Christmas Dinner with Cary Grant

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Happy Holidays! To celebrate the season TCM is airing a a batch of Christmas films tonight including The Bishop’s Wife (1947) starring Cary Grant as a mischievous and debonair angel who brings some holiday cheer to a Bishop (David Niven) and his frustrated wife (Loretta Young).

To commemorate the occasion I thought I’d share an article I came across in a 1934 movie magazine titled “Cary’s Christmas Dinner” where the actor and his wife at the time (actress Virginia Cherrill) share their Christmas dinner menu as well as some of Cherrill’s personal recipes. It might inspire a few of you to make some changes or additions to your own Christmas dinner menu.

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Virginia Cherrill and Cary Grant enjoying a meal together in 1934

From New Movie Magazine:

“When a girl from Carthage, IL and a boy from Bristol, England get together to discuss Christmas dinner you would expect some differences of opinion, but when we heard Cary Grant and Virginia Cherrill discussing their ideas of the big feast there was almost perfect accord. Like most important Hollywood residents they much prefer a dinner at the home of intimate friends; and the dinner menu drawn up by the English cook calls for no over-elaborate dishes.”

The Menu:
Oyster Cocktail Consomme
Bread Sticks
Celery
Olives
Salted Pecans
Roast Goose
Potato Stuffing
Apple Sauce
Duchess Potatoes
Creamed Lima Beans
Chicken Croquettes with Green Peas
English Plum Pudding
Brandy Sauce
Frozen Pudding
Assorted Cakes
Mincemeat Pie
Bon Bons
Crackers
Cheese
Cafe Noir

That, in seven courses, is precisely the sort of Christmas dinner Mr. Grant would have had back in old England. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas to an Englishman without roast goose and plum pudding.

But Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas to Miss Cherrill without mince pie, so while Cary insists on pudding Virginia insists on good old American mince pie.”

Virginia Cherrill’s Recipe for Mince Pie:

1 & 1/2 cups dry mince meat
1 & 1/2 cups water
1 & 1/2 cups sweetened cranberries
Pie crust

“Add water to the mince meat, broken in small piece and stir over the fire (a hot oven) until the lumps are broken. Boil briskly for three minutes and cool then add the stewed cranberries sweetened as they would be for the table. Have ready an eight or nine inch pie plate lined with pastry and pour in the filling. Place the upper crust over the lower and pinch the edges together. Bake about 35 minutes in a hot oven (400┬░ F).”

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4 Responses Christmas Dinner with Cary Grant
Posted By swac44 : December 24, 2015 4:36 pm

I still remember my dad telling us about how he used to go out and trap wild minces so mom could make mince meat pie. I probably believed that for a bit longer than I should have.

Then I go to Australia, where “mince meat” is what they call ground beef. Go figure.

Posted By erik : December 24, 2015 5:13 pm

My father used always use the phrase “They’ll make mincemeat out of them” in referring to some opponent to be conquered. As in “Army will make mincemeat out of Navy”

So I grew up hearing about mincemeat, but never eating it.

Posted By Doug : December 26, 2015 4:43 am

My Christmas was a complete success! One relative arrived wearing a shirt which read, “Save the neck for me, Clark.”

Posted By kingrat : December 26, 2015 4:51 am

Mincemeat was the only possible alternative to pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving as I was growing up in the South. I loved it.

The Cherrill/Grant marriage didn’t last much longer than the dinner. The studio wanted Grant married, after the magazine article that showed him living in domestic bliss with Randolph Scott. The marriage was a disaster, Grant reportedly tried to commit suicide, they divorced, and when the dust settled, Grant went back to living with Randolph Scott. (This is according to biograahers, of course).

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