Dining with the Valentinos

Mr. and Mrs. Valentino 1925

 In which our intrepid (and unnamed) reporter visits the house in Whitley Heights, describes the house, the meal and absolutely nothing about the Valentinos.

In which the recipes of the Dishes Which Made the Dinner a Success Are Given

Dinner Menu

Celery and Artichoke Hearts Cocktail

Toasted Wafers

Jellied Bouillon

Olives / Salted Nuts

Lobster Mousse with Fish Sauce

Broiled Squab on Toast

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Avocado and Lettuce Salad French Dressing

Ice cream


Dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Valentino. It Is just as ought to be, as you would expect it to be. Candle light on fragile glasses and gleaming silver. A centerpiece of flaming red roses. Delicate Italian cutwork doilies placed on the polished glass of the table top. A very correct butler, serving deftly and quietly.

You have no doubt heard that the Valentino home in Hollywood is a very picturesque and colorful place. Situated on a steep hillside, one enters on the upper floor, and after laying aside one’s wraps, descends the graceful staircase with its wrought-iron railing.

This staircase leads directly to the dining-room. The living-room with its black marble floor, its low, luxurious divans heaped with brightly-hued cushions, its many interesting art objects which Mr. and Mrs. Valentino have brought from Europe, it is on a lower level, reached by another short flight of stairs.

The two rooms are partitioned off from one another merely by a wrought-iron railing which runs the width of the dining-room to the left of the stairs. Over this railing is thrown a scarlet and black Spanish shawl.

Living Room of Whitley Heights looking
toward the Dining Room

The walls are gray-blue in tone, forming a harmonious background for the dining-room furniture which is painted Chinese lacquer read, the chairs upholstered in black velvet. The dining-room is small, its walls bare of all ornament, but the one large window faes toward the quiet evening hills, framing a perfect picture.

Orange colored candles, in red and black holders, cast a glamorous light across the table, revealing Rudy, his dark, debonair self, looking as he just stepped from the screen, and Mrs. Valentino in an apple-green frock, a white satin turban wrapped around her glossy black hair.

Long before dinner was over, I discovered that the Valentinos have a perfect cook. Rose Klein has prepared menus and cooked dinners from some of the most prominent families in this country. A recipe given out by her is well worth your consideration. She kindly gave me the dinner menu and several of her recipes when I told her that I felt certain housekeepers throughout the country would be interested in them.

For Celery and Artichoke Hearts Cocktail, dice the celery and artichoke hearts. Serve with this sauce: Add 1 pint cream to 1 pint tomato catchup. Beat together until thoroughly blended. Add juice of ½ a lemon and ¼ teaspoon of paprika. Stir in celery and artichoke hearts and serve immediately.

For Lobster Mousse, broil 2 lobsters for 10 minutes. Mash very fine adding a pinch of salt and dry mustard. Whip 2 eggs and ½ pint of cream. Place in a fish mold. Set in a pan of water and place in a medium hot oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

For Fish Sauce, beat ¼ pound of butter and wrap in yolks of 3 eggs. Add ½ cup of boiling water and season with salt and pepper. Place in double boiler and cook until sauce thickens. Squeeze in juice of ½ a lemon and serve.

For Candied Sweet Potatoes, wash and peel potatoes, cutting them to whatever size desired. Melt 1 cup of sugar in pan, when brown add ¼ cup of water. Let boil until it forms a thick syrup. Place potatoes in syrup, cover and set I medium oven for 20 minutes. Do not cook potatoes before placing in syrup, instructs Mrs. Klein. She says this is a mistake which housekeepers frequently make.

Mrs. Klein also gave me a recipe for Maple Nut Cake which she found excellent. Here are the ingredients:

¾ cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cup flour
1 cup very finely chopped walnuts
¾ cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
Yolks of 2 eggs

Cream the shortening with the sugar, add egg yolks until blended. Add the flour, chopped nuts, baking powder and milk. Place in moderate oven and bake for 35 minutes.

For Maple Icing, 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar, cream in 1 tablespoon of butter and add 2 tablespoons of ice-cold water and ½ teaspoon of maple flavoring. When cake is cooled, spread on icing and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

This maple cake looks tempting. As with many a recipe printed in fan magazines, the recipe is sketchy. So, for a modern cook I would suggest substituting butter for shortening, using whole eggs in the batter and for a "moderate" oven baking at 350.

Valentino posing at the front door
of 6776 Whitley Terrace.


Karen said…
Fascinating stuff! I'm going to have to try that maple cake!
Bruce Lassen said…
For the maple nut cake, she doesn't say to use a loaf pan or a single layer cake pan. In those days, I would think to use a loaf pan. But since it sounds rather rich, maybe the single layer pan. Small slices, you can always have a second(!) Sounds yummy!
Bruce Lassen said…
As for the celery and avocado cocktail, is this served cold? Is that Wonderful lobster mousse served warm or cold? Please clarify if you know. Thank you. I live near Whitley Heights and walk through there often. I know where the house used to be. The Hollywood Freeway went through the area where the house was. Just a wall now. So sad. One of the people who live there showed me a house that used part of the Valentino home that was salvaged. Quite something.

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