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Eleanor Powell's Sweet Potato Croquettes

Tap dancer Rusty Frank and singer Janet Klein joined me for this special in person episode.



The Recipe


I always try to list the exact location where I found each recipe, but the origins are this one are a bit of a mystery. I found it on a blog called ClassicCelebrityRecipes. It sounded great and I contacted the person behind the blog post about their source and didn't hear back. That said, this recipe still sounded great and I wanted to give it a try. I'll still keep my eyes out though, as I'm hoping to uncover the source of this one eventually.


Ingredients


4 large sweet potatoes

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons brown sugar

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped moist shredded coconut

Yolk of one egg


Directions


First, boil 4 large sweet potatoes in their skins until soft. Peel while still soft and mash smooth.


Add nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt to the potatoes.


Whip all together until very stiff and set aside for cooling. When cool, use your hands make potatoes into a cylindrical shape to form a croquette.


Dip croquettes into flour very lightly, then into beaten egg, then roll well in a mixture of half fine breadcrumbs and/or half finely chopped coconut. Fry in deep fat until crisp and serve hot garnished with either parsley or thin slices of lemon.


Temperature of the frying fat should be 450 degrees, if you have a fat thermometer. If not, remember 450 degrees is really hot.


Special Guests


Rusty Frank

Rusty Frank is a Tap Dancer and Lindy Hopper, producer, choreographer, writer, and dance preservationist. The author of the critically acclaimed book TAP! THE GREATEST TAP DANCE STARS AND THEIR STORIES 1900-1955, Rusty also produced and choreographed the stage revues “SWINGIN’ THE CENTURY - THE BIG BAND SHOW“ and “JAZZ TAP”. She has appeared in many dance documentaries, including the BBC’s “Fascinating Rhythms - The Story of Tap” and Warner Home Video’s "Astaire-Rogers" Box Set documentary.


Rusty began her dancing career at the tender age of six, when she saw her first Shirley Temple movie ("I wanna do that!"). She studied with many of the great tap masters, including her mentor, Louis DaPron, as well as Fayard Nicholas (Nicholas Brothers), Gene Nelson, Miriam Nelson, Bob Scheerer, Lou Wills, Jr., Leonard Reed, Dorothy Toy, Glenn Turnbull, Katherine Hopkins Nicholas, and Jon Zerby. She entered the dance profession in her early 20s, performing in many musicals (42ND STREET, MACK AND MABEL, BABES IN ARMS, DAMES AT SEA, 5, 6, 7, 8, MINNIE’S BOYS, and SNEAK PREVIEW).


Rusty has taught and performed in twenty-three countries around the world and performed at such locales as Broadway’s 42nd Street, The Hollywood Bowl, Disneyland, and the Derby. For more information about Rusty and her classes in Swing & Lindy Hop and her online store (including loads of tap dance instructional videos!) visit RUSTYFRANK.COM

Rusty wrote the book TAP! THE GREATEST TAP DANCE STARS AND THEIR STORIES 1900-1955


Janet Klein

Ukulele Chanteuse Janet Klein is a band-leader, musical archeologist specializing in rare and wonderful early jazz of the 1920s and 1930s.


Joined by some of her L.A.-based band members—The Parlor Boys—She and her band have recorded 10 CDs with their spirited renditions of Tin Pan Alley, early hot jazz, vaudeville, and Yiddish novelty tunes, ragtime, and other rare and rustic gems.

When live concerts and tours were curtailed in 2020, Janet kept the musical cheer and “time travel entertainment” going by creating an online series called “Hit of the Week Parlor Party" and "Parlor Party Cartoon Screening Room" with fellow musicians, artists & historian pals.

Gingerly turning the corner to 2021 Janet will appear as a prologue to Chaplin's "City Lights" at the Warner Grand Theater, San Pedro on Friday, November 5th and she and the band return to the Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo on Sunday, November 21st. To learn more, visit JANETKLEIN.COM




The Final Result


This was delicious and we ate a ton of them!



As always, I encourage everyone to watch these movies! Many of them are available on Turner Classic Movies, Amazon Prime and DVD.




Here are links to some of the Eleanor Powell clips that were mentioned in the presentation:


The filming of Fascinating Rhythm


Dancing with Buttons the dog (and Eleanor trained the pup herself)


Ship Ahoy with Buddy Rich


Begin The Beguine with Fred Astaire


Jukebox Dance with Fred Astaire


One of Rusty’s favorites - Western Rope Dance

(watch how few cuts there are!)


The filming of Fred Astaire in Slap That Bass showing the cleaning of the floor


There is currently a new biography being written about Eleanor Powell. Click HERE to learn more.


In the meantime there are two other books on Eleanor Powell that you can look for online or at your local library.