This page contains three personal recipes from the kitchen of Basil Rathbone and one of Ouida Rathbone's recipes:

  • Yorkshire Pudding

  • Vichyssoise Soup

  • India Curry

  • Salmon Mousse


The Cock and Bull is a bit of old England transferred to Hollywood. It has long been the favorite restaurant of Basil Rathbone and other famous members of the English acting colony. Photo by Charles Rhodes, January 1938
Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding
Roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding

Basil and Ouida Rathbone, 1943

Given Basil Rathbone's British heritage, it's no surprise that one of his favorite dishes was roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, a hearty, traditional English dinner. Below is Basil Rathbone's recipe for Yorkshire Pudding, taken from a little booklet called Hollywood Recipes: Food Secrets of the Movie Stars (by Delight Evans, Editor of Screenland Magazine, and published by the American Stove Company in 1938).

Yorkshire Pudding

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons hot fat


Sift flour and salt together. Make a hollow in the center and add unbeaten eggs and a little of the milk. Gradually mix in the flour and the salt mixture from all sides, adding the milk by degrees. When about half the milk has been used and all the flour is mixed in, beat well with a wooden spoon until very light and smooth. Gradually stir in remainder of milk. Pour into a shallow baking pan containing hot bubbling fat and bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with roast beef gravy.

Yield: 6 servings

"Here's how Hollywood eats for Health and Beauty" writes the editor in the introduction. Some of the other Hollywood stars and their favorite recipes included in the booklet are:

  • Joan Blondell -- Chicken Chop Suey
  • Olivia DeHavilland -- Angel Cake
  • Gail Patrick--Avocados with Crab Meat
  • Gene Raymond -- Cheese Pudding
  • Pat O'Brien -- Spinach Ring
  • Anita Louise -- Kidney Saute Madeira
  • Gale Sondergaard -- Danish Apple Cake
  • Dorothy Lamour -- Deviled Oysters on Half Shell
  • Errol Flynn -- Irish Beef Pasties
  • Claudette Colbert -- Crepes Suzette
  • Bette Davis -- Scallops in Bacon



Basil Rathbone shares a meal with Louis Brems, director of public celebrations, Boston, 1938


Another favorite Rathbone recipe comes from the book Famous Stars Favorite Foods (Hollywood, Ca.: Fannie Sniff, editor and publisher, 1938) p. 189.

Vichyssoise Soup


  • 4 cups diced potatoes
  • 4 cups sliced onions
  • 6-7 cups water
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • French Vichy water


Boil potatoes and onions together. Put through a sieve. When cool, add sour cream until mixture is of good consistency. Fill full of chopped chives. Put mixture in ice box or refrigerator. Two hours before serving, thin out with French Vichy water and put back in ice box or refrigerator to be thoroughly chilled.

This soup should be served in large bowls surrounded by cracked ice. (Note: Soup should be ice cold when served; otherwise flavor is impaired.)


Two hundred eighty personal recipes from Hollywood stars are contained in the book Famous Stars Favorite Foods, including:

  • Gracie Allen -- Cheese Cake
  • Gene Autry -- Texas Chili
  • John Barrymore -- Kidney Stew
  • Wendy Barrie -- Crab Lorenzo
  • Joan Bennett -- Baked Salmon
  • Jack Benny -- Baked Eggplant
  • Gertrude Berg -- Roast Chicken with Noodles
  • Humphrey Bogart -- Baked Hominy with Cheese
  • Charles Boyer -- Ham Mousse
  • James Cagney -- Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage
  • Eddie Cantor -- Sponge Cake
  • Claudette Colbert -- Fresh Blueberry Pie
  • Bing Crosby -- Corn Ring with Mushrooms and Carrots
  • Olivia DeHavilland -- Cheese Torte
  • Cecil B. DeMille -- Chicken Saute a la Creole
  • Marlene Dietrich -- Banana Nut Bread
  • Ellen Drew -- Ginger Ale Fruit Salad
  • Irene Dunne -- Oyster Kabobs
  • Douglas Fairbanks Jr. -- Steak and Kidney Pie
  • Errol Flynn -- Yorkshire Pudding
  • Kay Francis --Avocado Canapes
  • Clark Gable -- Beef Barbecue
  • Betty Grable -- Veal Roll with Sausage
  • Cary Grant -- Crab Louie Sandwich
  • Nan Grey -- Shoestring Sweet Potatoes
  • Sigrid Gurie -- Cream Cheese Cookies
  • Bob Hope -- Roast Ham with Cider Sauce
  • Ian Hunter -- English Yorkshire Pudding
  • Patsy Kelly -- Fresh Fruit Compote with Sherry
  • Gene Lockhart -- English Sausage Rolls
  • Jeanette MacDonald -- Lemon Pudding
  • Fred MacMurray -- Sweet Potato Waffles
  • Fredric March -- Stewed Duck
  • Herbert Marshall -- Steak and Kidney Pie
  • Joel McCrea -- Caramel Potato Cake
  • Merle Oberon -- Almond and Raisin Sponge
  • Louella O. Parsons -- Welsh Rarebit
  • Dick Powell -- Chicken Curry
  • Claude Rains -- Flank Steak Roule
  • Martha Raye -- Lemon Pumpkin Pie
  • Gene Raymond -- Smothered Chicken
  • Edward G. Robinson -- Kidney a la Robinson
  • Ginger Rogers -- Southern Fried Chicken
  • Mickey Rooney -- Chili con Carne
  • Randolph Scott -- Cold Chicken Mousse
  • Norma Shearer -- Tenderloin Tip Goulash
  • Ann Sheridan -- Chili Casserole
  • Barbara Stanwyck -- Vegetable Meat Loaf
  • Arthur Treacher -- Sussex Pudding
  • Johnny Weissmuller -- Raisin Pie
  • Jane Wyman -- Mock Ducklings
  • Robert Young -- New England Boiled Dinner


Basil Rathbone and Angela Lansbury take a lunch break during filming of The Court Jester

Ann Harding and Basil Rathbone


Another of Basil's favorite dishes was Indian Lamb Curry. The following recipe is from the book Cooking with the Stars: A Collection of Recipes Tested in the Kitchens of Hollywood, edited and compiled by Jane Sherrod Singer (South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, 1970), p. 166.

India Curry


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons curry
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of ¼ of a lemon
  • 3 green apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 ½ pounds boneless lamb cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 ½ pounds tomatoes, sliced


Melt butter in a Dutch oven and sauté onions and garlic until golden.  Add the curry, paprika, salt and lemon juice, and cook about 15 minutes.

Season the lamb with salt and pepper and rub curry into the lamb.  Add to Dutch oven with apples.  Cook for ½ an hour.

Add the tomatoes. Cover and cook slowly for an hour or until the flavors are blended and meat is tender.

Serve over rice, which, if desired, may be colored with Saffron.  Condiments such as chutney, peanuts, raisins, grated egg, coconut are excellent, but not essential.

Serves 6 to 8.


Ouida Rathbone

Ouida Rathbone

The following is Ouida Rathbone's recipe for Salmon Mousse, published in The New York Post, May 17, 1964.

Mrs. Rathbone's Salmon Mousse


  • 2 lbs. fresh salmon
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • ½ cup cold fish stock
  • 1 cup boiling fish stock
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ pt. whipping cream


Simmer salmon until tender in enough water just to cover, with a slice of lemon, a stalk of celery, a handful of parsley sprigs and half an onion. Drain salmon, and strain broth. Chill 1/4 cup and soak gelatin in it for 3 minutes, then dissolve it in the boiling broth. Cool, then stir in mayonnaise and, when mixture begins to thicken, beat to a froth. add the finely minced salmon, Worcestershire and lemon juice. Finally, fold in stiffly beaten cream and pour into a moistened mold. Chill from 6 to 21 hours, then remove from mold and serve with cucumber sauce.

Cucumber sauce: Peel and grate 1 cucumber. Stir pulp into 1 cup mayonnaise. Add 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon minced chives. Chill. For 6 or 8.





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All original content is © Marcia Jessen, 2013