7 January 2015

In my very rare homosexual moments...

Alfred Hitchcock was leafing through the November 1965 issue of Vogue Magazine when a picture of Joan Crawford caught his eye (see above). The picture accompanied an article that was dedicated to Joan's passion for cooking and was written by Ninette Lyon. Lyon had visited Joan in her stylish New York apartment and wrote in part: "Joan Crawford brought a tray with a bottle of Dom Pérignon, poured it into icy metal goblets. "I drink a little champagne every night while I watch television," she said. "It makes me sleepy. I never go anywhere without these tumblers." With the champagne she brought the most delicate truite en gelée I had ever tasted, served with a sauce of sour cream, fresh horseradish, and lemon. "So simple," she said. "The trout comes from Wynne & Treanor. They have the greatest fish and caviar and cheese in town. I put the smoked trout in a dish, pour a can of gelée de viande au Madère over the fish. Into the refrigerator for forty-five minutes. That's it.... I adore fish. Very often I serve poached salmon, cold, in the same jelly, with a mustard mayonnaise"". 

Intrigued by what he had read, Hitch took out his typewriter and wrote Joan this great letter.

Source: heritage auctions/ image reproduced with permission (this is the only image available, apologies for the poor quality).

November 1, 1965

Miss Joan Crawford
2 East 70 Street
New York, New York 10001

My dear Joan,

In my very rare homosexual moments I often glance through the pages of Vogue, where the other day I saw a magnificent picture of you.

Along-side the picture was a mention of a 'gelée de viande au Madère'. Does not the word viande connotate meat? If so, what is a meat [...] doing on top of a smoked trout? And, with Madeire added, too? Where can one buy such a concoction, or do you make it yourself?

I presume that after the plug you gave to Wynne and Treanor, with whom we have ourselves dealt, you will get fish for free in perpetuity.

Hitch (signed)

Note: A lot of Joan Crawford's recipes have been collected into a book by Jenny Hammerton, author of the website Silver Screen Suppers (a wonderful site that collects recipes from classic Hollywood stars). To read about Hammerton's book "Cooking with Joan Crawford" and Joan's recipes, click here.


  1. How devilish that Hitch was!

  2. Yours is one of my favorite blogs, Clarissa, so unique and always interesting. I found this post especially entertaining - not only for Hitchcock's rascally wit but also for what it reveals of Crawford's pretensions.