Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dinner and a Movie: Love Before Breakfast

Fair-use image from Wikipedia
This movie isn't much to write home about plot-wise, but it is an oh-so-stylish mid-thirties romantic comedy, so I think it's worth watching.  Plus, Carole Lombard is such fun.  (That black eye is from a bar brawl, by the way.)  The clothes are fabulous, there's a super-cute pekingese and a very deco nightclub with seating that revolves around the dance floor.  Oh, and there's a yacht party--pure depression-era escapism.

More photos from Love Before Breakfast at this website.
Carole Lombard photo on Flapper Girl

I don't know if I've sung the praises of ham before, but I think it's one of the most wondrous foods on the face of the planet.  It's so versatile and it's tasty, too!  I like to buy a huge ham, because I get the most milage out of it.  This recipe will bake the entire ham.  Stay tuned for leftovers recipes.

Baked Virginia Ham
Boiled Parsley Potatoes
Sautéed Mushrooms
Iceberg Lettuce with Grecian Dressing

A few tips for this menu:

  • Use the pineapple juice from a can of pineapple rings.  We'll use those later.
  • The salad dressing can be made up to a few days in advance.
  • Start on the potatoes when the ham has about half an hour remaining.  Start the mushrooms last.

Roast Virginia Ham

10-12 lb ham
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard powder
3 tablespoons (approx.) pineapple juice
Whole cloves, as needed

Preheat oven to 325˚ Fahrenheit. Place the ham in a large roasting pan or in a large Dutch oven. Bake for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make a paste of the brown sugar, mustard and pineapple juice. Set aside.

When only 45 minutes remain, take the ham out of the oven, remove the rind (if necessary) and score the fat. Spread the ham with the paste and poke the cloves into the ham. Return to the oven to finish baking.

If you’ve purchased a pre-cooked ham, check the package directions for reheating, but glaze with brown sugar paste for last 45 minutes of cooking, as above.

Adapted from Martha Meade, “Roast Virginia Ham” in Modern Meal Maker (San Francisco: Sperry Flour Company, 1935), 66 and “Roasting Cured or Smoked Pork” in Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook (Minneapolis: Macmillan and General Mills, 1950), 268.

Boiled Parsley Potatoes

1/2 lb potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup minced parsley
salt and pepper

Wash and dry the potatoes, to remove any dirt. Slice each potato in half horizontally and then divide each half into four or six segments, depending on the size of the potato. Fingerling or new potatoes can be left whole.

Place the sliced potatoes into a 2-quart saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender and starting to fall apart. Drain the potatoes.

Melt the butter in the saucepan over low heat, add the drained potatoes and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can cover the pan and leave it on low heat to keep the potatoes warm while you finish up dinner.

Serves 2


Sautéed Mushrooms

1 tablespoon butter
¼ lb crimini or button mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced parsley
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a small sauté pan (like an omelet pan) over medium heat until the butter foams. Meanwhile, clean the mushrooms, trim them and cut larger ones in half.

When the foam is starting to subside, add the mushrooms and sauté until softened and brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Grecian Salad Dressing

1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced chives
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 ½ lemons)
1 cup olive oil

Stir together all ingredients except olive oil. Slowly pour the oil over, mixing constantly. Store leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge. Whisk to re-emulsify.

Yields approximately 1 ½ cups

Adapted from Martha Meade, “Grecian Dressing for Lettuce” in Modern Meal Maker (San Francisco, Sperry Flour Company, 1935), 367.

Print at


  1. Carole Lombard and a warm ham dinner. I'm in heaven!

  2. Thanks for telling how Carole Lombard got the black eye...I was worried! The meal looks awesome - can't wait for the leftover recipes!

  3. Sounds wonderful - can't wait to see what you do with the leftovers.

  4. Carole Lombard gets into a fight? Surely no man would hit her! The recipe looks delicious as always.


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