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Marlene Dietrich's Banana Nut Bread

Marlene's grandson Peter Riva joined us to discuss the woman behind the legend.

Marlene Dietrich remains one of the most iconic stars in screen history. She began her career in the cabarets and film sets of 1920s Berlin before making the transition to Hollywood. From 1930 - 1935 she made seven films with director Josef von Sternberg and their collaboration yielded several classics including "The Blue Angel", "Morocco" and "Shanghai Express". Dietrich became an American citizen and bravely entertained soldiers across the front during WWII and was later awarded the Medal of Freedom. Her fierce intelligence, gender bending fashion and political activism make her a star of great relevance both then and now.


The recipe is from the book "Famous Stars Favorite Foods" edited by Fannie Sniff and published in 1938.


1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon soda

1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed banana pulp

1/2 cup finely chopped walnut meats


Sift flour; measure; and sift again with soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Cream shortening; add sugar gradually; cream until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients alternatively with banana pulp; beat until thoroughly combined; add walnut meats. Pour into well greased loaf pan (4x9x3); bake 1 hour, or until done, in moderate oven. Makes 1 loaf.

*I baked this at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Special Guest

Peter Riva is the grandson of Marlene Dietrich and the son of actress Maria Riva and her husband production designer Michael Riva. He is a literary agent and producer. He made arrangements for the Marlene Dietrich collection to be on permanent display at the Deutsche Kinemathek.

Benjamin Meißner is the President of SOME LIKE IT HOT! The International Marilyn Monroe Fan Club of Germany and editor of MARILYN TODAY magazine. He greatly admirers Marlene Dietrich and has made several visits to the The Deutsche Kinemathek Film Museum in Berlin to study her collection.

The Final Result

These photos are from Benjamin Meißner.

On July 26, 2022 University of Kentucky Press will be releasing three Marlene Dietrich books. We will be doing another episode later on to promote them. In the meantime, here is a sneak peak at the covers. We encourage you to contact your local bookstore about pre-ordering these titles. As always, we highly recommend our friends at Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Hollywood.

Most of Marlene's film career is available on DVD and her films are frequently shown on Turner Classic Movies. Here are a few of my favorites:

Thank you to collage artist Cherie Savoie Tintary for making this graphic.

Marlene Dietrich posed with Eddie Cantor as Santa the Hollywood Canteen during WWII.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us at Hollywood Kitchen!


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