Friday, January 27, 2012

Joan Crawford Entertains (Photoplay, 1936)


Having some people over for dinner tonight, and what should to my wondering eyes appear in the course of my morning's Photoplay perusal than an article called "Joan Crawford Entertains"? My Joanie? Entertaining?! Like me...?!!?!

Where I think this article had more to do with drumming up publicity for her forthcoming MGM picture, No More Ladies with frequent co-star Robert Montgomery and real-life husband Franchot Tone, it's fun to see our Joan hovering over a beautifully set table in anticipation of her glittering guests. See her cockeyed oversized bow tie AND carnation corsage? I like the look of it.

And what did she (purportedly) serve, you may ask?
  • Fruit appetizer-- "served in a tall stemmed glass, very cold".
  • Almond soup
  • Roast squab-- " the ideal meat for a nice dinner". I hate to say I was ignorant of what, exactly, "squab" was, besides some type of poultry dish I'd read about Robin Hood sorts in medieval times eating, but it turns out the term refers to domestic pigeon meat. And no wonder I was unaware of its provenance!

[How could you, Joanie? Look at his face. This will come back to haunt you in the movie scene I've excerpted to the know which one I'm talking about.]
  • Wild rice
  • Salad (mixture of endive, watercress, lettuce, French dressing and mandarin oranges)
  • Crepes suzette for dessert.
Not a bad spread, if you ask me! Here are the original pages (click for a larger image) if you're interested in the recipes (or are a pigeon murderer). Note the sidebar appearance of my beloved Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland at the end of the article in gym attire, just before the release of Captain Blood (which catapulted both to stardom).

Photobucket Photobucket

Me, I'm sticking with Daisy King's Gracious Entertaining, Southern Style. Working in a library has about a million perks for the bibliophile, one of which is the well nigh constant discovery of books that just happen to cross the desk and catch one's eye. I have the worst time choosing ONE cookbook when the opportunity to entertain presents itself, and I gave up on the Betty Crocker Hostess's Cookbook, in spite of its charming cover and illustrations, when it suggested that I serve a weird, essential pork and beans dish as the main course for last minute guests (really, the nerve of some people! Miss Crocker, where exactly do you get off on this one?). Luckily for me, Miss Daisy's book has a cracked spine and when I opened it to repair it, sure, I was a little tickled by the insanely late 80s/early 90s photo illustrations, but the recipes and menu suggestions are rock solid. I'll have to tell you how the dinner goes after I serve it tonight!

To see more celebrity cookery, and a whopping 28 entries featuring Joan, I recommend Jenny's Silver Screen Suppers, complete with commentary and reviews on many of the culinary outings of our favorite stars.

Wish me luck!


  1. Joan Crawford is so intense. I wonder what her dinner parties were like.

  2. What a fun find! As an aspiring pigeon-murderer, I'll have to try Ms. Crawford's squab recipe.

    P.S. Love the pic of Errol and Olivia!
    P.P.S. How have I missed seeing No More Ladies?!

  3. @ Lauren, agree, agree, and I know, right? I keep balking at the 19.99 price tags on a lot of those Warner Archive entries, but honestly, it would cost less than two tickets to a evening show and popcorn nowadays. The plot in that movie made NO SENSE(did you feel like the last two minutes were just tacked on for the sake of having an ending?) but the serious eyecandy of Joan and her contemporaries in 30s evening dress...and all the wet eyed melodrama... kind of loved the whole thing, I can't lie.



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