Friday, February 11, 2011

Dinner and a Movie: Design for Living

Another February menu from A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband:

"Alice Practices Economy"*

Head Lettuce with Celery Seed Dressing
Baked Eggs
Potatoes Escalloped with Bacon

Both the eggs and the escalloped potatoes are baked in a 350-degree oven.  You can prepare the salad dressing and the eggs while the potatoes start baking.  When the eggs go in the oven, you don't have to do anything else until everything is ready to be plated up, which is really nice.  I don't know if this dish is economical or not, because I didn't do the arithmetic, but the authors of A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband say it's cheap, so it must be!

Head Lettuce with Celery Seed Dressing

1 head iceberg lettuce
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon paprika
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons sugar

Shake together all ingredients except the lettuce in a mason jar. Use an eighth to a quarter head of lettuce per person. Store extra dressing in the refrigerator.

Serves 4-8.

Adapted from Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron, “Celery Seed Salad Dressing” in A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband: With Bettina’s Best Recipes, The Romance and Cookery of Housekeeping (New York: Blue Ribbon Books, Inc., 1940), 85.

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Baked Eggs

2 eggs
½ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit. Butter two ramekins and crack an egg into each. Stir the salt and paprika into the milk and divide mixture evenly between ramekins.

Melt the butter over medium heat. When bubbling, add the breadcrumbs and stir for a couple of minutes until slightly browned. Pour breadcrumbs over the top of the eggs.
Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes.

Serves 2.

Adapted from “Baked Eggs” in ibid., 362.

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Escalloped Potatoes with Bacon

1 lb potato, thinly sliced
3 slices crispy cooked bacon, cut into small pieces
1 ½ tablespoons flour
1 ½ tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit. Butter a casserole or au gratin dish and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced potato, bacon, flour, butter, salt and pepper. Mix to combine then pour into the casserole. Pour the milk over and bake 45 to 50 minutes.

Use a casserole that is big enough so that the potato mixture only comes about ¾ of the way to the top. Place casserole on a baking sheet, in case it bubbles over.

Serves 2.

Adapted from “Potatoes Escalloped with Bacon” in ibid., 362 and “Escalloped Potatoes” in ibid., 159-160.

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Fair-use image from Wikipedia
If you're ready for another pre-code Lubitsch picture with Miriam Hopkins and Edward Everett Horton, may I suggest Design for Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933)?  The premise would still be unconventional today: an independent American woman (Hopkins) in Paris becomes muse to a playwright (March) and a painter (Cooper), which, naturally, requires moving in with them.  Be prepared for bohemian living--sex without benefit of marriage ensues and complicates the entire living arrangement.

Further reading:
Here's an article about Miriam Hopkins on the blog Allure.
George Hurrell photo of Miriam Hopkins at Art Deco.

    * From Google Books:


    1. oh, haven't seen that film. Must try it out! Looks like delicious comforting food on the menu tonight!

    2. A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband?

      What a hilarious title. I dig it.

    3. Great quote from the book. Really timeless advice. And the menu sounds really nice. I have some old cookbooks with menus like that--I should try out some of the menus. (Have you ever heard of the book, The Cook is in the Parlor, by Marguerite McCarthy, ca. 1947?)

      And I love Lubitsch, but I don't remember seeing that movie.

    4. That film looks intriguing - I just added it to my Netflix queue.

      And what a fun book discovery! I wish I could try out the recipe but my oven is on the blink...

      So instead I think I'll just head over to GoogleBooks and read some more of the book!

    5. I'm glad I was able to find a movie that was new to a few people. It's based on a Noel Coward play, but Coward said they didn't use any of his script!

      Laura- I found The Cook is in the Parlor on Etsy and had to buy it (and two other old cookbooks, of course). I'm supposed to be reducing clutter--you're a bad influence! ;-)

    6. That looks like my kind of dinner - especially the easy to do part! I see you've added more oookbooks to your collection - hard to resist! We've never seen that movie - guess we need to add it to our list!


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