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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ends Her Life updates 

I've updated the Ends Her Life page with new annotations (most just cleaning up mistakes). Unfortunately, this seems to have resulted in a Google demotion. Oh well, back to obscurity...

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Elsie Houston's recipe for Feijoada 

3 cups black beans
1/2 pound dried beef
1/2 pound smoked sausage
1/2 pound smoked pork
1/4 pound smoked tongue
1/4 pound bacon
3 scallions, minced
1 onion, minced
2 tablespoons salad oil
1/4 cup fat
1/2 garlic clove, minced
Dash cayenne

Soak beans in water to cover overnight. Drain. Cover beans and beef with fresh cold water and simmer 2 hours. Place sausage, pork, tongue and bacon in the same kettle. Simmer until the beans are soft enough to mash easily. Saute scallions and onion in salad oil and fat until soft and yellow. Add garlic and cayenne, continue cooking until delicately browned. Remove half the beans from kettle and add to onion mixture, stir until these beans are well mashed. Return the mashed beans to the kettle and simmer until the mixture thickens. But be sure the mixture thickens. But be sure the mixture is not thicker than an ordinary cream soup. Remove meats, slice and arrange on a platter. Pour a little of the bean mixture over the slices and serve the rest in a deep vegetable dish or tureen. Rice is always served as an accompaniment. Approximate yield: 6 portions
(Los Angeles Times, April 20, 1941.)

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

EH in American Weekly 

The highly sensationalistic Hearst Sunday supplement, The American Weekly, ran a long story on April 4, 1943 that made the wild claim that Elsie Houston's death was the result of a voodoo curse. A piece of highly imaginative fiction that gets many facts completely wrong (including the name of EH's husband), it nevertheless offers some details about her final days that might be true. It reports that her nightclub act, newly established (at the Monte Carlo, according to my records), was received negatively, with audiences laughing at her signature "invocation to the war god." Her contract was not to be renewed. Apparently debt-ridden, this, plus a quarrel with her "husband," Marcel Courbon, was what finally pushed her over the edge.

Another curiosity: the story reports that EH had been set to serve as technical advisor to (and appear in) a film with French silent film star, Catherine Hessling. It never materialized (the story blames ghosts and demons).

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