Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dinner and a Movie: The Love Parade (1929)

I love early talkies. It's so amazing to get to see and hear the 1920s at the same time. I'm always blown away by that particular decade, because it, at once, seems so terribly modern and quaintly old-fashioned. Filmed in 1929, The Love Parade was director Ernst Lubitsch's first talkie, Jeanette MacDonald's first-ever film and (according to IMDb) the first movie musical to incorporate the songs into the storyline. The direction is top-notch, the sound is clear (it was all dubbed in post-production) and the cast is fantastic. Besides Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier, there are roles for Eugene Pallette, music-hall veteran Lupino Lane (who would later introduce the world to "The Lambeth Walk") and former vaudevillian Lillian Roth. If you're a fan of 20s clothes, you'll want to check this one out. Jeanette MacDonald has a doozy of a wardrobe. The songs aren't really anything to write home about, but The Love Parade is such fun I don't think you'll mind. It had me hooked from the very beginning:

The Love Parade is available on DVD and you can watch it tomorrow night on TCM, along with two other Ernst Lubitsch musicals, Monte Carlo and The Merry Widow.

Naturally, you'll want a 1929 dinner to go with a 1929 movie, right? Lucky you: I happen to have a Mirro cookware pamphlet from that year with lots of appealing-sounding recipes. Plus, I just love old illustrated pamphlets. I really think I should hire an illustrator to follow me around a draw whatever it is I cook. The illustrations are always much more fabulous than the actual result. This menu should be called étude en blanc, because there isn't a single scrap of color anywhere to be found. I guess I should hire two "comparatively inexperienced" servants* to prepare garnishes to brighten up my cooking. All of the recipes were actually quite good.

Pigs in Blankets

2 four-ounce veal escalopes
salt and pepper
1 rasher bacon
2 thin onion slices
1 tablespoon clarified butter

Season the escalopes with salt and pepper. Top each with half the bacon and a slice of onion. Roll and skewer with a damp toothpick.

Heat the fat over medium-high heat until nice and hot and sear the veal rolls on each side. Add enough milk to cover, turn heat down so milk just simmers, cover and cook 1 hour, basting occasionally and turning halfway through.

Serves 2

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Crème fraîche Cauliflower Cheese

Mashed Potatoes

12- to 16- ounce Russet (or other starchy) potato
½ tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper

Scrub, peel and chop the potato. Boil in salted water until very tender (about 25 minutes).

Drain potato well, return to hot pan, mash with a fork and stir in butter and cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 2

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Finally, for dessert, I combed through my extensive collection of 1920s Jell-O pamphlets and found Pineapple Bavarian Cream. Any day I get to use my vintage molds is a good day. I know Jell-O is just awful--it's full of artificial colors, artificial flavors and other chemicals. However, I can't resist. We all have to have our little foibles, right? I really should make it from scratch, but I had a box of lemon Jell-O in the pantry. I don't even remember buying it...

Pineapple Bavarian Cream

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
1 package lemon Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar

Drain the crushed pineapple over a mixing bowl (you’ll need both the crushed pineapple and some of the juice later).

Dissolve the Jell-O in the boiling water. Stir a bit and leave until no longer hot. Stir in the salt and 1 cup of the strained pineapple juice. Refrigerate until the consistency of unbeaten egg whites (about 1 hour 15 minutes).

In a separate mixing bowl, whip the cream and sugar until the cream forms soft peaks. Set aside. When the Jell-O is chilled, beat until thickened and opaque. Stir in the drained crushed pineapple then fold in the whipped cream.

Divide mixture between eight molds or eight glasses and chill until firm.

Serves 8

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Coming up in 2013:
I want to start a video Q&A segment. I'm not sure of how often I'll make them, but I've been wanting to "dip my toe" into making videos for this blog for a while. If you have any questions you'd like me to answer, please post them either a) in the comments, b) on twitter, or c) via e-mail. My twitter handle is @hairstoncollado and my e-mail is


  1. That film looks absolutely brilliant - I'm hooked too! What a minx ;)

    I'm craving cauliflower at the moment too - it's a shame it never looks very beautiful. I love the illustration from the original recipe - what have they sprinkled on it, paprika?

    1. I does look as though paprika has been liberally implemented in the illustration. It's pretty amazing how frequently the drawings don't accurately reflect the recipes...

  2. Okay, I only watched half that clip before deciding this is a Must See! Thank you, Lauren. Ooo la la, Chevalier!

    That pineapple bavarian cream looks really good, I have to say. Y'know, when you add cream to gelatin, just don't think of it as "Jell-O"; think of it as one of my favorite Italian desserts: panna cotta!

  3. Oh, I love Maurice Chevalier/Jeanette MacDonald movies! They are so much fun. I love early talkies, too. I'm a classic movie nut. :o) That cauliflower sounds perfectly divine.

  4. I totally enjoyed the movie clip you shared - I'll have to put this one on the winter break list! These vintage recipes are looking seriously delicious, too. Love the elegant new look on your blog, too. Merry Christmas, Lauren!


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