by Frank Decaro
HCI Books, October 2011, $19.95
Is there someone on your Christmas list who loves old M*A*S*H* episodes and would enjoy trying a hash recipe by Bette Davis? Just about everyone could use some kitsch in the kitchen in these trying times!
Frank Decaro, a movie critic and writer, spent decades searching through L.A. flea markets, yard sales and eBay for recipes such as Lawrence Welk's Lake Tahoe Meatloaf, Lucille Ball's Chinese-y Thing, Rock Hudson's Cannoli, Andy Warhol's Stuffed Cabbage, Anthony Perkins' Tuna Salad, and many more.
Each recipe includes interesting biographical and culinary information on the dead celebrity, and the pithy remarks and bizarre asides make this cookbook a wild ride through the Hollywood Hills of yesteryear.
Picture this: a themed dinner with recipes from sitcom moms. Or how about a “Rat Pack BBQ” (with Frank Sinatra's Barbecued Lamb, Sammy Davis Jr.'s Salad and Dean Martin's Burgers and Bourbon)? Ring-a-ding-ding!
A delicious combination of pop culture and food, this cookbook features recipes that remind us that “before there were celebrity chefs, there were celebrities who fancied themselves chefs.” Some of the recipes may raise an eyebrow for today's gourmand, but that's part of the fun. As Decaro writes, “I'm sure the food was better at Julia Child's house, but really, wouldn't you rather have been invited to Liberace's?”