Writer Kristen Lopez joined me to celebrate Veronica Lake's centennial and to try out her meatloaf recipe.
Veronica Lake became a star in the 1940s at Paramount in the films "Sullivan's Travels", "I Married A Witch" and "Hold That Blonde". She teamed with Alan Ladd for a series of memorable films in the noir genre including "The Blue Dahlia", "The Glass Key" and "This Gun For Hire". Lake was dubbed "The Peek-A-Boo Girl" for her iconic hairstyle. It was widely copied by women working in factories and several of them had major accidents due to their hair being caught in the machinery. At the request of the government, Lake changed her hairstyle and even filmed a public service announcement about factory safety.
The unpublished manuscript by Pauline Kessinger, who ran Paramount's "Continental Café" from the '40s to the '80s. This recipe ran as part of an article about her in The Hollywood Reporter. This recipe is courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
Veronica Lake's Meatloaf
"Whenever women get together, the conversation automatically turns to the high cost of food. And why not? These days balancing a food budget is every bit as complicated as figuring out a yearly income-tax report. Not long ago, Veronica Lake, Mona Freeman and Mary Hatcher were engaged in 'girl talk' between scenes of their new movie, Isn't It Romantic . When the king-size headache of menu planning entered the conversation, Veronica told her co-stars about an economical meatloaf she serves her family. According to Veronica, the loaf is not only inexpensive, but mighty tasty."
1 pound ground beef 1/2 cup chopped celery 1/2 cup cooked carrots 1 tbsp chopped onion 1 1/4 cup uncooked oatmeal 2 tsp salt 2 tsp dry mustard 1 tsp pepper 1/3 cup catsup 1 cup milk 1 egg (slightly beaten)
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place in 8-inch loaf pan and bake for 1 1/4 hours at 325 degrees. For left-over meatloaf, Miss Lake suggests a thick gravy of cream of mushroom soup.
Kristen Lopez is a pop culture essayist and TV editor for IndieWire. She has worked as an entertainment journalist for over 15 years, with her articles appearing at Variety, MTV, TCM, and Roger Ebert. A California native, Kristen was raised in a small suburb near Sacramento and graduated with a Masters in English from California State University, Sacramento. She is the creator of the classic film podcast, Ticklish Business. Based in Los Angeles, she enjoys reading and finding Old Hollywood connections in her neighborhood in her free time. But Have You Read the Book? is her first book.
The Final Result
Kristen and I were decidedly underwhelmed by the final result of this recipe. In spite of the ketchup, mustard, milk and egg, it still tasted bland and even a bit dry. It was edible though and we managed to make a dinner out of it. I'd suggest looking elsewhere for a more flavorful meatloaf recipe. Also major thanks to Kristen's Mom aka "Mamma Lopez" for helping us in the kitchen!
There are tons of Veronica Lake films on DVD, Blu ray and Turner Classic Movies.
The Criterion Channel is featuring several Veronica Lake films for their November 2022 line up.
I also recommend reading "Veronica: The Autobiography of Veronica Lake", which was re-published in 2020 with an introduction by TCM Host and Czar of Noir Eddie Muller. You can also find "Peekaboo: The Story of Veronica Lake" by Jeff Lenberg in an expanded and revised edition. Both books are avaiable at Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Hollywood.
Veronica Lake's iconic hairdo is still popular today and often re-created on the red carpet.
I often try to be wear my hair in Veronica Lake style too! The look is timeless.
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