Use this to search the site!
Just type your request in the
blank and click on "Search"!
Custom Search



Nero Wolfe's Mondor Patties

From: Diane 
Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2011 8:38 PM
Subject: Mondor patties


You once found a recipe for me that I remembered from my childhood. I now have a new question. 
In some of the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout, a dish is mentioned called Mondor patties. Is there such a dish? 
Can you find a recipe for it? It was served between the soup and the duck, so I thought it might be some sort of fish, 
but I really haven’t a clue. Thanks for any help you can give.


Hi Diane,

It’s always a pleasure to meet another Nero Wolfe fan. I've read all of the novels myself, if not all of the short stories.

I did a thorough search about a year ago for “Mondor patties”. I have a copy of "The Nero Wolfe Cookbook" and there is a "Duck Mondor" recipe in it, but not one for “Mondor patties”. There does not appear to be a recipe anywhere at all for "Mondor patties." Is there really a dish called "Mondor patties?" I think probably not. What about ”Duck Mondor", another “Mondor” dish mentioned in the Nero Wolfe novels? There is a recipe for it now, because there's one in "The Nero Wolfe Cookbook", but there probably wasn't one before "The Nero Wolfe Cookbook" was created.

Here's why I don’t think “Mondor patties” are a real dish:

Many of the dishes in the Nero Wolfe series are real, but many are fictional. Rex Stout, with the able assistance of his own chef friends, created dishes for "The Nero Wolfe Cookbook" to match some of the fictional dishes mentioned in the novels. They apparently never did so for the "Mondor Patties", but they did create a recipe for the "Duck Mondor", which is mentioned in “The Father Hunt” and “In the Best of Families”. The "Mondor" part of the name comes from "Pierre Mondor", one of Nero Wolfe's best friends in the books and the owner and “Chef de cuisine” of "Mondor's Restaurant" in Paris, France. Since "Pierre Mondor" is a fictional character, there was no real recipe for "Duck Mondor" before “The Nero Wolfe Cookbook” was created, and there is no recipe at all for “Mondor Patties”. We might speculate that the "Pierre Mondor" character was based on a real chef, and that perhaps "Duck Mondor" and "Mondor Patties" were based on real dishes with a different name, created by that chef. However, since we can’t ask Mr. Stout himself, we have no clue as to what the origin of "Mondor patties" might have been. In "Murder by the Book" they are served before the duckling, as you say, so it seems doubtful to me that they are made of duck themselves. It's purely a guess, but perhaps they were some sort of vegetable patty. Eggplant, perhaps. There does not seem to be any reason to think that "Mondor patties" and "Duck Mondor" have any similarity other than that they were both created by Chef Pierre Mondor. Anyhow, the "Duck Mondor" recipe from "The Nero Wolfe Cookbook" is below. In the books, Chef Pierre Mondor gave the recipe to Nero Wolfe, who gave it to his personal chef Fritz, and Fritz cooks the dish.


Duck Mondor

2 ducks, 5 to 6 pounds each
2 celery stalks. sliced
2 onions, sliced
2 medium apples, peeled and diced
1 lemon
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
2 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 ounce cognac
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces Gruyère cheese
crushed pistachio nuts

Preheat the oven to 350°. Wash the duck, and remove the excess fat from the loose skin. Mix the celery, onions, and apples together. 
Stuff the duck cavities with the mixture, and truss the birds. Rub the skin of each duck with 1/2 the lemon, and prick the skin here 
and there with a sharp fork. Put the ducks on a rack in a roasting pan, and bake for about 1 3/4 hours. Do not baste.
When they are done, remove from oven, and remove and discard the stuffing. Cut the ducks into serving pieces, arrange them on an 
oven proof platter, and keep them warm. Raise the oven temperature to 450°.
Melt the butter in a saucepan; add the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until the mixture begins to thicken. 
Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks one at a time, beating vigorously after each addition. Return the saucepan to the heat, 
add the cream, and heat through;do not allow to boil. Add the cognac and nutmeg, and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. 
Simmer very gently for 3 minutes more. Pour the sauce over the pieces of duck, and sprinkle on the cheese. Bake in the hot oven until brown, 
about 5 minutes, Garnish with the pistachio nuts. (serves 4 to 6)
 From: Mark  
Sent: Sunday, April 12, 2015 8:10 PM
Subject: Mondor patties
IN "three Men Out', the fictional Pierre Mondor visits Wolfe and wants to attend a baseball game. 
Meanwhile, he prepares for Wolfe and Archie 'quenelles bonne femme', a classic recipe of poached 
dumplings in sauce, found in Escoffier and any other classic French cookbook. It can be made with 
fish, veal or, usually, chicken white meat. Archie later calls this dish 'Mondor patties' when 
Fritz makes it, because he prefers to use English rather than French.

Hello Mark,

Ok. Thanks. “Three Men Out” is not a novel or a story in itself. It is the title of a collection of three novellas, none of which is actually titled “Three Men Out”. The novella in which the baseball game request appears is “This Won’t Kill You.”

However, a second look at my copy of "The Nero Wolfe Cookbook" as regards "Mondor patties" leaves me still puzzled.

The statement that "Mondor patties" is Archie's or Wolfe's name for "quenelles bonne femme" is not found in "This Won't Kill You" or in either of the other novellas in "Three Men Out." The name "Mondor patties" is not found in any of those novellas at all, but "quenelles bonne femme" is mentioned in "This Won't Kill You". On the other hand, mention of "Mondor patties" is found only in another Wolfe story entitled "Murder by the Book,", but "quenelles bonne femme" is not found in that book at all. The idea that "Mondor patties" is Archie's or Wolfe's name for "quenelles bonne femme" is only found in "The Nero Wolfe Cookbook" (page 188), in a note accompanying the recipe for "quenelles bonne femme," which are a sort of chicken croquette with ground chicken, eggs and cracker crumbs. The note is a speculation, not a quote from any of the books. To further cloud things, that note begins:
"This dish ('quenelles bonne femme') is a favorite on West Thirty-fifth Street. Fritz has his own version (see page 86 for Mondor patties), and Pierre Mondor, one of Wolf's closest friends, even cooked the dish himself in Wolfe's kitchen on one occasion. (See page 86 for Mondor patties.)

That "(See page 86 for Mondor patties.)" creates a problem, because there is no mention on page 86 of "Mondor patties." Page 86 is entirely devoted to a recipe for "Duck Mondor" (whole stuffed duck), which is another of Pierre Mondor's dishes and which is not at all similar to "quenelles bonne femme." The note for the "Duck Mondor" recipe says "...Mondor never cooks the dish himself in any of the stories."

The last part of the note accompanying the recipe for "quenelles bonne femme" is where it is said that "Once, when Wolfe is obliged to feed a group of women, he has Fritz make Mondor patties for them, and all indications are that this is Wolfe's pet name for the Quenelles Bonne Femme.("Murder by the Book")

Going on to "Murder by the Book", these are the mentions of "Mondor patties" in that novel:
"I've reconsidered. You will give them dinner here. I'll arrange the menu with Fritz-perhaps Mondor patties, and duckling with cherries and grapes. For women, the Pasti Grey Riesling will be good enough; I'm glad to have a use for it."
and later:
"Having done all right with the soup, they did even better with the Mondor patties."

As far as I know, there are no other mentions of "Mondor patties" in any other of the Nero Wolfe novels or collections. I could not find any mention that "Mondor patties" were ever Archie's name for "quenelles bonne femme". The note in "The Nero Wolfe Cookbook" says it was Wolfe's term for them, and Wolfe is the one who says the name in "Murder by the Book".

If, as it appears, Rex Stout wrote the note on page 188 of the cookbook, then "Mondor patties" must indeed be Wolfe's name for "quenelles bonne femme". However, if this note was written by an editor, then some doubt must be cast upon that speculative conclusion. What bothers me about the note in the cookbook is the statement to "See page 86 for Mondor patties," when page 86 is for "duck Mondor" and contains no mention of "Mondor patties." Did Rex Stout get his wires crossed, or was it an editor who inserted that? If it was an editor, then did he write the entire note, including the speculation that "Mondor patties" are "quenelles bonne femme?" If so, then the speculation itself is, to my mind, somewhat doubtful.

Sorry if this seems to be overkill, but you caught me on a morning when I had little else to do.


Be all that as it may, here is the recipe for "Quinelles Bonne Femme" from The Nero Wolfe Cookbook.

Quenelles Bonne Femme

2/3 cup		raw breast of chicken
2		egg whites
1/2 teaspoon	salt
1/8 teaspoon 	white pepper
1/4 cup		heavy cream
1 1/2 cups	dry white wine
1 cup		water
3 tablespoons	butter
1 		shallot, chopped
6 medium	mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons	all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons	beef marrow
3/4 teaspoon	chopped fresh parsley
2 large		eggs
4 tablespoons	sifted cracker crumbs
1/8 teaspoon	paprika
3/4 cup		strong chicken broth
2 tablespoons	sour cream
salt to taste	

Put the chicken breast through the finest blade of a meat gringer, then through a sieve, and
add, gradually, the egg whites, salt, white pepper, and enough heavy cream to make it the 
right consistency to mold into ovals with the aid of two teaspoons. Drop the ovals into 
gently boiling white wine and water mixed in equal parts (1 cup of each should be enough), 
and cook until firm, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and lay gently on a hot,
shallow baking dish. Work the marrow with a wooden spoon until creamy. Add the parsley, 
whole eggs, cracker crumbs, paprika, and a few grains of salt. Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls
into the same boiling liquid used for the quinelles. To make the sauce, melt 3 tablespoons of 
butter in a saucepan, and add the shallot and mushrooms. Before they begin to brown, add the 
flour. Pour in 1/2 cup wine and the chicken stock. Simmer for five minutes, add the sour cream, 
and cook just long enough to blend everything perfectly. Pour the sauce over the quinelles and
marrow balls, and brown in a very hot oven or under a broiler. (Serves 4)

Jalapeno Cornbread

From: Anne  
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 5:51 PM
Subject: recipe for cornbread

Hi my name is Stacy and I have just recently moved across the country. I have boxes everywhere and have not come across my Marlboro Cook book 
Town, trials and special times, I am in need of the cornbread recipe out of this book. Please help if possible. 


Hello Stacy,

Stacy, there are two cornbread recipes in “Towns, Trails & Special Times”: Jalapeno Cornbread and Sourdough Cornbread. Which one?


From: Anne 
Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2011 10:31 PM
To: Phaedrus 
Subject: Re: recipe for cornbread

Jalapeno Cornbread....thanks for helping out

Hello Stacy,

See below.


Jalapeno Cornbread
(from "Towns, Trails & Special Times - The Marlboro Country Cookbook")

1 1/2 cups    yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 Tbsp.   sugar
1 1/2 tsp.     salt
1 1/2 cups    milk
1 Tbsp.        baking powder
1 1/2 tsp.     baking soda
2                  eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 to 1/2 cup    finely chopped Jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup        shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
1/4 cup        chopped onions

Combine cornmeal, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
Scald milk, pour over cornmeal;cool to lukewarm.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Pour into a well-greased 9 inch square or round baking pan.
Bake in a 425° oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

Makes 9 to 12 servings.

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad like Grone's
Yield: 16 servings

4 pounds russet potatoes

1/2 pound thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons chopped onion 
2 tablespoons diced green bell pepper 
2 tablespoons diced celery 
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

1. Wash potatoes. Place in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender, 25 to 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until just crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place in a medium pot. 
   Discard bacon grease. 
3. Add vinegar, water and sugar to pot holding the bacon; bring to a boil. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
4. When potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, peel and slice 1/8-inch-thick into a large bowl. Add onion, green pepper and celery. 
   Pour vinegar mixture over the potatoes and vegetables, season with salt and pepper and toss gently to coat. Serve warm. 
Per serving: 140 calories; 2g fat; 0.5g saturated fat; 5mg cholesterol; 4g protein; 27g carbohydrate; 7g sugar; 2g fiber; 195mg sodium; 20mg calcium.

Hot Dog Casserole

Hot Dog Casserole 

1 large green pepper, cut into long slivers 
1 large onion, cut in half, then in long slivers 
1 clove garlic, chopped 
2 tablespoons bacon fat 
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" inch pieces 
8 hot dogs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 
8 ounces tomato sauce 
1/2 cup water 
dash cinnamon 
salt and pepper to taste 
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar 

Preheat the oven at 350°F. In a large frying pan, place green pepper, onion, and 
garlic in bacon drippings.Saute until slightly tender but not soft. Set the pan 
aside. Place potatoes in a large saucepan filled with salted water. Cook the 
potatoes at a slow boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. To prepare sauce, 
put tomato sauce, water, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add salt and 
pepper to taste, mix well. Add the sauteed vegetables, potatoes and hot dogs to 
the sauce. Mix well. Place the mixture into a greased 2 quart casserole dish or 
pan. Cover the dish and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the dish to set 
for a few minutes before serving. 

Please read the Instructions before requesting a recipe.

Please sign your real first name to all recipe requests.

Please don't type in all capital letters.

If you have more than one request, please send them in separate e-mails.

Send Requests to

Copyright (c) 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Phaedrus