Salad Dressing (Les Baxter)
American composer and musician Les Baxter (14 March 1922 – 15 January 1996) scored 13 films featuring Vincent Price, beginning with House of Usher in 1960 and ending with Cry of the Banshee and An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe in 1970. Like Vincent, he was also a big foodie, and this family recipe has a most interesting history.
Les’ daughter Leslie tells us that her maternal grandfather, the French-born producer/director George Fitzmaurice, often traded recipes with her dad, and this is one he gave to no one else. Leslie and her cousins still make the dressing today – although if they want a quick fix they just add the onions, sherry and Maggi to a good French vinaigrette like the Paul Newman one.
Hollywood film-maker George Fitzmaurice (13 February 1885 – 13 June 1940), whose best-known directorial efforts included the 1926 silent, The Son of the Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino and the 1931 pre-Code drama, Mata Mari, with Greta Garbo, was first married to Ouida Bergere (1919-1924), who later became the wife of Basil Rathbone. He married Leslie’s mother, Diana Kane in 1927.
DID YOU KNOW? For breakfast, Les Baxter halved a cantaloupe and filled it with jelly beef consommé and mixed in 1 teaspoon of sour cream. He then topped it with caviar.
How to make
Leslie says there’s some debate in the family about the ratio between oil and vinegar, but basically, you start with a classic vinaigrette (so we have opted for a 2:6 ratio of vinegar and olive oil).
Add in the remaining ingredients, including the onion (which must have sat for at least two days to get soft), then you are good to go.
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons light olive oil
Lemon juice (a dash)
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Maggi liquid seasoning
Sweet Cream/Cream Sherry (a dash)
1 onion (chopped and sat for at least two days)
Tarragon (a pinch)