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Marilyn Monroe's Thanksgiving Stuffing


Since Thanksgiving is approaching, I decided to attempt Marilyn Monroe's stuffing. I'm not going to lie, I was daunted by it. There were a ton of ingredients and some of them seemed a bit odd to me like the hard boiled eggs, raisins and parmesan cheese. This recipe was handwritten by Monroe on stationary and printed in the book "Fragments".

Here is an easier to read version of the recipe that was re-printed in several publications including the NY Times.


  • A 10-ounce loaf sourdough bread

  • ½ pound chicken or turkey livers or hearts

  • ½ pound ground round or other beef

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

  • 4 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 cups chopped curly parsley

  • 2 eggs, hard boiled, chopped

  • 1 ½ cups raisins

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan

  • 1 ¼ cups chopped walnuts, pine nuts or roasted chestnuts, or a combination

  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary

  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed oregano

  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed thyme

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon salt-free, garlic-free poultry seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon pepper


  1. Split the bread loaf in half and soak it in a large bowl of cold water for 15 minutes. Wring out excess water over a colander and shred into pieces.

  2. Boil the livers or hearts for 8 minutes in salted water, then chop until no piece is larger than a coffee bean.

  3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef in the oil, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, so no piece is larger than a pistachio.

  4. In your largest mixing bowl, combine the sourdough, livers, ground beef, celery, onion, parsley, eggs, raisins, Parmesan and nuts, tossing gently with your hands to combine. Whisk the rosemary, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper together in a bowl, scatter over the stuffing and toss again with your hands. Taste and adjust for salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use as a stuffing or to bake separately as dressing. To serve as a dressing, pile about two quarts of the mixture into a 9-inch square baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until the top is evenly browned, about 1 hour.

Special Guest

Benjamin Meißner was my special guest. He is President of SOME LIKE IT HOT! The International Marilyn Monroe Fan Club of Germany and editor of MARILYN TODAY magazine. Benjamin did an outstanding job cooking everything and photographing the results!

The Final Result

In spite of my concerns, the stuffing turned out well. It was very different from the traditional stuffing many of us may be used to eating. The raisins give it an unexpected sweetness and the nuts provide a crunchy texture. When it was in the oven, it filled my entire apartment with this spicy, autumnal aroma. Monroe's recipe serves twenty people, but Benjamin and I scaled down the recipe and made much smaller versions. I also opted to make mine vegetarian. Here is the link from a NY Times article about this recipe.

In the course of researching this episode, I found several other articles about Marilyn Monroe's eating habits. In 1952 Monroe wrote about her diet in Pageant Magazine in an article called "How I Stay in Shape".


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