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Chili Con Carni by Mabel

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CELEBRATED ACTOR-FOLKS' COOKERIES: A Collection of The Favorite Foods of Famous Players, New York City: Published by Mabel Rowland Inc., 256 pages plus 3 pages of ads; including 256 photographs of theatrical and early silent movie stars, many with accurate facsimile autographs.


The fact that these two realms of entertainment are represented under one cover is an early sign that acting in moving pictures was at this time just beginning to earn some of the respect of its much older cousin, acting on the stage (anyway, there was plenty of overlapping by 1916).

The proceeds from this book, as expained by publisher Rowland in an introduction, went to benefit both the Red Cross and the Actor's Fund; the Red Cross made the cut, presumably, as there was a rather awful war going on overseas. The idea was simple: Approach any and every film/theater star around, and ask him/her to contribute a favorite recipe. Thus we have represented here a wide cast of luminaries. Some examples:


From the movies:

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle (Fricassee of Lobster and Mushrooms);

King Baggot (Roast Beef Hash with Gren Peppers);

Theda Bara (Snails a la Mouquin and Snail Butter a la Keiner);

Francis X. Bushman (Mushroom Soup);

Charles Chaplin (Apple Roll);

Mary Pickford (Raspberry Jam Tarts; "These are so simple to make that I often do them myself.");

Anita Stewart (Pot Roast);

Douglas Fairbanks (Chicken--Southern Style: "Fried to a golden brown in plenty of butter and, when taken up on a hot platter, covered with a thick gravy made of a spoonful of flour, browned in the chicken pan and mixed with half a cup of water and two cups of cream. Pepper and salt to taste.;

Marie Dressler (Sweet Pickle Cherry Conserve);

William S. Hart (Indian Pudding);

Milton Sills (Cocoanut Cake);

Chester Conklin (Yorkshire Tart);

Warren Kerrigan (Squash or Pumpkin Pie);

Mabel Normand (Chili Con Carne);

Mack Sennett (Stewed Lamb and Vegetables);

Dorothy Gish (Corn and Cheese Souffle);

Linda A. Griffith (Mrs. D.W.; Chocolate Cookies);

Olive Thomas (Breast of Chicken a la Follies);

many many others.

From the stage (I'll just list their names; trust me, they all contributed recipes):

Ethel Barrymore,

George M. Cohan,

Jane Cowl,

Gaby Deslys,

Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Drew (also appearing in films by now),

William Faversham,

Maude Fay,

Lew Fields,

William Gillette,

James K. Hackett,

Raymond Hitchcock,

Elsie Janis,

Al Jolson,

Louis Mann,

Evelyln Nesbit,

Fred Niblo (soon to direct movies),

Harry Houdini,

Otis Skinner,

John Philip Sousa,

Ruth St. Denis,

Laurete Taylor,

Sophie Tucker,

Fanny Ward,

Blanche Yurka,

many many others.









To a pound of chopped liver, add a medium-sized onion chopped, salt and pepper to season.  Take two tablespoons of flour, add milk to form a thin batter, stir in the liver and drop by spoonfuls in a hot greased spider.  Let brown quickly on one side then turn and brown the other.  An egg added improves the dish.  The patties should be thin so that the liver will be well cooked. 


Al Jolson






Make a biscuit dough; place on top four or five sour apples, chopped finely.  Roll and place in a buttered pan or a casserole.  Make a syrup by boiling together for five minutes one cup of sugar, one-half cup water, one-half teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg.  Pour half over roll, saving remainder to serve as sauce.  Bake one-half hour in an uncovered pan, basting with syrup.

For biscuit dough use two cups bread flour, five teaspoonfuls Royal Baking Powder, two teaspoonfuls butter, one cup milk and one-half teaspoonful salt.


Charles Chaplin

Contrary to my comedy reputation I do not advise mixing the dough with the feet






½ pound mushrooms

4 cups white stock

¼ cup pearl sago

Salt and pepper

1 cup boiling water

1 cup heavy cream

2 eggs (yolks)


Wash and chop mushrooms, and add stock.  Cook twenty minutes and rub through sieve.  Cook sago in boiling water thirty minutes and add to stock and, soon as boiling point is reached, season with salt and pepper, then add cream and yolks of eggs.


Sincerely yours,

Francis X. Bushman


Come on over and sup with us tonight?





Three large pisces white bread – buttered.  Cut in quarters, and line an enamel pie dish with same.  Prepare custard of two eggs, one cup granulated sugar, one quart sweet milk.

Pour custatf over bread and butter, and bake it in moderate oven forty-five minutes.


Sincerely yours,

Harry Houdini

I happen to have a weakness for sweets, and this one you will not find in any other cook book.






1 pound chestnuts

1 cupful milk

½ cupful sugar

2 Tablespoonfuls butter

½ teaspoonful vanilla


Blanch the chestnuts, then cook until tender in boiling water.  Drain and rub the chestnuts through a sieve, combine with milk, butter, and sugar, and cook until thick.  Cool, flavor, and just before serving rub again through a colander to give lightness; serve with sweetened whipped cream flavored with vanilla.


Irene Castle

(Mrs. Vernon Castle)





Peel one pound of large mushrooms.  Drop them into water to which the juice of a lemon had been added.  Into a 2-quart chafing dish place a large lump of butter: when this is melted add the mushrooms (after draining off the water) in layers; add one Spanish onion cut in slices.


Put on the cover and let them simmer until they draw their own juices.  When soft enough for a fork to pierce easily add half a cup of cream, salt and paprika to taste and just before serving add the juice of half a lemon.  This lemon brings out the flavor of all the seasoning and mushrooms.


Lillian Russell


This is my favorite recipe and a dish that I love to fuss with myself.





Scrag end or breast of lamb does for this dish, and cold lamb may also be heated, in which case the vegetables are prepared as directed, and the pieces of meat laid upon them and lightly heated.  Trim all excessive fat off the scrag-end or breast (one pound).  Place the meat in a sauté pan with two ounces dripping, and fry slowly till nicely colored.  Add one dozen spring onions and an equal number of new carrots, and fry just till lightly colored.  Remove all the fat, cover with water, add salt in the proportion of one-quarter ounce to the ounce of liquid, also a faggot of aromatic herbs, and one tablespoonful of tomato puree.  Cook for three-quarters of an hour.  Now remove the foggot of herbs and any fat that rises to the surface, and thicken the liquid with diluted potato flour or any other starch.  Now add twelve thinly peeled new potatoes and a tablespoonful peas, also pinch of pepper.  Cook till all is done; serve with chapped parsley sprinkled over the dish.


Mack Sennett





¼ lb. pot cheese or cream cheese

¼ lb. Flour

¼ lb. butter


Mix into a dough then cut into very thin squares.  Fill the center of each square with raspberry jam and then turn up the corners in envelope fashion.  Bake in a moderate oven until nicely browned.



Mary Pickford


These are so simple to make that I often do them myself.





Wash the snails thoroughly in cold water, set on fire in cold water, let come to a boiling point then remove them from the stove and let stand for one minute, then drain them in cold water.  Remove the cover with a small-pointed knife, pull out the snail, take off the small end and put the snails in a dish pan with plenty of slat, about one pound of salt to one hundred snails; let stand for one hour, stirring them once in a while.  Then wash in running water, until the water runs absolutely clear.  Put the snails in a saucepan with two parts of white broth and one part of dry white wine, garnish with garlic, sprig of thyme and carrot; let them cook for three hours, remove the garnishing put them in a jar and get cold.  Put the shells in a pot with plenty of washing soda and boil them for half an hour, then rinse in cold water; set them in hot place to dry.




Garlic, shallots, watercress, parsley, spinach, whole pepper, bay leaves; pass through mash chopper, very fine.  Mixed with fresh butter, add little Worcestershire sauce and set in ice box.  Take one shell, fill it with a little snail butter, add the snail and fill the shell with snail butter and dip in bread crumbs.

When required set in oven for four or five minutes until they are boiling and serve immediately.

Sincerely yours

Theda Bara

(Recipe with courtesy of Mr. Fred Keiner.)






1 qt.  milk

½ cup cornmeal

½ cup molasses

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ginger

      or cinnamon

1 cup cold milk


Heat one quart of milk and stir in the meal slowly until it thickens.  Take from the stove and add molasses, salt and spice.  Put mixture into a buttered earthen pudding dish and cold milk.  Bake over a low flames for two hours.  After the pudding is partly cooked a little more cold milk may be added if desired.  Serve with or without cream.


Yours truly,

William S. Hart