Monday, February 18, 2013

Life This Week: February 19, 1940

Mae West and W.C. Fields only made one movie together and it was My Little Chickadee, this week's "Movie of the Week" (check out the photos of Mae West's apartment while you're at it), a western penned by Ms. West. Fields wrote some of the dialogue, but the studio gave him equal credit for the script which royally pissed off Mae West. She refused to work with W.C. Fields again.

My Little Chickadee is a lot of fun and if you like Mae West (or W.C. Fields) you'll enjoy it. As you might expect, Mae West plays a woman run out of town for her loose morals and W.C. Fields is a drunken huckster who's rather liberal with the truth. Naturally, My Little Chickadee has some quotable lines:

Judge: Are you trying to show contempt for this court?
Flower Belle (Mae West): No... I'm doin' my best to hide it!

Cousin Zeb: Uh, is this a game of chance?
Cuthbert J. Twillie (W.C. Fields): Not the way I play it, no.

Wayne Carter: Aren't you forgetting that you're married?
Flower Belle: I'm doin' my best.

Cuthbert J. Twillie: Come, my phlox, my flower! I have some very definite pear-shaped ideas that I'd like to discuss with thee.

quotes from IMDb

Like a lot of issues from this time, there's a full-color Dromedary ad. Last February (can't believe it's been a year!), one of their ads for Gingerbread Mix inspired me to make some gingerbread from scratch. This year I've made Date-Nut Loaf. I was totally going to make cream cheese sandwiches like in the ad, but we ate all the bread before I even got around to buying the cream cheese.

Date-Nut Loaf

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar*
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dates, sliced
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan, line it with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the dates and walnuts. Mix in the milk, egg yolks and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and you can turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out. Fold into the batter then spoon batter into prepared loaf tin. Bake 60 to 65 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes then turn out to cool on a wire rack.

Serves 8 to 12

Adapted from "Date Loaf Cake" in A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband.

*I used 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup date sugar. You can totally just use all granulated sugar.

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  1. Aahh I love a bit of Miss West, her swan bed is to die for, that nut loaf looks yummy! x

  2. I used to love Mae's movies when I was a kid. She was definitely an original. Date-nut loaf with a dab of cream cheese on it has to be one of my favorite things. Looks. Fab.

  3. I'm in love with those polka dot ruffles - I definitely need more Mae West (and date nut loaf) in my life!

  4. I remember Grandma making date nut loaf when I was little. (I wouldn't even touch it! Funny, how when you start trying things, you make some yummy finds.) Oh, Mae West - what fun! I think I remember Daddy saying he thought WC Fields was funny and Mom rolling her eyes. The bread looks fabulous on your pretty plate!

  5. You just transported me back in time...I remember watching this movie with my dad! Thanks for the lovely memory. I love date-nut bread (my mom always made cream cheese sandwiches with it, too) and this one looks delicious.


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