David Wade: The Rembrandt of the Kitchen

chef I just received an order for a David Wade cookbook I’ve had listed for four years: DAVID WADE’S KITCHEN CLASSICS (Dallas: David Wade Industries, 1969). 300pp. Photographs, index. The ascot-clad TV gourmet presents recipes as well as photos of himself with celebrities such as Mickey Mantle (page 99, opposite the recipe for Crabmeat Tetrazzini). A couple of small splotches to fore-edge; one rubbed spot on cover. No dust jacket. Inscribed by Wade. $12.50

I don’t think people outside of Texas (and maybe outside of Dallas) would be familiar with David Wade, described, tellingly, not as a “chef” but as a “food demonstrator.” He had a local TV show that must have started in the ’60s, but I saw him in the ’70s and into the ’80s. And, yes, he DID wear an ascot, and a blazer, shown here from another cookbook from the David Wade oeuvre:


David Wade - Dining With cover


He had a catchy theme song (which compared him to Rembrandt and Edison) AND his very own coat of arms, which I have vivid, rather frightening memories of from my childhood (I always imagined that poor pig being whacked over the head with the rolling pin and then hacked apart by the cleaver — Bon Appetit, little piggie!):

David Wade coat of arms


I ran across a wonderful, adjective-laden article about him here that I thought was great. If you ever happened across David Wade, this will bring back all sorts of deep-voiced cringing memories. Although, to be fair, I think the guy who wrote that article is a little hard on Wade — yes, he was kind of pretentious, but he was also folksy and pleasantly inoffensive.

I’m not sure the same can be said for his food, however. Here are a few of the recipes some lucky lady in South Carolina might be whipping up in a few days:

  • Squash Loaf
  • Citrus Surprise Steak
  • Liver Yucatan (featuring grated American cheese (can you actually grate American cheese?), macaroni, canned mushrooms, and sugar)
  • Baked Stuffed Fish with Pecan Grape Sauce
  • Deep Sea Loaf (made with canned tuna, gelatin, sweet pickle juice, avocado, and three tablespoons of sugar … among other equally distressing ingredients)
  • Salmon & Green Olive Casserole (with cream and “salmon liquid” straight from the can)
  • Apple & Banana Soup (these are the ingredients: chicken stock, apple, banana, potato, onion, cream, curry powder, chives)
  • Kidney Bean Tuna Salad
  • Meat Loaf Pizza
  • Pineapple Mint Cake
  • Quick Clove Jelly Cake
  • Sahib Eight Boy Chicken Curry (…I have no idea…)
  • Yam Peanut Puffs

Bon Appetit!

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54 responses to “David Wade: The Rembrandt of the Kitchen

  1. Looking for Worcestershire powder-ran across some with your name on cantainer- can not find any more,located in Arkansas any idea where to find. Thanks t moss

  2. I have been trying to remember this guys name for about 15 years. I used to watch him all the time on PBS in New York. What a hoot. I even ordered an old cookbook of his just for the memories. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I’m looking for Davids famous receipe on turkey.

    • I have been meaning to add David Wade’s “Turkey in a Bag” recipe to my website and will do that tomorrow. I had the pleasure of meeting him after watching him for years. He was classy, but not pretentious. He was as “down-to-earth” as they come. In the meantime, here are his two most famous recipes… “Turkey-in-a-Bag” and “Rock Salt Prime Rib”


      the late, great, david wade’s turkey in a bag

      1 16-20 lb. turkey thoroughly thawed
      1 large paper grocery bag
      1 cup peanut oil (only)
      worcestershire powder (available at simon davids and tom thumbs)

      sprinkle the powder on the turkey and then rub it in with a little peanut oil.

      fully coat the inside of the bag with the rest of the peanut oil.

      put the bird in the bag breast side up and tie the open end closed with
      some cotton string. put in lower section of a roaster with no lid and place in oven pre-heated to 325 degrees.

      cook for about 10-12 minutes per pound.

      when done, take it out and poke a hole in the bag away from you to let
      out the steam and then as david would say, voila!
      (do NOT cook
      dressing in the bird)


      and, finally, here’s david’s rock-salt prime rib recipe.

      cover the bottom of a roaster with about 1/2 inch of rock salt and lightly dampen it.

      sprinkle the prime rib with worcestershire powder and then place it in the roaster.

      pour rock salt over it until the sides and top are covered and then
      lightly sprinkle it with water.

      put it in the oven uncovered pre-heated to 500 degrees for about [12-15 min for medium rare]
      18-20 minutes per pound for medium. (people’s preference on how long to
      cook and how well done is best seem to vary widely so use your own
      judgment-remember when you cook for medium rare, you will have two well-done end cuts.)

      when you’re finished cooking, take the rib roast out of the oven and crack open the rock
      salt casing. brush away any salt particles and there you have it. Awesome! (and not salty at all)

      bon appetit.

  4. I remember his baked beans from scratch, but no longer have the recipe. Does anyone have it?

    • Chuck Wagon Beans, Ole!

      1 lb. salt pork (better with strips of lean)
      3 or 4 chilis, depending on size (these are small, hot green peppers)
      1 lb. pinto beans
      1 No. 2 can tomatoes
      4 cloves garlic
      1 tablespoon peppercorns

      From Mr. Wade’s Cookbook: Now we come to the moment of truth about the pinto bean. Connoisseurs of the bean argue about the best method of preparation. Some say “Cook with bacon.” I say, “Cook with salt pork.” Some say, “Soak overnight.” I say, “Soak overnight.” Some say, “Cook slowly all day long.” But I say, “Cook until tender.” So that is where I stand onthe pinto bean issue and here are the instructions for my recipe.

      Soak beans overnight. Cook them until they are tender. Cube the salt pok in pieces about 1/2 inch and fry them until they are golden brown. Add salt pork cubes to the beans and also every speck of grease (Do not add salt until after the pork has cooked in the beans for a time. The salt cooks out of the pork and into the beans usually providing a sufficient amount of salt and flavor).

      Open the tomatoes and place into a bowl. Use your hands to make a puree of them removing any pieces of skin or core that might be in them. Crush the garlic, chilis and peppercorns and add them to the tomatoes. Mix thoroughly and add these ingredients to the bean pot which has been simmering.

      Again, mix thoroughly and continue to simmer for several minutes. Let stand for a while to let the flavors blend to perfection. Ole!

      A Mexican bean pot for cooking the pintos will add much to the flavor and can be used as an attractive, authentic serving piece.

      Serve toasted tortillas with these beans. They handsomely complement the flavor.

  5. During the boring part of the day as a kid when it was too hot or too cold to play outside I would watch David Wade on TV. It was sponsored by the gas company to push using gas ranges for cooking. I got a smile a few years later when he was on the radio giving his turkey in a bag recipe for Thanksgiving. He also gave his prime rib in rock salt and a recipe for poached fish in (of all things) a dishwasher set on high heat. I seem to remember he started his career as an Air Force pilot that just enjoyed cooking and went on to make it his career. I wonder whatever happened to him.

  6. i grew up in Tyler, TX. and have been friends with David Wade’s son, Cameron, since i was about 14. Sadly, David passed away some time ago (i feel bad that i can’t remember exactly how long it’s been since his death), but he was still alive when i used to go to the Wades’ house as a teenager. he was an extremely nice man, and i’m still good friends with his son, who is also one of the nicest people i’ve had the pleasure of knowing. i also remember watching Mr. Wade’s cooking show growing up in East Texas, and it always makes me smile to think about it now. i’ve never looked too closely at Mr. Wade’s recipes, but the turkey in a bag sounds like one i may have to try.

  7. In the 1960s David Wade was known nationally as “The Hollywood Gourmet”. He was a very special man – my ex husband and I worked backstage at his demonstrations for several years.

  8. The first meal I ever cooked for my now wife of 26 years was David Wade’s “Steak Madrid”. It must have impressed her—I’m still married to her !
    Saw David Webb’s show in northwestern Ohio.

  9. Oh,

    I found some video tape I recorded of his show.
    Such a delight

  10. I have lost David’s peach cobbler with brandy. Just the very best, bar none.

  11. I worked with David Wade, in my fathers business, from 1991-1993. He was a kind and gentle man. When he was 5 years old he saw his father murder his mother and after his father went to prison he and his sister were orphaned. When he grew up he became an Air Force test pilot. Aftyer seeing many of his fellow test pilots killed the stress was unbearable and he sought medical treatment. The doctor advised him to find a hobby such as cooking etc. The rest is history. In his home were many pictures of him alongside well known celebrities of the 50’s and 60’s. He told me of a 4 day fishing trip with President Eisenhower where he showed the President how to cook trout. He was an amazing, accomplished man and his gentle demeanor was a blessing.

  12. Buzz — what an incredible story. I had no idea.


  13. Wow, does this bring back memories! My (now ex-) wife and I used to listen to David on KRLD in Dallas, and even went to a restaurant once to meet him and purchase an autographed copy of this book (which I think I still have). The Rock Salt Prime Rib and Turkey in a Bag are both wonderful; we tried them. Unfortunately, we only got a few bites of the turkey before leaving it on the counter for a while to rest; our lab mix Barkley ate the whole thing! Apparently HE thought it was good too…

  14. I think about David Wade often. Many of our favorites are from him–we call them “David Wade’s”: David Wade’s Macaroni and Cheese Supreme is amazing; and he had an incredible peanut butter cookie we, of course call David Wade’s peanut butter cookies. I was just on my way to go find the macaroni and cheese supreme recipe, when I thought I’d do a web search for David and that’s how I ended up here.
    In the later years, David and my husband worked together at a Tyler radio station, and just last week, for whatever reason, my husband was commenting that back in the day of radio’s golden years, they never had a cooking show (that he was aware of). He said it probably could not be done. But today it just dawned on me that David Wade had a wonderful cooking show on radio and he managed to keep it entertaining as well as informative and I don’t know how he did it. He must have been the warmest, most “civilized” gentleman ever. And he had a lovely, beautiful voice and was the kindest man you could ever hope to meet.

  15. I thought I’d add the wonderful Macaroni and Cheese Supreme since I found it so quickly. My index card has this: David Wade, KTBB Radio, 1/12/81

    David Wade’s Macaroni and Cheese Supreme

    Cook a 24 oz. package of large elbow macaroni in repidly boiling water to which 3 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of salt have been add.
    Drain; rinse with cool water.
    Place macaroni in a large baking dish, and add 2 lbs. of mild grated cheddar cheese (reserving 1 cup for topping).
    In a separate saucepan, place 1 stick of butter and add 1/2 pint of sour cream, 1 pt. heavy cream, 1/4 c. grated parmesean cheese, 2 teaspoons of seasoned salt, 2 teaspoons white pepper, 4 teaspoons Tobasco sauce and 1/3 c. chopped pimiento.
    Heat only until butter is melted. Mix with the macaroni and cheese.
    Place the reserved cheese over the top of casserole.
    Cover and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 min. Remove cover and continue to bake about 10 more minutes.

    (I think I liked to reduce the cooking time so it would still be very creamy). This is the only macaroni and cheese dish my mother loved.

  16. I remember the theme song, I’m pretty sure it was Einstein and Edison but not Rembrandt. Either way. When i was learning editing for radio, our professor gave us a half hour soundtrack from on of the shows, and we had to cut it to 15. He was folksy and humorous. Lucky for me I didn’t have to see the ascot. :) But cracker dumplings will live in my brain for ever.

  17. I lived in Houston during the 1960’s and remember David’s show and articles well. He had one for Eggplant Parmesan that I still make to this day. My son learned how to make it and he loved it as well. Could you possibly find it and print it? I would appreciate it very much.

  18. I was so delighted to see this site; a board I pay attention to has been discussing easy, good ways to do a picnic ham, and someone mentioned running it through the dishwasher. Apparently it makes an excellent ham.

    Anyway, I recalled a guy on TV MANY years ago who did a fish in a dishwasher, and something else on a car engine. I’ve been wracking my poor brain all day long trying to think of his name , and it just came to me. Googled it and here we are!!

    My husband and I saw the program in Orlando, Fl., probably in the early 70’s.

  19. I remember David so fondly I finally had to google him. I still have the patch he gave me for my camping backpack (David Wade’s All American Cooking Team). Although I only knew him for a short time (’83?) I still remember him. It’s nice to see some many nice comments about him.


  20. David Wade was a very special man. I learned how to cook from him over forty years ago.
    He was classy, not crass and brought alot of joy into my home with his delicious recipes..
    Robbie Stout

  21. David was my Uncle and he was a great man. My Mom uses the powered Worcestershire sauce all the time.

    • Eight semi-finalists from the Greenhill School’s Gourmet Contest appeared on Mr. Wade’s TV Show and the winners (one gal and one gent) were selected based on their TV presentation. This was about 1970 – 1973. Your Uncle was a true professional. I would love to buy copies of some of these shows!

    • I have been working on my family’s genealogy and one of my uncles told me we were related to David Wade. My uncle also told me that David lived with my grandmother for a while when he was little. I guess now I know why he lived with her. I have been searching and searching for information on the Wades. Bonnie, if you have any information on the Wades, I would love to have any you are willing to share; my email address is Texasgirl997@gmail.com. It is great to read all the stories.

      Denise Wade Newlin

  22. A friend of mine appeared on Mr. Wade’s TV cooking show here in Dallas and I would love to be able to get the video of the show – my friend “cooked” fried zucinni on the show – any one that could help
    me find where we could view that show please Email at Mjunemayfield@msn.com. thanks.

  23. I found my copy of “The David Wade Show” cookbook and was looking through the recipes …. something prompted made me Google him. I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. I may need to try the Peanut Butter Cookie recipe which someone described as “incredible”. I find it strange that the only ingredients are peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. That is amazing.

  24. I used to watch David on the SATTELITE PROGRAM NETWORK, back around 1982, in Southern Louisiana. I remember his “turkey in a paper sack, with peanut oil”. I enjoyed his show, and would wonder if he really was like his television persona. I would love to watch his show, again.

  25. After scouring the web for Worcestershire powder this past Thanksgiving so I could make David Wade’s “Turkey in a Sack,” I had to improvise, as I could only find this spice two places (one was on eBay), and neither was David Wade’s, which I’d assumed was no longer available. Then today, I easily found his website (don’t know why I couldn’t find it before?), which will ship the Worcestershire powder to your door for $7.99 a package or $54.99 a case. It’s at http://www.davidwadegourmet.com

  26. When David had his TV show at WFAA, my sister, Barbara Douglas (at the time, worked for him. In fact they dated for a short while and I was introduced to his nephew I think it was. We went out a couple of times. I remember him very well and one year he actually cooked for the family. I think it was his turkey. Good to see that someone as well as other people remember him.

  27. I never saw him or his show, but I do remember hearing him on my car radio when I’d be driving to or from work. I loved listening to his show. It was obvious he LOVED everything about food and blending flavors. He was always so descriptive of the whole cooking process. I can remember sitting at red lights jotting down a recipe now and then. His enchilada recipe is very good, as is his baked white fish (recipe follows). I used to have his recipe for hush puppies. I remember they were REALLY good, but I’ve lost the recipe. If anyone has it, please post it here.
    Baked white fish (can’t remember if he had a specific title for this or not) –
    I quickly jotted this down in my car, and so didn’t get all the ingredient amounts. Just use your judgement. It was probably a dish to serve 4.)
    – sprinkle lemon juice over fish
    – sprinkle with pepper
    – put thin slices of tomato to cover fish
    – sprinkle 2 T. each of finely diced bell pepper and finely chopped onion over tomatoes
    – Sprinkle w/ mixture of:
    1/4 tsp. bread crumbs
    1/2 tsp. basil
    1 T. oil

    Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

    • I found a receipe in the “Dining with David Wade” cookbook on page 27, titled Southern Kitchen’s Famous Hush Puppies….not sure if this is what you are looking for but here it is:

      1 1/2 cups white corn meal
      1/2 cup sifted flour
      1 teaspoon baking powder
      1/4 teaspoon baking soda
      1 teaspoon salt
      1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, top parts
      1/2 cup crumbled, crisply fried bacon pieces
      3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk
      1 egg, beaten

      Combine corn meal, flour, baking powder, soda, salt, green onions and fried crumbled bacon. Stir in buttermilk or sour milk and egg.

      Let stand 20 to 30 minutes to let batter thicken. Pour salad or cooking oil in deep pan to depth of 2 inches. Heat over medium heat (375 to 400 degrees). Drop batter on absorbent paper. Makes 15 tto 18.

  28. Greatly appreciate seeing all these recipes posted here. I’ve told SO many people about his “Dishwasher Fish!” Back to the Original Poster’s topic, if there are some you are looking for but cannot find, or just want an old out-of-print recipe book of his, they can be found pretty cheaply online (she had just gotten an order for one after having it up for sale four years). I’ve seen several different ones on eBay for very little—usually the $3-5 shipping is more than the price of the book. Somewhere I have an autographed copy of one of his recipe books, and it was cool meeting him in Dallas as I posted above.

  29. Bonnie, thanks for the hush puppy recipe! I’m not sure if it’s 100% the same recipe that I had, but I’m sure it’s close.

    I saw one of David Wade’s cookbooks at an antique shop last year. I was tempted to get it, but didn’t have much money with me at the time. I wondered if later I’d regret not having bought it!

  30. I knew David Wade. When I was general manager for Oroweat Foods Company, David did commercials for our bread. I also went to Tyler. Texas for the Black Eyed Pea cook off. He was one of nicest men I ever met. I understand he is gone now. May he rest in peace. Thank you David for all the smiles.

    • Denise Wade Newlin

      Hi Kenneth, I don’t know if you can help me or not or if you know much about David’s family. I’m working on our family genealogy. I have been told that David is a near relative of mine. Supposedly David lived with my Grandmother for a short time. I have not been able to find out who his parents are or how he is related. I would love any information you are willing to share. My email address is texasgirl997@gmail.com. Thanks

      Denise Wade Newlin

  31. I don’t know if this is perfectly accurate, but I have a recollection of my father telling me David Wade was a classmate of his at Yoe High School in Cameron, Texas in the late 1930’s. They were both also classmates of a gentleman named George Miller, who opened a small hamburger stand, “Tex Miller’s” in downtown Cameron. I lived in Cameron in the 1970’s and 80’s and was a regular customer of Tex Miller’s. Here’s a link to a photograph I took back in 2010, the store is still open, operated by a lady from Rockdale who does a great authentic version of Tex Miller’s burgers. I post this here because as you can see in the photo, there is a “recommended by David Wade” sign out front that has hung there since the stand was opened (according to my late father’s telling.) http://flic.kr/p/7P2GmS

  32. So excited to have found this blog! Going to eat a burger tomorrow in Cameron Texas! If anyone needs recipes please let me know I have them all! Sincerely David Z Wade

  33. how exciting to be a part of this re-visitation of david wade!!!my little sister married him in the 60’s – so lots of great memories. she was his second wife and with him until his death – shortly after being knighted by queen elizabeth! he was extraordinary! my sister passed in 2011 so some stories are for the ages now. signie sidar123@live.xom

  34. I enjoyed reading the postings above…i too remember turkey in the bag, prime rib in salt, and the powdered Worcestershire. i collect cook books and have duplicates of several of his cook books that i would be willing to sell.
    I also have some duplicates of Helen Corbitt’s cook books. She was also a Texas legendary chef. She managed the Neiman Marcus tea room and was well known for her Beer Cheese Soup. I may be contacted at lynda1@windstream.net.

  35. Pingback: New Year’s Day | Nor’easter 2014, Cajun Shrimp Moque Choux Recipe and CFB Mailbag | Chicken Fried Buffalo

  36. David had 2 sisters, one younger and one older..the oldest was my granny and she would take david and the baby girl and hide under the porch when their parents fought. They did, indeed, see their mother murdered by their father. Doris married my papa just a few years later, at age 15. That was the only story I’d ever heard about her childhood. She had 7 children (3 boys and 4 girls). There has been a David Wade cookbook on my mama’s kitchen shelf for as long as I can remember.

    • Denise Wade Newlin

      Sonnie, is Doris your Granny? Is she a sister to David? Also, I read or heard somewhere that David’s sister (I thought there was only one) was put in an orphanage, do you have any information or know if this is correct?

      I am a distant cousin of David’s family. His father & my Grandfather were cousins. I am trying to gather genealogy on the Wades but keep hitting brick walls. Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated. My email address is: Texasgirl997@gmail.com

      Thanks, Denise Wade Newlin

  37. Gosh, I loved reading all these posts about David Wade. I used to watch him every week back in the 70s. He was probably on PBS. I remember I made a liver recipe of his once because my husband loved liver. I would love to have his green bean stew recipe…the original….not an updated one. Thanks. Do y’all remember Julie Bennell?

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