Is this why John Wayne walked funny?


In the laundry room of my apartment complex is a chair and fold-out table upon which people leave random reading material. On that table this morning I found a softbound book titled, Pilar Wayne’s Favorite and Fabulous Recipes.

Whilst perusing said tome, I learned that from 1954 to 1976 its author, Pilar Wayne, was married to John Wayne. Besides being the wife of America’s most beloved movie cowboy, Pilar was also apparently quite the cook. And this book is her proof of it.

I also saw that Mrs. Wayne had autographed the book!

(Sounds like she had some tough kids. No surprise there; they’re John Wayne’s kids!)

Evidently Pilar took particular pleasure in cooking the fish dish above. If that bad boy doesn’t say “Hi! Eat me!”, what does? The recipe for this conversation stopper is below. It includes two envelopes of unflavored gelatin, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, and tabasco. Yum!

It certainly was fun getting this behind-the-scenes view into the life of John Wayne, one of America’s greatest movie heroes. Plus, I think it shed a little light on why he always walked so funny.


If anyone wants to see/read any more of Pilar’s recipes, just lemme know, and I’ll post ’em. I kept the book. How could I not? (Um … but I did replace it with about ten other awesome books.)

Follow-up post: How John Wayne proposed to his third wife (plus a pic of her Bananas Flambe!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Stick a fork in him; he's done.

  • Oh my gosh. This is too bizarre! That's exactly what I fixed for dinner tonight, howbeit with light Mayonnaise and A1 Sauce in place of Tabasco.

    Family recipe. Always a big hit, especially the salmon mousse sandwich left-overs the next day.

  • Now if you'd actually read the recipe, Anita, you'd have no doubt been happy to learn that Pilar, too, uses low-fat mayonnaise. Just one of the many things I'm sure you and her have in common….

  • arlywn

    I…. dont think I like food that smiles at me…

  • It looks creepy. Must be related to Mr. Bill.

  • Yes, it's … Mr. Gill.

    Hey, Lucas. HILARIOUS SITE! Yikes. And you're right: some of those images are permanently seared into my brain. So now I have to kill myself.

  • Ross

    Lucas – that site is crazy funny…

    Check it out everybody and be sure to allow yourself at least a half hour there to maximize the yucks…

    Anita- if what you made in any way resembles John's picture then I'm going to have to barf for you. Just kidding, I'm sure it's quite tasty.

  • Betcha the Duke didn't eat it. Salmon mousse? Maybe Steer Puddin' sandwiched between two strips of rawhide.

  • And the mousse too..

  • Really, Anita? Really??

  • C'mon, Anita. Inquiring intestinal tracts wanna know.

  • John,

    You think spam would work instead of the salmon?

    The Mr. Gill remark was hilarious.


  • “Steer Pudding.” Yum.

    I DID find another recipe in the book for something I could see the Duke eating. It’s called, “Three ‘C’ Casserole (Corn, Crackers and Cheese.)” It’s:

    2 cups canned creamed corn

    1 cup crushed soda crackers

    1/2 cup chopped celery

    1/4 cup chopped onion

    1 cup cheddar cheese

    1 tsp. salt

    2 eggs, beaten

    1.5 cups milk

    2 tablespoons melted butter

    Mix all together. Bake at 350 for one hour.

    Spam optional.

  • You know Wayne (John, not Pilar) was a huge fraud who avoided military service in WW2 when many of the other Hollywood stars went to war.. and then spent his entire career making movies that glorified the killing he was too chickenshit to do himself and otherwise making a general ass of himself.

    Which is all to say, he probably did eat the damn casserole..

  • Brian, I don’t think it was quite that simple. A lot of stars did, and I lot didn’t go to war. Nothing is that black and white. And you are right – it probably takes guts to eat that ugly thing. 😉

  • Because I’ve never had any interest in him as an actor, I’m afraid I know zilch about John Wayne. NOW, through Pilar’s cookbook, I know a little more. Sort of.

  • Kimberly Onufrock-Br

    Ahh the the 50s: no TV dinners for Pilar, just afternoon cocktails with the first Hollywood wives that led to barefooted romps in Gracie Allen’s backyard with Lucy, gossiping about Bette Davis while comparing button up cardigans and stealing their kids hula hoops while imitating Marilyn Monroe. Those were the days!

  • Mr. Gill! I love it! I wish I’d thought of it!

    Yes, despite my comment, I did read the post.

    Suddenly, the ziti that I over-baked last night seems more appetizing than it did last night.

  • Wickle: You’re hilarious. Truly. I love it.

  • vietnam vet

    Its unclear if John Wayne could have gotten into the military – he broke his leg at USC which ended his football days and he lost his scholarship – I don’t know what the requirements were in WWII but he would have been disqualified for Vietnam as many Pro Football players who were playing were deferred. Additionally he was under contract and reportedly the studio threathened a lawsuit if he enlisted. Many of the Hollywood stars who were in he military never saw any action and sold war bonds many making films for propaganda or training.

    So eat the fish and shut up!!!

    Vietnam Vet

  • Susan

    Or looks at me…

  • Derek

    wow. I SO want to do this for the next potluck, but I think I’ll add some black olive eyelashes and make the mouth look more pursed and lipsticked.

  • Gina Powers

    You know, I’m sorry but–I’ve seen stuff on that looked more appetizing………

  • Don Whitt

    John was a big fisherman and had an abode outside of Guaymus on the Sea of Cortez (San Carlos, actually – I’ve seen the house) from which he frequently went out and sport fished. (That means he drank a lot with his buddies on his boat.) At some point, after a long day of “sport fishing,” I bet he would have eaten anything, including Mr. Gill.