Frank DeCaro loves dishing the dirt about Hollywood stars -- the live ones and the dead. And he's made a career out of it during his stint as the hilarious movie critic on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and now as the star of his own weekday live national call-in show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
He loves cooking almost as much as dishing, and he combines his two passions in The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: A Resurrection of Recipes from More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen (HCI Books -- $19.95.)
A devoted collector of recipes, he scoured flea markets and bookstores for his stash of dead stars' dishes. And in the book he features such Tinsel Town treats as Liberace's Sticky Buns, John Ritter's Favorite Fudge and Farrah Fawcett's Sausage and Peppers.
One chapter, dubbed "An All-Night Oscar Buffet," features recipes from dead Oscar winners, including Lowell's own Bette Davis and her Red Flannel Hash.
So, with Oscar Night right around the corner, we chatted with DeCaro about what he'd make for a dinner party that night and his thoughts on this year's Oscars.
The Sun: What (dishes from your cookbook) would you serve friends at an Oscar party?
Frank DeCaro: I like having Joan Crawford and Bette Davis on the same plate, since they despised each other. So that would be Crawford's poached salmon and Bette's hash. You can pick any recipe from the Oscar chapter -- and the best thing is you can change the recipes and they can't complain, since they're dead.
Sun: How will you celebrate on Oscar night?
FD: I love the idea of a Dead Celebrities Party; it's how my book came about. In college, my friends and I all dressed up as dead celebrities and I realized we should be eating food that the dead celebs loved cooking.
Sun: What are your picks for this year's Oscars?
FD: The sad truth is I'm a summer movie fan. I love big booms and action. And let's be honest -- Oscar contenders are all big, long, serious movies you have to pay attention to. But I used the nomination of Sally Field (for Best Supporting Actress in Lincoln) as an excuse to watch the whole first season of The Flying Nun again. And I think Anne Hathaway will win (for Les Miserables). She should since she let them chop her hair off. I also thought Frankenweenie was brilliant, but it bombed at the box office.
Sun: Do you have any goals as a pop culture guru?
FD: I'm committed to preserving it. My mantra is 'if Lady Gaga knows about Liberace then so should you.'
Bette Davis' Red Flannel Hash
- 2 cups cooked corned beef
- 3 cups cold boiled potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups cooked beets
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup or more of cream
- 1/2 stick butter
Chop all ingredients and combine in large bowl. Season to taste and moisten mixture with cream. Place in a hot buttered heavy skillet. Stir and spread evenly in pan. Brown slowly over medium heat and serve with poached eggs on top.
Nancye Tuttle's email is firstname.lastname@example.org.