Marilyn Monroe's Daily Diet

Illustration for article titled Marilyn Monroes Daily Diet

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


Choice of:
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 chicken
or lamb chop
or sweetbread
or fish
or chicken liver
Potato, 1 (any way but fried)


Choice of:
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]

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That diet.... Just.... blerg. It seems very typical of what my grandparents ate - lots of carbs, some meat, and a little overcooked or overprocessed fuits and vegetables. And fucking jello. Food back then was so, so digusting. People in the 1950's must have had cast iron stomachs, and no tastebuds whatsoever.

ETA: This seems somehow to fit with the rampant smoking and boozing back then. Maybe they were attempting to get all their calories and nutrients from single-malt scotch and Lucky Strikes?