vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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Recipes for stardom

Food's the theme of today's entry. Some years before Carole Lombard made "Fools For Scandal," she contributed an entry of her own...to a celebrity-laden cookbook that we noted slightly more than three years ago (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/159908.html). It's called "Fashions In Foods In Beverly Hills," and it was issued by the Book Section of the Beverly Hills Woman's Club, and the copy in question, which was up for auction, featured Lombard's autograph:


It so happens that another autographed copy of "Fashions In Foods" is being auctioned, and this time Carole has some filmland friends who lent their signatures (presumably along with their recipes):

At the top of the left-hand page, Fredric March; below him, Maurice Chevalier and Sylvia Sidney. Beneath them, Clive Brook, and on the right-hand page, Gary Cooper. Oh, and on the bottom of the left-hand page, in case you couldn't make it out...

Looks like it's legit, but just to be sure, I consulted with Carole Sampeck of The Lombard Archive. Here's what she said:

"I have seen several of these over the years, and yes, they're the real deal. The Lombard sig on this one is a bit messy (probably dropped her cigarette!), but it is absolutely hers. My understanding is that a number of them were signed for fundraising purposes, but then again...why on earth would anyone need to be fundraising IN BEVERLY HILLS?????

"If this tells you anything, I've examined all the OTHER signatures on this item, and they are all unquestionably authentic."

The seller describes the copy as "almost mint," and here's visual proof:

This book is from 1931, the third edition; from researching this book, I learned that the first two editions were issued in 1929 and 1930, and that a Lombard recipe was apparently featured in the 1930 book. (She wasn't in the partial listing of stars in a description of the '29 book, so she may not have been in that one -- especially since she had just got out of Mack Sennett two-reelers. Nor do I know whether each book contained different recipes from the celebrities.) I couldn't find any trace of subsequent editions, so I'm going to presume that by 1932, even Beverly Hills was affected by the Depression.

In addition to Lombard and the other stars who signed, the book includes recipes from Buster Keaton, Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks (I'm guessing Senior).

The seller said of this book, "I do not know the story of how it came to happen that this book was signed by all of these stars, maybe a party put on by the Beverly Hills Woman's Club. But to hold this book, that was possibly carried around at maybe a cocktail party in the '30s and was held and signed by these greats of the silver screen, I find is truly awesome."

The book can be bought outright for $500 (a New York store that specializes in antique and rare books has the same volume, with the same six signatures, available for $925!), or you can bid; as of this writing, five bids have been made for $50, although the reserve has not been met. Bidding closes at 5:17 a.m. (Eastern) on Tuesday. You can get closeups of all the autographs and other information at http://www.ebay.com/itm/30s-Signed-Beverly-Hills-Cookbook-Carole-Lombard-Autograph-Gary-Cooper-and-more-/150715884471?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item23175de3b7.

Sampeck said of the book, "A nice collection, but in book form, a little bit unwieldy to display -- that's always been the thing holding me back from going after one of these. What was Carole's recipe contribution to this, I wonder, and has anyone tried making it?"

I don't know the answer, Ms. Sampeck, but the good news is that you, and others, can find out without having to spend in triple digits, albeit minus the autographs. Amazon.com has copies available from $24 to $50, though I'm not certain all of them are the 1931 edition. You can also find autographed copies, and while Lombard's signature isn't among these listed, Clark Gable's is -- as are those of Will Rogers (who wrote the foreword), Eddie Cantor, Lois Wilson, Ricardo Cortez, Richard Dix, Marguerite Churchill, Tom Mix, Lew Ayres, Tala Birell, Ruth Clifford, Doris Lloyd and Patsy Ruth Miller. To learn about amazon.com copies, go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000H52AJ2/ref=dp_olp_0?ie=UTF8&redirect=true&condition=all.

And to anyone who gets a copy, please let us know Lombard's recipe. I think somewhere, she'd still like to prove her talent as a cook to us, even some 80 years later.


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