The revelation of an elaborate stuffing recipe in the icon's own hand has led to speculation that perhaps Marilyn was, in fact, a domestic goddess.
The stuffing recipe, which appears in Fragments (the compendium of MM ephemera) is an elaborate one: a multi-step mix of sourdough bread, nuts, meats and herbs that, say writers Matt and Ted Lee, required no fewer than 15 vessels to reproduce. They also deemed the stuffing — which they theorize may be rooted in Marilyn's marriage to the Italian Joe DiMaggio — scrumptious and say it "bears the unmistakable balance of fussiness and flexibility that is the hallmark of an experienced and confident cook."
Could be — although we don't know that the star actually made the elaborate dish. Said People, "She was a good cook. It was hard for her to go out so she cooked." She is known to have owned well-thumbed copies of both Fannie Farmer and The Joy of Cooking — both sold for astronomical prices at auction — plus Le Creuset cookware, yet other anecdotes from the star's life tell another story. Says the Bombshell Manual of Style,
Marilyn Monroe told Cosmopolitan that when making homemade noodles for a dinner party, the cookbook failed to mention how long they took to dry. "The guests arrived; I gave them a drink; I said, 'You have to wait for dinner until the noodles dry. Then we'll eat.' I had to give them another drink. In desperation, I went and got my little portable hairdryer and turned it on. It blew the noodles off the counter, and I had to gather them up and try again."
So, take that for what it's worth — at the very least, she had ambitions! Of course, homemade noodles are an undertaking even for an experienced cook. She's also said to have enjoyed good food, a favorite cocktail nibble being little tomatoes stuffed with cream cheese and caviar.
From a late shopping list, we know her diet was wholesome and that she cooked for herself — if simply. Clearly, she liked to eat proper meals. Even her weight-loss plan was not insubstantial. Again, via Loren Stover's paeon to the bombshell:
8:00 A.M. Orange juice or stewed prunes
Cereal, well cooked
Toast (white), 2 slices, crisp, with butter
Milk or weak cocoa, 1 cup
10:00 A.M. Milk, 1 cup, and 1 cracker
Lunch or Supper:
1:00 P.M. Choice of:
Egg, 1 (boiled, poached, shirred or scrambled)
or cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons
Potato, 1, baked or mashed
or spaghetti, boiled with tomato or butter (no cheese)
or noodes, 1/2 cup (boiled), add milk (no cheese)
Toast or bread (white), stale, 1 slice, with butter
Jell-O or cooked fruit
3:30 P.M. Milk, 1 cup, and 1 cracker
6:30 P.M. Choice of:
Lean beef (boil, broil or roast)
or lamb chop
or chicken liver
Potato, 1 (any way but fried)
1/2 cup tomatoes, beets, carrots, spinach, string beans or peas, pureed or strained
Bread (white), 1 slice with butter
Dessert: junket, custard, tapioca pudding or rice pudding or baked apple
11:00 P.M. Eggnog
Of course, like everything else about Monroe, we'll never really know anything beyond what we want to, and what we decide to project. Is it a more appealing vision of total femininity if Marilyn cooked — or does it not jibe with our notion of the ultimate sex symbol? Was she trying to be someone's notion of a "wife" (probably DiMaggio's) with elaborate recipes and homemade noodles — or was this fun or therapeutic for someone who didn't need to do anything domestic? All we can know for certain is that 1950s dieters ate well: and the sight of that menu today would send any contemporary Hollywood star to sprint from the room shrieking in horror.
Marilyn Monroe's Stuffing Recipe Stars In A Remake [NY Times]
[Image via Examiner]