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Tanaquil LeClercq's Cookbook

Mme. Hermine

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[Thread title edited by AT so it will be more easily found in the future]

Seriously! I'm using capital letters for this! Has anyone ever seen "The Ballet Cookbook" by Tanaquil LeClercq? Well it's got 424 pages (it's sitting in front of me) and anecdotes about and recipes from (whether really or not) many many dancers/choreographers in the mid-60s. I have to think that a few paragraphs' quoting is okay in fair use, but Alexandra, please let me know if it isn't.


"Henning Kronstam cannot think of any food that he really dislikes eating. He doesn't "care too much for all the English specialties, like kippers for breakfast, the puddings, or turkey (only the dark meat)."

He doesn't enjoy mixed drinks. But he doesl ike both scotch and bourbon served with water. And, "I love beer and drink a lot of it like all Danes. When I'm performing I eat between two and three o'clock and always a steak or a steak tartare. After the performance we dancers usually form a little group and have smorrebrod (open sandwiches) and beer. Then straight home and to bed."

Roast Duck

1 3-5 lb. duck


Prunes, boiled and pitted

Apples, peeled and sliced

1 smoked tenderloin of pork, diced

3 tbs. flour

2 cups milk, approximately

Season duck inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff with prunes, apples and smoked tenderloin of pork. Sew opening of duck. Place duck on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up. Add 1 inch water to pan; roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 20 minutes per pound, basting every 20 minutes. Fifteen minutes before duck has finished cooking, pour off juices from pan and let them cool. Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for last fifteen minutes of cooking. Skim off all fat from juices. Place juices with flour in pan, stirring over low heat. Gradually add milk to desired thickness, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil.

Serve duck with the sauce, stuffing, small boiled potatoes glazed with sugar and butter, and red cabbage cooked in a little water with vinegar and apples. Serves 2-4.

Goose may be prepared in exactly the same way, but it takes somewhat longer as it must cook 25 minutes per pound.

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it's quite a list, Alexandra!


Diana Adams

Alicia Alonso

Sonia Arova

Gerald Arpino

Frederick Ashton

George Balanchine

Irina Baronova

David Blair

Anthony Blum

Todd Bolender

Lisa Bradley

Erik Bruhn

Leslie Caron

Janine Charrat

Yvette Chauvrire

Lew Christensen

John Cranko

Jacques d'Amboise

Alexandra Danilova

Agnes de Mille

Ninette de Valois

Anton Dolin

William Dollar

Felia Doubrovska

Natalia Dudinskaya

Andre Eglevsky

Suzanne Farrell

Royes Fernandez

Flemming Flindt

Margot Fonteyn

Carla Fracci

Frederic Franklin

Melissa Hayden

Robert Helpmann

Rosella Hightower


Robert Joffrey

Tamara Karsavina

Nora Kaye

Allegra Kent

Ruth Ann Koesun

Natalie Krassovska

Henning Kronstam

Tanaquil LeClercq

Olga Lepeshinskaya

David Lichine/Tatiana Riabouchinska

Serge Lifar

Anya Linden

Lydia Lopokova

Conrad Ludlow

Nicholas Magallanes

Colette Marchand

Alicia Markova

Patricia McBride

Arthur Mitchell

Frank Moncion

Claire Motte

Vera Nemtchinova

Nadia Nerina

Bronislava Nijinska

Rudolf Nureyev

Sono Osato

Ruth Page

Merle Park

Mimi Paul

Roland Petit-Zizi Jeanmaire

Maya Plisetskaya

Andre Prokovsky

Marie Rambert

Jacqueline Rayet

Janet Reed

Jerome Robbins

Herbert Ross

Antoinette Sibley

Kirsten Simone

George Skibine-Marjorie Tallchief

Mia Slavenska

Michael Somes

Maria Tallchief

John Taras

Nanon Thibon

Tamara Toumanova

Antony Tudor

Violette Verdy

Edward Villella

Pierre Vladimiroff

Patricia Wilde

Igor Youskevitch

Carlotta Zambelli

Vera Zorina


You asked! :D I feel like I just typed a dance encyclopedia!

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i should think it would be a great candidate for some sort of limited reprint, wouldn't you? i don't think it ever had more than one edition. from what i've had the chance to look at, the recipes are very interesting; quite a few of the more accomplished cooks have more than one recipe and balanchine contributed a large number as well, and of course we knew he was a great cook. the russian specialties are very interesting and arthur mitchell has what sounds like a perfectly *yummy* pork chop recipet!

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I think it would be worth reprinting, but then, I think a lot of things are worth reprinting! There might be a problem with "permissions" though -- since (sadly) most of these people are now dead and their works, including recipes, are in the hands of heirs. It would be a lot of work to track them down, and there may be fees involved.

Of course, anyone who's involved in publishing and sees this, please do look into it!

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This is a charming book, even if you never follow any of the recipes. There are amusing anecdotes and some unusual photographs including one of tiny tot Suzanne Farrell seated at table. She has several recipes in the book: Artichoke Omelet, Zucchini Omelet, Sauerbraten, Liver and Ham Loaf, Hot Potato Salad, Graham Cracker Cake, Filling for Graham Cracker Cake, and something called Pate Oscar. The last is what she used to feed Top and Bottom, her cats at the time. It requires 1 lb. lung, 1 lb. fish, 2 cups cumbled dog biscuits, 1/2 cup tomato juice, and 1 tsp cod liver oil. The book was published in 1966, by Stein & Day, a publisher who unfortunately is no more.

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i had a request to post a recipe by balanchine but he's got quite a few in the book! so here's a list and i'll take one request, alexandra gets to pick!


The Do's and Don'ts of Serving Caviar

Cucumber Pickles


Mushrooms #1

Mushrooms #2

Slow Beet Borschok

Speedy Beet Borschok

Jellied Borschok

Fast Soup #1

Fast Soup #2

Eggs Like Mama Used To Make

Fish Dinner for Two

Sauerkraut and Tomatoes

Sauerkraut and Mushrooms

Flounder in Sauerkraut

Franks in Sauerkraut

Bitotchki in Sauerkraut (Small Meatballs in Sauerkraut)

Leg of Lamb in Sauerkraut

Barley Kasha

Mr. B.'s Sweet Kasha

Buckwheat Kasha

Coriander Sauce

Horseradish Ice Cream

Mountain Ash Vodka

Banana Sweet



to the person who requested: your mailbox is full! :D

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Oh that Balanchine!

He could never use an idea just once!!!

I've also got his Kasha recipe. He re-told it to the pianists Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale in the Gold and Fizdale Cookbook, for a wonderful section called "Cooking with Balanchine." Also included are recipes for Gogl-Mogl, Bitki (ground meat patties), Eggplant Orientale, Georgian Coriander Sauce, Chicken Stew with Coriander Sauce, Borschok Balanchine and Salade Olivier, George Balanchine.

I think the fact that he used this kasha recipe twice proves what his detractors have always said. He didn't have an original thought in his head, obviously it was all recycled trash from somewhere else.

From the cookbook:

While he showed us how to prepare kasha, George told us about the first meal he ever cooked.  It was for Diaghilev and dancers of the Ballets Russes in Monte Carlo.  Balanchine, only twenty was already a choreographer for the legendary ballet company.  His first menu was an ambitious one.

"I made fillet of sole -- came out mushy; chicken cutlets--mushy, souffle--mushy.  Everything looked like kasha; was awful!"

Diaghilev, always elegant, turned as he left to the table, where most of the food remained uneaten, and, bowing courteously to each platter in turn, said, "kasha number one, kasha number two, kasha number three, and thank you, George!"

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at your service! :D



4 packages cheesecloth

10 lbs. unsalted skim milk cottage cheese

9 vanilla beans

3 tbs. sugar

2 cups finely chopped blanched almonds

2 tsp. almond extract

1 lb. salted butter, softened

4 lbs. sweet butter, softened

9 cups sugar

2 dozen egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 lb. cream cheese

1/4 lb. currants

1 lb. white raisins

Wash cheesecloth in boiling water and wring out. Line 3 large colanders with three thicknesses of the cheesecloth leaving excess around sides. Place cottage cheese in colanders, fold cloth over top, and lay inverted plate on top of the cloth. Put heavy weights on the plate and place the colanders on top of bowls to drain at room temperature overnight.

Meanwhile prepare the following ingredients for use: slit vanilla beans, scrape out insides and combine with three tablespoons sugar; sprinkle almonds with extract; cream butter and 9 cups of sugar, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored, add sugar gradually and continue beating until well combined.

Remove cottage cheese from cheesecloth and, along with the cream cheese, rub through a medium fine sieve into a cauldron. Add the remaining ingredients including the vanilla pods and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

Half fill a large roasting pan with water and place over two burners. Place a large trivet on the bottom of the roasting pan and set the cauldron on top of the trivet. Heat, stirring often, until the mixture is heated through, about two hours. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Remove all vanilla pods. Pour mixture into paska molds, flower pots or colanders lined with cheesecloth. Fold cloth over, place weights on top. Set over a bowl, making sure molds are elevated to allow for drainage. Refrigerate three days. Unmold and serve.

G. Balanchine

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I happen to have a copy of this book. I don't for a minute believe most of these people ate these things--or even cooked them--well, maybe the Balanchine recipes and the Farrell cat food--but it's a divine read. By the way, I think Dance Magazine used to publish Christmas receipes from famous figures in dance. They were pretty awful, often involving pineapple and maraschino cherries.

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