Marilyn Monroe’s Handwritten Turkey-and-Stuffing Recipe


Entire indus­tries seem to have sprung up around the mis­sion of demon­strat­ing that Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe did more in her short life than become an icon — the icon — of mid­cen­tu­ry Amer­i­can star­let­hood. We here at Open Cul­ture have pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured not just her famous­ly pho­tographed read­ing of James Joyce’s Ulysses, but the con­tents of her per­son­al library as well. The new book Frag­ments pro­vides a great deal of rich ephemera to those schol­ars of Mon­roe’s pur­suits off the screen, includ­ing, as Matt Lee and Ted Lee in the New York Times describe it, “assort­ed let­ters, poems and back-of-the-enve­lope scrib­blings that span the time from Monroe’s first mar­riage in 1943 to her death in 1962.” The arti­cle appears in the paper’s Din­ing & Wine sec­tion thanks to one Mon­rov­ian frag­ment of par­tic­u­lar inter­est this time of year: her per­son­al recipe for turkey and stuff­ing.


“Scrawled on sta­tionery with a let­ter­head from a title insur­ance com­pa­ny,” write Lee and Lee, “the recipe describes in some detail how to pre­pare a stuff­ing for chick­en or turkey. The for­mu­la is exten­sive in the num­ber of ingre­di­ents (11, not includ­ing the 5 herbs and spices, or salt and pep­per), and in their diver­si­ty (3 kinds of nuts and 3 ani­mal pro­teins). It is unortho­dox for an Amer­i­can stuff­ing in its use of a bread loaf soaked in water, wrung dry and shred­ded, and in its lack of added fat, broth, raw egg or any oth­er binder.” You can find a tran­script of the steps right below. And if you give a whirl on Thanks­giv­ing, let us know how it turns out.

For the Stuff­ing

  • No gar­lic
  • Sour­dough
  • French bread — soak in cold water, wring out, then shred
  • For chick­en giblets — boil in water 5–10 mins
  • Liv­er — heart then chop
  • 1 whole or ½ onion,  chop & pars­ley / four stalk cel­ery,  chop togeth­er fol­low­ing spices — put in rose­mary
  • Thyme, bay leaf, oregano, poul­try sea­son­ing, salt, pep­per,
  • Grat­ed Parme­san cheese, 1 hand­ful
  • 1/2lb – 1/4lb ground round — put in fry­ing pan — brown (no oil) then mix raisin 1 ½ cuops or more
  • 1 cup chop nuts (wal­nuts, chest­nuts, peanuts)
  • 1 or 2 hard boiled eggs — chopped mix togeth­er

To Prep the Bird

  • Salt & pep­per inside chick­en or turkey — out­side same and but­ter
  • Sew up clamp birds put chick­en or turkey in 350 oven
  • Roast­ing chick­en — 3or 4lbs or larg­er
  • Cooks 30 min to 1lbs
  • Brown chick­en or pheas­ant (vine­gar, oil, onion, spices) — let cook in own juice
  • Add lit­tle water as you go
  • ½ glass vine­gar — put in when half done
  • Cooks 2 hours
  • Put pota­toes
  • Mush­room — but­ton canned
  • Peas — fresh

via NYTimes,  Brain Pick­ings and The Dai­ly Mail

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe Reads Joyce’s Ulysses at the Play­ground (1955)

Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe Explains Rel­a­tiv­i­ty to Albert Ein­stein (in a Nico­las Roeg Movie)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, lit­er­a­ture, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Face­book page.

by | Permalink | Comments (11) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (11)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Me says:

    uh…no thanks.…this sounds dis­gust­ing.

  • Me says:

    uh…no thanks.…this sounds dis­gust­ing.

  • Karma O'malley says:

    Excel­lent memoria.Iconic befud­dle­ment.

  • Stephen McClurg says:

    I total­ly read that as Mar­i­lyn Man­son’s recipe.

  • Maryann M says:

    Uhm Col­in even though she was prob­a­bly mak­ing the food for base­baller Joe D — the recipe calls for PINENUTS not PEANUTS…that’s a whole oth­er ball game!

  • M. M. Sands says:

    Sounds pret­ty stan­dard for a recipe from the 50’s. Back then, there was no obses­sion with “5 ingre­di­ents or less.” Ground beef would have been used fair­ly inter­change­ably with sausage.

  • Eileen says:

    I’ll def­i­nite­ly try this for this com­ing Thanks­giv­ing, which will be at my house with my entire crew if 4 kids and my grand­son, my sis­ter and her crew. Should be enough and easy to put togeth­er. I can’t wait to make this. Sounds incred­i­bly deli­cious!!
    Last. I love any­thing Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe!! She was amaz­ing, charm­ing, thought­ful, car­ing, intel­li­gent (which they over in Hol­ly­wood did­n’t allow her to show), and incred­i­bly gor­geous!! Thank you for the recipe.

  • Steve Petrillo says:

    Best stuff­ing ever. Have made it sev­er­al years in a row.

  • Jean | says:

    Col­in, I so agree about the “No gar­lic.” IMHO, the tra­di­tion­al “Thanks­giv­ing” din­ner has no place for gar­lic! And I’ll skip the nuts, eggs, cheese and giblets in my stuff­ing; though if some­body served me this, made as writ­ten, I’d prob­a­bly think it tast­ed pret­ty good!

  • Chris says:

    Do try it! I made 2 batch­es of this stuff­ing for Thanks­giv­ing this year. It was very, very good. Great actu­al­ly. And the fla­vors improve with time. I used the quan­ti­ties spec­i­fied in a NY Times arti­cle online, but had to use ground turkey because I’m aller­gic to beef. Next time I will def­i­nite­ly use turkey sausage, because my tra­di­tion­al stuff­ing recipe calls for sausage and I missed it (so much for “no gar­lic,” how­ev­er). The only oth­er change I made (in the 2nd batch) was that I reduced the amount of pep­per. The NYT recipe calls for 1 Table­spoon, which was over­whelm­ing for me (way, way too much), but 1 tea­spoon was just about right. I used wal­nuts not pinenuts and a 50/50 com­bi­na­tion of raisins and craisins. I read that gold­en raisins are good, but I only had reg­u­lar raisins and they were fine with the craisins.

  • Jan says:

    What’s up with soak­ing the bread in water and wring­ing it out? How about moist­en­ing with chick­en or beef broth?

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.