I kicked off Hollywood Kitchen by making Ann Dvorak's Fruit Salad A La Jell. This recipe is from the 1930s cookbook "125 Recipes of Famous Movie Stars Revealing the Culinary Secrets of the Screen Idols of the World".
Ann Dvorak was a very talented actress in the 1930s and 40s and starred in the pre-code classics "Three on a Match" and "Scarface". Unfortunately she walked out on her contract at the peak of her success and her career never fully recovered.
2 tablespoons granulated gelatine
1/2 cup cold water
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 slices diced pineapple
1/2 cup red cherries
Soak 2 tablespoons granulated gelatine in 1/2 cup cold water for 5 minutes and then dissolve 2 1/2 cups boiling water. Add 1 cup sugar and allow to cool. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice. Put into refrigerator until mixture stars to thicken. Then add 5 slices of diced pineapple, 1 grapefruit, 1/2 cup red cherries, 2 oranges (if desired can add 1/2 cup peaches). Pour entire mixture into a wet mould and return to refrigerator until firm. Serve with mayonnaise or whipped cream.
My special guest for this episode was film historian Christina Rice. She is the head of the photo archive at the Los Angeles Public Library and author of the book "Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel" and the upcoming book "Mean...Moody...Magnificent!: Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend".
I found a set of authentic 1930s jello molds on ebay and they were even shaped like a star and had never been used before.
I did two test runs of this recipe and both of my attempts failed. I made the mistake of using fresh fruit, which is apparently a huge mistake when working with jello molds. Getting the jello out of the mold in perfect condition is also a challenge.
The Final Product
Christina's version turned out well and it is pictured below. I had nothing to show when we went live. Instead I grabbed some lettuce and placed some walnuts on it. Since Ann had a walnut farm, that seemed like an appropriate solution!
I hope you will consider reading Christina's book on Ann Dvorak and checking out her movies. She is a talented actress and certainly worth watching.