Joan Rivers recipe

This is the actual photograph that accompanied the late comic legend’s recipe.

Joan Rivers’ Apricot Coconut Cake


Crumble 24 plain coconut cookies (about 2-inch size).  Spread 1/2 cup of crumbs on bottom of 9-inch pie plate.  Soften 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water and cook over low flame until dissolved.  Puree in blender a 16-oz. can of apricots in syrup.  Add to 1 1/2 cups butter and 3 cups confectioner’s sugar.  Beat until well mixed.  Add grated rind of 1 orange and juice of 1 lemon.  Add 1 cup miniature marshmallows and 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts.  Place 6 egg whites in large bowl.  Add 1/8 tsp. salt; beat until stiff.  Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar.  Fold into apricot mixture.  Spoon over cookie crumbs.  Sprinkle rest of cookie crumbs over top.  Chill overnight.  Garnish with 1 cup heavy cream, whipped.  Add extra nuts with 1 cup flaked coconut over top.


More Joan Rivers:

Stargayzing Guest Columnist Nancy Balbirer Remembers the Great Joan Rivers


More baked goods in Eating With the Stars:

Eating With the Stars: Lillian Gish’s Lemon Pie

Eating With the Stars: Ann-Margret’s Cookies

Eating With the Stars: Michael Jackson’s Mother’s Sweet Potato Pie

A Letter of Encouragement From OBE Glenda Jackson, Plus a Recipe for Her Nutty Date Loaf in Eating With the Stars

Eating With the Stars Gets Meta With Recipes for Sally Field’s Peanut Butter-Honey Granola and Mary Todd Lincoln’s Vanilla Almond Cake, Plus Sally’s Inspiring Human Rights Campaign Speech


Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Gay Icon Quentin Crisp on Mae West

Mae West Statue of Liberty

Mae West in “Belle of the Nineties” (1934)

From How to Go to the Movies, by Quentin Crisp

Miss West was a conspicuously round woman in a very square industry.

Nevertheless, at the start of the 1930s, she took to Hollywood like a duck to drakes.  In that far-off age, there was still a noticeable difference between the sexes, and studio heads catered almost exclusively to what they considered to be women’s tastes in entertainment.  Sensual pleasure was veiled by prudery or sentimentality.  Miss West was guilty of neither of these sins.  Her sense of humor would at that time have been described as masculine; it was founded on superb detachment.  In her day, the vogue was for making fun of intimate relationships between men and women by presenting one or both parties as hideous, old, or in some other way ill-equipped for love, but this unpleaseant ploy only ridicules the unfortunate.  Miss West struck with faultless aim at the very heart of the matter; she lampooned sex.  Indeed, she sent up everything including herself.

Almost from the beginning of her movie career (short if you exclude the horrible Myra Breckinridge), she imposed upon her pictures not only her unique view of the human comedy but also her own method of photographing it.  Before her reign, almost all wisecracks ended with an abrupt cut corresponding with the blackout that followed the punch lines of old-fashioned revue sketches.  Miss West insisted that she be shown walking—nay, sailing—away from her deflated victims, thus producing a joke upon a joke.

Her success seems all the more remarkable if we remember that it occurred when Wall Street, when the entire Western world was tottering.  Through those dark days, she kept Paramount solvent single-handedly, though doubtless the lady herself would say that hands were not all she employed.

Now that she is gone, we shall never be sure how she achieved her singularly personal triumph in a business where tradtionally so many people have a finger in the pie, to say nothing of a hand in the cookie jar.  If charisma is the ability to persuade without the use of logic, then probably it was by this elusive power that Miss West ruled with such apparent ease her chosen domain.


Quentin Crisp StingAbout Quentin Crisp:  There are few writers who ever commented on Old Hollywood with the keen insight and exhilarating wit of Quentin Crisp. His observations about film and film stars in his fine book How to Go to the Movies uniquely combines a Queer sensibility with common sense analysis and the result, as you will see, is fascinating. Reading Quentin Crisp on film captures a similar kind of joy that I feel when I see a performer like Charles Busch at his best; good-naturedly poking fun and paying tribute simultaneously which, believe me, is a brilliant thing when it’s done with such panache.

Quentin Crisp on:

Joan Crawford

Jean Harlow


More Mae West:

8 Shocking Versions Of “Love Will Keep Us Together,” or, How I Spent the Better Part of July 4th in a Neil Sedaka K-Hole Because of Jim Caruso and Ginger Rogers

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Dolly Parton: The Soundtrack Of My Life

Dolly Parton ponytail

Despite the increasingly snarky vibe of the formerly essential Entertainment Weekly, it still can suggest a flicker of its former cultural primacy when it drops the disaffected tone and uses its grown-up voice (don’t they know that millenials don’t care read magazines anyway?)  Case in point: I love the periodic feature “The Soundtrack of My Life,” wherein they query musicians about their influences (Stargayzing has a similar feature, Songwriters Forum: 20 Questions With…).  In May 2014, pop culture icon and songwriting legend Dolly Parton shared some of her personal musical thoughts with the magazine’s Mandi Bierly to publicize the release of her 42nd studio album, Blue Smoke.  Here are some excerpts from that piece.



The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”  I loved all kinds of songs, and I grew up singin’ all sorts of songs, but the first time I ever remember totally being jarred feelin’ all kinds of emotions was when that song came out.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  This girlfriend of ours had an old trap car, so we used to ride around—she was a little older than us.  I just remember us hearing that on the radio any time we had a chance—because they played it night and day when the Beatles first came on the scene.



[Laughs] That would probably be “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” too, ’cause that was when I was beginnin’ to date a little bit.



First of all, I had no money.  But after I moved to Nashville, Otis Redding was a favorite artist and I remember buying his album.  My husband and I used to listen to his  music when we were datin’.  His voice always moved me: “These Arms of Mine” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.”

“These Arms of Mine,” from 1962:

“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” from 1965:


[After the jump, more of Dolly's musical picks]