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Vince Edwards’ Recipes For Lovers

Many people have said many things about Vince Edwards since his rise to stardom. But on one subject everybody agrees: Vince is a great lover—of good food. It’s his Italian heritage. Now Photoplay has borrowed his favorite recipes for you who are also lovers—of luscious eating. Vince has never taken food for granted—that’s part of his poor-boy beginnings. Still, even then his mother, Mrs. Julia Zoine, never failed to set a fine table. That’s another thing about Italian cooking, it is delicious and inexpensive. “My mother made pasta dishes—spaghetti and ravioli that were out of this world,” Vince remembers with a gleam in his eyes. “They were standard Italian fare—but my mother made them from recipes that had been handed down in the family, and they were terrific.” Or, as Dr. Casey might say “Hospital food was never like Mom’s.” Here, then, is Mrs. Zoine’s own recipe for BAKED LASAGNA  Fry 1 small, diced onion and 1 clove garlic in a small saucepan, the bottom barely covered with a little oil or fat; do this over a low flame until slightly brown. In the same manner, brown 1 pound of chopped beef or an equivalent amount of chopped spare rib meat or other pork.

Put meat, onions and garlic in a large pot, add 1 large can of peeled Italian tomatoes (strain them if you desire), 2 small cans of tomato paste and a cup of water. Let simmer for 2½ hours or until meat is tender. Salt and pepper to taste. If sauce is acidy, add 1 tablespoon sugar. If you care for spice, add a pinch of basil, parsley or oregano.

While this is simmering, prepare cheese mixture as follows: place 1 large can Ricotta cheese and 1 package of grated Mozzarella cheese into a mixing bowl; break in one egg, add 1 teaspoon salt, dab of pepper and mix thoroughly.

Cook 1 pound of Lasagna (broad pasta) according to directions on the box (about 15 minutes); remove and strain.

Cover entire bottom of a baking pan with some of the cooked tomato-and-meat sauce. Over this, a layer of the Lasagna (about 4 strands). Then a thin coating of the cheese mixture. Repeat: sauce, Lasagna, cheese mixture, continuing the layers until all ingredients are used up.

Place pan in oven which has been preheated to 350°F. Bake for about 20 minutes. Serves five or six. (Note: If my recipe doesn’t agree with your stomach, call my son. Dr. Ben Casey, for treatment.) 

The tender parental request that goes, “Shuddup and eat your spinach.” is familiar throughout America. However, no one ever had to urge Vince to get his vegetables down. “I’ve always liked them,” he says. “Fresh, not canned.”

And recalling their youth, twin brother Bob Zoine also remembers, “Vince was a big eater.” Bob wasn’t. Vince gained weight, was the picture of health and began to outgrow his clothes. Bob stayed skinny, inherited the hand-me-downs, and had to listen to Vince say, “Here, you carry my books with yours, then the wind won’t blow you away.”

In his teens, the future Dr. Casey became interested in health foods, much to his mother’s confusion. One day when she was going to the grocer’s, Vince called out, “Mom, would you get me a jar of wheat germ?”

“Get what?” Zulia Zoine stopped in her tracks. “Do germs come in a jar now? I’d be ashamed to ask!” However, when she reached the grocery store, she took a deep breath and asked, “Do you have . . . wheat germ?”

“Sure,” said the grocer, taking a jar off the shelf and handing it to her.

Vince knew what he was doing. He was giving up poolrooms for swimming pools. He wanted to become a swimming champ. He was studying diet theories and going in for body-building exercises. He still exercises regularly, but today he’s reluctant to make a big thing of his health food eating. “Some people take it the wrong way,” he says. “They label you a crackpot.”

“But just what does it involve?” we asked him.

“Eating organically grown fruits and vegetables and meats,” he replied. “Foods that aren’t contaminated with preservatives and sprays. Even as a kid I rarely ate white bread or used white sugar.”

When Vince is reluctant to talk about something, no one is more reluctant. So we checked a culinary expert. What was this about sprays, especially on fruit? “Noxious sprays go beyond the skin and start to seep into the fruit,” the expert said. “When the fruit is eaten, the sprays are eaten, too. They can alter the body chemistry and this isn’t good. But now the government has controls over food sprays that it didn’t have before. The new Food and Drug Act gives more protection to the consumer.”

And about wheat germ? “It’s the unpolished natural husk of wheat that’s generally discarded in the making of many breads. It’s a heavy, coarse, brownish-looking substance—if it were left in, it would make the bread look unappetizing. So the natural goodness is bleached out of the wheat, the vitamins destroyed. When you see the word ‘enriched’ on packages of white bread, they’ve re-added vitamins.”

We concluded that if Vince were a crackpot, everyone should be so nutty—and healthy! Back in his teens, he won a swimming scholarship to Ohio State. When he transferred to the University of Hawaii, in 1948, he was the only Occidental on the swimming team.

Today Vince has a dream. It goes like this: He rounds up a group of friends. The party climbs aboard a chartered jet and flies to Honolulu for a week of surfing, swimming, canoe races, dances beneath a full Hawaiian moon and, of course, eating! Vince’s culinary world has included Island food since his first visit.

Try this Hawaiian recipe for ROCKLOBSTER TAILS  Boil six large rock-lobster tails, as directed on the frozen food package. Then cut under the shell and remove the vein.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter, add 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon grated preserved ginger, 2 tablespoons grated onion. Saute until the onion is tender. Stir in the juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, a pinch each of pepper and nutmeg and a cup of flaked coconut. Simmer for five minutes, stirring constantly.

Now place the lobsters, meat side up, on a broiler pan and spoon the coconut-curry mixture over them. Broil about 4 inches from the heat for approximately 8 minutes, or until the tails begin to brown. After the first 2 minutes, baste with ginger-ale, then baste frequently with the pan drippings. Rice is excellent with this dish. Serves six •

A bad appendix took Vince out of the competition for a berth on our Olympic team. However, he’d also been appearing in college theatricals. He’d decided that he wanted to he an actor. He returned to New York to enroll in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

“A Streetcar Named Desire” was Broadway’s biggest hit at the time. Visiting friends backstage, Vince met Nick Dennis. When “Streetcar” closed, Nick, his wife Helen and their children left for California. “You ought to come along,” Nick told him. “Try your luck out West.”

Vince grinned, “Let me know if things look good, Greek. Maybe I can raise some money for a trip.”

To Nick, things looked perfect for a fellow like Vince. Producers were searching for new faces—where could they find a handsomer one? “This is the place,” Nick would write. “You should be here!”

By the time Vince departed for Hollywood, he’d appeared in “Mr. Universe,” and had been signed by Hal Wallis. So it would be an exaggeration to say that the biggest lure was Helen Dennis’ cooking. But then, as now, Helen would prepare all sorts of special Greek dishes for their friend Vince. “I love Greek food,” he will tell you today. “All those eggplant dishes and those syrupy desserts!”

And you? Find out with this recipe for GREEK STYLE BAKED EGGPLANT  Halve 2 eggplants lengthwise. Cut 4 slashes in the meat of each. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes in olive oil. Set aside.

Put 1/3 cup oil in a pan, brown 1½ chopped onions, ½ clove minced garlic. Add 1½ chopped tomatoes, x/8 cup chopped parsley, ½ teaspoon salt, a large pinch of pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.

Fill the eggplant slashes with above mixture. Top each eggplant with a slice of tomato. Sprinkle with olive oil and bread crumbs. Place in a baking pan, adding 1/3 cup water and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake at 350° F. until tender (about 1 hour). Cool. Serves 4 

A Greek honey of a dessert calls for filo sheets (paper-thin sheets of pastry, much like strudel dough) which you can buy ready prepared in specialty shops that carry Greek foods. Try this delicious BAKLAVA  Coarsely grind together 2½ lbs. shelled walnuts and ½ lb. blanched almonds. Mix with ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon allspice, 1½ lbs. sweet butter.

Butter 8-inch square baking pan. Place a filo sheet in it. Brush filo sheet with melted butter. Add a thin layer of the nut mixture, another buttered pastry sheet, another layer of nut mixture and so on until you’ve used half-a-dozen sheets of pastry. Top with three sheets, all brushed with butter. Now cut into diamond shaped pieces. This dish should be baked for 50 minutes at 325°F. At the end of the first 25 minutes, spoon the following syrup over the pastry: 3 cups sugar, 1½ cups water, ½ cup honey, a small piece of cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons vanilla, all cooked together until it thickens.

The dessert should stand for 6 hours before serving. Serves 8 

Vince appreciates the hours a hostess may spend in the kitchen preparing a meal. And he says so.

As a bachelor host, Vince, in turn, will go to almost any lengths to feed guests. Back in 1956, for example, he played host to a lion named “Cubby” and a honess called “Tuffy”. “They belonged to a friend of mine,” Vince explains, “and I kept them for him in the yard of my

house in the hills. At the time, George [George Frazer] had done a show at a carnival, and one of the lions had slashed out at a bystander. The family was going to get an injunction, which might have meant that George would lose the animals. I had a remote place and he had to hide them somewhere, so I stored them for a couple of months.”

At this stage of his career, Vince could hardly afford to provide food for human guests. George was able to manage some of the feedings, however. And the late Mario Lanza would show up weekly with horsemeat and stay to sing to the beasts while they feasted.

These days, Vince dines out with guests (human). His friend Sherry Nelson says, “Vince knows Cantonese cookery, Chinese foods, Japanese foods. Hawaiian foods, the French cuisine and the best of Italian dishes. When he takes a group to dinner, he likes to order the menu from hors d’oeuvres to dessert—a treat, I promise you!”

The knowledge is firsthand, too. In 1959, Vince was hired to film “The Scavengers” in Hong Kong. “The place is great for getting seafood as close to the natural state as you can,” he says. “You go into a floating restaurant, pick out a fish, they spear it and cook it for you in twenty minutes.”

Although Vince may lapse on Greek and Italian dishes, he and the Chinese have somewhat similar ideas about healthful eating. Concentrating on vegetables, grains, fruits, with smaller amounts of eggs and meats, Chinese chefs will tell you that fat makes up ten per cent, or less, of their Oriental diet. (In America, the average is around forty per cent.) As a result, the Chinese are rarely overweight, rarely candidates for heart attacks.

Try this CHINESE LUNCHEON SALAD  Combine 1½ cups diced cooked chicken, 1 cup sliced celery, 2 tablespoons chopped green onions, 2 hard-cooked eggs (chopped), ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, ½ teaspoon salt. Toss well. Chill. Just before serving, stir in ½ cup Chow Mein noodles. Serve on crisp lettuce leaf 

After Hong Kong, Vince saw Tokyo, a city of streets so confusing that a passenger sometimes has to direct a cab driver to his destination. “I managed,” Vince grins. “I always took along a Japanese dictionary!”

Last summer, while filming “The Victors,” Vince was interviewed by a Tokyo reporter—via telephone. Comparing notes on the city, they became so absorbed that the conversation lasted three hours!

Both conversations and those streets have a way of eventually leading to Tempura restaurants. In Japan, you’re apt to find yourself seated at a wooden counter, facing a chef and heaps of bite-sized pieces of almost every sort of raw seafood imaginable—crabs, shrimp, eel, lobster, mussels, even squid and octupus. Using chopsticks, the chef holds up one piece after another for your approval. Nod yes and he deep fries it, places it on a plate that’s been set before you. You then dip your selections into bowls of soy sauce and grated radish. And eat. And eat. And eat! Another Japanese favorite: SUKIYAKI  This is preferably, but not necessarily, cooked at the table. First, make the sauce. You’ll need ½ cup soy sauce, 3 tablespoons sugar, ¾ cup canned chicken broth. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Your sirloin (1½ lbs. of it) should be sliced paper thin (this can be done for you at the market). Now cut into 2 inch strips. In addition, you’ll need 2 peeled onions, sliced very thin, % lb. large thinly-sliced mushrooms, 1 (5 oz.) can slivered bamboo shoots, ½ lb. fresh spinach cut into 1-inch strips, ½ head Chinese cabbage cut into f/o diagonal slices, 10 scallions sliced into 2 inch lengths, 1 stalk green celery, sliced thin, vertically, and cut into 2 inch lengths. If cooking at table, arrange attractively on platter.

To cook: Put a 2 inch square suet cube in hot skillet. Remove when the pan is lubricated. Saute onion and scallions until golden, add all but meat and spinach. Add sauce and cook for 8 minutes over high heat. Add meat and spinach and simmer for 2 minutes, then push the latter down into sauce with fork. Simmer until vegetables are tender (about 3 minutes). Give the mixture a quick salad-like toss. Serve with rice. Serves six 

After a year in the Orient, Vince returned to Hollywood for “Too Late Blues.” You know the story of Ben Casey’s discovery. What you may not know is how he gets through his fourteen-hour day. Food-wise, that is. For pick-me-ups, “I eat snacks on the set,” he says. “Pineapple with honey, cheese and fruit.”

When working (and when isn’t he?), he’s up at 6 A.M. Some mornings he’ll have strawberries with yogurt. Ak-Mak (an Armenian wafer bread) with almond or cashew butter or whole wheat bread with honey, coffee. Other mornings, it’s carrot juice or orange juice, eggs. Ak-Mak with spread, coffee. Lunch at the studio may be a steak and salad. Dinner (at home) is apt to be carrot juice, black bread, a hamburger and salad.

Dining in or out, the king of California salads, fit for a “King of Hollywood,” is the CAESAR SALAD  Marinate overnight one sliced clove of garlic in ¼ cup salad oil. If you prefer more garlic, use it. (Remove garlic from oil before preparing salad.) Prepare 2 cups croutons, dip in oil, set aside.

Into a garlic-rubbed wooden salad bowl, tear 3 quarts mixed greens (lettuce, romaine, endive). Add ¼ cup oil, plus any remaining garlic oil, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese. Toss salad to distribute seasoning and cheeses.

Break 1 uncooked egg into the greens. Squeeze or pour juice of 3 lemons directly onto the egg and toss again until each leaf is coated with the egg mixture. Add croutons. Toss again. Serve immediately. Serves 6 

Aside from pasta, Vince loves steak as it’s served at Raita’s in Italy. If you’d like to try a similar one, just heat butter in skillet, add onion slices if desired, add a touch of red wine, pop in your cut of sirloin, sizzle a minute on both sides and serve. But the recipe news is what the Raita serves with the steak—ITALIAN POTATO RALLS  Boil 1½ lbs. peeled potatoes in salted water until soft, mash and combine with 2 egg yolks and 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Saute 1 tablespoon very finely chopped onion in butter until tender. Add to potato mixture along with salt and pepper, blend until smooth and roll into balls about the size of a small egg.

Beat 2 eggs well. Coat potato balls with flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Fry, a few at a time, until golden brown. Serves 6 

The night before Dr. Casey left Italy for home, George Hamilton gave a dinner party for Vince and others in the cast. It featured almost every Italian delicacy imaginable, including, in the antipasto, PROSCIUTTO AND MELON  Cut ¼ lb. sliced prosciutto into 1 inch strips. Halve cantaloupe, scoop out seeds and cut each half into six wedges. Remove rind. To serve 6, place 2 wedges on the side of each plate. Cover the rest of plate with overlapping pieces of prosciutto. 

Spaghetti is rarely the main dish in Italy, and servings are usually smaller than here. In the traditional Italian meal, the pasta course is followed by a meat course (often with a vegetable), salad, dessert and coffee. At George’s dinner, the meat dish was VEAL ESCALOPES IN MARSALA  Coat 8 small escalopes with flour. Heat a generous amount of butter in large frying pan. When butter is very hot, add veal, cooking 2 or 3 minutes on each side. Turn down heat, add ¼ cup Marsala. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over very low heat for several minutes. Serves 4 

And for dessert, that favorite of Italian favorites, ZABAGLIONE  You’ll need a large saucepan of boiling water. In a bowl, beat 3 egg yokes, 2 tablespoons sugar syrup (or castor sugar), 1 cup Marsala. Place bowl in pan of boiling water, or pour mixture into top half of double boiler. Whip the mixture continually, over low heat—it will curdle if too hot. First it will rise in a froth. When it thickens, pour into glasses and serve immediately 

The Hamilton dinner was quite a sendoff, complete with champagne! Leisurely, too—it lasted three hours!

Vince plans to return to Europe next year, to make a film in France. “This year,” he grins, “I saw France from a distance of thirty thousand feet.”

Although he knows French cuisine, he’ll finally have the opportunity to try it on home ground. Until then, as they say in France, bon appetit; in Italy, buon apetito; and in the U.S.A., “Eat hearty.”



Vince Edwards is in “The Victors” for Columbia Pictures, stars in ABC-TV’s “Ben Casey” on Wednesdays from 9-10 P.M. EDT and is a Decca recording artist.



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