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.
(Modern Meal Maker, p. 92)Wiener Schnitzel
grapeseed oil, or other high-heat-tolerant oil or fat
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 lb veal escalopes (also called paillard, scallop, or scaloppine)
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.
Adapted from "Wiener Schnitzel" in Martha Meade, Modern Meal Maker (San Francisco: Sperry Flour Company, 1935), 92.