I like Playboy … for the articles … and the girls.
Wait for it … I’m about to launch into a story. Several years back, my husband told me I laughed like Kendra Wilkinson. My response was, “Who the fuck is that?” Then I found out and it was a whirlwind from there.
I started watching the Girls Next Door on E! and I became fascinated with not just the girls, but Hef. I got the November 2005 issue of Playboy, which was the issue that Holly, Bridget and Kendra were first featured in. At that point, I looked through the magazine and developed an appreciation for the content.
My interest began compounding and I started collecting the magazine. (I now own over half of them.) On top of that, I became obsessively interested in the man behind the bunny, Mister Hugh Hefner.
I got my hands on the DVDs from Playboy After Dark, a “reality show” he made back in his Chicago days, where he essentially invited “you” (“you” being the camera) into his party. He’d talk to his noteworthy party guests, listen to performers, dance and play games. It is great to watch now because it provides a lot of insight into what was the sort of ideal elite party of the time. The more you observe the party, the more you realize how progressive Hef was for the time period. Not to mention, the retro chicks are just remarkable to behold.
Enter the non-fiction aspect. I started watching documentaries and becoming interested in Hefner-the-progressive rather than Hefner-the-lady-lover. I purchased the book, Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream by Steven Watts. I just finished it on Tuesday, actually. It’s a fabulous and unbiased detailed portrayal of the man’s life. It goes through his youth, the business of the magazine, his activism (including the backlash from feminists) and his social and romantic life. I find his whole story to be captivating and inspiring.
I have a ridiculous amount of respect for the man. I think a lot of people do. (Also, a lot of people don’t … but that’s due to either a difference in beliefs or lack of knowledge.) This level of attention, success, money, fame and respect is what turns high-strung control freaks into eccentric millionaires who control unimportant aspects of their lives. Specifically, Hef and his food obsession.
One of the little things that is a key Hefner feature is his taste in food. It’s specific. He has his own 24-hour kitchen and a full-time staff of 12. Not only can he order whatever he wants, whenever he wants but he also has his staff pack his food up and take it to the restaurants he goes out to. The restaurant will cook up his lamb chops brought right from the mansion so he can have exactly what he wants.
The staff of gourmet chefs have a repertoire of 31 recipes that fit his specific tastes. For instance, and I think most famously, he loves a KFC-style fried chicken. The Smoking Jacket, a safe-for-work Playboy website, published their famed fried chicken recipe.
One of my favorite examples of his food preferences comes from an episode of Girls Next Door where they were traveling and his assistant, the late Mary O’Connor, was preparing his breakfast by cutting up banana slices on the bottom of the bowl and putting his cereal on top. She made it very clear that he prefers his banana on the bottom. (I feel as though, at this age, his banana is always on the bottom.) His schedule is pretty regimented and he has a standard breakfast of a donut and grapefruit, a lunch of Lipton Soup and saltines and dinner is typically fried chicken and mashed potatoes or another midwest comfort food dish. He has a cookie drawer and a whole case of desserts and is a huge consumer of Diet Pepsi.
I mean, it doesn’t sound healthy, but it’s gotta be working, right? The guy recently turned 88. He says he eats in moderation and his staff makes efforts to cut sodium and balance his nutrition with fresh and healthy vegetables. I don’t know, I think I could get used to eating that way. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind moving into the mansion. Though, I’ve been saying that for years, regardless of the kitchen.
MFC: Playboy Mansion Fried Chicken
(Recipe from The Smoking Jacket)
- 2 split chicken breasts
- 2 thighs
- 2 wings
- 2 drumsticks
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp Spanish paprika
- 1 1/2 cups Wesson oil
Preheat an electric skillet to 375 degrees.
Rinse chicken pieces in cold water.
Combine flour and seasonings.
Heat oil in skillet.
Fully dredge the wet chicken in the flour mixture and place in skillet. Cover for 15 minutes.
Uncover and sprinkle top of chicken with more flour. Turn chicken when bottom is golden brown, after about 25 minutes.
Brown other side for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove chicken and place on paper towels to drain.
Fontina Turner, a food blogger and graphic designer from Philadelphia, makes classy-as-fuck comfort food and consumes an unhealthy amount of cheeses and craft beers. She can be found in the kitchen, at the bar, on Twitter or trying to make H. Jon Benjamin love her. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.