We confess some resistance to celebrity recipe collections. They’re obviously great favorites for fundraising and easy to put together, as public figures—some devoted cooks, others as distant from their stoves as they might be from Formula 1 race cars—often keep a file of ready recipes that can be offered to worthy causes. But we must say that this 1951 treasure trove was too tempting to bypass. Some of the dishes are old standards, but a number are genuine personal favorites of the donors.
This cast of characters, however, is one that can’t be beat. Here are the superstars of the mid-20th century, snared by the artistic energies of a now-vanished New Jersey piano manufacturer, which brought genuine cultural sparkle to Newark.
For those of a certain generation, this list of musical giants cannot be beat. It is astonishing to see within the covers of one slim book the likes of vocalists Lily Pons, Patrice Munsel, Rise Stevens, Laurence Tibbett, and Jan Peerce (with genuine matzoh balls in chicken soup); pianists Gina Bachauer and Clifford Curzon; violinists Joseph Szegeti, Yehudi Menuhin, and Jascha Heifitz; conductors Eugene Ormandy and George Szell (with what he calls the REAL goulash); and even the great Metropolitan Opera announcer Milton Cross. This is only a sparse sampling.
To lighten the tone there are a few contributions by those not from the classical side—Nelson Eddy from operetta and pops, bandleader Paul Whiteman, and the Trapp Family Singers, who offer some very nice Tyrolean dumplings.
The book, nicely done with brown ink on buff-colored stock, is comb-bound and quite nice looking. Every recipe is accompanied by a sprightly drawing appropriate to the recipe and to the musical personality who offered it up. The contributors’ signatures are also reproduced.
Our copy is comb bound and in Very Good condition—clean, unmarked, fresh looking. On the inside front cover is a small presentation bookplate to one of the supporters of the foundation.