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A few years ago a hand written note by the great Marilyn Monroe gave us a greater insight into her persona. The bombshell had scribbled a recipe for stuffing, which conjured the image of Marilyn being a loving housewive slaving away in the kitchen.
We know Marilyn cooked often, but she favored preparing simple dishes like grilled steak, as she herself told Pageant magazine in an interview back in 1952. However, Marilyn's stuffing recipe has puzzled fans and food historians due to the huge amount of ingredients it calls for. The recipe yields 20 cups of stuffing and is labor intensive. Did Marilyn really have that much free time?
Written on the letterhead of an insurance company, the recipe called for: three types of nuts, eggs, sourdough bread (which was to be soaked, wrung and shredded), a handful of parmessan cheese, raisins, giblets (which had to be liver-heart), spices and a mysterious ingredient called ''parsarly.''
Some of the ingredients hint of an Italian influence, namely the parmessan cheese and pine nuts. But a the raisins specifically point to Sicily, an Italian region has a tradition of combining raisins and pine nuts. Then there's the sourdough bread, which was clearly from San Francisco. What do all these ingredients have in common?
An article in the New York Times put all the pieces together: In 1954, Marilyn married baseball star Joe DiMaggio in San Francisco, whose parents had migrated to the United States from Isola delle Fémmine, an island on the northern coast of Sicily. It is believed Marilyn's stuffing recipe may have been handed down from DiMaggio's mother.
Marilyn and DiMaggio were only married for nine months but his influence is apparent in the recipe. Need further proof? At the top of the page the recipe specifies ''no garlic,'' an ingredient DiMaggio is said to have avoided.
Image courtesy of Chicago Sun Times