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    Light Up The Lanterns—Marshall Thompson

    Dinner parties that are different—yet simple and fun: That’s the Marshall Thompsons’ plan for entertaining at home. They have guests for dinner about once a week—usually one couple, sometimes two. Their apartment, like the apartments of most young married couples these days, is very small. And they must watch their budget.

    They’re very serious about their budget—Barbara and Marshall. Twenty per cent of Marshall’s salary pays the rent of their Westwood apartment. Fifteen per cent goes to food and household. Thirty-five per cent is saved. And the remaining thirty per cent is divided between their allowances, trips, clothes, furniture, entertainment and extra things like Christmas presents. They never charge anything. They save until they have enough to buy whatever they want.

    On a recent Friday evening, the Thompsons invited Jane Powell and Geary Steffen, Nancy Davis and Barbara Thompson’s brother, Dick Long, to a Chinese dinner. To make the party extra festive they carried out the Chinese theme all around—in decoration and games as well as food.

    There were no cocktails. Barbara and Marshall agree that cocktails are a complete waste of time and money, except, of course, on special occasions.

    When Barbara and Marshall were first married all the cooking she knew was how to make waffles and mashed potatoes. But since eating in restaurants just didn’t go with their budget, she soon learned to cook. It was Benson Fong, who owns the Ah Fong Restaurant in Hollywood, who taught Barbara to make the delicious Chinese dishes she served at her party. Benson, who plays Charlie Chan’s son in the movies, was in Marshall’s first picture almost seven years ago.

    After the hors-d’oeuvres (barbecued spareribs, sliced pork and egg roll) the Thompsons brought out the lovely chafing dish in which they kept their Chow Mein Chop Suey, piping hot. This main course was served with crisp fried noodles, pork, fried rice, and tea. For dessert there were rice cookies, almond cake and litchi nuts.

    After dinner came the games. Some of the predictions from the fortune sticks were a little amazing. Nancy Davis was told, “Don’t waste your talents, they’re ready to work for you.” This you’ll believe when you see Nancy in “The Next Voice You Hear.”

    When Geary Steffen read his fortune, “Curb your partner’s tending to extravagance or risky plans,” Janie swore that she never shopped anywhere except Ohrbach’s. Janie and Geary also live in a small apartment which they furnished without the aid of a decorator, so they are far from extravagant.

    Chinese checkers was the next game, everybody agreeing that he or she was tired of Canasta. And as the grande finale for the evening, Nancy Davis read everyone’s tea leaves. In Marshall’s and Barbara’s cups she saw as much happiness in the future as the two have had since they met a little over two years ago, when Marshall was playing in stock with Dick Long at Laguna. At that time Barbara Long was a combination stagehand and scenery painter. It was almost love at first sight. A few months later Marshall willingly pinned her with his Phi Gamma Delta pin and, after a six months’ engagement, they were quietly married at the Westwood Community Church.

    Now, through their gay and well-planned conservative way of living, Barbara and Marshall have saved enough to pay cash for a lovely hilltop lot in Brentwood where they hope to build in the very near future. Marshall has made many of their early American tables and casual pieces himself, working in an obliging neighbor’s workshop.

    It was in this same workshop that Marshall made the sign that was to cause the biggest laugh of the evening. It read: “Ah Fong Thompson’s Very Fine Chop Suey.” How was he to know that two pedestrians passing the apartment would take the sign Seriously and stop to inquire about the price of the dinner?

    Here’s the menu of the dinner the passers-by didn’t get (all recipes serve 8):


    Beat together until well-mixed but not frothy:

    3 eggs

    ½ teaspoon salt

    ½ cup water

    ½ cup flour (optional). It will make egg roll much easier to fry. Lightly grease a 9 or 10 heavy iron skillet, and heat to moderate temperature. Add about 2 tablespoons egg mixture and tip skillet so mixture forms a 7round, in a very thin sheet. Cook without stirring until browned. Remove with large spatula and set aside to cool while filling is made.

    For filling, combine in skillet:

    ½ cup cooked bean sprouts

    1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions

    ¼ cup finely chopped water chestnuts

    1 tablespoon soy sauce

    ¼ teaspoon salt

    2 tablespoons steamed rice

    ½ cup chopped cooked pork or chicken

    ¼ cup chopped cooked shrimp

    Mix gently and heat until warm. Heat cooking fat about 2 inches deep in pan to 360°F. Spread each egg “pancake” with the above mixture. Begin rolling one end, fold in sides, and continue rolling as for jelly roll. Fasten with tooth pick.

    Place in fat and cook until well browned (12 to 15 minutes). Drain on paper towelling and serve hot with dunking sauce.


    Place a whole fresh pork tenderloin on a rack in an open pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a moderate oven (325°F.) 30 to 35 minutes per pound or until well done, with all pink color gone. Cool. Slice % inch thick and serve with Chinese dunking sauce.


    Have cut into fingers or riblets for Chinese spareribs: 8 lbs. lean spareribs

    Place in open roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a moderate oven (325°F.) about 1½ hours. tender—yet not separating from Spread on.cookie sheet or broiling pan. Combine:

    1 cup barbecue sauce

    2 tablespoons brown sugar

    3 tablespoons soy sauce

    Brush this mixture on ribs. Place in preheated broiler 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp and brown. (In an outdoor barbecue, brush sauce on when almost done.) Serve with dunking sauce.


    Mix ¼ cup dry mustard with 3 to tbsp. water, to make consistency of gravy. Fill saucers with catsup. Place tsp. of mustard mixture in center of each.


    Place in moderately hot skillet:

    1 tablespoon salad oil

    Add: 2 cups finely chopped raw pork

    1 cup diced bok choy (Chinese chard) or broccoli

    Fry about 2 minutes. Stir in:

    1 cup diced bamboo shoots

    1½ cup finely sliced water ch nuts

    1 tablespoon soy sauce

    ½ teaspoon sugar

    1 teaspoon seasoning salt or Chinese flavoring powder

    2 cups chicken broth

    Mix thoroughly. Let steam 5 minutes.

    Add: 3 cups bean sprouts

    Cover again and cook 2 minutes.

    Combine: 4 tablespoons cornstarch

    3 tablespoons cold water

    Add cornstarch mixture gradually to pork mixture. Bring to boil, cook I minute longer, stirring constantly. Serve at once over crisp noodles.


    Place in moderately hot skillet:

    2 tablespoons salad oil

    Add: 2 eggs, lightly beaten

    Cook, stirring frequently until egg has set.

    Add: 4 cups cooked rice

    Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

    Stir in: ½ cup chopped roast pork

    ¼ cup sliced water chestnuts

    ¼ cup diced bamboo shoots

    3 tablespoons soy sauce

    Cook and stir one minute more.

    Add: ¼ cup chopped green onion

    Serve at once.

    Marshall Thompson can be seen in “The Violent Hour,” Jane Powell in “The Tender Hours,” Nancy Davis in “The Next Voice You Hear,” Richard Long in “Kansas Raiders.”





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