The Celebrity Vegetarian Cookbook

This weekend Corvus and I met some friends down in old city for early morning book browsing at the local used bookstore and brunch. It was a lovely day for it, made all the more enjoyable by this:

Who said the 70s didn't rock?

The Celebrity Vegetarian Cookbook by J.L. Barkas was buriedhiding in a deep, dark corner of the vegetarian cooking section just waiting to be discovered. By me.

The cover advertises the contributions of such amazing celebrities as Victor Borge, Stacy Keach, Phyllis Diller, Rip Torn, and Shelley Winters, plus many other. Flipping through the pages revealed other contributions from Ron & Nancy Reagan, Rodney Dangerfield, and a three-time international backgammon champion.

Now, lest you have the false impression from the poorly constructed title that these are celebrity vegetarians, let me set the record straight. These are not celebrity vegetarians at all, but celebrities (sort of. sometimes. maybe. it depends on who you ask.) who agreed for some unknown reason (hey, I guess it was the 70s and food in the 70s was just a bad experiment in evil things and punishment) to have submitted meatless recipes.

If you don’t believe me about the evil things and punishment, get a load of these recipes:
Noodle and Spinach Ring (from Ann Landers)

Yogurt Pudding (from Rodney Dangerfield, which isn’t as bad as his other contribution–Soybean Casserole).

Also, some guy (a writer, who I think was trying to be humorous) submitted a recipe for cheese ravioli that simply involves buying a can of Chef Boyardee Cheese Ravioli and heating it up (there is nothing humorous about Chef Boyardee).

But as thoroughly awesome as the recipes themselves, nothing compares to the little bios that precede each recipe, such as:

“A former tomboy and later Miss America, Lee Meriwether fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming an FBI agent, even if only in fantasy, through her part as a lady detective on the TV series Barnaby Jones.”


“This tall, 6′ 3” man holds the International Backgammon Championship for the third time. He is also the author of two books about this 4,500-year-old sport–Beginning Backgammon and Better Backgammon. Tim Holland is personal and honest about his motive in playing backgammon tournaments–‘I don’t like to work.'”

Oooo ooo, I also forgot, it has a recipe from Gavin McLeod (Murray from Mary Tyler Moore, or Captain Stubing from Love Boat, you pick your favorite).

Shelley Winters added her recipe for a “Tossed Salad.” Ooooo challenging and inventive. Glad we have a recipe for that! But of course, it can’t compare to Paula Prentiss’ “Cabbage Salad.”

I could go on and on and on, but I will stop now and post this and go eat my dinner before I fall over. Maybe I’ll add some more later…

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3 Responses to The Celebrity Vegetarian Cookbook

  1. kaizerin says:

    Hee! Priceless find! You simply must try out a few of the most interesting ones and let us know how they are!

    Books-n-brunch-n-friends, sounds like an ideal weekend. We were thinking of going to Shrewsbury Fair, but then temps spiked up into the 90s, and that makes going about upholstered like a sofa so much less appealing, don’t you find? So instead, we stayed home and broke the dryer. Well, we were supposed to be fixing it, but the road to “fixed” led through “broken”, “more broken” and “let’s just call a repairman.” But Modhran got it back together and working even better than before, mechanical genius that he is.

    And we went on a super-long walk that by happy chance (hah) led past the local yarn shop, so I could get more orange wool for felted pumpking making. Next up: a pumpkin beanie, complete with stem and vine. Oh yes, I’m a-doin’ it!

  2. kaizerin says:

    Ooh, I forgot to say we also paid a return visit to the farmer’s market on Saturday and bought another big bag of deliciousness. Prize find this weekend: apple butter! I haven’t had or even thought of apple butter in years, and seeing it made me hugely nostalgic, as it’s something I associate with my beloved Grandma Ruth. I got the cutest little jar of cherry-and-apple (YUM, and way better on a PB sammich than jelly)and a big jar of citrus apple–basically regular apple butter, with a bit of lemon to sprighten up the taste. Heavenly!

  3. Corvus says:

    We will not be cooking anything from that book. Not on my watch, we won’t!

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