The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Ann B. Davis's Yankee Doodle Macaroni and Cheese

By Vicki McClure Davidson

 

Frugal Celebrities Recipes

Actress Ann B. Davis played the incomparable, amusing, and lovable Alice, housekeeper and cook on the popular 1960s family sitcom The Brady Bunch.

Show creator and producer Sherwood Schwartz has explained that of all character actresses in Hollywood, Davis was his one and only choice in the role of Alice. At the time, however, Davis was performing a one-woman show in Seattle, and so, massive efforts to find an actress to cast in the role ensued. Schwartz was looking for someone like Davis who had a warm sense of humor and easy-going comedic timing, as well as her heart and conveyance of reality working with the Brady parents and children. She was to be a barometer for the storms that cropped up in the blended family, and had to come across as genuine during the show's dramatic scenes.

The studio discovered that there was no other actress like Davis who could convincingly pull off the role of Alice. Despite the cost, Schwartz finally advised Paramount Studio to buy out the two remaining weeks of her Seattle contract. As Schwartz recalled, "She's one of a kind... When they told me that would be expensive, I replied, 'Good things are often expensive.'" He attributed much of the show's success and five-year run to Davis.

Prior to The Brady Bunch, Davis played the role of Charmaine 'Schultzy' Schultz on The Bob Cummings Show during the mid to late 1950s. Her popularity in that role was tremendous, and it earned her a number of acting nominations, as well as two Emmys and three TV Land awards. She also had a recurring role in the 1960s on The John Forsythe Show.

Collaborating with two writers, Davis published Alice's Brady Bunch Cookbook in 1994. The cookbook is chock full of easy, inexpensive recipes, most of which are designed for kids to like them. This is but one of those recipes. The cookbook also has fascinating behind-the-scenes recollections of Davis' from the sitcom.

Source: Davis, Alice B., with Ron Newcomer and Diane Smolen, Alice's Brady Bunch Cookbook, Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville, TN, 1994.




Budget-minded families know that pasta is a favorite with kids and easy on the food budget. What makes this macaroni and cheese dish unique is that it has three different cheeses and two-thirds cup white wine. The wine gives it a lovely richness. This is so much better tasting and cheaper than the boring packaged macaroni and cheese (real cheese, not that orange powdered stuff), and you get a whole lot more... something hungry teenage boys who want seconds or thirds will appreciate.

In a pinch, you can use different cheeses, and may latch onto several slightly different versions of Davis's recipe that your family enjoys. Adding a bit of minced garlic to the butter or margarine as it sautés will add additional flavor. Experiment, taste, and experiment some more!

 

Ann B. Davis's Yankee Doodle Macaroni and Cheese

 

In a large saucepan, melt the butter or margarine and sauté the onions until softened. Stir in the flour and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add the wine and cream, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the ricotta, Cheddar, and Parmesan. Heat just until the Cheddar is melted. Toss with macaroni and serve.

Alice's Note: You never go wrong with this dish.

Makes 8 servings.

 

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Sources:
Davis, Alice B., with Ron Newcomer and Diane Smolen, Alice's Brady Bunch Cookbook, Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville, TN, 1994.
IMDb website, 'Ann B. Davis,' (http://imdb.com).