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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

A Christie Whimsey - "Celebrity Cooking"

In 1961, Celebrity Cooking for You was published by Andre Deutsch (London) and edited by Renee Hillman. It contained recipes provided by various celebrities including Walt Disney, Otto Preminger, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Peter Sellers. It also included Ian Fleming's recipe for scrambled eggs - which he uses in his James Bond short story 007 in New York.

In 1967, Miss Hillman put together a revised sequel, sourcing additional recipes from many other celebrities including numerous golden age crime writers - amongst them Agatha Christie. It was published by Paul Hamlyn (London) and included a forward by A. Dickson Wright and a preface by The Honourable Angus Ogilvy. Both books were charitable endeavours which is why the celebrities participated. Profits from the book sales went to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in the UK.

The book is a veritable who's who and is great fun to peruse, though I speculate as to how many recipes truly came from the donor's hand versus their agent or publicist. The recipes range from starters to mains to desserts and even drinks. Sample menus are also provided. There is certainly many items in this book you will find yourself preparing which makes this book great fun.

Christie's contribution is a fairly straightforward 'Hot bean salad'. Given her love for cream the fact that the recipe includes bacon and pouring hot fat from the frying pan onto the salad it makes me believe it likely was a favourite of hers!

In the brief bio the editor includes, you can see Christie is referred to as "The playwright and mystery writer, creator of Monsieur Hercule Poirot - the detective to end all detectives. Miss Christie's best known book is 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd' which she wrote in 1926, and which sold over a hundred-million copies. As a playwright Miss Christie is equally gifted. 'The Moustrap' enjoys the longest run in British stage history."

While there are too many celebrities to list them all - literally hundreds - a few of note for mystery fans include Ngiao Marsh's Steak en casserole, Margerey Allingham's Salad Cream and Daphne DuMaurier's Sloe Gin. I appreciate her loyalty to the local Plymouth Gin. Copies of their recipes are below.

Other recipes include (pre-President) Richard Nixon's 'Meatloaf', Bing Crosby's 'Minute Steak Gourmet' and The Right Hon. Harold Wilson's 'Old-Fashioned Gingerbread'. It's all great fun to read.

The book is fairly easy to find, though jacketed copies are scarcer and you may need a little patience to find one. Pricing is as to be expected for an out-of-print used book.

Closing Thoughts:

While this was a brief article, I hope is amused you and was of interest. As always, thanks for reading and comments are always most welcome. If you are not a subscriber to my website, please consider subscribing here: link. This ensures you receive an email any time I write and post an article. Also, consider following me on X (formerly Twitter) @collectchristie and on Facebook (link). The content varies across platforms.

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I have lots more articles I'm working on but if there's something you'd like me to consider do let me know by writing to me at:

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