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Today’s Hollywood Specials: Marilyn Monroe’s handwritten Turkey-and-Stuffing recipe …

Ian Smith

Whether you are a fan of Marilyn Monroe or a fan of Turkey dinner, you might find this interesting. Marilyn Monroe had her own way of preparing Turkey Dinner and she scribbled it out on a stationery.

The recipe is dated around 1955 or 1956 when Marilyn was living in New York with her husband, the playwright Arthur Miller

The amazing book Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters provides a great deal of rich ephemera to those scholars of Monroe’s pursuits off the screen, including, as Matt Lee and Ted Lee in the New York Times describe it, “assorted letters, poems and back-of-the-envelope scribblings that span the time from Monroe’s first marriage in 1943 to her death in 1962.” The article appears in the paper’s Dining & Wine section thanks to one Monrovian fragment of particular interest this time of year: her personal recipe for turkey and stuffing.


“Scrawled on stationery with a letterhead from a title insurance company,” write Lee and Lee, “the recipe describes in some detail how to prepare a stuffing for chicken or turkey. The formula is extensive in the number of ingredients (11, not including the 5 herbs and spices, or salt and pepper), and in their diversity (3 kinds of nuts and 3 animal proteins). It is unorthodox for an American stuffing in its use of a bread loaf soaked in water, wrung dry and shredded, and in its lack of added fat, broth, raw egg or any other binder.”

For the Stuffing

  • No garlic
  • Sourdough
  • French bread – soak in cold water, wring out, then shred
  • For chicken giblets – boil in water 5-10 mins
  • Liver – heart then chop
  • 1 whole or ½ onion, chop & parsley / four stalk celery, chop together following spices – put in rosemary
  • Thyme, bay leaf, oregano, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper,
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, 1 handful
  • 1/2lb – 1/4lb ground round – put in frying pan – brown (no oil) then mix raisin 1 ½ cuops or more
  • 1 cup chop nuts (walnuts, chestnuts, peanuts)
  • 1 or 2 hard boiled eggs – chopped mix together

To Prep the Bird

  • Salt & pepper inside chicken or turkey – outside same and butter
  • Sew up clamp birds put chicken or turkey in 350 oven
  • Roasting chicken – 3or 4lbs or larger
  • Cooks 30 min to 1lbs
  • Brown chicken or pheasant (vinegar, oil, onion, spices) – let cook in own juice
  • Add little water as you go
  • ½ glass vinegar – put in when half done
  • Cooks 2 hours
  • Put potatoes
  • Mushroom – button canned
  • Peas – fresh


All photos by  Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters

Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News