Celebrity recipes are always a mixed bag and in my experience that bag usually holds a lot of bland disappointments and ill-advised oddities. Frank DeCaro’s The Dead Celebrity Cookbook does much better than most to battle this opinion. It’s an amusing compendium of fond remembrances and celebrity recipes by A- , B- and C-list stars loved and lost. Most of the recipes serve to add flavor (lame pun intended) to their out-sized personalities.
Sure there’s a fair share of limp offerings such as Dinah Shore’s Red Snapper (broiled fish with lemon and butter and a wink-wink name) and Ann Miller’s even less revealing Fettuccine Alfredo (no surprises there). But those are the minority. Aren’t you happy to learn Lucille Ball made a killer persimmon cake as well as the vaguely un-P.C., one-pot wonder she called her “Chinese-y Thing”?
How about Don Ho Soup with pig’s feet and salted turnips?
Madeline Kahn cut her sugar cookies into the shape of a foot. Not having a foot-shape cookie cutter is no excuse as she gives instructions how to create a foot template. (The why of this goes unexplained.)
But it was Eva Gabor’s celebrity recipe for Hungarian Goulash that sparked my imagination. For younger readers, the Gabors were the ur-Kardashians* of their time. Budapest-born Eva, the Kourtney of the family, made her mark in films (Gigi, The Last Time I Saw Paris) and on TV as the glamorous, ditsy socialite Lisa Douglas in Green Acres. Though no longer with us (Dead Celebrity Cookbook, remember?) her legacy lives on with her perennially popular line of wigs. Eva was married five times.
Acquiring the veal heart proved trickier than anticipated. Chef Jon Mailo of the sublime Upper West Side’s Picholine kindly procured a couple of fresh beauties from Elysian Fields which provides veal and lamb for some of the city’s finest restaurants (e.g. Per Se). Chef Jon gave me a crash course on how to break down the heart which is easier than one might imagine. Basically it’s follow the lines and cut off anything you’d prefer not to eat.
Click her for the celebrity recipe Eva Gabor’s Hungarian Goulash
*To round out the Kardashian analogy, Eva’s sister Zsa Zsa was the Kim Kardashian of her day and of this writing (11/26/2016) is still with us at the ripe old age of 99! In true famous-for-being famous fashion, slapping a traffic cop is one of her best remembered performances. (Nine marriages.) The other sister Magda (married six times) was the Khloé, and mama Jolie could have gone head to head with Kris Jenner anytime.