Cooking With the Stars: Doris Day’s Green and Gold Salad
Top of the morning, classic movie fans! It’s March, I wanted to bring out another Old Hollywood recipe for you all to try. Last year I paid tribute to Maureen O’Hara with my overview of her life and career and my review of her strange tuna salad recipe. While I loved discussing this Irish beauty for you all, I realize that her salad wasn’t the best classic film star recipe that I’ve tried, so I wanted another chance at bat to hopefully show you all something fun and delicious that you can whip up this month. I was torn between a couple of different dishes, but I finally settled on another salad whose name and ingredients gave off some true Saint Paddy’s vibes: none other than Doris Day‘s Green and Gold Salad! This recipe comes from one of my vintage “cookbooks”, aka the December 1964 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, which contains a Christmas-themed celebrity recipe book in the back. Who knew that I’d find the perfect March dish from such a source? Read on to learn all about Doris Day’s life and work, and to find out how you can make her festive salad at home!
Doris Day was born under the name of Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father, William Joseph Kappelhoff, was a music teacher and choirmaster while her mother, Alma Sophia Welz, was a homemaker. From a young age, Doris took an interest in dance, and she grabbed local attention when she formed a dancing team with Jerry Doherty. In fact, it was her skills as a dancer that led her to receive a Hollywood contract at age fifteen, but disaster struck when her right leg was seriously injured in a car accident on October 13, 1937, just two weeks before she was set to leave for Hollywood. While she was recuperating, Doris began to sing along to her favorite performers on the radio and discovered a new potential talent of hers: singing. As she later quoted to biographer A. E. Hotchner, “During this long, boring period, I used to while away a lot of time listening to the radio, sometimes singing along with the likes of Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller, but the one radio voice I listened to above others belonged to Ella Fitzgerald. There was a quality to her voice that fascinated me, and I’d sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words.”
This encouraged her mother Alma, who immediately hired vocal coach Grace Raine to help Doris develop her skills. Grace was so captivated by Doris’ “tremendous potential” that she gave Miss Kappelhoff three lessons a week for the price of one, and Day later credited Raine as having the largest effect on her vocal style and subsequent career. After she began getting work on the radio, Doris attracted the attention of bandleader Barney Rapp, who chose her as his vocalist over 200 other singers. He was also credited with giving Doris her stage surname Day, as he loved her rendition of the song “Day After Day”. In the following years, she worked with several other bandleaders including Les Brown, with whom she sang her first hit in 1945, “Sentimental Journey”. The tune, which is still regarded as a gem of Day’s songbook, was especially meaningful to those still serving in World War II yearning to return home. She toured the country with Brown’s orchestra and appeared for two years on Bob Hope‘s radio program. Her version of the song “Embraceable You” impressed songwriting duo Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, who urged Warner Bros. to cast Day in their upcoming musical Romance on the High Seas (1948). Director Michael Curtiz would later take the credit for discovering Doris, claiming that she was his proudest find, but it was her soon-to-be-costar Jack Carson who called Day and offered her the part. She later claimed that she was in such disbelief that she nearly hung up on the actor!
The film quickly led to movie stardom for Doris Day, who continued to top the charts as a singer while also making a name for herself as an energetic, All-American ingenue in films such as It’s a Great Feeling (1949), My Dream is Yours (1949), On Moonlight Bay (1950) and its sequel By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953). She quickly established a niche as an innocent, feminine songstress in period musicals which she just as soon desired to break by appearing in the title role of Calamity Jane (1953). Her performance in the role was multifaceted and physically demanding, but she handled the role with ease and professionalism. During this period, Day also dabbled in dramatic roles in movies like Young Man with a Horn (1950) and Storm Warning (1951), but she wasn’t taken seriously as a dramatic actress until she starred opposite James Cagney in what many consider to be her greatest film, Love Me or Leave Me (1955). Her success from that picture allowed her more opportunities to stretch the limits of her acting talents, and she frequently appeared in dramas like The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Julie (1956), and Midnight Lace (1960) almost as frequently as she starred in musicals and lighthearted comedies. However, it was Pillow Talk (1959), the first of three films that she would star in with her most famous collaborator and dearest friend Rock Hudson, that would earn Day her first and only Academy Award nomination.
Doris’ smooth transition into the delightful sex comedies of the sixties allowed her to remain a constant presence throughout the decade. While she continued to record albums, her memorable films, which included That Touch of Mink (1962), The Thrill of it All (1964), and The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), allowed her to rank among the Annual Top Ten Box Office Stars from 1959 through 1966, topping the list in 1960, 1962, 1963, and 1964.
By the end of the decade, Day was eager to retire from the screen, but upon the death of her longtime husband and producer Martin Melcher, she learned that not only had he left her bankrupt, he had also signed her up for an entire television series and several television specials without her consent. She reluctantly agreed to star on The Doris Day Show (1968-73) to pay off her debts, and in her off time, she began her most meaningful venture, becoming an animal activist and posing for her own anti-fur campaign with many of her celebrity friends. In 1978 she created The Doris Day Animal Foundation, which continues to accept donations in an effort to rescue and assist animals of all kinds. In 2004, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush for her achievements in the entertainment industry and for her work on behalf of animals. She also received three Grammy Hall of Fame awards and continued to work tirelessly for her beloved “four-leggers” until her passing from pneumonia on May 13, 2019, at the age of 97.
Doris Day’s Green and Gold Salad
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons bottled capers, chopped
- ¼ chopped onion
- ½ clove garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons prepared mustard
- 1 ½ teaspoons pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ cups salad oil (I used olive oil)
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the salad:
- Salad greens, enough to make 4 quarts (I used a colorful spring mix)
- 4 ounces crumbled Danish blue cheese
- 1 pared carrot, finely grated
A week or so ahead:
- Place all dressing ingredients in a large jar. Cover dressing, shake well and refrigerate.
Just before serving time:
- Sprinkle greens with blue cheese and grated carrot.
- Shake dressing well and drizzle 1/2 cup of it over greens, tossing gently until every leaf glistens. Refrigerate the leftover dressing.
- Serve at once with or following the main course.
- Makes about 12 servings.
This is the time that I confess one of my awful food habits to you all. While I do really love making and eating salads, and I care quite a bit about what I put in them, I usually end up bathing my salads in ranch dressing no matter what. I’ve had many people who witness me eating a salad ask me if I would like some salad with my ranch! It’s because of this habit that I’ll admit that I was afraid of Doris Day’s salad at first. With a very specific, non-ranch dressing involved, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the end result, but I’m delighted to reveal that this is probably my favorite ranchless salad that I’ve made myself! The amount of dressing is more than enough, even for a humongous salad like this one. That 12-person serving size is no joke! This was super easy to make as well, as all of the real efforts lied in measuring out the dressing ingredients. I ended up making the dressing only three days ahead instead of the full seven, but I doubt that the waiting time affected the taste at all, as all of the flavors still melded beautifully together.
I suspect this salad is dubbed the “green and gold” salad because the salad leaves are meant to be green and the dressing turns out to have a pretty gold color. While I didn’t use the entire jar of dressing as I was instructed, I did use about two-thirds of it, as more would have really drenched and weighed down the lettuce. If I had any other notes to make about this dish, I would mention that the salad needed a lot more carrot than it stated. I admit that I used pre-grated carrot, but the amount that I ended up using in order to balance with the other ingredients equaled about three large carrots. All in all, I would give Doris’ salad recipe three out of five Vincents. If you like salads half as much as you like Doris Day, I urge you to give it a try!
[Please insert three ‘Vincent’ heads for my rating at the end of the article. Thank you!]
–Samantha Ellis for Classic Movie Hub
Samantha resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania and is the author of Musings of a Classic Film Addict, a blog that sheds light on Hollywood films and filmmakers from the 1930s through the 1960s. Her favorite column that she pens for her blog is Cooking with the Stars, for which she tests and reviews the personal recipes of stars from Hollywood’s golden age. When she isn’t in the kitchen, Samantha also lends her voice and classic film knowledge as cohost of the Ticklish Business podcast alongside Kristen Lopez and Drea Clark, and proudly serves as President of TCM Backlot’s Philadelphia Chapter. You can catch up with her work by following her @classicfilmgeek on Twitter.