, aren’t we the teensiest bit “like them” in those moments?
In 1967, Bessie C. Redmer wrote to Emilie Loring and asked for a favorite recipe to include in her Favorite Recipes of the Stars Cook Book.
Ms. Redmer collected recipes from nearly four hundred famous people over a period of fourteen years: Johnny Carson, Freddie Prinze, Tony Curtis, Lillian Gish, Jimmy Durante, Mary Pickford, Jack Lemmon, Bea Arthur, William Conrad… Rudy Vallee, Lawrence Welk, Pearl Bailey, Maria von Trapp, Bobby Vee… Mamie Eisenhower, Eleanor Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, Rosalynn Carter… Norman Rockwell, Peggy Fleming… the list went on and on.
There were many stage, screen, and musical stars, but not many authors. She wrote, “I have about 10 authors of BEST SELLERS too in the book.” In addition to Emilie Loring, she requested recipes from Pearl Buck, Faith Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Maureen Daly, Jacqueline Susann, George Plimpton, Anne Sexton, Victoria Holt, and Phyllis Whitney. It was a diverse group, to be sure (!), but all best-selling authors.
Of course, Emilie Loring could not reply in 1967. Her son Robert responded instead:
“My Mother, Emilie Loring, has died, but she left a raft of unpublished material and we are bringing out a new book per year. Perhaps you’d be interested to know that her first published book was a cook book entitled FOR THE COMFORT OF THE FAMILY.”
Had I chosen a favorite recipe for Emilie Loring, I would have chosen the hard sauce she made for the Christmas pudding. She was very proud of that. Robert, though, chose Emilie’s recipe for Scalloped Oysters. I haven’t found Bessie C. Redmer’s cook book, even on World Cat, but I do have Emilie Loring’s recipe:
1 pint oysters
1 3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
2-3 Tablespoons milk
salt and pepper
Pick over oysters discarding shell. Mix bread crumbs with butter. Put a thin layer in bottom of baking dish, cover with half of oysters, salt, pepper, oyster juice. Repeat and cover top with remaining crumbs. Bake 30 minutes in 450 degree oven. If desired, sprinkle each layer with a little nutmeg.
I’ll try the scalloped oysters when I’m on the east coast again. Remember to click on the “Recipes” link in the finder to get to more of Emilie’s recipes.
Today, I opted for Betty White’s banana bread.