My thanks to all of the readers who attended Sunday's sold-out 5th annual Valentine's Day luncheon at Teibel's restaurant saluting legendary gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.
With your reader generosity, once again, more than $1,000 was raised to help The Caring Place Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence from our enjoyable afternoon of great food, prizes and fun memories from yesteryear. Additionally, more than $500 was raised just during the combination finale "dessert/soup course" with a Campbell's Soup sale, in a nod to Hedda's rival gossip columnist Louella Parsons, whose longtime radio show was sponsored by Campbell's Soup. (Rather than pay her Hollywood movie star guests, Louella managed to get big names like Cary Grant, Carole Lombard, Joan Crawford and Clark Gable to appear on her show without paying them their union wage scale, but rather, giving them canned soup as payment, until Hedda turned her in to the union.)
Four lucky guests who donated money for a can of soup also went home with great donated prizes, including bottles of wine, Peeps marshmallow confections, an Albert's Diamond Jewelers Gift Card for $100 and tickets to dinner and the show "Sunset Boulevard" at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook.
Thank you to Don Weiss and the kindness of WiseWay Foods, which still has one anchor store located in Winfield, for donating the 100 cans of Campbells Soup (both tomato and chicken noodle) for Sunday's soup drawing segment, in addition to a big thanks to Teibel's for helping host the event and to Debbie Albanese and Albanese Candy for providing delicious foil-wrapped chocolate hearts for each guest.
Also, in addition to thanking my parents and all of my helpers for the day, a thank you to Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook owner Kyle DeSantis and his publicists Kate Hughes and Noreen Heron for donating the dinner and theater tickets, as well as to New York publicist Kyle Hulcher and his client Bella for the beautiful Red Dots six Quart Slow Cooker.
Last week, reader Gordon Huge from Hobart contacted me and was very excited about this Teibel's event and this year's Hedda Hopper theme. As a vintage radio buff, Huge happened to have three of Hopper's original radio show broadcasts among his archive collection, which he copied and donated for me to play during the reception hour prior to the 1 p.m. lunch. These installments of "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood" dated from three consecutive broadcasts in early December 1940, and included Hedda's account of the career start of actress Dorothy Lamour, from her birth in a charity hospital ward in New Orleans to when she was discovered running an elevator at Chicago's Marshall Field's Department Store!
Thank you Gordon to adding this special touch to our event.
Hedda's radio show, which ran from 1939 to 1951 on both CBS, and later, NBC, was sponsored by Sunkist Citrus. So, for today's Ash Wednesday recipe, I'm including Hedda's own recipe for her "healthy" Sunkist fruit punch, which I found included in her personal scrapbook from a clip dated from January 1941.
It reads: "Hedda's Punch-in-the-Bowl is packed with vigor and vitamins. Like many a career woman, Hollywood news broadcaster Hedda Hopper finds excitement in a kitchen after days spent before lights, radio microphones and gathering and writing her daily newspaper column. She has a favorite punch recipe which will be just as uplifting in any town as it is Hollywood. Easy to make, too, and a real pepper-upper. Miss Hopper makes it with Sunkist oranges and lemons, as you who listen to her broadcasts may already have guessed."
Hedda Hopper's Hollywood Sunkist Citrus Fruit Punch
5 cups Sunkist orange juice
1 1/2 cups Sunkist lemon juice
2 1/2 cups cranberry juice (or any red juice)
1 cup of sugar
1 quart carbonated clear soda of choice
Sliced Sunkist oranges and lemons for garnish, along with floating berries of choice
DIRECTIONS: Mix fruit juices and sugar. Just before serving, add the soda and pour over cracked ice in tall glasses or a punch bowl. Garnish with floating citrus fruit slices and berries. Makes 12 servings.