The original Brown Derby Restaurant was opened in Los Angeles on Wilshire Blvd. in 1926. It was known for its distinctive brown hat shape, its good food, and because it was a place frequented by the Hollywood stars of the time. Three other L.A. branches were opened in 1929, 1931, and 1940--the latter, Los Feliz Brown Derby, is still in operation. The organization began a licensing program in 1987 with Disney and later with MGM. (Wikipedia).
My father's cousin was involved in the movie business and must have taken my parents to the original Brown Derby, as they always treasured memories of the place and enjoyed cooking from their copy of The Brown Derby Cookbook (Doubleday, 1949), which was passed down to me.
We kids loved this recipe, even though we might not have known its background. The bacon added just the right flavor and whenever my mother was making potato salad, this is the recipe we hoped she would use. She wrote little notes into the list of ingredients, and I have included those in brackets.
3 large Idaho russet potatoes
2 tbs. chives [or green onions]
4 slices crisp bacon, chopped fine
1/2 cup hot chicken broth [one half cube bouillon, dissolved in 1/2 cup water]
1 tsp. celery salt
1/2 cup Brown Derby Mayonnaise [my note: See recipe below, or substitute Hellman's or Best Foods, depending on where you live]
1/3 cup Brown Derby Old-Fashioned French Dressing [use Girard's]
2 tbl. wine vinagar
1 tbl. parsley, chopped fine
Boil the potatoes until well done. While still slightly warm, slice into a medium-sized salad bowl. Add chives, bacon, chicken broth, celery salt, mayonnaise, French dressing, wine vinegar, and parsley. Mix well, allow to stand for an hour, and serve.
Brown Derby Mayonnaise
Makes one quart
6 egg yolks
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. English mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 tbl. mild vinegar
3 cups salad oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbl. boiling water
Beat egg yolks with electric beater or French whip. Add salt, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and 2 tbl. vinegar. Mix well.
Add oil in fine stream, whipping fast to absorb oil. Stop adding oil if it is not absorbed. As mixture becomes thick add remaining vinegar and lemon juice.
Continue whipping until all oil, vinegar, and lemon have been used. If mixed correctly all ingredients should be absorbed. Finally, whip in the boiling water.
Keep refrigerated. Do not freeze.