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Health & Balance

Cloris Leachman's Latest Chapter

The author, actress, and dancer talks about aging, cooking, her new book -- and why she never gets stressed out.
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Well, let me see, I haven’t cooked in a long time -- I taught my housekeeper everything! Today, she gave me some wonderful potato soup with leeks and celery. Delicious, with no milk and no chicken broth. You don’t need it. For instance, I love string beans. You steam them lightly -- I don’t like them blanched -- and add a little olive oil and garlic. Delicious, and it couldn’t be simpler. And I love a good Idaho potato cooked at 500 degrees for about an hour. You take them out of the oven and tear them open quickly so the steam will get out and they won’t get soft. Then put on a little olive oil, chopped green onions and scallions, and a little salt and black pepper. Oh my God, it is just delicious. 

What is your guilty pleasure food?

Baked macaroni and cheese made with straight, full-fat aged cheddar. No guilt. Full on.

How did you stick to your healthy lifestyle when you were on location, shooting Inglorious Basterds?

Well, that's when I eat fish or chicken a little more because you can't always get vegetables that have been freshly cut. They've usually been sitting there since six o'clock in the morning.

You describe yourself as a giver of hugs. Who in the world would you most like to give a hug to?

Oh God, everybody.

Anybody in particular?

I think smokers need hugs, don’t you? They’re so busy smoking. What if they just hugged instead? Wouldn’t that be better? And by the way, I don’t want to confuse hugging with patting on the back.

Patting on the back?

Yes, that’s not a hug. That’s a pat. Men pat a lot. They hug quickly and then pat. That means, “No more hugging, my wife is looking.”

So what’s a real hug?

Close your arms around and just feel each other. Make it warm and slow. The world needs more of those.

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Reviewed on August 22, 2009

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