Jane Ammeson is a Times correspondent
It’s been 42 years since “Caddyshack” was released but no matter how long ago you saw the movie there are probably scenes and quotes that still can cause a chuckle. That humor, irreverent as it is, was par for the course when Andy Murray was growing up with his eight siblings in Wilmette, Illinois.
“We were always throwing zingers at each other, it was controlled chaos,” says Murray, whose brother Billy—who we know as Bill—starred in the movie, which was co-authored by another brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, who also played the manager of the caddy shack. “A lot of people don’t know Brian was a member of The Second City before Billy even thought about acting. Brian was also a featured player on “Saturday Night Live.”
As Andy Murray remembers it, people would come over for dinner just to be entertained. It was that kind of family.
But there was more than laughter at the family table, there was also good food.
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“Lucille was the greatest,” Andy writes about his mother in his book, “Eat Drink, and Be Murray: A Feast of Family Fun and Favorites” with a forward by Bill Murray. “Everybody felt at home when they sat at her table. Whether it was a celebrity like John Belushi or the neighbor next door.”
As for Belushi, he joined the family table along with Harold Ramis and Joe Flaherty when they were working with Brian at The Second City.
“Dinner was always a show,” writes Andy.
And indeed, his mom pulled out her cast iron skillet and started frying chickens. Belushi, who was not known for moderation, consumed at least three.
Andy says his love of cooking started with his mother who first taught him how to make bacon when he was about four years old. It was a chore that he loved.
“I learned that if I made the bacon, I could eat extra pieces plus I didn’t have to clean dishes,” he says.
Working at restaurants at a young age convinced Andy that he wanted to attend culinary school in New York. In those early years, he also honed his cooking skills with French chef and restaurateur Eric Demarchelier in what he describes as an indentured-servant-like experience. While living in New York, Andy worked at such standout restaurants as Mortimer’s and Tribeca Grill and in 2001 he and his five brothers opened the Murray Bros. Caddyshack in St. Augustine followed, 17 years later, with the opening of another restaurant in Rosemont, Illinois.
So what made him decide to write what is a scrapbook full of never-before-seen family snapshots, memories, funny family stories, luscious food photos and recipes?
Turns out Andy was at Billy’s house in Charleston, South Carolina at Thanksgiving time a few years ago.
“I opened the refrigerator to see what there was to eat and it was completely empty,” he says. “So Billy and I went shopping and I found this beautiful 14-pound turkey. But Billy said that’s too small and he comes up with this 26-pound turkey. There were only going to be a few of us but that’s what he thought we should have.”
By Thanksgiving day, the number of guests had grown considerably. Andy was making the dinner when the actress Karen Duffy walked into the house and started watching him as he cooked.
“I thought maybe she was going to help but she just sat there and kept watching me,” he says. “After dinner she said that it was the most beautiful dinner. You need to write a cookbook.”
But life was busy and Andy put it off. Then a psychic friend gave him a free reading and said you’re going to write a book. Convinced that it was fate, he called Duffy who put him in touch with a publisher she knew.
If you want to eat like a Murray, this is the book for you as its chock full of favorite family recipes including Lucille’s Fried Chicken, Pork Roast, Murry Style, Bill Blass Meat Loaf (the famed designer was a neighbor of Brian’s and this was his recipe) and Peanut Butter, Lettuce and Mayo Sandwiches which is a definite family favorite and very tasty he insists.
“Hot Nuts is a staple in my family,” says Andy about another recipe in the book. “That is a fabulous, fabulous dish. The secret is to serve it with Triscuits. My sister Peggy’s Red Radish Spread—you have to do the radish spread. Oh and don’t forget the Key Lime Pie.”
All of which is to be served with a lot of laughter.