Friday, January 17, 2014

The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg

The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg was Ernst Lubitsch’s first Hollywood picture. He would very quickly move on to the musical comedies (many with Maurice Chevalier and Jeannette MacDonald) which were renowned for their “Lubitsch touch.” Although a silent film, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg is very musical with its wonderful score performed by the English Chamber Orchestra.

The Student Prince, Karl Heinrich (Ramon Novarro), is sent to Heidelberg to attend the university accompanied by his tutor, Dr. Jüttner (Jean Hersholt). Wanting to live like a “normal” person for once in his life, Karl Heinrich decides to stay at a rather plebeian Gasthof, no doubt partially swayed by the presence of a vivacious barmaid, Kathi (Norma Shearer). Naturally, Karl Heinrich and Kathi fall in love and K.H. has a great time in Heidelberg. Unfortunately, his uncle (the king) falls ill and K.H., next in line for the throne, has to return home to take the reigns of government, where Karl Heinrich is torn between duty to his country and his love for Kathi.

The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg isn't available on DVD, so if you want to see it you'll have to catch it on TCM at 7:30 am CST, Tuesday, January 28.

Shrimps Worcestershire (and Vegetable Gumbo)

If you you've "liked" The Past on a Plate on facebook, you've noticed I've been testing a lot of 1920s recipes so far this year. Here's the recipe for Shrimps Worcestershire from a fantastic booklet I bought on etsy, Delightful Dinners. The shrimp are a delicious appetizer. (Or you can double the amounts for a main course.)

Shrimps Worcestershire

1 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
squeeze of lemon juice
pinch of salt
pinch of paprika
8 large steamed shrimp
leaves from 1 stalk parsley, minced

Add the butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt, and paprika to a small skillet or omelet pan. Heat over medium-high heat until butter is melted and bubbling. Stir in shrimp to coat well with sauce then serve sprinkled with parsley.

Serves 2 as an appetizer or side

Adapted from Delightful Dinners.

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The aforementioned Delightful Dinners--isn't it adorable?

Photo sources:
Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer, Doctor Macro

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Annie Oakley

OK, so this movie is ridiculous, ahistorical, and even racist, although its depiction of the Sioux and Lakota is not quite as bad as a lot of contemporary films. Ah, the Western.

So, you're probably wondering, why watch it? You might be a fan of Barbara Stanwyck and she's great in this so you can see why she went on to do a lot of Westerns. You might even have a soft spot for Melvyn Douglas and watch whatever he's in even if it sucks. You might just like silly, corny old movies. If you fall into any (or all) of those categories, you'll probably want to give Annie Oakley a couple hours of your time.

Speaking of corny (see what I did there?), I've got another soup recipe for you (from 1935, just like the movie).

Corn Chowder

1 slice bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons minced onion
½ green pepper, minced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sprouted whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 carrot, peeled and grated

Heat a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, onion, and green pepper. Cook until onion is translucent and just starting to brown. Add the water and bring heat up to high. When water is boiling, add the diced potato, turn heat down to a vigorous simmer and cook, covered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper and cook one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk. When all the milk is added, return pan to the heat, turn up to high and bring to a boil, stirring the whole time. Boil 1 minute, continuing to stir. Remove from the heat and stir in the corn and grated carrot. Combine with potato mixture.

Serves 4

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If you have TCM (it's the only thing I miss no longer having cable), Annie Oakley will be on this Thursday, January 16 at 2:00 p.m. CST.

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Photo source

Friday, January 10, 2014

Libeled Lady

Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy

While not quite equal to the sum of its parts (Jean Harlow + William Powell + Myrna Loy + Spencer Tracy), Libeled Lady is amusing enough to while away a lazy afternoon, especially if you like 1930s comedies (and I’m assuming you do). It all starts when the newspaper Tracy edits runs a story about socialite Loy that doesn’t happen to be true. She threatens to sue for libel, so Tracy calls in Powell to deal with her. Along for the ride is Jean Harlow, who has to put up with a lot from boyfriend Tracy, who keeps putting off their wedding to deal with his newspaper. Naturally, William Powell and Myrna Loy end up hitting it off, which causes all kinds of problems…

William Powell and Myrna Loy

You know what is more than the sum of its parts, though? Spit Pea and Vegetable Soup! The recipe is adapted from my 1935 Modern Meal Maker. It's ridiculously simple and quite good. You'll enjoy this lovely winter warmer!

Split Pea and Vegetable Soup

½ cup green split peas, soaked overnight in warm water
¼ small cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, minced
5 cups chicken stock

Drain the peas and place all ingredients in a stock pot, bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until peas are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6

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Photo source

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Visions of Sugarplums

There was a bit of confusion earlier, but my Visions of Sugarplums post is on Lovely. Please go check it out there and please stay tuned for more from The Past on a Plate in the new year.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Vincent Price Cookalong

Come check out what I made for Jenny's Vincent Price cookalong:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dinner and a Movie: Cold Comfort Farm

Remember going to the video rental store? Sometimes Blockbuster could come up trumps. I love the convenience of Netflix but sometimes I miss just browsing. Thanks to browsing, I discovered Cold Comfort Farm in the "New Releases" section back in 1996 and rented it because I recognized Kate Beckinsale from Much Ado About Nothing and I already had a penchant for period pieces.

Cold Comfort Farm is a really good example of when a film adaptation works. I actually think I might like the movie better than the book! The most obvious reason why is the cast, which includes Joanna Lumley, Eileen Atkins, Rufus Sewell, Stephen Fry, and Ian McKellen. Cold Comfort Farm is wonderful fun (Joanna Lumley's character Mrs Smiley would tell me to say it's "amusing" instead of "fun") and still makes me laugh after at least a dozen viewings. I never get tired of watching Flora Poste (Kate Beckinsale) attempt to tidy up her appalling country relatives and evade the advances of Mr. Meyerburg (Stephen Fry), the libidinous Lawrentian.

From Cold Comfort to deliciously warm comfort...

This is the old and oversized, warm and extremely cuddly sweater of supper dishes. Isn't there just something supremely satisfying and enveloping about anything au gratin? I like that this recipe has lovely fresh green herbs, which lend a nice freshness.


2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups (½ Imperial pint) heavy cream
1 ½ lbs waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 oz. hard cheese, grated (I use a mixture of Gruyère and Cheddar.)
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1 tablespoon chives, minced
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, minced
nutmeg, salt, and pepper

Place a baking sheet in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375º Fahrenheit. Butter a large oval gratin dish and set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally and being careful to turn down the heat if the onions threaten to brown. Stir in the minced garlic and cook just until garlic is fragrant and remove pan from the heat.

Beat together the eggs and cream in a very large mixing bowl. Stir in the potatoes, half the cheese, all the herbs, and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the onions and garlic and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared gratin dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Place gratin on top of the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Serves 4 to 6

Adapted from “Creamy Potato Gratin with Herbs” in Hilaire Walden, ed., Traditional British Cooking (London: Hermes House, 1997), 166.

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Cold Comfort Farm photo source

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