THE image of a bombshell cooking her way to nirvana may seem old-hat now, thanks to Nigella, Giada, Padma and the like. But back in the 1950s, a Hollywood starlet was not expected to squander her talents (or risk her manicure) chopping onions.
A new book, however, includes a recipe in Marilyn Monroe’s handwriting that suggests that she not only cooked, but cooked confidently and with flair.
“Fragments” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $30) collects assorted letters, poems and back-of-the-envelope scribblings that span the time from Monroe’s first marriage in 1943 to her death in 1962. Most of the material, however, dates from the late ’50s, when she was at the height of her fame, moved to New York, married Arthur Miller and connected with Lee Strasberg and his Actors Studio. Her poignant attempts to assert her intellectual side are what have made news about this collection, but the recipe on Page 180 was a bigger revelation to us.
Scrawled on stationery with a letterhead from a title insurance company, the recipe describes in some detail how to prepare a stuffing for chicken or turkey.
With this year’s string of frozen food recalls fresh in consumers’ minds, cooks and diners may be more concerned than usual about the safety of their Thanksgiving dinner.
The USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline, 888-674-6854, which has handled more than 2 million calls since it began in 1985, answers questions from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday and will take calls on Thanksgiving Day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
But for an immediate answer anytime, consumers can consult “Karen,” a virtual representative available 24/7 at www.fsis.usda.gov. Launched in 2004, the “Ask Karen” service taps into a database of more than 9,300 questions about the safe handling of meat, poultry and eggs and the prevention of food-borne illnesses. Here Karen addresses some typical Turkey Day dilemmas.
Question: Are frozen turkeys safe?
Answer: All turkeys found in retail stores are either inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture or by state systems which have standards equivalent to the federal government. Each turkey and its internal organs are inspected for evidence of disease. The Inspected for Wholesomeness by the U.S. Department of Agriculture seal ensures that it is wholesome, properly labeled and not adulterated.