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Fireside Picnic

Recently Audrey Totter, bored with apartment house living, decided to enjoy the secure and happy feeling of owning a house. When a bachelor girl in Hollywood buys a home for herself that’s news.

As soon as Audrey’s little dream place, a modest, attractive two-bedroom home in Brentwood, was out of escrow, she got on the phone and called Marie Windsor. The conversation went something like this:

“Hi, Marie. Well I’m in, and it’s dreamy, even though it has hardly any furniture. I’m asking some of the gang over Tuesday to spend the day and have a picnic lunch. It’s my first party. I would love to have you come and how about bringing your sewing machine. It will be so much more fun if we all do something, not just sit and yak.”

Marie thought it was a wonderful idea. And so did all of the others—Nancy Davis, Barbara Hale, Betty Garrett, Barbra Fuller, Gretchen Adamson and Gloria Silvers.

It was for all the world like an old- fashioned sewing bee. Nancy arrived with a gift, a lovely original oil painting—and ideas galore. Marie, who has her license as an interior decorator, brought her portable sewing machine and before the day was done, so were the curtains for the back porch. Gretchen gave Audrey a charming antique lamp base and helped make guest towels. Barbara, a terrific cook, helping with the lunch, whipped up a tasty dish of chili and an egg ring salad. Gloria (Mrs. Sid) Silvers brought chintz ruffles which she had made for Audrey’s bedroom windows and these she put up with thumbtacks. She’s also making the unbleached muslin Dutch curtains to replace the Venetian blinds. Gloria, Gretchen and Audrey were friends on the stage together.

From the “comfortable” corner (the davenport) came much discussion and comparison of notes between the two prospective mothers—Barbara Hale and Betty Garrett—as they busily worked cross-stitch on kitchen towels. “I’d just as soon it would be twins, really,” admitted Barbara. “I want four anyway, and to accomplish twice as much at one time, I think would be simply wonderful. And little Jody (her three-year-old) would be twice as happy!” Betty admitted that she would welcome a double surprise for the same reasons.

The fact that there was practically no furniture—that the living room was bare except for a piano and davenport—didn’t trouble Audrey or her guests. When lunch time came, Audrey set a cloth on the floor and produced paper plates. Her menu consisted of chili-dogs (hot dogs which she toasted in the fireplace, each in a bun topped with chili and raw onions), and an egg ring salad with shredded lettuce and relishes. For dessert there were small iced cakes and coffee.

Nancy Davis, one of Audrey’s closest friends, has many talents; she’s practical as well as artistic. When she discovered that Audrey’s throw rug just fitted the den floor but was the wrong color, she took it home, dumped it in her washing machine with some dye and presto—changed it from a light beige to a Cardinal red. She insists it was no trick at all—and not a bit messy; that she mixed the dye in a separate container and poured it in the machine on the wet rug that had been washed and rinsed and was still sopping. It certainly looked professional.

Marie Windsor showed Audrey the professional way of visualizing the space that furniture will take in a room. She cut newspapers to the size that a table, chairs and a buffet would be, laid them on the floor and walked around them to be sure there would be plenty of space.

Barbara Hale offered to do a mural on the dining room wall—after the arrival of her second blessed event in late February. Barbara, after all, once planned to have a career as an artist and studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

In fact, by the time the afternoon was over, even though there was enough talk to make ten scripts—a lot had been accomplished. Gossip was not neglected, but towels were hemmed, curtains made, furniture “spotted” and three more inches crocheted on a wool rug. Audrey hopes that the rug will be for the living room—which is a large order, but then, Audrey has many friends to work on it.

Here are the recipes for the food served at the party:


(Makes 8 to 12 servings)

Hard cook: 4 eggs

Remove shells, separate whites from yolks and chop each separately.

Place in bowl: 1 package lemon gelatin

Heat to boiling: 1 cup water

Pour over gelatin and stir until dissolved.

Add: 1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Oil lightly a 9-inch ring mold. Arrange chopped egg yolk around inside bottom edge and white around outer edge. If desired, place strips of pimiento at outside edge of egg white. Pour over this 1/2 cup of gelatin mixture. Pack down firmly and place in refrigerator 30 minutes or until firm.

Combine remaining gelatin with:

3 (8 oz.) containers creamed cottage cheese

1/4 cup minced onion

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Pour over egg mixture in mold and chill 3 hours or until firm. Unmold. Fill center with shredded lettuce tossed with French dressing. Garnish with olives, radish roses.


(Makes 8 servings)

Heat in skillet: 2 teaspoons fat

Add: 1/4 cup minced onion

1 tablespoon chopped green pepper Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes, or until onion is just tender.

Add: 1 (no. 2) can tomatoes, drained

1/2 cup chili sauce

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

few grains pepper

Cover and cook over moderately low heat 1 hour. Fifteen minutes before chili is done, light the broiler. Split and butter 8 frankfurter rolls. Place in oven to heat. Five minutes before chili is ready, grease 8 frankfurters.

Cook under broiler until well browned and’slightly puffed on both sides. Serve on buttered rolls with 2 to 3 tablespoons of hot chili mixture.

Audrey Totter is in “Under the Gun,” Nancy Davis in “People in Love,” Barbara Hale in “Emergency Wedding,” Marie Windsor in “Double Deal.”



1 Comment
  • Starn
    11 Ağustos 2023

    Fantastic article.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

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