For those of you under the age of say 70 or 80, today’s Eating With the Stars subject may be a bit obscure, but I assure you that spending some time with the great Hermione Gingold is a wonderful investment of a few minutes. The salty English actress with the distinctive voice, queen-like affect, and unforgettable face is best remembered today for her starring role in the films Gigi, Bell, Book & Candle, and The Music Man. She originated the role of Madame Armfeldt in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, playing the role on Broadway, in London, and in the 1978 film. Her last film was Sidney Lumet’s Garbo Talks in 1984. In the 1960s and 1970s, Gingold was a loveable and ribald talk show guest, popping up frequently with Merv Griffin who, being a queen of a different sort himself, naturally enjoyed paying attentive homage to women of Hermione’s theatrical mien and bearing.
Coincidentally, I had been sitting on Miss Gingold’s steak and kidney pudding recipe for months waiting for the propitious moment to unleash it upon an unsuspecting world when, out of the blue, my friend and Staygayzing contributor John Richkus sent me this clip of Hermione serenading Merv with a song from Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s Evita, which would appear to date to about 1980. The performer’s vibrato is a natural anti-depressant and should be studied by doctor’s as a possible alternative to psych meds.
In a related point, When I saw the Evita revival last year, I was impressed with Ricky Martin’s performance but extremely disheartened that the Argentinian actress who played the lead was so anemic. Perhaps she could have benefited from the iron supplement of Hermione’s steak and kidney pie. When I heard dear Hermione’s random but completely convincing version of this song, I decided in my imagination the show would have been so much better if the role of Evita was played by Hermione Gingold, irrespective of her age. If you’re anything like me, imagining Hermione moving through the show playing an ingenue is much more enjoyable than playing a video game. As you watch this clip from Merv’s show, imagine that it is Ricky Martin beside Hermione and the whole concept should congeal.
Hermione Gingold’s Steak and Kidney Pudding
Lean round steak (about 1 1/2 pounds) cubed
Kidneys (about 1/2 pound) cubed
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, chopped
3 shallots, chooped
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs cornstarch
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
About 1/2 cup (4 oz.) of suet from kidneys. If not available, beef fat may be substituded
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tsp. parsley
Put steak and kidneys into a heavy saucepan with mushrooms, onion, shallots, salt, and pepper. Cover with cold water, boil 10 minutes. Remove from fire and skim off. Add Worcestershire. Stir in cornstarch and cook 10 minutes, stirring contantly, as mixture thickens. Remove from fire and set aside to cool.
Make suet paste by blending flour and salt in a bowl, grating in the suet, and adding enough cold water to make a stiff dough. Roll it out thin and use half to cover the bottom of a steaming basin. Add meat mixture, wine, and parsley. Roll out the remainder of the dough and cover.
Cover the pudding basin with a cloth and steam for 1 1/2 hours. Place on a platter and serve directly from the basin, keeping it ocvered between servings.
You may also enjoy:
Now That’s What I Call Vibrato! On Oscar Wilde, Lena Zavaroni, and the Curious Art of Being Natural
The Best Hollywood Birthday Party Ever!: The Night Bruce Roberts and I Went to Connie Stevens’ House and Wound Up in the Attic with Tab Hunter; Plus: Two Sublime Connie Stevens Recipes in Eating With The Stars!