22 May 2009

Famous Food Friday --Liberace

Perhaps today it should be Flamboyant Food Friday because our recipe comes from the always flamboyant, Liberace.

Liberace had to write a cookbook because he had a lot of recipes to cook in his seven dining rooms.

Seven dining rooms! That’s flamboyant. One wonders how many bathrooms were in the house if it had seven dining rooms. OK, there is a formal dinning room, informal dining room, eat-in kitchen, loggia, barbecue and a couple of more places to entertain. Like the TV dining room, below.

Liberace's mother was Polish and his father Italian. Liberace and his brother, George, and his sister, Angelina, all played the piano. George gave it up for the violin, Angelina gave it up for a husband, but Liberace – he continued to play. Since his mother worked, he also did a good bit of the cooking. Here is Liberace's riff on his mother's potato cakes.

Polish Potato Cakes

6 medium potatoes, boiled
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt

Peel the potatoes and put them through a sieve or ricer. Mix slightly beaten egg yolks with the milk, nutmeg, and salt, and mix with the potatoes. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold in. Fry in butter on a griddle.

For all that flamboyance on the stage (and off if one believes what one reads...) Liberace was a rather plain cook. No swans in aspic or flaming desserts. Even his mother's potato cakes had a bit of chopped onions! His cookbook reflects his immigrant beginnings in Milwaukee. When little Walter was playing the piano and cooking potato cakes for his mother, she had not a clue what was to come...

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