Strawberry Cobbler for New Year’s Eve!!

Tonight is the last night of my Ava December project! For the special occasion of New Year’s Eve, I decided to make her recipe for strawberry cobbler! It was a tasty recipe that I was happy to try out! Even though strawberries are not in season, I actually found a ripe strawberry on my strawberry plant in my garden, which I thought was a good sign for ringing in the new year with hope, health, and happiness!!

Thank you so much for joining me on this month-long project. It has been a great learning experience for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Take care, and happy 2021 to us all.

Don’t Tell Me – by Buddy Pepper

Welcome to Week Five of Ava December! It is officially the last week of my Ava Gardner project celebrating her life, and I couldn’t be happier with all the work and videos that have come out of my efforts.

Today I am celebrating the song “Don’t Tell Me,” with music and lyrics by Buddy Pepper. Ava Gardner starred in the 1947 film, The Hucksters (also starring Clark Gable and Deborah Kerr). Ava’s character, Jean Ogilvie, a songstress, sings “Don’t Tell Me” opposite a grand piano on a beautiful big stage. I did my best to imagine the stage.

Once again, I was happy to be accompanied by my father, David Bookbinder, on the piano. Wardrobe assistance and dress design by Martaine.

Happy 98th Birthday, Ava!!

Today is December 24th, which means it is Miss Ava Gardner’s 98th birthday!! In honor of the special occasion, I decided to bake a coconut cake for her. It is a recipe that her mom used to make for her every year on her birthday. It came out splendidly! Lots of coconut shreds, flakes, and chips!! Cooking the sugar was a new experience for me, as was baking four layers!! Such a delight to bake this cake in her honor. Enjoy!!

Coming Through The Rye

Welcome to week four of Ava December!! Happy Ava Tuesday!! In honor of Ava’s birthday week, I have a special surprise today!! Read on…

In 1953, Ava Gardner starred in the John Ford film, Mogambo which was a remake of the 1932 film, Red Dust. Ava’s performance as Eloise “Honeybear” Kelly in the film garnered her an Oscar nomination, the only one in her long career. 

In this film, Honeybear sings the Scottish folk tune, “Comin through the rye” one night after dinner; dancing, swaying, and enjoying every moment of the song. In Ava’s own words:

“As far as my career as an actress went, Mogambo was probably as close to a pinnacle as anything I’ve done. For someone with my naturally irreverent temperament, playing a sassy, tough-talking playgirl who whistles at men, drinks whiskey straight from the bottle, and says about wine, ‘Any year, any model, they all bring out my better nature’ was a gift from the gods. I never felt more comfortable in a part before or since, and I was even allowed to improvise some of my dialogue. Yet if you would have told me that I’d feel this way about a film directed by John Ford, I would have sent you straight to Artie Shaw’s psychiatrist.” 

-from Ava Gardner’s autobiography, Ava: My Life

I was excited to learn this song, and when it came time to performing, I wore a dress that my mother had custom-made. She first wore this dress when she attended the opera, notably seeing Tosca from a box seat. For this reason, this video and this performance is very near and dear to me, as I am honoring both Ava Gardner and my mother, who was so generous in letting me borrow her gown AND her pearls. Thank you!! 

“How am I to know?”

“How am I to know?” is a song that was featured in the 1951 film Pandora and the Flying Dutchman directed by Albert Lewin. The character Pandora Reynolds (Ava Gardner) sings this song in the bar scene at the beginning of the movie. She sits at the piano and wistfully sings about love, introspectively asking herself questions about what it means. Her character is disappointed and disillusioned. She is unfulfilled; longing yet hesitant, eager yet cautious. This beautiful song features lyrics by Dorothy Parker and music by Jack King. It was first featured in the 1929 film Dynamite directed by Cecil B. DeMille. I enjoyed learning this song and was glad to record my own version. I am accompanied at the piano by my father, David Bookbinder, and received wardrobe assistance from Martaine. Enjoy!

Pie Dough & Ava’s Pecan Pie

Week Three of Cooking With Ava! I got ambitious and did two recipes this week (maybe it’s the reason why I got ambitious and cooked for Tuesday instead of Thursday this week)! I started out making a Pie Dough, and then I made a pecan pie in the pie dough! I had a lot of fun and was pleased with the results! The pie was TASTY!! And the crust was decorated and delicious! All around a good time! Enjoy!!

Myra’s Blueberry Buckle

Welcome to week two of Cooking with Ava! In continuing to celebrate the birthday month of Ava Gardner, I baked a blueberry buckle, which is a delicious dessert recipe from her older sister Myra. Hope you all enjoy! Thanks for watching!

Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man

I was very excited to sing this song for two reasons. One – it’s my favorite song from the musical “Showboat” (music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II). Two – I got to wear this fabulous dress which was recreated by Martaine. It was a dream come true to both wear this dress and record this song. I hope you enjoy!!

Happy December!! Speak Low

To begin my Ava December project, I’ll start with the song “Speak Low” from the Kurt Weill/Odgen Nash musical, “One Touch of Venus.” This song was featured in the 1948 film version, and even though it wasn’t Ava that actually sang in the film, (her voice was dubbed by Eileen Wilson) I enjoyed her performance and loved the song. The lyrics are a play on words from a line from William Shakespeare’s play “Much Ado About Nothing,” in which Don Pedro says, “Speak low if you speak love.”