I love the movie Christmas in Connecticut!
It's a 1945 film starring Barbara Stanwyck as Elizabeth Lane, a homemaker columnist for "Smart" magazine who writes about her idealistic, romantic life in the country of Connecticut (think WWII-era Martha Stewart). But she really lives in a small New York apartment and can't boil water. The world she has created for the magazine is completely fabricated, until she is forced to create it in order to entertain a war hero (Jefferson Jones played by Dennis Morgan) for Christmas.
Elizabeth Lane writes about the farm, her cow, her husband and baby boy, the spinning wheel by the fireplace, and most of all her homemade meals with delectable dishes that would make your mouth water. Again, completely fabricated. Except her beloved uncle Felix is a chef, and he supplies the ideas and recipes to her for her column in the magazine.
Now let me interject here that this movie appeals to me in so many ways. First of all, I love 1940s history. I collect etiquette books from the era, and cook books. I love the clothes, the furnishings, the manners, customs and patriotism. If we were each given a super-power, I would select time travel.
And I love to see what people served for dinner. Every decade has its trendy foods, like sushi in the '80s and fusion food in the aughts, and the 1940s was no different. It was the height of souffles and congealed meats, chipped beef on toast, and Spam.
Here is Miss Lane's published Christmas Dinner...
Miss Lane's Christmas dinner doesn't look too old fashioned, but one item did capture my attention.... Celery Souffle. Have you ever heard of it? I haven't. So I went to work looking for it.
Celery Soufflé (serves 4)
10 oz can condensed celery soup
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 minced garlic
4 egg whites
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
butter, for greasing salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a souffle or ovenproof dish with butter.
2. Pour the celery soup into a saucepan and warm through gently. Stir in the celery.
3. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the egg yolks and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. In a clean, dry bowl whisk the egg whites until they are standing in stiff peaks.
5. Using a metal spoon, fold a spoonful of the egg whites into celery mixture and then fold in
the remainder of the egg whites.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
7. Carefully slide the oven shelf out a little way, sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the souffle and return it to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Serve at once. I wasn't too sure about what this would taste like. In fact, I was told not to bring it to Christmas dinner because no one in the family likes celery. But let me tell you this. That simply means more for me!
Celery Souffle is delicious!!
I think Miss Lane would approve.