Monday, February 13, 2012

Life This Week: February 13, 1939


Well, well, what to say about this week's Movie of the Week? Idiot's Delight has to be one of the oddest films I've seen in a while. First off, look up "Clark Gable Puttin' on the Ritz" and watch the video. Yeah, that's right: Clark Gable plays a song-and-dace man. Life writes, "Gable took [dance] lessons for six weeks, soaking his size 11-C feet in salt water twice daily. He still dances atrociously." Except for the dancing and singing (thankfully there's not much of either), Clark Gable fits the role of a woman-chasing, war-veteran vaudevillian quite well and Norma Shearer does a great job as an acrobat/phony Russian noble. The movie is a romantic comedy superimposed on a war movie. The characters get stuck at a resort when the borders are closed after the start of a world war. Keep in mind, World War II didn't begin until September 1939. Thankfully, Idiot's Delight is entertaining because it would otherwise just be an oddity. Watch it and see for yourself. Let me know what you think!

 Images from Doctor Macro


Since Idiot's Delight is set at an Alpine resort in an unnamed country, I felt that this Austro-German-American menu would be perfect. It's from 1935's Modern Meal Maker. Besides, who doesn't love Wiener Schnitzel? It is, however, really too early for asparagus and rhubarb. No rhubarb but I did find some asparagus. However, it's not local by any means. I just boiled it then buttered it, seasoned it and added lemon juice. I made Asparagus Vinaigrette several years ago and Paul wasn't a fan.

Wiener Schnitzel
Rye Bread
Asparagus Salad
Rhubarb Shortcake
(Modern Meal Maker, p. 92)

Wiener Schnitzel

grapeseed oil, or other high-heat-tolerant oil or fat
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
salt
pepper
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 lb veal escalopes (also called paillard, scallop, or scaloppine)
1/2 lemon

Heat a 3/4" to 1" layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until oil is nice and hot. Meanwhile, place the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Beat together the egg and milk in another large bowl.

When the oil is ready, dip each individual escalope in breadcrumbs, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs again and fry until browned on both sides. Remove each escalope to a warm plate as soon as they're ready. Quarter the lemon half and serve two quarters with each serving of veal.

Serves 2

Adapted from "Wiener Schnitzel" in Martha Meade, Modern Meal Maker (San Francisco: Sperry Flour Company, 1935), 92.


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15 comments:

  1. LOL - the plot does sound odd. Great looking Weiner Schnitzel - a dish that reminds me of the Baroness in the Sound of Music.

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    1. She may be a bit evil, but I always thought the Baroness was so glamorous!

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  2. The movie sounds confusing but fun. I guess they took a lot of artistic license. I had wiener schnitzel in Vienna when I was 21. I'll never forget how delicious it was. Happy Valentine's Day!

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    1. Sounds like a lovely trip--I'd like to make it to Vienna someday. Happy Valentine's Day to you, too!

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  3. I join the chorus to say that Schnitzel brings back "My Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music. There you go, perhaps a future food and film match.

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  4. Clark Gable dancing? I'm sure I haven't seen that! Have a happy Valentine's Day!

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  5. I need to make this schnitzel for my FIL...one of his favorites! And I'd love some rhubarb shortcake...yum!

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    1. I'm thinking I'll definitely have to try the Rhubarb Shortcake when the rhubarb finally shows up. Not long now!

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  6. You always find the most interesting films! I had never heard of this. Sort of strange that its about a world war before WWII was even begun, although they dont appear to be very Edwardian, not that that means anything in the movies ;)
    This is a bit off topic, but a great autobiography I've read a couple of times is a book written by the woman who was Clark Gable and Loretta Young's 'love child.' Evidently Loretta became pregnant while on a movie with Gable and she and her mother cooked up this outlandish story of Loretta being 'sick' for many months and then 'adopting a baby from an orphanage' and bringing the child up as if she had been adopted. Its so strange and bittersweet and so Hollywood. I think you might like it :)

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    1. The film is, in fact, set in 1939. It's my understanding that a lot of people were certain there would be another war by this time. It's still strange to watch, though.

      I believe the book you're talking about is by Judy Lewis? I'll have to see if I can find it.

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  7. That looks JUST wonderful and I do so love a good Schnitzel too......love your posts and as always this was fab!

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  8. What an oddball movie. And your schnitzel looks lekker!

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  9. Watching all that delicious food (those potatoes look so yummy, and the schnitzel!) on your blog always makes me so hungry! :) The movie sounds...interesting! :D

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