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Frank Sinatra liked good Italian cooking, but his preference for chicken went against what many chefs would recommend. According to the celebrity’s former housekeeper, Sinatra’s diet was relatively limited, only consuming one type of vegetable and eating the same breakfast every day. He also ate chicken often and asked that it be cooked as dryly as possible. He liked it so much that he packed coolers full of it to bring on the road with him.
Frank Sinatra was particular about all his meals, not just chicken
When Sinatra entered a restaurant, he inspired a wave of nervous anticipation in the wait staff. As he only carried $100 bills in his pocket, he would tip generously. On the other hand, he would also lash out if things weren’t to his liking.
In 1976, his favorite chef, Johnny Costa, left the restaurant at the Trinidad hotel in Palm Springs. When the clams Sinatra ordered weren’t made the way he liked, he threw the dish against a wall. A staff member had to call Costa to ask how to prepare the clams.
“I say, ‘What he likes is, you get the garlic. Three or four pieces of garlic. You put it in the pan, you fry it, then you pull the garlic and put in the clams and parsley. So he doesn’t want the garlic in there. But you got the flavor in. The big pieces, you smash it up and then you put the clams over the pasta,’” Costa told the Desert Sun. “That’s how he wanted it … Frank got mad because the dish was not made right.”
Sinatra’s wife, Barbara, put it lightly: “He was very particular….”
Frank Sinatra’s preferences for chicken preparation went against what most recipes recommend
He had the same stringent standards for the food he ate at home. His former housekeeper, Joan Hanna, explained that he ate a plate of specifically prepared pancakes for breakfast every day.
“He demands his pancakes be no more than three inches across,” she said in a 1989 interview with the South China Morning Post. “Any wider and they are sent back in a rage. And they must be wafer-thin.”
Sinatra only ate one vegetable: canned peas. He preferred to snack on scooped-out Italian rolls with tuna, egg, or cold deli meats. One of his favorite meals was chicken, which he wanted to be prepared a certain way.
“Heaven help the cook if his drumsticks are more than three-and-a-half inches long,” Hanna said. “When I was interviewed for the job by his wife Barbara I was told that the one job requirement was that I did not cook his chicken moist and juicy in the way most people like it. It had to be dry as a bone all the way through and crispy outside.”
Sinatra liked this so much that he brought it on tour with him, lest he came across a place that didn’t serve dry chicken.
“He likes it so much that when he goes on a concert tour, he takes cases of this pre-cooked, dried-out chicken with him, packed in ice.”
His housekeeper shared that he liked to do things his way
In general, Hanna said Sinatra liked to live life to his specific preferences, regardless of if others might consider them odd. He went to bed around five or six a.m. and wouldn’t wake up until the afternoon. He preferred that the house remained quiet and neat and took solitary walks with his dogs at night.
“Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise for a man of 73, but Sinatra lives like a 73-year-old,” Hanna said. “Tame as tame could be.”
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