Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to eat like a (Handcuff) King

Last week I landed a copy of the awesomely named 1922 book, The Stag Cook Book: A Man's Cook Book for Men by C. Mac Sheridan. Yes, I like to cook, but this one is headed to the Houdini shelf and not the kitchen because on page 83 Houdini provides two recipes for "Scalloped Mushrooms and Deviled Eggs." Houdini did it all!




The Mushroom Dish
   Choose for this purpose fine firm ones. Pick, wash, wipe and peel--then lay them in a deep pudding dish well buttered.  Season them with pepper and salt, and add a little onion.  Sprinkle each layer with rolled bread crumbs, dot with small pieces of butter and proceed in this way until dish is full, having the top layer of bread crumbs.  Bake in moderate oven.
The Eggs
   Boil the eggs hard.  Remove shells and cut eggs in half, slicing a bit off the ends to make them stand upright.  Extract yolks and rub them to a smooth paste with melted butter, cayenne pepper, a touch of mustard and a dash of vinegar.  Fill the hollowed whites with this and send to table upon a bed of chopped lettuce or water cress, seasoned with pepper, salt, vinegar and a little sugar.

Other foods Houdini was said to have enjoyed were Chicken Paprika, Hungarian goulash (of course), and Farmers Chop Suey. We know from her niece that Bess made cherry pies (she had a special cherry pitting machine in the kitchen at 278), and Houdini provided a recipe for Bread and Butter Custard in another cookbook, Celebrated Actor-Folks' Cookeries: A Collection of The Favorite Foods of Famous Players (1916). He also ate at a kosher restaurant with his brother, Nathan.

Now I'm hungry.


  1. Wow, great find! He is the Man for All Seasons! What else do we know about his food habits? I recall that he loved Hungarian goulash, and was fond of German food, too.

    1. One of his favorite dishes was Paprika Chicken. And we know from Marie Blood that Bessie made cherry pies.

      Kevin has on his site another cook book with a recipe for Bread and Butter Custard. http://houdinihimself.com/?p=4135

  2. Mom's Chicken Paprika

    "This classic Hungarian dish tastes so great, even my kids (the pickiest eaters in the world) love it. My mom used to make it when I was a kid. Even if you don't like chicken you'll eat this. Great easy recipe!" — Ann Oritz


    1. You know, I've long made a dish like this, right down to the ringed onions. I call it "Zen Chicken" and thought I just made it up. Kind of spooky...

  3. I've added this food info to the end of the story. Melbo provide the Chop Suey on Facebook.

  4. The rainy night that Houdini called Dunninger to help move some boxes out of 278 was spent at a deli eating pastrami sandwiches.

    I'm on the fence with that story. Houdini crying and telling Dunninger that he would never see his home again.

    1. I love that story, but we know Dunninger made some stuff up, so...

    2. Yes? Which is why, you have Houdini as your personal icon😆

  5. I read in a newspaper article many years ago that Houdini was fond of Lox and Bagel. A bagel sandwich with smoked/cured fish in the center.