Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feasts and Festivals: Carnival

In case you didn't know, Shrove Tuesday is next week (the 12th), so Carnival is drawing to a close. Carnival is a series of festivities preceding Lent and usually happens in predominantly-Catholic areas, such as Argentina, where the film Gilda (1946) takes place. Here are Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth dressed up for the Carnaval de Buenos Aires...

 ...and the two of them in a publicity still (featuring the black dress that's practically as famous as the movie).

These three recipes are from the same year as Gilda--they're adapted from my 1946 edition of The Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. We had the crab cocktail as an appetizer and then had a steak, baked potato, green salad and buttermilk biscuits.

Crab Cocktail

4 ounces canned crab meat (get the good stuff)
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 lettuce leaves
1/4 cup cocktail sauce (se recipe below)

Combine the crab meat, the celery and the cocktail sauce. Chill and serve in cocktail glasses lined with lettuce.

Serves 2

Cocktail Sauce

6 tablespoons chili sauce*
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons grated horseradish root
1/4 teaspoon grated onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients and chill.

Makes 1/2 cup

*The chili sauce in this recipe should be similar to Heinz chili sauce. This isn't the same thing as sriracha--that would make the cocktail sauce really hot!The sauce I used was Grama's Sweet Chili Sauce.

Download and print

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons softened butter
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk and stir with fork until dough follows fork around bowl. Knead for about 30 seconds and then roll out on a lightly floured board to 3/8" thickness. Brush with melted butter, fold dough in half and cut out biscuits. If you use a 2 3/8" cutter, you should get about a dozen biscuits.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

Download and print

More of Ms. Hayworth's awesome costumes

Are you as obsessed as I am with the Jazz Age?

If you follow me on facebook, you'll know that I'm planning to tackle a week's worth (breakfast, luncheon, dinner) of menus from the March 1927 issue of American Cookery magazine. I'll be posting photos to facebook in real time and doing a wrap-up each day on the blog. I wanted to make it possible for you to follow along (or even cook along!) with me, so I'll be making the menus and all the recipes available as an e-book. Tentatively, I plan to do the event the last full week of March: Sunday the 24th through Saturday the 30th.

As soon as it's ready, there will be a free St. Patrick's Day bonus e-booklet just for subscribers. It will be available in an upcoming newsletter, so sign up today!

Did you like this post? Please share it on facebook, pin it or tweet it! Subscribe to my mailing list and be sure to sign up for the monthly newsletter, as well. You'll get special subscriber-only content (like my classic movie recommendations of the month).

Want to keep up with me in between blog posts? The best way to do that is by liking The Past on a Plate on facebook. Hope to see you there! 


  1. I LOVE Gilda. But maybe not as much as my husband does. Rita Hayworth is his dream woman, I think...

    1. I think Rita Hayworth was absolutely gorgeous. It's so funny, though, because Paul watched it with me and then said, "I don't get what the big deal was about Rita Hayworth." Of course, he's got a bit of a crush on pre-Code Jean Harlow.

  2. Put the blame on Mame. *Gilda* - one of my absolute favorites.

    1. Love that musical number! And "Amado Mio." Why aren't nightclubs like that anymore?

  3. Yes, it's time for Carnival, fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. I think its so fun, the frantic revelry that goes before Lent. Reminds me a bit of my time in French class....Don't know why I'm thinking of King Cake. Is that Christmas?
    And I LOVE the 20s. Especially with downton and now that I've cut my hair all off (as I do ever so often!) such a beautiful time. I've been making a 1920s jazz baby pinterest board myself ;)

    1. King Cake is definitely a Mardi Gras thing. Always makes me think of French class, too.

      I've noticed your pinboard--I've been busy pinning 20s images, too. I hope you'll join the 1920s Menu Challenge!

  4. Love the stills - Rita Hayworth is gorgeous, what fabulous costumes! Kirby said to tell you those biscuits look fantastic!

  5. Whatta feast. Whatta dress an whatta dame!

  6. Rita was smokin' in that movie. truly one of the most unforgettable sexiest performances ever. I was so sad to miss Karneval (Fasching) in Germany this year. In Nordrhein Westphalia it's a completely crazy time.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.