For those on the hunt for last-minute Thanksgiving recipe ideas, Marilyn Monroe’s handwritten checklist might offer some inspiration.
Jotted on a letterhead from an insurance company, Marilyn Monroe explains how she prepares a turkey dinner, with all of the trimmings.
For the stuffing she soaks a French loaf in cold water and adds five herbs, spices and nuts, while to prep the bird she rubs it with salt, pepper, and butter, before cooking it in an oven set to 350 degrees.
The notes, which feature in Fragments, a collection of her letters and musings from 1943 to her death in 1962, are the best evidence yet that she had a passion for cooking.
Fussing over details, Marilyn Monroe writes that giblets must be “liver-heart” and stipulates that the beef must be “browned (no oil)”. She even takes care to specify the quantity of the produce needed.
The most important instruction of all is right at the very top, where she states that “no garlic” should be added to the stuffing.
Unlike other cooks, she uses little fat or broth and no eggs or binder to hold it together. To make the mix right it also needs “1 handful” of grated Parmesan and an unspecified amount of “parsley”.
For the bird – either a chicken or turkey – she salts, peppers and butters it before stuffing and sewing it up and cooking at 350 degrees, for two hours or longer, depending on its weight.
The final meal is presented with sides of potato, canned button mushrooms and fresh green peas.
Marilyn Monroe’s flair for cooking was evident at an auction of her personal effects in 1999 when two well-worn cookbooks of hers from the 1950s were sold off for well above the reserve.
The recipe is dated around 1955 or 1956 when she was living in New York with her husband, the playwright Arthur Miller.
At the time, riding high off the back of the success of the Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe had just signed a four-film $100,000 per-film deal with 20th Century Fox.
The four would include Bus Stop and Some Like It Hot, for which she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress. Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller later divorced amid accusations of affairs on both sides before her death in 1962 from an apparent overdose.
Marilyn Monroe’s Thanksgiving Recipe
FOR THE STUFFING
- No garlic
- French bread – soak in cold water, wring out, then shred
- For chicken giblets – boil in water 5-10 mins
- Liver – heart then chop
- 1 whole or ½ onion, chop & parsley / four stalk celery, chop together following spices – put in rosemary
- Thyme, bay leaf, oregano, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper,
- Grated Parmesan cheese, 1 handful
- 1/2lb – 1/4lb ground round – put in frying pan – brown (no oil) then mix raisin 1½ cuops or more
- 1 cup chop nuts (walnuts, chestnuts, peanuts)
- 1 or 2 hard boiled eggs – chopped mix together
TO PREP THE BIRD
- Salt & pepper inside chicken or turkey – outside same and butter
- Sew up clamp birds put chicken or turkey in 350 oven
- Roasting chicken – 3or 4lbs or larger
- Cooks 30 min to 1lbs
- Brown chicken or pheasant (vinegar, oil, onion, spices) – let cook in own juice
- Add little water as you go
- ½ glass vinegar – put in when half done
- Cooks 2 hours
- Put potatoes
- Mushroom – button canned
- Peas – fresh