I used to watch Barbara Stanwyck in re-runs of The Big Valley when I was a kid. She was the luminous matriarch of the Barkley family, with three sons and a daughter, played by a young Linda Evans.

She spoke with a crisp voice that caused her soft tenor to be even more impactful when giving advice to her grown children. Her answers to the family dilemmas always included a broader wisdom on the nature of life and made her a strong, loving presence.

Gene Tierney wasn’t known as the most talented actress in Hollywood. She never won an Oscar. She didn’t merge into character roles in her later years. But she grew as an actress and she naturally evoked mystery.

What really went on behind that remote facade? Grace Kelly was perhaps the actress whose looks most resembled hers. The white luminous skin and cool guise belied an inner turmoil in the case of Tierney, which she was able to channel in her acting when required. Although Gene is somewhat aloof like Grace Kelly, there is a profound warmth that comes through in…

A recipe and notes on some of her wondrous films to enjoy while under lock and key.

Bette Davis in the Petrified Forest, 1936

I’ll bet Bette Davis didn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but the recipes she did share represent something of who she was as a person. It’s a starting-off point anyway.

She was a free-spirited woman who liked foods that brought her back to her New England roots. The Red Flannel Hash has just 4 ingredients and would’ve been served at breakfast alongside eggs. She also left us recipes for her baked beans, split-pea soup, and 3-minute egg. …

The Misunderstood Bean.

Photo by Meredith Petrick on Unsplash

There is nothing to dislike about soy except for the way it’s produced in our modern world.

It’s a versatile food, especially for vegetarians.

I’ve been vegetarian for years, and I’ve eaten a lot of soy: tofu, tempeh, miso mostly. I’ve never felt anything but great when I eat this food. It’s versatile and absorbs the flavors of the dish I’m cooking.

I use tempeh in marinara sauce to make a Spaghetti Bolognese and it adds texture, not to mention plenty of nutrition. I make sautéed vegetables with tofu and brown rice. I make a Shepherd’s Pie with tofu that’s been frozen and thawed, then sautéed to…

Attempting to unravel the confusion around the association between fat, cholesterol, and heart disease.

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

Saturated fat does raise cholesterol levels, but is it the saturated fat and cholesterol per se that are the problems, or is something else going on?

My friend Victor texted me recently and told me he has high cholesterol and asked for some recommendations. Do I need to give up my bacon? he wants to know. In my lay-person-but-informed opinion it’s important to do all that you can with diet before, if ever, turning to medication. His doctor is adamant that he needs to go on…

Maria Graceffo

I Write about nutrition, skincare, Old Hollywood, and anything else that sparks my interest or entices me to share. Suchgoodskin.com

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