Friday, May 20, 2011

Dinner(s) and a Movie: This is the Night

Lobby card from Wikipedia
In This is the Night, wealthy playboy Roland Young wants to take girlfriend Thelma Todd to Venice, but her javelin-throwing husband (Cary Grant) returns unexpectedly.  Hungry, out-of-work actress Lili Damita (billed as "Lily") agrees to accompany Roland Young to Venice, posing as his wife, with Charlie Ruggles tagging along.  This is the Night is an entertaining film and it has some unique musical-like sequences without being a musical (you'll have to watch it to see what I mean).  Plus, it's pre-code, so the morals are more relaxed than they would have been a couple years later.

This movie is interesting not only because it's Cary Grant's feature film debut, but also because there are relatively few Lili Damita movies out there.  She retired from movies in 1937 and is mostly only known today for her tempestuous marriage to Errol Flynn.

I quite enjoyed this film, though I will admit to liking Roland Young and Charlie Ruggles in almost anything.   This was my first time to see Lili Damita in anything besides an old magazine and I liked her in this role.  I'll be sure to check TCM for her other films.

This is the Night isn't available on DVD, but it's scheduled to show again on TCM Sunday, August 21st, at 5:00 a.m. CST.


Since you're not likely (sorry to break it to you) to accompany a wealthy playboy to Venice, you'll have to find another way to feed yourself. Eggs are an inexpensive way to feed everyone's inner desperate working girl.

We're on our second CSA year and I am attached to the eggs. It's not just that they're pretty; they have gorgeous orange yolks, they come from happy chickens (we got to see them last year on a farm visit) and they're only $3 per dozen.

Eggs have become a large part of our diet since we found our CSA and have been very helpful in our efforts to reduce our food budget but not skimp on quality.  I've been working my way through the Eggs section in my 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook.  Here are three fabulous supper dishes:

Shirred egg with buttered green beans and a drop biscuit
For a shirred egg, preheat the oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit, butter a ramekin, break in an egg, top with 1 teaspoon butter, salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon cream.  Bake approximately 15 minutes until white is completely set and yolk is mostly set.  Usually I make two for dinner, but just one for lunch.

"Eggs in a Frame" with asparagus
I've probably made hundreds of shirred eggs, but I'd never made "Eggs in a Frame."  I had a bit of a problem with these two because my bread maker leaves two holes in the bottom of my English White Bread.  I had to use two cookie cutters to shore up the slices.  Basically all you do is cut a hole in the middle of a relatively thin slice of bread, butter it like there's no tomorrow, then place it in a buttered skillet on medium-low heat and crack an egg into it.  When the egg is set, flip the whole thing over and brown the other side of the bread.  Pepper the egg and salt the egg and toast.

"Eggs à la reine" with green peas

Use the leftover bread rounds for Eggs à la reine.  Preheat oven to 375˚.  Butter and toast them and place them in a baking dish then top with mushrooms that have been sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme. (I used about an eighth pound of mushrooms for four toast rounds.)  A poached egg sits on top of the mushrooms and is covered in Béchamel sauce that has cheddar stirred into it.  Brown in the oven.

Yeah, I don't really have recipes for these dishes, but that's what is great about them--you can adjust them based on what you've got and they'll still turn out just fine.


  1. I have only heard of Cary Grant, but this movie sounds interesting - especially as it was pre-nanny days. Your egg recipes, especially the last one, sound delicious. You are so lucky getting free range eggs for $3 a dozen - that's about what cage eggs cost here.

  2. I've seen Mr. Grant in an early Mae West film, but not this one from his younger days. Local eggs = awesome. We feasted on egg sandwiches last night.


  3. I have to second what cakelaw says about your CSA free-range eggs: $3 a dozen is an amazing deal.

    I love the egg ideas: I think I will make the shirred eggs for dinner. You photos of these dishes have such a nice retro feel.

    This post made me pull off my shelf my 1952 cookbook, Quick and Easy Meals for Two, Ladies Home Journal writer Louella Shouer. There is a chapter called Little End of the Horn, which is all about budget cooking when money runs low. The chapter is divided by season, with menus and recipes.

    Here is an egg-based menus for Spring:

    Scrambled Egg Special on Asparagus
    Potatoes Cooked in the Jackets
    Quick Spice Cake
    Fresh or Canned Applesauce

    The eggs are made with 4 eggs, 4 Tbl. milk, 3 oz. cream cheese cut in pieces and scrambled with 2 Tbl. butter. You cook the eggs so they are soft but not too runny and serve them over the asparagus and top with the bacon with the potatoes on the side.

  4. You know I love eggs, all of these recipes look great! I'll have to catch Carey Grant's debut movie in August. (You'll probably have to remind me!) We had a great time this weekend! LOVE that little elephant... Miss you like crazy!

  5. What a delightful pairing of nibbles and classic cinema. I adore Cary Grant, but haven't had a chance to see this movie yet. It sounds quite interesting and I shall certainly add it to my vintage film play list.

    Big hugs & joyful Tuesday wishes,
    ♥ Jessica from Chronically Vintage

  6. your csa eggs look delicious! :) and these recipes sound so typically anglosaxon to me : they look healthy and divinely good !

  7. Ooh I'm having a wander around your blog and now can't decide between egg recipes! I thought you would like this quote from Claudette Colbert:

    "The egg is really one of the greatest boons to womankind, ranking with the sewing machine, the electric washer, the permanent wave and the right to vote.”

    She states that any woman can pass herself off as a good cook by giving attention to what can be done with eggs.

    She says, “Through the years I have fooled a lot of people myself by keeping brushed up on some good egg recipes which produce some very impressive dishes.”

    She loved eggs!


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