Robert Mitchum In The Kitchen (old postcard)

Robert Mitchum would’ve turned 100 this year but we all knew that wasn’t going to happen.

His dissolution was nearly complete by the time he finally died 20 years ago. The most surprising part was that he made it to 79 years of age. Mitchum’s boozing and cocksmanship were legend in Hollywood.

Asked what prison was like (after serving a sentence for a weed bust in the 50s) Mitchum remarked “It’s just like Palm Springs without the riffraff.”

He was married to his wife for 57 years

Although the Mitchums had a “Chinese lady” who was their official household cook, the couple liked to hustle around in the kitchen with Bob authoring both Peking duck, and chili on the range.

In an old newspaper interview from 1970, the man of the house was asked what kind of chili he liked to cook; his response? “Good chili,” and where did he learn to make it? “Mexico, at the border really”

Robert Mitchum’s exploits across the great country of Mexico are legendary. I recommend you check out “Baby, I Don’t Care” a 600pp biography of the great man. If you’d like to find out what the ex-con was up to when he motored south it makes for interesting reading.

Robert Mitchum’s Chili Recipe


4 strips bacon
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
seasoned flour (2 parts chili powder to 1 part flour)
3lbs lean beef (top round) cut into 3/4″ cubes
1 qt beef stock, or water
2 T. vinegar
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2-4 T. chili powder mixed with a little water til smooth
2 bay leaves, crushed
1 t. cumin seeds
dash sugar (optional)
2 t. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 oz. bitter chocolate, shaved


* Cook bacon in large stockpot til crispy and brown
* Lift out bacon, pour off excess fat leaving 3 T.
* Brown onions slowly in fat til soft, lift out
* Shake cubed beef in seasoned flour
* Brown quickly on all sides in onion flavored grease
* Add onions, garlic, stock, vinegar, bacon, tomatoes, chili powder, bay leaves, cumin, sugar, salt, pepper
* Mix well, bring to boil, simmer slowly for 3-4 hours, add chocolate during last half hour
* Taste to correct seasoning
* Serve with cooked kidney or pinto beans on the side
* Top with chopped sweet onion if desired

In remarks at the end of the article Mitchum said “vinegar will tenderize the meat but the real secret is to add a little piece of bitter chocolate, just as in a good spaghetti”


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