Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge was quite the phenomenon when it was released in 1968. The story of an irresistible transsexual bent on the destruction of the male sex was made into an infamous film in 1970. The same year the film came out, Vidal's partner, Howard Austen (along with writing partner, Beverly Pepper) released The Myra Breckinridge Cookbook.
In saucy, salacious passages, it presents recipes that relate to the golden era of Hollywood that so fascinate Myra - and so many of the rest of us. Accompanying the recipes are reproductions of film stills and promotional photographs of stars ranging from George Raft to Joan Collins. Here's one of Eddie Cantor looking every bit the glamor puss and "Glorifying the American Doughnut" in heels and a frock.
The photographs are such a delight because so many of them are obscure images from obscure films or otherwise unseen pictures of well known films and stars. Of course, what Myra is known for is her overtly sexual edge and that's on full display in this volume. The chapter devoted to her favorite recipes is a collection of double entendre puns that would make a sailor blush - Baked Hare Pie with Dill Dough Crust, Cod Pieces, Bearded Oysters...
The recipes are, for the most part, traditional fare with some novelty dishes thrown in for good measure. I'm especially taken with the Camembert Cheese Balls from the Cheesecake chapter (a counterpart to the previous Beefcake, chapter).
1/2 Camembert cheese
1 large block cream cheese
2 Tbs. creamed butter
2 1/4 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. rice flour
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Rub cheese through a strainer. Add butter, flour, rice flour, milk, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir over low heat until thick. Pour onto a plate to cool. Form into small balls. Roll in flour. Brush with beaten egg. Roll in crumbs. Fry in deep fat until golden brown.
Doesn't that sound tasty?
The Myra Breckinridge cookbook can be found on Amazon.com and eBay. If you're lucky you'll run across a copy at a thrift shop or garage sale. It's a fun addition to your cookbook collection and a great gift for the film lover with a sense of camp. If you have it and have made any of the recipes, how did they turn out?