Norma Shearer was known as the First Lady of M-G-M and made a successful transition from silents to sound. She was also the first performer to earn five Academy Award nominations and took home the statuette for her performance in the racy pre-code "The Divorcee". Other notable films in her filmography include "A Free Soul", "The Barretts of Wimpole Street", "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Women". Shearer was married to M-G-M producer Irving Thalberg and retired from the screen in 1942.
The recipe comes from the Photoplay Cookbook of 1927. It is really hard to find this cookbook in print, but fortunately I was able to download a free PDF from the website Vintagecookbooks.com.
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup oatmeal
Sift dry ingredients together, except oatmeal. Work in butter. Scald milk and pour over oatmeal. Allow this to cool. Add to other mixture and work with hands until smooth. Roll into sticks the size of a lead pencil. Bake for ten minutes in fairly hot oven.
Darin Barnes was my special guest. He is an expert on Norma Shearer and has an extensive collection of Shearer photographs, posters and memorabilia.
Before every episode, I meet with my special guest over Zoom and we test out the recipe. In this case the final result needed to be adjusted. It was basically a bland, tasteless lump of dough.
Photoplay Magazine so did a promotional line of silver spoons with star cameos and raised autographs in the 1920s. While working on this recipe, I made sure to keep my Norma Shearer spoon handy.
The Final Result
Darin and I had to add a TON of cinnamon and sugar to make these oatmeal sticks work.
Before settling on the oatmeal sticks, we found several recipes attributed to Norma Shearer in several vintage Hollywood cookbooks. Without question the most disturbing recipe we found was for Norma's Pineapple Sweet Salad. It included jello, pickles, cucumbers, pineapple, olives and mayonnaise. I was unwilling to make it, but Darin did. That said, Darin was unwilling to eat it. His husband Eric did so on our behalf.