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Nights At The Round Table

“Let’s have it huge so it will seat at least twenty people!” said Dinah Shore to husband George Montgomery, who was designing their dining table. And huge it is. Round, too, with a rotating Lazy Susan in the center.

The Shore-Montgomery house is as warm and hospitable as the couple who live in it. George, who designed and helped build their Valley home, made all of their Early American-type furniture, too, has a rare gift for houses and furniture. And Dinah, born in Tennessee, inherited a definite talent for cooking and has acquired a definite talent for interior decoration. They call their home “The House That George Built.”

Invitations to the Montgomerys’ for dinner are always greeted with immediate acceptances. Not only because Dinah’s one of the best cooks in the picture colony, but because an evening there means singing and dancing, games and interesting talk. Dinah and George select their guest groups to include friends who are congenial in tastes and interests. A perfect example of this was when the Dick Powells (June Allyson), and the Tony Bartleys (Deborah Kerr), were asked over one Saturday night. After dinner there was television, singing around the piano, and some new dance steps were created, too. Dinah played some of her recordings that weren’t yet on the market. And before the evening was over, everyone visited George’s workshop to see the new furniture he was making.

Another huge Lazy Susan table, like that of George’s and Dinah’s, is almost finished. George was trading it to his friend Joel McCrea for two white-faced Hereford pure-blood calves for the Montgomery ranch.

The Montgomery ranch is nearly self-supporting. They have chickens for eggs and fryers, their own milk, vegetables and fruit. Their huge deep-freeze is kept full with products from their own place. In fact, the main part of dinner that night was “home grown,” from the butter, chicken and vegetables to the frozen strawberries.

A little while ago, you’ll remember, George started making furniture for close friends like the Alan Ladds, Dorothy Lamour and Jeanne Crain. But his fame grew. And today, in his furniture shop in San Fernando Valley, he takes orders for his custom-made things. His shop business has grown so that he finds it very difficult to keep up his busy acting career, too.

Dinah admits she cooks partly for praise, gathering recipes from friends and famous chefs. She has by now, incidentally, an accumulation of recipes from all over the country.

Dinah often gives “name your own dish” dinners, letting the first guest invited plan the menu, which she executes. For this party, she let the Powells select the dishes. They chose this menu because they’d had it at Dinah’s house before and loved it.

Most hostesses make certain to plan a dinner party when the cook is on. Not Dinah! She always prepares the things herself. If the cook is on, she acts only as a helper and dishwasher.

Dinah gives as much thought to the appearance of the table as she does to the flavor and balancing of the menu she plans.

With a round table, place mats are used. Her flower arrangements, which she does herself, usually come from her garden. Her lovely silver pheasants, a wedding anniversary gift from George, add dignity to the delightfully informal table where you serve yourself from the dishes attractively arranged on the rotating “Susan.” Little washable china place cards are always thoughtfully arranged. 

Dinah, who is best known for her hit recordings and radio programs, enjoys entertaining her guest with her ballads, blues and boogie, and, at the drop of a hat, she will bring out her old guitar, as she did this evening. Everyone just relaxes in a most satisfied and comfortable manner and enjoys a top evening’s entertainment.

Later on, everybody joined in to make recordings on the Montgomerys’ home recording machine.

Dinah, Deborah and June all studied dancing at one time or another in their careers. So when Dick Powell sat down at the piano, the three husbands insisted on a chorus number from their wives. This they executed in a most professional manner. Naturally.

With the Montgomerys, Bartleys and Powells all proud parents of young children, there was much family talk in addition to career gossip.

There were no games played, nor even suggested—with people as talented as these the usual parlor games were never missed.

The Powell-planned menu: (Recipes given serve 6) Cheddar Balls Liegoise and toasted wienies for hors d’oeuvres. Broilers Hungarian with rice in center, vegetable gumbo Creole (an old family recipe worth saving), and mixed green salad with toast sticks. Fruit sponge cake (big enough for ten servings).



¼ cup soft bread crumbs

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 egg yolk

¼ teaspoon prepared mustard

Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire

Few drops Tabasco sauce

Fold in 1 egg white, stiffly beaten. Shape mixture into small balls and roll in additional fine bread crumbs. Place a few balls at a time in frying basket; fry in deep hot fat (375° F.) until light brown, about 1 minute: Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot.


Remove center from a large firm head of cabbage, leaving a shell of about two inches thick. Skewer small canned frankfurters with toothpicks and stick around outside of cabbage head. Inside the head, place a tin of canned heat. Decorate base of cabbage with radish roses, parsley and halves of green pepper filled with mustard. Light the canned heat just before serving, and let each guest roast his own, and dip it the mustard before eating. A lot of fun!


Place in large deep skillet:

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 clove garlic, chopped fine

2 medium onions, chopped fine

Cook until tender. Then remove onion from butter with slotted spoon and reserve.

Add: ½ cup salad oil.

When hot, brown 6 small chicken halves, one at a time. Then return all chicken to skillet. Add:

3 cups water

1 can tomato paste

Salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Browned garlic and onions

Cover tightly. Cook very slowly, basting every 15 minutes, until chickens are tender yet firm (about 1½ hours). Place cooked rice in center of platter. Arrange chicken halves around. Strain gravy. Pour a little over rice, and pass the remainder in a separate dish.

Salad with Toast Sticks: Decorate your favorite green salad, after mixing, with inch-wide strips of toasted bread.



1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped green pepper

1 cup lima beans

Cook separately in very little water until almost tender.


1 cup canned whole kernel corn

1 cup canned okra, sliced lengthwise


½ cup butter, melted

1 cup dry bread crumbs

Grease a 1½-quart casserole, and press on ¼ cup of buttered bread crumbs. Fill with vegetables in layers. Season each layer with salt and pepper, and a few bread crumbs. Top with remaining bread crumbs and dot with butter. Cover. Bake in slow oven (300° F.) 40 minutes. Remove cover lad brown.


Defrost and drain overnight in refrigerator 1 package frozen strawberries, crushed. Drain 1 (No. 2) can crushed pineapple. Make or buy 3 9-inch sponge cake layers. Place one in bottom of 9-inch torte pan. Cover with frozen strawberries. Add second sponge layer. Top with drained pineapple. Add third sponge layer.

Dissolve, according to directions on label, 1 package cherry flavored gelatin. Use juice drained from strawberries as part of liquid. Pour over all three layers, letting it soak in slowly. Chill in refrigerator until firm, about 4 hours. Unmold. Frost with 44 pint heavy cream, whipped.

(June Allyson and Dick Powell are in “The Reformer and the Redhead,” Deborah Kerr in “Please Believe Me” and George Montgomery in “The Iroquois Trail.”





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