20 March 2015

Famous Food Friday - Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray

In 1947, Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray stared in "The Egg and I." The movie was based on Betty MacDonald's book of the same name. It was a wildly popular account of her life as a young bride on a chicken farm. When I say The Egg and I was a popular book, I mean that in less than a year it sold a million copies! The film rights were quickly sold and in 1947 the book became a movie with Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. 

In addition to Colbert and MacMurray, the film co-stared Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride as Ma and Pa Kettle.  Main was nominated for an Academy Award for best Supporting Actress but she lost to Celeste Holm in "Gentleman's Agreement." (It is so hard to win for comedy!) After all the publicity, practically everyone involved with the book was sued.  According to the folks down on the farm, old Mrs. MacDonald portrayed them negatively and they wanted monetary gains for being made to look foolish! And they did indeed get paid, but enough about them.

If you bounce over to Cookbook Of The Day, you know that we are especially fond of egg cookbooks and of celebrity recipes. This Famous Food Friday, we have both. As a spin-off of the wildly successful movie, The Favorite Egg Recipes of Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray was published in a booklet by the National Egg Board. (Yes, Virginia, we are willing to concede that these recipes are probably not the actual recipes of Fred and Claudette, but we are happy to overlook such notions.)

According to Colbert:

"The egg is really one of the greatest boons to womankind, ranking with the sewing machine, the electric washer, the permanent wave and the right to vote."

According to MacMurray:

"The egg, for my money, is the best friend of any man ever trapped in the kitchen."

I love eggs as much as the next person, but I am not sure I would equate them with voting rights.  What a difference seventy years makes. Well we are still eating eggs, still voting, and still drinking. Of course, today we are drinking alcohol. In 1947 such drinking, especially endorsed by the family friendly National Egg Board, was frowned upon. Here is an eggy julep for you, in the truest sense of a sweet, flavored drink, as opposed to the kind that most often feature a good shot of bourbon.

Egg and I Julep

3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups orange juice, strained
1/3 cup lemon juice, strained
Crushed ice, club soda

Blend eggs, sugar and salt. Add fruit juices. Shake or beat until sugar is dissolved. pour over finely cracked ice to fill tall glasses 1/2 full. Add club soda slowly. Stir. Serve promptly.

Feel free to add a big ol' glug of bourbon! on a personal note, I would suggest trolling Turner Broadcasting to find a showing of any one of Ma and Pa Kettle's movies and feel free to watch with a big ol' glug of bourbon!


  1. Long time follower - first comment. As an southerner exiled to the misty mountains of the northwest I tremendously enjoy reading your blog. It feels like I am having a cozy chat with a girlfriend from Alabama. I enjoyed the movie The Egg and I, but after I moved to Seattle I read the book, and several of the other Betty MacDonald books. They provide a great snapshot of the area during the Great Depression and the war years. On the Olympic Peninsula, there is actually an "Egg and I" road - it goes to the farm that she lived on in the 20s. She worked where I now work, and as described in one of her later books, was fired from her job for working on The Egg and I book. But she got the last laugh as it became such a huge bestseller. Sadly, she died too young, at the age of 49.

    1. That is one of the coolest things about blogs, you find people in the far flung corners who you know you would be friends with right away. Thanks for the kind words! Lucinda

  2. Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share


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