I adore this movie for many reasons. The first being the simple pairing of two of my favorite actors, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. The duo were a real life pair and I can truly see them together. The grounded ‘average man’ quality of Tracy just fits the New England Blue-blood eccentricities of Hepburn.
Secondly, this movie really touches a major issue, the computer. Though done in a very Hollywood comedy way, Amorak (the computer) is threatening to take over the lives of the research department of which Hepburn is the head. Throw in a fun love triangle and you have a wonderful movie.
The sad moment for me, when I watch this movie, is that the 21st century me always points out, “Well, it’s all fun and laughs, but honestly those jobs, that very department really won’t exist in a few decades. I can do as much research in 10 minutes on my computer as it would have taken those girls a week of reference material and phone calls”. But, what can one do, the computer certainly came and has not left us anytime soon.
This movie is definitely worth a watch and if you would like to watch it now, simply click on the “APRON TV” button on the side panel and it will take you to my YouTube channel. There click on classic movies, Desk set is there in its entirety. Enjoy.
Now, a very small inconsequential moment in this movie that I love is that in one scene Tracy and Hepburn eat a ‘Floating Island’. The first time I saw this movie I wondered, ‘what on earth is floating island’? Since then, of course, I have found countless versions of this recipe in my cookbooks and magazines.
The bowl you use makes a difference when you are whipping egg whites. Copper bowls produce a yellowish, creamy foam that is harder to overbeat that the foam produced using glass or stainless steel bowls. When you whisk egg whites in a copper bowl, some copper ions migrate from the bowl into the egg whites. The copper ions form a yellow complex with one of the proteins in eggs, conalbumin. The conalbumin-copper complex is more stable than the conalbumin alone, so egg whites whipped in a copper bowl are less likely to denature (unfold).A floating island is basically meringues made from egg whites floating on a custard made with those eggs yolks. There are many varieties out there. My 1950’s Better Home and Gardens has a recipe for a Strawberry Floating Island.As does the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook. This also has the basic floating island recipe as well.
And just for fun, to share a vintage show you may not have heard of, “My Miss Brooks” that involves some cooking and kitchen antics. This show ran also as a radio program on CBS from 48 to 57. It was adapted for TV and in 1956 (last year) was made into a film of the same name.
Here is the first part of the episode. To watch the rest just go to the APRON TV under classic TV. Enjoy!