Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

We Made Joan Crawford's 'Nourishing' French Banana Salad and Only One of Us Barfed

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In a 1928 issue of the film and celebrity magazine Photoplay, Joan Crawford shared one of her favorite recipes with readers. “Every once in a while Joan Crawford breaks training and creates her own individual dish,” the magazine writes of the infamous film star (and subject of an upcoming Ryan Murphy series). The salad that follows is described as “forbidden to devotees of svelte lines, but, nevertheless, most delicious.” It’s called—hold onto your butts and noses—“French Banana Salad.”

The first thing you need to know about Joan Crawford’s French Banana Salad is that it’s neither French nor a salad, but rather a hideous gathering of incompatible foods that appear to have been grabbed blindly from the worst-stocked icebox in 1920's Los Angeles. There are four ingredients (lettuce, bananas, mayonnaise, and chopped peanuts), and only three of those are eaten (the lettuce is for presentation). Below is the recipe as Joan Crawford wrote it some 88 years ago:

French Banana Salad

The salad which has been christened with Joan Crawford’s name is made of chicken and lettuce—a non-fattening combination. But once in a while, being only human, Joan forgets about her careful diet, as witness her recipe for French Banana Salad:

6 bananas

1 cup chopped peanuts

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 head lettuce

Arrange lettuce on plates, using only the tender, crisp leaves. Cut bananas in half, lengthwise. Loosen the peeling, but do not remove. Place bananas on plates and cover with mayonnaise. Sprinkle generously with chopped nuts (Joan prefers peanuts). This is a nourishing winter salad which should be prepared at the last minute, so the bananas will not become discolored. Decidedly not for those who are watching their weight.


Watch the video below to see what happened when Kelly Faircloth, Rich Juzwiak, Joanna Rothkopf, and I attempted this travesty of a dish. (SPOILER: It was worse than we ever imagined.)